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5 Important Ranking Factors for 2021 You Should Know

No matter the industry and niche you operate in, ranking high on Google is not only important but necessary if you are to grow your company online and offline. That’s right, ensuring a high position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is one of the best ways to drive customers to your physical store as well, simply because modern customers make sure to research companies online before paying you a visit. Couple that with the fact that building your online visibility is the best way to improve online lead generation and conversions, and you can understand why investing in SEO is so important.

In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic when people are increasingly shopping online, investing in SEO is paramount to success. With that in mind, now that 2020 is drawing to a close, the time has come to take a look at the most important ranking factors for 2021 that you should implement into your SEO strategy. Here’s what you should know. 

Is your website secure enough?

The online world is becoming a more nefarious place by the day, and Google is doing everything it can to protect the digital audience. In 2021 and beyond, one of the more important ranking factors that business leaders need to be aware of is, therefore, website security. If your website is handling sensitive user and customer information, then you need to ensure stellar cybersecurity to keep your customers safe but also safeguard your standing in the results pages.

To achieve this, you should get an SSL certificate. The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate tells Google that your website boasts top-notch security and it allows the search engine to prioritize your website in the results pages while actually penalizing the sites that don’t use SSL.  

Leveraging GMB to rank high in local searches

GMB (Google My Business) has drastically gained in relevance in recent years as one of the most important ranking factors in the local search results. Basically, Google My Business is a platform that displays all the information about your company to the user, and the information within tells Google everything it needs to know about your business – allowing the search engine to rank you accordingly in the right search results.

If you want to rank higher in local search in 2021 and the years to come, then you absolutely have to create and manage a Google My Business page. Make sure to verify that you own the business on the platform to rank higher and optimize your GMB page around the holidays to enhance user experience and manage expectations. If anything about your business has changed during the pandemic but Google doesn’t know about it, it can negatively impact your ranking. 

Content marketing with a twist for top-notch SEO

You can rest assured that content marketing will remain one of the most important elements of a winning SEO strategy in 2021 and beyond, but that’s not all there is to it. If you analyze previous content marketing trends, you will see that long-form content has been ruling strongly in the past couple of yours and it’s safe to assume that this trend will prevail in the future, but you will need to optimize your content strategy for visual search as well in 2021.

Now that people are using visual search as well as voice search to find products and services, it is important to optimize all of your content with the right keywords, visuals, and the right copy to make it more relevant to the modern online audience. Be sure to start optimizing and repurposing content for these trends right now in order to get a head start in 2021.  

Focus heavily on Core Web Vitals

Google will roll out its Core Web Vitals metrics in the early months of 2021, so nobody can blame you for not knowing about it yet. The Core Web Vitals include a variety of customer-focused metrics that define the user experience of a website and help Google rank sites based on the value they provide to the online user.

These metrics will include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint. Determines how long it takes for content to load.
  • First Input Delay. Measures how long it takes for the site to process an interaction.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift. Measures how often users experience unexpected layout shifts that lead to poor UX.

Making your site mobile-friendly to rank higher

Lastly, if you haven’t optimized your website for seamless mobile browsing, make sure to do it before the end of 2020. Google is putting a higher emphasis on mobile-enabled websites than ever before, which means that using AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will become the norm. 

You have to make sure that your website can load quickly and properly on all screen sizes, and that its easy to browse through on mobile devices in order to rank higher, because Google is determined to make content accessible to all its users.

Wrapping up

As 2020 draws to a close, you need to analyze your SEO strategy and figure out how best to rank your website higher in the following year. Using these tactics to your advantage, you can propel your website up the SERPs in 2021 and ensure stellar brand visibility in the saturated online world.

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