It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the plethora of articles, blogs, and newsletters crowding your screens, filling your inbox with the latest in SEO search terms. 

Conversion rate, core web vitals, featured snippets…but what does it all mean? 

It may seem like there’s a lot to learn, but when broken down into easy to understand snippets, the foundations of SEO become easy to understand. It is from here that you can start building your digital marketing empire!

What SEO terms are important to know in 2021? 

Core Web Vitals 

Core web vitals are defined by Google as a set of metrics that measure your site’s speed, responsiveness and visual stability. There are three units that Google takes into consideration: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures how long it takes for your page’s main content to load, also known as your page speed. The optimal page speed is 2.5 seconds or faster. 
  • First Input Delay (FID): Measures page responsiveness or the time it takes for a page to become interactive. So when a user clicks a link, or taps a button, how long it takes your site to respond to that command. The optimal FID is 100ms.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This is the unexpected shift of webpage elements while the page is still loading. The elements that usually can cause a shift are things like text, images, videos, contact forms, buttons. The optimal CLS is less than .1. 

Google puts a huge amount of emphasis on the user experience. Your core web vitals is a combination of the units above, which Google uses to further rank your webpage. 

 Passage Ranking

Google is now pulling information from web pages and ranking passages or sections of your blogs and articles for specific keywords and phrases to provide users with information. Say for example, you are a hair salon who’s written an article about the Dyson blow dryer. You will now begin to rank for that keyword, and Google can pull context from actual passages and not just pages.

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are the holy grail of Google search results. A feature snippet is when you appear at the very top of the SERP page in a rectangular box. Like this: 

This should be at the top of the goal list for every marketer in 2021. 

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are questions or phrases made of 3-5 words that are used to target a specific demographic online. These keywords provide a better opportunity to attract more high-quality traffic to your site because they are less competitive than generic keywords. Over 70% of questions asked online use long-tail keywords. 

Learn Google’s E-A-T Principal

Google ranks more expert, authoritative, and trustworthy sites higher online. If your website lacks expertise, authority or trustworthiness, Google will rate your website low. Some examples of low rating content, provided by Google is: 

  • The creator does not have adequate expertise on the topic EG: a tax form video made by someone with no clear expertise in tax preparation 
  • The website is not an authoritative source for the topic on the page EG: tax information on a cooking page
  • The webpage is not trustworthy EG: a shopping checkout page that has an insecure connection 

There are small steps you can take to build your brand’s authority, trustworthiness and reputation online. 

Fresh Content

Fresh content is engaging, interesting and current. If you find yourself creating a lot of content then a good way to keep your content fresh is to update old content frequently. This can help encourage engagement rates, and lower bounce rates. This includes updating internal links, and updating outdated content. 

User Experience

User experience is a series of measurements that Google uses in order to determine whether or not the user will enjoy browsing your website. With every new algorithm update, Google becomes more heavily focused on improving the user experience. What does that mean? It means that Google is now focused on providing users with a quick, seamless, and smooth user experience. On top of Core Web Vitals (see above) Google also takes into account bounce-rate, dwell time, and click-through rate. Your goal is to have users select your site in the SERPs, explore some pages and spend at least 3 minutes on your webpage. 

SEO Enhanced Images 

Images are the life of content. A good image has the power to engage users and hold their attention. Aside from their esthetic value, images should also bring clarity to your content. To ensure they are SEO optimized you need to consider the technical aspects of them living on your website. 

  • Ensure your images are the correct size for web 
  • Ensure they do not slow down loading times 
  • Remember to always add alt-text 

SEO is a series of small moving parts that is being updated regularly. That is why it is important to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you are incorporating the many methods into your SEO strategy. 

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