According to HubSpot, web traffic is one of the most common ways for businesses to measure how successful their content marketing strategies are. Generating new leads is a top priority for marketers. And nearly half of all companies say acquiring more customers is their number one goal.

If you agree with a lot of what these other businesses are saying, you’re in the right place.

Out with the old (2020) and in with the new (2021!). We’ve made it through one of the strangest (to put it nicely) years of our time.

Starting a year anew always feels like a clean slate. And your business is no exception. It’s time to set some fresh goals and implement effective new strategies – then stick to them!

Today, we’re covering some of the top tips for bringing traffic to your website through search engine optimization so you can generate hot leads and acquire cool customers. See what we did there?

Some tips are tried and true and will be with us for the foreseeable future – a chance to improve. Others are brand-spanking new or just taking off – an opportunity to learn.

7 Top 2021 SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Here are some of the best and brightest SEO tips for 2021 to help people find your website on search engines – primarily Google. 94% of all internet searches happen there after all (perhaps even more than 97%).

1. Use the E-A-T Principle

This nifty little acronym stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness regarding your website, brand, and content. It’s not a new concept in the marketing world by any means. But Google is helping us more easily digest how to check all the right boxes to create a truly “quality” website.

To reward you for playing by the rules, Google will bump you up in search results. On the contrary, if your website breaks the rules with uneducated, unreliable, or untruthful information, your business could sink into the depths of the millions of search results that will never see the light of day.

Prioritize making all your content and everything linked to your website and brand expert-level, authoritative, and trustworthy. Do your research, target the right audience, and give your people exactly what they’re looking for. Make sure what you say is factual, backed by reputable and authoritative sites, and engaging.

2. Optimize for Featured Snippets

The marketing gods predict that featured snippets will become EVEN MORE prominent in 2021 than they already are. These snippets are those cute little boxes that pop up at the top of Google when you ask a question. They often include an image and a blurb of text, a numbered list, a video, reviews, or even product pricing.

By optimizing for “position zero,” you can steal traffic from first-page search results – AKA your competitors. Do this by being strategic with how you format your webpages. Use header tags correctly, and fill your pages with relevant content that’s formatted to rank for the featured snippet spot.

3. Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly

Come on, guys. This one’s a given. It’s 2021 for Pete’s sake. Everybody and their baby brother have a mobile device they use, play with, chew on… And that will only continue increasing as we move forward.

About half of all web traffic worldwide happens on mobile devices. By 2025, those same marketing gods we mentioned earlier predict that nearly three-quarters of internet users will surf the web on their smartphones ONLY.

The world continues to evolve, my friend.

You may be aware of Google’s mobile-first indexing. If not, it means Google looks at the mobile version of your website as more important than the desktop version – as of 2019.

To check out how mobile friendly your webpage is, take Google’s quick test. Just drop your URL into the box and see if there are any issues you need to fix.

4. Snag Local Search Listings

In 2021, local search listings will play an even more significant role than they have in the past because of the rise in zero-click searches (featured snippets).

People use search engines all the time to find local restaurants, businesses, and other nearby locations. Queries like “sushi near me” or “best ice skating in Seattle” will bring up immediate results. Most of those results will allow you to find all your answers without leaving Google at all. You can find contact information directly on the page or directions by opening Google Maps.

The local searches that bring up results directly on the SERP are called a “local pack.” The “local SEO 3-pack” includes the top three local results for a query (you want to nab one of them!).

You can aim for your business to pop up for related searches, including being listed on Google Maps, by following a few steps:

  • Set up and optimize a Google My Business page. Take advantage of all its features to get in front of your target customers and engage with your audience. Google will pull content directly from your account to fill in local search listings.
  • Make sure you have quality backlinks on your website, ideally from local companies.
  • Optimize your web content for search with local keywords, including your title tags, headers, meta descriptions, anchor text, and images.
  • Write location-based content for your website.
  • Add schema (structured data) markup to your website.
  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly!
  • Encourage locals to write dazzling reviews for your business.
  • Engage with followers on social media.
  • Optimize your website for voice search – what a great lead-in.

5. Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri are paving the way for voice technology. Adobe found that 91% of brands are already jumping on the bandwagon to invest in voice.

Since voice search literally involves talking into your phone or computer to ask a question or search for something specific, you can optimize your website for voice using a conversational tone in your text. Incorporate target keywords naturally – the way you would speak about them to a friend or colleague.

6. Hop on the Video Bandwagon (if You Haven’t Yet)

Video is the way modern consumers absorb content most often – even more than blog posts! Over 80% of marketers say videos can help you increase traffic to your website, generate leads, and make sales. BOOM. It’s like having a magic genie in a bottle on your desk.

So hop on your YouTube channel and start publishing optimized content that helps viewers learn more about your brand. You can also add videos directly to your website, so people browsing for businesses like yours will find you on search engines.

7. Write and Publish Long-Form Content

When we say long, we mean loooooong. SEMrush discovered that websites get 3x more traffic, 3.5x more backlinks, and 4x more shares for articles that are over 3,000 words in length.

Articles Over 3,000 Words Get…

    • 3x more traffic
    • 3.5x more backlinks
    • 4x more shares

…than Shorter Articles

Source: SEMrush

Cowabunga! No more throwing together blog articles just to get more content on your website. That will more likely hurt than help you.

Listicles get more shares than other types of blog posts. And longer headlines (14 words and over) get twice as much traffic as shorter ones (10 words or less). It sounds like hard work pays off when it comes to online writing today, eh?

Just make sure you keep up the quality and optimize every article for search. Create each piece around one primary keyword and semantically related secondary keywords. That means writing content your buyer personas are searching for. So be intentional. Be thoughtful. Get into the head of your target consumers, and answer their most pressing questions.

Don’t make your paragraphs too long, either. Break up your long-form content into small, digestible sections so people can quickly scan it. Make sure your content has a clear hierarchy with H2s and H3s dispersed throughout the page. You want people to read your stuff on their phone or tablet. So break it down, buddy.

Also, add quality links, and ask people to share your content or link to your articles from their websites. Make sure all your content is shareable on social media and email.

Phew! That was a mouthful. But these 2021 SEO tips are pure gold, so don’t squander them.

Dishing Out SEO Tips in Seattle Since 2007

That’s us! If you’re overwhelmed by all the 2021 SEO tips we just laid out for you in this piece, it’s okay. You’re entitled to leave the hard stuff to the experts.

We may not be the marketing gods themselves, but we listen to every word they have to say so our beloved clients can reap the rad results.

We live in Seattle, but we’d love to work with you regardless of your location. Hit us up to chat about implementing the latest SEO tips or anything else that has to do with digital marketing. We’d love to get you on a quick discovery call to learn a bit about who you are and what you’re looking for.

Schedule a free consult with us (and get a free quote). We can’t wait to hear from you!