Last updated May 11, 2021
Whether you’re a newbie in the world of digital marketing or have been building an online presence for your business for a while now, there is one question that will surely come across this year. Should you really focus on SEO in 2021, and are its benefits still worth it for businesses? Let’s see!
What Is SEO (a.k.a. Search Engine Optimization)?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website appear in search results when people are looking for information related to your industry.
For example, if you’re a roofing contractor in Texas, you would want to make it as easy for locals to find you as possible. If your website is well optimized, it will appear at the top of search results when people type in “roof repair near me,” “roofing service TX,” and other related inquiries into the Google search box. SEO describes the process behind making your website appear above those of your competitors. That happens by creating a website that is easy to navigate, has useful and original content, and is free of plagiarism, among other factors.
SEO is not an easy craft to master as it requires specific know-how and understanding of search engine algorithms which is why most people have no idea how ranking at the top of Google searches happens. That’s why many continue to question its relevance in 2021.
9 Reasons Why SEO Is Still Relevant in 2021
#1 It Generates Organic Traffic
The best thing about SEO is that it provides lifetime value to a business. Once you’ve set up your website and have optimized it, it will continue to generate traffic with no added cost for you. Organic traffic is one of the best ways to get substantial ROI 24/7 without costly strategies.
#2 It Has Long-Term Traffic Equity
While you need to make an upfront resource investment in SEO to get your website to rank in Google searches, once you’ve earned your top ranking, and with little maintenance, you can enjoy long-term duration and benefits out of it. When we say little maintenance, however, that also includes keeping track of the so-called Google algorithm updates and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
#3 You Get a Significant Search Share
According to BrightEdge’s internal data report, on average, around 83% of traffic from search engines comes from organic SEO, and only 17% is captured from paid ads (that appear above organic results). This means that even if you decide to run paid ads, you shouldn’t only rely on them to get you noticed and to get you leads. In 2021, SEO takes time to offer results, but that 83% of traffic is worth the time and effort.
#4 Get a Piece of the Channel
Organic SEO is a major channel in digital marketing strategies. Especially since more than half of all traffic to websites originates from organic search (source: BrightEdge Organic Channel report), and it is still the most-traffic generating channel by a wide margin compared to paid search, social media, email marketing, and others.
#5 Good for Brand Elevation
Multiple research shows that people tend to associate the websites that appear at the top in a Google search as the most credible in the respective niche. That may not be the case, as it could just be that this company has focused on boosting its SEO performance. That doesn’t matter, because they will steal the traffic.
A recent study by Backlinko showed that the top three results in a Google search get 42% of the total traffic. Almost half of all people will click on one of the three blue links they see (a.k.a. the top three organic results). Only 11% click on the second page of results. You can imagine how your chances of being found drastically diminish without an SEO strategy in place.
#6 It Boosts Channel Synergy
All marketing channels you’re using need to be united around a single goal: directing clients to your website so they can do business with you. The question of how to get there has just as simple an answer: make sure to solve their problems and answer their questions, so when they ask Google for assistance, they find you.
#7 It Boosts Conversions
Because high rankings in search results signal higher authority to users, they are more likely to convert after finding you on Google instead of after interacting with your ad or social media.
#8 It Helps with Content Distribution
Focusing on having a strong online presence and building an original and shareable blog is crucial to stimulating people to consume your content, share it, tweet it, and serve as your hidden brand ambassadors.
#9 People Use Search Engines to Browse the Internet
On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries each second. That adds up to 3.5 billion searches a day and a whopping 1,2 trillion searches per year. Those are a lot of chances for prospects to find you and engage with your business. That’s why SEO will matter not only in 2021 but beyond as well.
Can You Outsmart the Big Fish?
Let’s face it, every industry and niche has a couple of big players who tend to dominate the share of traffic, following, and customers. Trying to compete with them on the same level can be pretty difficult, especially if you don’t have the same resources as them. And even if you do, that still doesn’t guarantee success.
However, there is a way to outsmart them.
Like Brian Dean of Backlinko says in his latest guide on new topic generation ideas, if you aim to rank for a super generic keyword (like SEO), you likely won’t be able to outrank the top results. The key, he says, is to specify the keyword and possibly aim for long-tail keywords (comprised of 2, 3, or more words). That helps in better targeting user intent.
Let’s look at an example, so you can see the difference. Say you’re in the business of selling landscaping tools online. There is no point in trying to rank for the word “landscaping” because it’s too vague and your prospects likely aren’t using it to find a seller. They’re more likely to ask Google for “landscaping tools for sale,” or even something more specific such as “fertilizer for gardening,” “rake on sale,” and other similar tools.
Place yourself in the shoes of your ideal clients. How would they ask Google to help them find an online seller like you? Write these down. Check the keywords your competitors are ranking for as well (it’s a good idea to check Amazon’s categories – the names of the categories are often good keywords on their own), and you’ll get a better understanding of the type of keywords people are using to find your type of products.
Who Can Help You With Your SEO Strategy
There are three main options:
- You can try and DIY it, provided you will dedicate enough time to learn and practice search engine optimization
- You can hire an SEO expert to join your team full-time
- You can delegate your online presence to an Internet advertising agency like 411 Locals
The first option is primarily suitable for people who already have a certain level of understanding of digital marketing, SEO, web design, and social media management. If those things mean nothing to you and you don’t have the time to handle it on a day-to-day basis, it’s best to let a professional take over.
Hiring someone full-time is a costly decision, so you need to make sure you can afford that in the long run. If you already have a marketing department, that shouldn’t be much of a change for you (you can train an existing employee if someone is interested). The drawback here is that you will be relying on a single person to do everything, which may lead to biased results. There’s also the question of what do you do if that person suddenly decides to quit your business.
By turning to an established digital marketing agency, you can outsource your entire online presence and not just your SEO to proven professionals. Due to economies of scale, it won’t cost you as much as paying a full-time wage, especially with our local SEO package. So, you can get all aspects of your online presence covered by professionals specialized in web design, content, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building, PPC, and more, for the fraction of the price of hiring a single person.
Different options work for different businesses, and it is up to you to decide which one suits you and your budget best.
Is SEO Still Relevant in 2021: the Recap
The answer to the question, “Is SEO still relevant in 2021?” is simple – yes, it’s still relevant. Its relevance will likely continue to be a main factor in the coming years as well.
SEO is relevant because it:
- Generates organic traffic
- Has long-term traffic equity
- Gets you a significant search share
- Gets you a piece of the channel
- Is good for brand elevation
- Boosts channel synergy
- Helps with content distribution
- Will continue to be the main way people find information on the Internet
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