For the uninitiated, SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization – is the process of learning how consumers find your brand and your website online, then organizing the information on your website in ways that take advantage of that knowledge. SEO makes sure search engines like Google understand what you do, who you provide services to, where you provide them, and who you want to find your website. It also helps search engines recognize your brand and website as an authoritative “go-to” resource for your target audience.
A few years ago, we wrote a 4-part series of articles about the similarities and differences between SEO and Marketing. If you’re new to SEO or want to know more about the overlaps between those two topics, we recommend checking out that deep dive into the topic.
Today though, we want to highlight 11 reasons why SEO is still a relevant and useful marketing tool for Conversion, Organic Search, and E-commerce in 2021.
The stat with the highest impact on conversion rates of a website is load time. Although sources vary on how many seconds are important for loading a webpage fully, all agree that they need to load in less than 5 seconds or visitors get tired of waiting – then move on to your competitor’s website.
Page load speed falls into the realm of SEO specialists. Keeping in mind all the pieces of a website that affect load speed, then either cutting out unnecessary pieces or optimizing code to run more efficiently helps get your domain loaded as quickly as possible. Here at SilverServers, our standard is a 1-second load time!
Tip: it doesn’t matter how great your website looks or functions if half of your potential clients leave before it finishes loading!
When signup forms are involved in your conversion plan, there are a few ways to use them. You may be surprised, however, at which are more effective, considering which seem to be most popular.
The most popular type of signup form is a popup. The least popular are those placed on landing pages. Despite the high popularity of popups, most studies show that they have the lowest or nearly the lowest, conversion rates of any type of signup form. On the other hand, landing pages consistently provide the highest conversion rates!
Tip: From a technical SEO perspective, Google has made it clear that they consider popups that cover a webpage to be a nuisance. Google’s negative view of a website’s popup ad probably won’t drag the site through the mud, but it’s one of many little considerations when looking at how to implement a signup form. If they don’t have a positive effect on conversions or Google’s opinion, why use them?
According to Think With Google in 2019, 51% of surveyed shoppers said they use Google Search to research products they plan to purchase.
If Google Search is so important for product research, then it’s a huge consideration to have an SEO plan for your e-commerce website.
We recently wrote an article covering 11 reasons why e-commerce should do SEO. Check it out for more information on that topic!
In 2018, Think With Google reported that over the past 2-year period, there was over a 900% increase in searches for products or services “near me today/tonight”.
Through various approaches, SEO specialists work to ensure that a website communicates to search engines that it provides products or services in specific locations. That way a website gains the potential to show up because of “near me” searches.
As a company’s online presence grows in its local area, it also gains the potential to become an authority for a region as well. Read more about that in our article covering that topic!
Tip: If it’s not clear to Google where you provide your services, then you won’t compete for local, Map, or other search results. Google seems to value local companies over big companies that ‘might be the best result in your city’. If you’re a better option in your city than the big names, ask an SEO specialist to help you make it known!
Think With Google reported in 2019 that 46% of shoppers confirm the inventory of a product online before they go to the store. What does that information mean for a business and SEO?
That means if someone needs to buy a new vacuum (for example) before they go out to buy one, they’ll search for something like “vacuums for sale”. They will click on the first couple of shops that show up, as a result, to see which shop has the vacuum in stock that they’re looking for. If the vacuum is in stock at that shop, that’s where they will go.
There’s a lot to keep in mind in planning how to become part of that person’s shopping experience, but SEO specialists will help put your vacuum (or other products) on the first page of a local search result so that your website, with its up-to-date inventory, is one of the options that gets a click. This way, SEO can help get local clients in the door of your brick-and-mortar shop – instead of letting Walmart get all the business.
Even with the increasing popularity of voice search – where your voice is converted into text and sent to a search engine – text will always be the foundation of searching the internet.
Making sure that the text around the pages and assets on your websites is descriptive is the only way to help your website rank better. An SEO specialist who understands how Google and other search engines look at website text can help organize and clarify text content so that Google has less chance of misunderstanding what’s meant.
Tip: If your website doesn’t say it, you don’t offer it!
Since we’ve just mentioned voice search above, let’s take a quick look at why SEO is important for it. According to a study in 2018, 65% of 25-49-year-olds speak to voice-enabled devices at least once a day.
If you’ve ever asked a Siri, Alexa, or your Google Assistant a question, you know that they answer by reading information from various websites. Writing content in a way that concisely answers questions in the way people ask them to a voice-enabled device can help a website become the answer to a question.
Becoming the answer to a voice search query can be difficult, but it is possible. SEO specialists can help you write content or revise it to be the kind of information voice search tools are looking for.
Every year, search engines get better and better at understanding the intent of a search query.
Long gone are the days when searching for “shoes” returned the website that had the word “shoes” on it the most. Today, most search engines know it’s most likely that the intention is to shop for new shoes. Consequently, modern search engines are more likely to return marketplace ads, popular shoe stores, nearby shoe stores, trending articles about shoes, and so on.
The content on your website needs to show search engines like Google that you plan to provide information that will solve a searcher’s problem or provide them with the information they’re intending to find. If you can convince Google that you’re a great place to send people, then Google will try to send people to your website (by ranking you higher).
SEO specialists will help you write your website content in a way that a search engine can read and understand. If the way you write content accidentally tells Google that you’re a shoe repair shop, then your website won’t show up for people who intend to buy new shoes.
In 2018, Think With Google found that 87% of internet users (in the USA) used more than one device when going online. Although that statistic might be a bit vague on the surface, here’s what it might mean for you, and how SEO can help.
Perhaps you run a restaurant or a mechanic shop. While someone is on their break at work, they might be thinking about where to go out for dinner on Friday night or where to get that one part they need for their car. They won’t have a computer to use on their work break, so they’ll do some preliminary research on their phone. They might see a list of businesses and click on a few websites. In that search, they’ll see the mobile version of your website, and hopefully, they will get the information they need from it.
Later, when they get home, they’ll pick up a tablet or sit down at a desktop. They might remember your website from earlier in the day, so they’ll open it up and see the tablet or desktop version of the site – which is hopefully just as impressive and informative as the mobile version.
Although graphic design is imperative when it comes to having a site that looks good on mobile, tablet, and desktop, SEO specialists are at the core of making sure the multiple versions all load quickly and properly.
They also know how often each version of the site is used, which can lead you to either focusing on the most-used version or attracting more of a different type of device to your site.
Something to consider: SEO specialists are often overlooked in the website design process, being an afterthought. A design-first approach can hamper your ability to take full advantage of search engine optimization. Consider having your SEO and Website Design team work together in designing your website. Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming article about 10 Ways your website design can impact your SEO!
Google has stated that 2021 is the year that they plan to index sites based on only the mobile version. That may be more important than you think.
For years, Google has indexed and ranked websites based on the desktop version of the site. They looked at the mobile version and considered aspects of it as their ranking algorithms, but it was just small considerations.
Once Google switches to mobile-only indexing, that means that your rankings will depend on what Google sees and experiences on the mobile version of your website. Maybe the desktop version of your site loads in less than 1 second, but the mobile version takes 6 seconds to load. Maybe the photos on your desktop site aren’t scaling properly to display on a phone. Perhaps that small popup on your desktop site takes up the whole screen on a phone.
There’s a lot to consider. Like our earlier point about browsing on multiple devices, graphic designers will be important in making your mobile site look good. However, graphic designers typically don’t know how to make a website run faster, how to code a website to Google’s standards, or how to seamlessly transition a website’s design from mobile to desktop and back again.
Get in touch with your SEO team today to start planning for Google’s change to mobile-first!
Tip: Consider taking our free website SEO test as a start! We’ll send you a report and some information on what your site is doing well or what needs work – for both the desktop and mobile versions.
In 2020, HubSpot found that the top technical SEO tactic marketers used to improve website performance was to optimize its mobile performance.
Considering how important mobile website performance will become once Google switches to mobile-first indexing, it may be the best option for all marketing strategies this year to include optimization of mobile performance.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that SEO is still important in 2021 – if not more important than it has ever been! If you run a small or medium business and need some help with your new website or a website that has been around for a while, we’re happy to help! Get a free website review or contact the SEO team at SilverServers today for a chat about how we can help.