2021 is shaping up to the biggest year yet in terms of SEO competition. Why? Because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to prioritise their online spend in order to remain competitive. Many Australian eCommerce stores thrived throughout the worst pandemic periods, and this has caused many of them to invest further in SEO as Google continues to enforce guidelines to rank among the top search engine results.
The combination of a huge shift towards online business and Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithm makes for the perfect 2021 SEO storm, but equipped with the right practices and the right team (that being Digital Debut) your business can still achieve outstanding results regardless of the rise in competition.
Understanding shifts in consumer behaviour
One thing the COVID-19 pandemic did to online shopping was throw consumer behaviour into a reckless orbit of daily changes in demand and spending. As people around the world chose to stay home, avoiding shopping malls and standalone stores, they did, in fact, start interacting with businesses more than ever before.
This led to an increase in the following searches:
- “At home” keywords: These searches basically regarded anything that could be done at home, made at home, played at home etc.
- Health & fitness searches: There has been a large decrease in desire-based purchases (impulse purchasing) with a shift towards health and fitness-related searches.
- Grocery Shopping searches: During the peak of the media coverage on Covid, many people tried to make use of home grocery shopping and essentials the most over the last 5 years.
- Informational searches: Have increased dramatically, mostly relating to (duh) COVID-19 and local lockdown information.
The global pandemic has forced people around the world to make their transactions online. Although this fact, unfortunately, is bad for many businesses around the world, it presents a significant opportunity for eCommerce stores to refine their game and change their tactics to keep up with the competition in the year ahead.
These are some of the SEO trends to keep up with in 2021
High quality content in all its forms
SEO is becoming more competitive, and this was going to be the case whether we experienced a global pandemic or not. Given that the old “content is king” still rings true, it’s only natural that it in a marketplace experiencing rapid growth in competition content will likely be elevated from its previous royal position to something much more powerful.
There are many ways in which SEO content is changing, and businesses have to be on top of them in order to remain valuable and competitive in the year ahead.
Distinguishing your SEO
2021 should be the year that smaller businesses distinguish themselves from larger entities. Through longtail and niche keyword research as well as the creation of more engaging content, businesses should be able mould a situation in which they can distinguish themselves from SEO juggernauts and stake a claim in the industry.
This may require more research, as people will want to see newer, more exciting content than simple listicles and “how-to” guides, but this will be a great way to create a unique informational experience when customers visit a particular website.
New innovations like Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri are making SEO more voice-friendly than ever. Voice technology has become incredibly popular in recent times, and this is set to grow even further by 2022, where 55% of U.S. households are expected to own a smart speaker. The combination of people choosing to stay home with a smart speaker readily available means that voice search is going to have a big impact on SEO in 2021.
So, how does a business adapt to voice search? Through careful keyword consideration. Businesses, and digital marketers, want to look towards producing content based upon what people might say in everyday conversation. Naturally, people type search differently than they voice search, and this is something businesses should consider for their keyword research in the year ahead. For example, someone might voice search “where can I buy new shoes online?” as opposed to type searching “new shoes online”.
Education > Promotion
A brand should look towards informing their customers rather than promoting to them, as the COVID-19 pandemic has created an increase in customer-generated conversations and EDM open rates. This puts forward the idea that customers are more interested in ever in learning about a particular brand before buying its product. One thing online stores should consider doing is switching up their content to become an information hub as opposed to an online store replete with promotions. There is nothing better than nurturing a customer relationship through putting your brand forward as an industry authority – it creates a sense of trust and reliability amongst customers.
You want to create informative content for both your web pages and blog. The blog is the best way to prove that your brand knows what it’s talking about and has the goods to back it up, so consider regular blogging to show your customers that you are at the forefront of your industry.
Many people used to scoff at the idea of striking up a conversation with one of those random thumbnail-imaged chats that pop up when you open a website. However, we have recently seen an increase in their usage as people want to get the same experience talking to someone online as they would have talking to a sales rep in real life. Utilising chatbots ensures that you are able to provide your customers with 24/7 service, as well as automate lead routing whilst out of the business.
What else you can do to prepare for the year ahead
With all the events that has happened this year, it has led to a change in the way marketers view SEO, and there are certain things that should be conducted in order to understand a business’s position in the ongoing and post-COVID world. The following advice is useful for any marketer with an online presence.
Evaluate your position through Google Analytics & Search Console
Did we really just give you the advice to analyse where your business stands through Google Analytics and Search Console? Really?! Yes, we did, and for good reason: the events this year could have made your online store a lot of money, or it could have wreaked havoc on various aspects of your brand’s SEO. It is highly likely your business’s SEO has not remained stagnant in 2020, so it is important that you take the time to run a full analysis to see where you’re at and what you need to get ready for 2021. According to a survey performed by Databox, most PR markets tend to set their goals around Clicks, CTRs, Impressions, and Avg. Position. So you should consider adding them to your 2021 goals.
Conduct new keyword research
As we have mentioned numerous times throughout this piece – the way keywords work in 2021 will be different than ever before. It is pivotal, therefore, that you conduct brand new research not only to adapt to things like voice search and long tail keywords to better take on the juggernauts, but to also find out exactly what people in your industry are searching for in this changing world.
Try “Grow My Store”
Google has introduced a new tool (not Australian targeted at the moment, but still provides amazing insights) to help businesses understand where they are winning in the online game and where they can improve. It’s called “Grow My Store”, and it helps you understand rising industry trends as well as provide valuable insights into your website’s positives and negatives. “Grow My Store” has the intelligence to search your website and pick out things like product details, reviews, price visibility etc. – all things that add to a positive customer experience.
This year was a bit of a disaster for a lot of people to say the least, pandemic (or plandemic or scamdemic or whatever you want to call it) has forced businesses online like nothing else that came before it. Whilst this is a positive for many online sellers, it’s important for them not to become complacent and trust that online shopping’s growing popularity will skyrocket them to success. With new, intelligent search options entering the fray before the onset of recent events, and growing competition amongst marketers looking to sell their products to consumers whose behaviour has largely shifted to online spending, marketers have to shape up to ship out or risk falling behind.
Looking for a winning SEO strategy in 2021?
Digital Debut looks towards trends to create winning online strategies. We look towards the future and how we can put businesses ahead of the competition regardless of the events that have transpired in the past. As such, we are quickly becoming one of Australia’s go-to digital marketing teams when it comes to creating innovative, specialised campaigns that work for your business and what it has to offer.
If you would like to discuss our team producing a digital campaign for your brand in 2021, and one that incorporates the above advice and trending strategies, then please feel free to get in contact with our friendly team of digital experts. We are dedicated to providing Australian businesses an exceptional service standard during this difficult period, and will work hard on your behalf to ensure that your brand is highly competitive in 2021’s online arena.
To talk with one of our friendly experts, please feel free to call Digital Debut on (03) 8618 6992 or submit an enquiry form via our contact page and we will get back to you with all the information you require regarding your brand’s personalised SEO strategy for 2021.
We wish each and every single one of you are very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy New Year.