As marketers plan out their initiatives for the new year, SEO remains top-of-mind.
If you’re looking to scale the ranks and dominate in searches, then this is the SEO webinar for you.
Join key members of the Ignite Visibility and SEMRush teams as they walk through their winning strategies for getting ranked number one on Google for 2021.
What We’ll Cover:
- Google BERT Update
- How Does BERT Impact SEO?
- How to Make My Content Rank on Google
- Google Core Web Vitals
- User Experience Matters
- 2021 Content Strategies
- 2021 Link Building—Customer-Centric Strategies
- 2021 and Beyond
Google BERT Update
In addition to being one of Sesame Street’s most beloved characters, BERT is an acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
Developed by Google’s AI team, the goal of BERT is to boost natural language processing (NLP).
In other words, BERT helps Google better understand language and phrasing more like humans and less like bots in order to serve more relevant results.
According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, “Wouldn’t it be nice if Google understood the meaning of your phrase, rather than just the words that are in the phrase?”
Compared to traditional language processing models, BERT excels at interpreting context and nuance, which is a win-win for SEO writers.
To get an idea of how BERT works, let’s take a closer look at the words behind the acronym:
- B—Bidirectional: Reviews the entire sentence vs. only understanding the words that follow in a sentence.
- E—Encoder: Encodes the text in a format that the model can understand.
- R—Representation: An input representation that can clearly define both a single sentence and a pair of sentences.
- T—Transformers: Gathers information about the relevant context of a given word.
How Does BERT Impact SEO?
BERT has impacted roughly 10% of search queries in English in the US.
Does that mean you can optimize for BERT? Well, sort of.
Remember—BERT is an evaluation of a query, not an evaluation of your website.
With that being said, the most powerful way to optimize for BERT is by writing useful, high-quality content with good grammar and short, concise sentences.
Understanding User Intent
With BERT, Google is putting less of an emphasis on individual keywords and more on context and user intent.
Since queries have become more conversational, it’s important to take into account why or how a user would be asking a question.
Take ‘car wash’ for example.
As a business owner, you might think that since the car wash is the service you offer, you should be trying to rank for ‘car wash.’
But, you need to create content that aligns with search intent. What do users want to see when they conduct this search query?
Instead, consider ranking for something like ‘car wash near me’ or ‘car wash in [location].’
4 Types of Search Intent
There are four main ways to group search intent:
Informational queries are vague and often framed as questions. Here, the searcher is seeking to learn something.
Users may implement terms like:
- Who, what, where, when, why, or how
- Guide, tutorial, or resource
- Ideas, tips, learn, or example
Example: What is the tallest building in the world?
Conducting a commercial query means that you’re further down the funnel. The intent is to learn something with the ultimate goal of taking an action, like completing a purchase.
Users may implement terms like:
- Best or top
- Review or comparison
- Product attributes (size, color, or general category)
Example: Best home office standing desk
Someone performing a navigational search is already familiar with your business. They know where they want to go and prefer to search in Google instead of typing the entire URL into the address bar.
Users may implement terms like:
- Brand names
- Product names
- Service names
Example: Ignite Visibility contact
At this point, the searcher is in buying mode. They know exactly what they want and are looking to convert.
A user might implement terms like:
- Buy, purchase, or order
- Cheap, price, or pricing
- Town/city and type of merchant (for local SEO)
- Near me (for local SEO)
Example: Grocery delivery near me
How to Make My Content Rank on Google
SEO is a long, time-consuming process with no shortcuts or easy outs.
Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to boost your visibility and get your content noticed by Google.
Search for non-branded search terms, especially ones with lower volume and higher relevance. Refine your list so you’re only including keywords in your strategy that are applicable to your business.
What type of content would your audience benefit from? Get the best expertise to review these queries and create content that’s relevant, on-brand, and addresses your customers’ pain points.
Optimize Your Snippet
Content with featured snippets double their click-through rates. One way to optimize your snippet is by looking at the ‘People also ask’ (PAA) section as it offers plenty of opportunities for you to expand on a certain topic.
Analyze Relevant SERP Features
As Google continues to test and improve SERP features to provide a more user-friendly experience on its site, pay close attention to ones like local pack, featured snippets, knowledge panel, PAA, and carousels.
Maximize Real Estate in SERP
Your presence is not only your snippet—it’s your social pages, forums, and ads. To maximize your brand’s presence in search results, consider investing in PPC advertising and optimizing for local search.
SEO Webinar: Google Core Web Vitals
Another important topic covered in our SEO webinar is Core Web Vitals, which Google announced would be a ranking factor in 2021.
Core Web Vitals are a set of factors (added to existing ranking factors) that Google considers significant in a web page’s overall user experience.
To prepare your site for this upcoming algorithm update, Google recommends that you focus on the following interaction metrics:
Loading—Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Ideal measurement: 2.5 seconds or faster.
- Elements that can trigger LCP include images, videos, and lists.
Interactivity—First Input Delay (FID)
- FID is the user’s first experience of your site’s responsiveness, which is crucial in shaping the overall impression of a site’s quality and credibility. It tracks the time from when a user first tries to take an action on your page to when the page is able to respond.
- Ideal measurement: Less than 100 milliseconds.
- Interactions that can impact FID include clicks, taps, and key presses.
Visual Stability—Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS)
- CLS measures the visual stability of a page. The more your content layout shifts and becomes disruptive to users, the higher your score.
- Ideal measurement: Less than 0.1.
- Types of content that can affect CLS include images, ads, and web-based fonts.
How to Prepare for Google’s Core Web Vitals Algorithm Update
- Check for mobile usability errors in the search console.
- Use the security issues report and make sure your site is secure.
- Avoid using intrusive interstitials to make content less accessible.
User Experience Matters
The user experience (UX) refers to how a user interacts with your website or webpage.
With a good UX, it’s much easier to nurture prospects, build an audience, and convert users into loyal customers.
However, UX and SEO need to be integrated in order to achieve the best results.
After all, SEO targets search engines, while UX targets site visitors. You need to target both.
Ignite Advanced Secrets to Page UX
At this point in the SEO webinar 2021, we’re excited to unveil some of the Ignite team’s key ingredients to crafting a winning UX strategy.
Utilize Heat Mapping
See how people are interacting with your mobile devices by using a heat mapping tool like HotJar.
- How far are people scrolling down on the page?
- Are your most important content and call-to-actions above this point?
- Where are people clicking on the most?
The longer you can get a user to stay on your page, bounce less, and interact with it, the better your behavior metrics and conversions will be.
Check Your Mobile vs. Desktop Report in Google Analytics
How do conversion rates between mobile and desktop compare?
Keep in mind that just because something is mobile-friendly doesn’t mean it’s automatically optimized for on-page UX and conversions.
To combat this, make sure you’re using descriptive, clear headings in your content, as well as:
- Frequent call-to-actions that make sense for the page
- Easy navigation and site structure
- No large content blocks
Creative Integration for a Better User Experience
Poor creative design can break trust with users and lead to a poor UX.
Think eye-catching images and web design to capture their attention. This means longer time spent on the page and a lower bounce rate.
Adding a video on your landing pages will increase the time a user spends on your page and often also helps with purchase decisions.
And for websites, consider a full visual refresh at least every two years. If you’re in an industry that is driven by impactful images and graphics (like ecommerce), opt for an annual refresh.
SEO Webinar 2021: Content Strategies
As explained in this SEO webinar, 2021 is the year to start building a content strategy unlike any other.
With the industry quickly moving towards a worth of over $400 billion, here are some of the biggest content marketing trends to anticipate in the coming year:
High-quality intent-focused content will be the key to rankings
Focus on maintaining a voice that offers value to your target personas.
Include facts and figures when possible and add heading images to every article and blog.
You should also aim to get in Google’s ‘featured snippets’ by addressing consumer pain points and answering questions.
Repurpose and rewrite old content
Content can easily get stale, leaving your website saturated with outdated ideas or worse, bad content that clashes with newer, better content.
It’s recommended to group older content on your site and merge similar ideas and refresh content that is more than two years old.
Integrate video and graphic media to share your voice
Audiences digest information in different formats at different times.
To maximize reach, distribute your content for their consumption through various video, audio, and graphic formats.
Then, link this content back to your main hub.
2021 Link Building—Customer-Centric Strategies
Speaking of links, link building is a great way to compliment your content strategy.
There was a time when link building was based more on quantity than quality. Nowadays, it’s a whole different ball game.
For one, it requires taking a customer-centric approach by making sure customers can find you online.
But like most things, picking the right strategy is going to make or break the success of your conversions.
A mix of backlinks from any one of these sources will surely put you on the path toward that coveted #1 spot in the SERPs.
- Link for share
- Free guest post
- Local data study
- Write refresh for website
- Resource site
- Review national sites
- Local directories
- Press release
- Competitor mentions
Backlink Clean Up
This procedure involves cleaning up the backlink profile of a website to ensure traffic doesn’t trend down.
The Ignite team typically uses this checklist to determine which backlinks are harmful, spammy, and need to be cleaned up:
Update Recovery System
‘Update Recovery System’ shows how Ignite integrates a linking strategy into your technical SEO and content strategy as a result of a traffic drop.
This is ideal for mid-level and enterprise websites encountering technical issues.
2021 and Beyond
As our SEO webinar nears the end, here are a few things to think about when creating your marketing and business planning strategy for 2021.
Adjustment to Changed Times
Thousands of industries have had to pivot their business models with COVID-19-related safety measures in mind.
To ensure your customers feel safe, update the language on your website to reflect your current offerings, whether that be unique pricing or new delivery options.
As we’ve mentioned, there is a rapid increase of UX as an SEO ranking signal. Mobile experience, ease of use, and page load speeds are gaining more authority in the ranking algorithms.
To see how users are navigating your website, invest in CRO tools like Google Analytics to determine user intentions.
The EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) and BERT updates are the sign of increased focus on intent. Getting a lot of traffic will be paired with intention of the traffic as a dominant ranking signal.
Keep track of users who are spending time on the site and engaging with macro and micro conversions.
Videos of First Page Results
Align your on-page optimization strategy with your off-site assets.
Generate content that helps answer questions or offers value to your customer via video and social media and be sure to link to corresponding pages on your site.
And keep in mind, video is much easier to get ranked for than content right now.
If SEO seems overwhelming, you’re not alone.
There are a ton of moving parts and the rules appear to change from year-to-year.
The good news is that the marketing experts featured in today’s SEO webinar are always ahead of the curve.
As long as you take their recommendations to heart, you’ll climb to the very top of the rankings in 2021 and beyond!