Contemporary SEO Methodology (2021)
In 2021, the landscape of SEO changed significantly as to what makes a site rank higher. With a focus on User Experience (UX) and User Engagement, the algorithm favors how and how long a user interacts with your site over the algorithm itself scanning for keywords. While keywords are important and should be utilized, belaboring your site users with keywords takes away the human aspects of your site in favor of the attempt to boost your site. Putting human-based user experience first is the most important thing with site content, and search engines follow. One of the main ways in which to organically boost SEO is retaining users on your website for longer. The longer an individual is on your website, the more points your site receives in search engines. The best way to do this is to have robust content that tells a story over placing as many keywords as possible. When the user is reading your content fully rather than skimming for the important information, it makes them stay on the page for longer as they’re now engaged.
This doesn’t imply that keywords are useless, they just need to be in the right places. Having keywords in the H1 and H2 (titles and subheaders) is what the algorithm picks up more than in the base text of your website. Making sure your titles and secondary titles contain the keywords you find important is crucial.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is engaging with your own site often. Having a routine schedule of adding content: blog posts, new images, etc.; keeps your site in a higher standing with the algorithm. When your engagement as the site owner starts to dwindle, the site starts to atrophy in the system, causing search engines to think it is dead or dying. Try to update your site in a way that works with your schedule, be it on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis; whatever you can generate comfortably that isn’t a strain on your schedule. Creating and attaching a blog or social media account to your website, (facebook, instagram, linkedin, etc.) is a common method to consistent content generation. The subject of this content follows previous sentiments above: focus on human language over buzzwords, make sure the content is relevant and not just for the sake of pinging the search engine, make sure your relevant images posted have alt text.
The images you post routinely should engage the user; however, having relevant Alt Text attached to the images you are now routinely posting is what makes these images ping the search engine. Alt Text is meta-data that describes the image it is attached to. To improve how your alt text is received by the algorithm, best practices include: A specific description of what the image contains that is under 125 characters, that doesn’t start with ‘picture of’ or ‘image of’, and one that contains keywords but not too many. This text helps the search engine not only understand the purpose of the picture on the page, but informs the engine what the page itself is about, as well as raises the possibility of the page appearing in an image search on the engine. While most images should contain Alt Text, not every image requires it. Decorative images that solely function to make your site more visually appealing, or images that are directly referenced and described in the copy of the page, should not have Alt Text associated with them.
Best practices in SEO are constantly changing as the algorithm recognizes patterns and adapts. Because of this, staying up to date on changes to SEO strategies is important to having your website relevant in your industry, but by using these organic methods and following trends, your website is sure to increase in prominence on search engines.