Happy New Year readers! We're back with a brand new season of Whiteboard Friday episodes for your viewing pleasure.
First off: Moz SEO expert Cyrus Shepard shares his 21 most important tips for successful Google SEO in 2021, including what to prioritize and what to look for in the coming year. He's also included a number of helpful resources in the transcription below for your reference!
Watch and enjoy, and as always, leave your questions and your own suggestions in the comments section.
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Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I am Cyrus Shepard. So glad you can join us today. We're talking about 21 smart Google SEO tips for 2021.
We are preparing for a new year, a new year of SEO strategies. These are 21 handy tips that you can implement that should hopefully move the needle in your organic intercourse.
These are some of the best tips I've gathered over the past year. I will use many of these in my own SEO strategies.
Now we have four categories: Increasing Clicks, Content / On-Page SEO Tips, Technical SEO, and A Little Link Building.
There are 21 of them. These will go quickly. We try to do 10 to 12 minutes so that we don't have to spend a lot of time on each one. But don't get angry. We'll be pointing to the appropriate resources in the transcript below so we can go ahead and explore a little more. Well. Ready to dive in?
Let's start with clicks, especially more clicks from Google, without actually ranking higher because that's one of the great things about SEO. You don't necessarily have to rank higher to get more traffic when you can get more clicks from the rankings you already have. So let's talk about some specific strategies to get more clicks without increasing rankings.
1. Favicon optimization
First the favicon optimization.
Now I'm surprised that more people didn't talk about it in 2020. Google shows favorites in mobile search results and they can affect your click-through rate if they are high contrast, visible or not visible. A good favicon can make a few percentage points of difference, very marginally, but it does make a difference if you can get it right. Aaron Wall, SEO Book, wrote one of the few posts about it.
2. Breadcrumb optimization
As we tweak our favorites, let's take a look at the breadcrumb tweak. Google displays breadcrumbs in both desktop and mobile search results. These can be keyword rich breadcrumbs that can affect your click through rate. Now Google gets its breadcrumbs from many places. This could be your URL, your schema markup, your actual breadcrumbs on the page.
Make sure Google is showing the breadcrumbs you want to show using the keywords you choose. Your best bet is to make sure that there are indeed breadcrumbs with links on your page and that you are using schema markup. Ideally, it would suit your URL structure, but this is not always necessary. So a great breadcrumb optimization audit.
3. Meta descriptions
Let's tweak these meta descriptions. This is so old fashioned SEO. However, a recent study shows that 30% of websites don't even use meta descriptions. This is understandable as another study shows that Google rewrites the meta description 70% of the time, usually because it does not use the keywords the user is searching for. However, if we write a well-designed meta description it can force users to click. This means using keyword rich descriptions that are actually searched for. So when Google uses your meta description it will promote those clicks and act as a marketing copy for your website.
4. Numbers in titles
Along with meta descriptions, titles. I recently shared a study that recently showed that data added to titles increases rankings for a given brand. Numbers are generally one thing I always test in title tags, which usually give pretty consistent results. In particular, dates in title tags are often a winner, January 2021.
Don't be spammy. Don't include it if it doesn't make sense or fake it. However, being able to provide a number often increases the click-through rate for a given query.
How about a boilerplate audit for your title tag? Tip number five. What is boilerplate? Boilerplate are the parts of your title tag that repeat each time.
For example, here at Moz we put "Moz", our brand name, at the end of each title tag. We put "Whiteboard Friday" at the end of every Whiteboard Friday until we tested it and found that we actually got more clicks and higher rankings than we removed. So if you want your titles to be unique and offer unique value. Hence, I would encourage you to experiment with your boilerplate and see if removing it actually increases your ranking.
Sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes you need this boiler plate. But take the test to find out.
6. FAQ and instructions
Tip number six: Scheme, especially FAQ and instructions. Google gave us a great gift when they introduced this to search results. The FAQ scheme offers you many SERP properties. You may not always win it, and you may not always win the how-to scheme, but doing so can definitely result in people clicking on your result or expanding these FAQ schemes.
It is not suitable for every side. You want to make sure that you actually have these FAQs on your pages. However, in appropriate situations, you can increase the number of clicks without increasing your actual Google ranking. Well.
Content / on-page SEO
Let's get to some of the content and tips on the site.
7. Restart the top content
All right, number seven. This year, I want you to look into relaunching your top content.
Content can become out of date after a few years. So let's start content. You have a blog, you start it and you share it on social media. Most people forget about it afterwards. So go back and see your top content from the past two to five years, or even ten years if you want to go back that far, and see what you can start over by updating it and leaving it at the same url . In some cases, you can get 500% to 1,000% gains by restarting some of your old content with some updates.
So carry out a relaunch audit in 2021.
8. Increase the internal link
Number eight: increasing the internal link. Well, many top SEO agencies, when they need to quickly improve ranking for clients, there are generally two things they know are the easiest levers to pull. Firstly, title tags and meta-descriptions, which brings more clicks, but secondly, the internal link increases.
They know you can increase internal links on your website, and there are likely some ways there that you just haven't explored. So let's talk about a few easy ways to do this without too much work.
9. Update old content with new links
Number nine updates your old content with new links. This is a step that people keep skipping on. Whenever you post a new blog post, post new content, make sure to come back and update your old content with these new links.
So, you look for the top keyword you want to rank for and go into the Google Search Console or check tools like Keyword Explorer to see which other pages on your site are ranking for that keyword and then add links add these pages to the new content. I find that when I do that, it keeps lowering the bounce rate. So, you're not just updating your old page with new content and new links and adding relevance. They add links to your new content. So make sure that whenever you post new content, you update your old content with these new links.
10. Remove unnecessary links
Number 10, remove unnecessary links from your content. This is a form of PageRank sculpting. PageRank sculpting is a dirty word in search engine optimization, but it works to a certain extent. It's not nofollow link page sculpting.
Unnecessary links are removed. Do you really need a link to your team page on every page of your website? Do you need a link to your contact form on every page of your website? In many cases not. Sometimes you do. However, if you remove the unnecessary links, you can transfer more link equity over the links that actually count. These links are an important Google ranking signal.
11. Parity check for mobile connections
Number 11, you need to do a parity check on mobile connections. What's this? What is a parity audit for mobile connections? This ensures that the links on your mobile site match the links on your desktop site. Why is that important? Well, in the past few years, Google has moved on to a mobile first index, which means that what they see on your mobile website is your website.
That's what matters. So a lot of websites have a desktop site and then they collapse that to their mobile site and there are no links. You will get rid of header navigation, footer links, and the like. A recent study found that the average desktop page had 61 links and the average mobile page had 54 links. That means there are seven fewer links on mobile pages than on desktop pages across the web, which means a lot of link equity is lost.
So do a study on your own website. Make sure there is parity for mobile links between your desktop and your mobile website so you don't lose that equity.
12. Invest in long content
Number 12: You need to invest in long-form content. Now I'm not saying that the length of the content is a ranking factor. It is not. Short-form content can rank very well. The reason I want you to invest in long-form content is because long-form content will keep earning more links and shares when we investigate.
The value is usually higher in the Google search results. Nothing against short form content. Dear short-form content. However, long-form content generally gives you more money for your SEO ranking potential.
13. Use more headers
If you are making this long form of this content make sure you use number 13: use more headers. I'm talking about H2 and H3 tags.
Break up your content with good, keyword-rich header tags. Why? Well, we have research from A.J. Ghergich, which shows that the more header tags you have, the more snippets will be shown. Websites with 12-13 that look like many header tags are among the most featured snippets of everything they looked at in their last study.
So make sure you split your content with header tags. It adds a bit of contextual relevance. This is a great way to add ranking potential to your content.
14. Use topic clusters
Number 14: Use topic clusters. Don't start just one piece of content. Make sure you are writing about multiple pieces of content on the same topic and linking them together. If you do this and link them together intelligently, you can increase engagement as people read the different articles.
You can add the correct contextual inner links. I have a great case study that I want to show you in the transcript below where someone has done this and got amazing results. So take a look at thematic clusters for 2021.
15. Bring content out of tabs
Finally, bring your content off the tabs. If you have content in accordions or dropdowns, or need to click to view the content, study after study after study shows that tab content has been brought into the body so that users don't have to click in general, performance is better than content which are hidden in tabs.
To be clear, I don't think Google is discriminating against tabbed content. They seem to be able to index and order it well. But I think people generally get into content when they run out of tabs, and maybe some of those signals will help these pages rank a little better.
Well. Just a few technical SEO tips. We go fast.
16. Core web vitals
Number 16: This is the year Core Web Vitals is invested. These are some of the page experience signals that Google will be highlighting in 2021. This will become an actual ranking factor very soon. We're talking about cumulative layer layout, hard to say. In general, it's about the speed of the website and providing a great page experience. Some of these things are very technical and Google has some tools like Lighthouse that you can try to figure them out.
One tip I love to share if you work with WordPress, I highly recommend using Cloudflare, especially their APO for WordPress. This is a great way to speed up your WordPress website and help you get better results on some of these core web vitals. It's very inexpensive, easy to implement, and a great way to speed up your WordPress website.
17. Limit sitemaps to 10,000
Number 17: sitemaps. Sitemaps, you are allowed to have 50,000 URLs per sitemap. This is always a question in any SEO quiz. How many URLs are allowed per sitemap? Instead, if you have a large site and are having problems with indexing, limit your sitemaps to 10,000 URLs. You don't have to use all 50,000.
We have some evidence that using smaller sitemaps by compressing them into a limited set of URLs can improve your navigability of those sitemaps. It's like Google can prioritize these in some way. The data seem to support this. You also get a bit better data from the Google Search Console. You can see what is and is not being indexed.
18. Use dynamic sitemaps
You can also use dynamic sitemaps. Our friend Oliver Mason shows – I will refer to this in the following transcript – that a dynamic sitemap is a sitemap that changes depending on what Google is supposed to crawl. So if you have a large number of URLs that you want Google to crawl, put the high priority URLs in their own special sitemap.
Maybe you limit it to a thousand urls. If Google crawls and detects these, remove them and include additional high priority URLs for Google to discover. Keep the sitemap small and tight, and let Google know these are the ones to watch out for.
Let's briefly talk about link building tips for 2021 because everyone loves link building.
Seriously. Everyone hates link building. Link building is so hard. There are some pros and there are some great people in the industry who love it who can do it great. Personally, I'm not that good at link building, but I can still build a lot of links.
19. Passive Link Acquisition
One way to do this is number 19: passive connection detection. Passive link acquisition means creating content that passively earns links when users discover it in the SERPs.
It means I don't have to turn to people. It means that when they find it, when journalists find it, when bloggers find it, they naturally want to link to it. You do this by creating the types of content journalists, bloggers, and web creators are looking for. These are generally data, instructions, definitions and instructions such as: B. this video. Generally, when you create this type of content, you will get a lot of links when people find it. Passive link building is one of the most sustainable ways to earn links over time.
20. Page-level links overlap
Number 20, page level link overlap. When you need to get in touch, you want to reach the pages that are most likely linked to you. Now we've long known that one of the top SEO tips for link building is to find websites that are pointing to your competitors, but not you.
I like to be a little more specific and find websites that link to at least two of my competitors, but not me. That means they are generally a resource page when they link to multiple competitors but not me, and more likely to link to me when I ask them. We have a great tool here at Moz, Link Explorer, that cuts links at the page level. I think it's the best tool for this particular job in the SEO industry, not because I'm biased because I'm actually using it.
21. Be the last click
Tip number 21 for 2021, be the last click. What do I mean by that? I mean please your users. Once you've earned the first click, you want to get the first click people click, but you also want to be the last click. That is, they found what they were looking for. User satisfaction is the first signal. Your goal in all of this is to please the user and give them what they are looking for.
That's the magic of SEO. They are looking for something and you deliver it to them at the precise moment they are looking for it. If you can be the last click, you are almost guaranteed to move up the leaderboard and get the traffic you deserve.
Well, that's 21 tips. This is your roadmap for 2021. I hope you enjoyed it. Please share this video and share your tips for 2021 in the comments below.
Thanks to all.
Video transcription from Speechpad.com