2021 is finally here! As the world breathes a collective sigh of relief that 2020 is over, it’s time to consider how the new year will affect SEO trends. This goes beyond keywords. Just as search trends have changed, technical SEO in 2021 will likely look different than it did in 2020. Fortunately, strategies for improvement haven’t changed much.
Why is Technical SEO So Important?
Keywords are the most visible part of SEO, but proper technical SEO is what allows keyword ranking to happen in the first place. This strategy ensures your website is properly structured to make crawling and indexing as easy as possible for search engines. If your website’s technical side is flawed, your overall strategy will fall apart. Here are several of the most important technical SEO steps to keep in mind this year:
- Optimize your website for mobile users
- Watch your site speed
- Find & resolve crawl errors
- Watch Google Analytics
- Switch to HTTPS
- Create an XML sitemap
- Focus on H1 tags
- Look over your metadata
1) Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users
An increasing number of users prefer the convenience of searching for something on their mobile device rather than booting up their laptop. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device, not only will users leave to find one that does, but your ranking will also struggle. Google primarily uses your mobile site for ranking now. The more buggy your mobile site is, the lower you’ll rank.
2) Watch Your Site Speed
Websites that take ages to load frustrate everybody. Is your website one of them? A slow-loading website will turn customers off from you. Increase your appeal by creating a website that loads up fast and looks great when it does.
3) Find & Resolve Crawl Errors
Crawl errors most commonly manifest as 404 pages on your website. If you haven’t properly redirected search engine crawlers to other pages after information on a particular page has been removed or deleted, the user will just see an error message. And for some, this is a dealbreaker since they weren’t given the data they were implicitly promised. Don’t direct users to error pages! Instead, set up 301 redirects to send your user to a new page with the information they want.
4) Watch Google Analytics
Anyone familiar with technical SEO knows all about Google Analytics. And moving forward, this tool should be your best resource for determining user activity. Google Analytics provides metrics like bounce rate, page views, session length, and much more–all invaluable information to understand how your users behave. Use this tool to determine what your users want to see and how to improve your site accordingly.
5) Switch to HTTPS
If your website’s URL still begins with HTTP, it’s high time to switch to HTTPS. This adds an additional layer of encryption and security to keep users’ data safe. Unsurprisingly, this is particularly important for a website that handles transactions. Make the switch and watch your Google ranking improve!
6) Create an XML Sitemap
An XML (extensible markup language) sitemap is a text file designed only for search engine crawlers to read. This file lists every critical page and file on your website. While crawlers can certainly index your website as-is, having a sitemap streamlines the process significantly. XML sitemaps are particularly important for websites with a large number of pages or a long list of important media files.
7) Focus on H1 Tags
An H1 tag is the title or header on a particular webpage that both summarizes and describes the following content. In your website’s source code, this title is enclosed in H1 tags that indicate its important to search engine crawlers. Titles are thus highly visible both to your audience and to indexing bots–make the most of them! Use keywords in your titles where you can, keep them short and simple, make sure they accurately reflect the page’s content, and only include one title per webpage.
8) Look Over Your Metadata
Metadata is the man-behind-the-curtain on your website. While it’s not visible to users, search engine crawlers can find the data embedded in your site and analyze it. Your title, tags, keywords, and more are visible here. Make sure your website’s metadata contains all the information crawlers will be looking for, and in the correct format for them to analyze it and rank you accordingly.
Keep Your Website Up & Running
SEO is an ever-evolving field, and as the new year begins, we can expect plenty of changes. But we can be ready. Keep up with trends and optimize your technical SEO for 2021 to enjoy long-term success!
Contact us to learn more about how we can help improve your technical SEO this year.