How to rank on Google is the top question for digital marketers because shoppers go there first to discover brands. Canadians are among hundreds of millions of Google users finding, researching, and purchasing products every day.
Marketing managers know how important search engine optimization (SEO) is to making websites easy to discover. The challenge is keeping up with Google’s always changing search ranking rules. If you’re not up to date, your search campaign will not be effective.
How Google SEO rankings will change in 2021
Why is Google always tweaking its search ranking algorithm? To make a “better web.” In 2021, this means improving the page experience for users. Google Search now determines ranking results by incorporating criteria such as how fast pages load, visual stability and whether pages are optimized for mobile. These metrics are part of Google’s Core Web Vitals initiative and apply to all web pages across all Google tools.
To help site owners diagnose and fix user experience problems, Google has revamped its top developer tools to measure Web Vitals information. This includes Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights, Chrome DevTools, Search Console, web.dev’s measure tool, the Web Vitals Chrome extension and Chrome UX Report. Google Search Console provides a dedicated Core Web Vitals report that will help you quickly spot opportunities to improve.
These changes help site owners identify ways to improve by giving them a more comprehensive view of users’ web experiences.
Google is incorporating these metrics into its ranking criteria for the Top Stories searches on mobile. It is also eliminating the Accelerated Mobile Pages requirement to be eligible for Top Stories. This is a big deal because it means any news web page can become a Top Story.
Tip: A good way to improve your rank is to make sure your website is easy to navigate and quick to load and stabilize.
Use the latest SEO strategies to rank on Google
Understand searcher intent
As part of the push to improve user experience, Google is more focused than ever on user intent. When it comes to SEO, this means creating expert advice users want and need. This type of content will rank higher than posts and articles that just try to sell a product or service.
Use keyword search tools and take a close look at the search terms used to find your content. Also note the words customers use while on your site. Once you know what your user is looking for, provide that content in the way they want to receive it. Find out if your target customer prefers articles, videos or podcasts.
Tip: Consider including interactive content, such as infographics, polls and surveys.
Keyword research will only get you so far. Differentiate yourself from competitors by digging into the raw data created when users visit your site. Respond to customers on your social media accounts. Use mobile apps. These strategies give you a better understanding of what your target buyers are looking for and how they’re finding it.
Use this information to create the value-added content customers want. It will boost your Google ranking in the process.
The work continues after you acquire customers. Make sure you answer their questions and give them good self-serve options online.
Tip: Use Google Search Console keyword data with common question modifiers to address your customers’ most common questions and concerns. Create a FAQ page and provide concise, accurate responses. Remember, Google wants to see you’re providing the best customer experience possible.
Improve your brand’s search profile
Make sure Google understands and has a good impression of your brand. This will help your presence on Google’s Knowledge Graph. Google uses this knowledge to enhance its search engine results and provide users with information about you. This information appears in a box next to search results that include your web pages.
To improve your standing on the knowledge graph, make sure the information Google has about you is complete and accurate. Set up a Google My Business profile.
Tip: Websites with HTTPS certificates rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Prioritize customer experience
Stay visible and competitive by making sure your business website is fast, responsive, easy to navigate, secure and optimized for mobile. Google’s roll out of Core Web Vitals is all about making the customer experience seamless and supportive.
Make sure Google can access your best content from anywhere and that your site offers a better user experience than your competitors. Incorporate page experience into your SEO process and ensure your content performs well on mobile devices.
Tip: Avoid pop-ups and any extraneous content that will negatively impact the customer experience.
Stay ahead of competitors by:
- Automating routine tasks and processes.
- Standardizing procedures for tasks that can’t be automated. (This will save time and improve consistency.)
- Monitoring rankings of critical keywords, URL changes and page content changes.
- Making sure your site is not competing with itself by having similar posts with identical key terms that will rank in the same search query in Google.
These tips and strategies that will help you rank on Google this year. If there’s one thing you can count on, more changes are in the works. Keeping up with all the digital and technical changes is critical to creating an effective search campaign. Partnering with external experts will help you stay up to date and drive strong results.