What Every Marketer Should Know About SEO and SEM in 2021

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two fields that are constantly evolving and changing. Since Google’s algorithm, along with other industry trends and tools are constantly changing, it’s every digital marketer’s job to stay on top of the latest and greatest tools, techniques, and strategies.

2021 is no exception. Many trends have developed, and practices that used to be effective are no longer advisable. Any SEO or SEM specialist should spend at least thirty minutes each day reading about the latest changes in the industry and monitoring strategies they’ve enacted to ensure they are still viable.

Now more than ever, when it comes to SEO and SEM, content is king. Many black hat strategies that were perhaps once effective are now actively harmful to SEO efforts. 

For a start, be extremely skeptical of anyone selling inbound links. Knowing that the amount of links pointing to a piece of content is an important factor search engines use when determining a site’s page ranking, many marketers are misled. Online vendors sell links to web properties, but what many marketers don’t realize is that it is the quality, not just the quantity of inbound links that matter.

Many vendors offering this service are running a link farm or a network of websites that they own to link to other sites for a price. Google’s algorithm has become far better at recognizing when this strategy is being used and penalizing these networks of websites by dramatically decreasing their SEO authority. While sites receiving links are sometimes not penalized, when the amount of links generated is sudden and coming from the same places, they can be.

Getting recognized by Google’s algorithm as a website that is being disingenuous while building links can have dramatic and very long-term effects. Put simply, it’s not worth the risk. Building legitimate and quality links, while not easy, is surely possible and far more effective.

A great way to build high-quality, authoritative links is guest posting on other publications. Marketers should conduct research on other domains, and publications to determine which ones have high authority. Tools like Moz’s link explorer can be helpful in conducting an audit of a domain. 

When a site is found to have a good authority score, reach out to the publication through their site or social media to see if they accept guest blogs. Marketers should do their research to know the editorial guidelines of the publication. It can also be helpful to include a portfolio of past relevant articles that are relevant to the target audience of the publication.

Blogs and digital magazines are always looking for quality content. By assuring them that you can provide content that will be helpful to their audience, you are solving that problem for them. 

When guest posting, do your research beforehand. Perform the keyword research and trend analysis you need to in order to be sure that the guest post with enhancing the SEO of your target web property. 

Don’t spam keywords into any content you write as a guest post. Be sure that it’s easy and helpful to read for humans as well as search engines. 

Aside from generating inbound links, a key part of any SEO or SEM strategy must include proper internal linking practices. For any owned media you or your brand manage, make sure that relevant articles are linked to one another. Be mindful of how the link appears, and which words are hyperlinked.

Generating new inbound links can be time-consuming, but optimizing internal links is often quick and easy. Over time, as the authority, some of your owned media increases, the content that it’s linked with will as well. 

As this article by Entrepreneur Mag explains, be natural when working internal links into a site. Don’t spam links. Instead, simply include links to other pages of the site that could be helpful to the reader.

Another important practice is to make sure that your website is loading quickly and efficiently. Moreover, the site should be optimized for mobile devices. According to Digital Authority, Google is taking a mobile-first approach when indexing websites today.

Be sure that the design of your site is responsive, and avoid using any plugins that could negatively impact mobile or browser compatibility. 

Both in SEO and SEM strategies, marketers should rigorously research and analyze which long-tail keywords they are targeting. Researching long-tail keywords can give marketers more opportunities to find keywords and queries they can win results for at a lower cost.

According to Harvard Business Review, marketers must balance content development efforts that are helpful to the brand, with content that is helpful to readers. This is because minimizing bounce rates is an important part of improving the results of SEO and SEM efforts. Genuinely helpful and compelling content will help to keep readers from quickly bouncing from important web pages.

Google also likes content that is long and in-depth. Marketers should consider creating optimized content that is 1000 to 2000 words that do a deep dive into a topic that the target audience is searching for. Any piece of content, no matter how long, should be optimized to include the proper keywords, schema, and meta tags to be easy to read for search engines.

A key part of modern SEM strategy is to make use of remarketing. Remarketing allows marketers to target ads at users who have already visited a web page. Remarketing or retargeting is a great way to turn blog readers into leads for a business.  Be sure to check out options like seo company west palm beach as well.

Don’t forget that the time spent on public relations can also help to benefit SEO and SEM efforts. Having authoritative publications write about a company and include links to its site can greatly enhance the site’s search ranking. Distributing press releases, and pitching reporters newsworthy stories is a great way to generate content and inbound links to a company site.

SEO and SEM are both things that take time and effort to execute. Consider getting some of that work off of your plate. A talented marketer knows how to delegate. Use recruiting tools to hire talent that understands these nuances and won’t undermine marketing goals.

Finally, you can also consider retaining an SEO or SEM agency. Just make sure that if you pay agency prices, you are getting the service you deserve. Check out this list of companies if you’re looking for reputable agencies that will give you your money’s worth.