It’s a good time to look back and reflect as you also look forward as to what to keep doing and what to stop doing in 2021. Here are the upcoming trends to consider in your New Year’s Digital Marketing Resolutions.

1.  Prepare for mobile-first indexing

Mobile-first indexing is Google’s response to the fact that more people search the web on mobile devices than on desktop ones. Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing should be complete by March 2021.

Google’s website rankings were historically based on desktop content. In 2016, Google started switching to mobile-first indexing with a goal to make a comprehensive switch by September 2020. The public health crisis delayed the transition but didn’t stop it.

If your mobile website lacks the same rich, robust content as your desktop version, you may be in trouble. Mobile-first indexing will be the standard into the future.

2.  Improve page speed

Google will start using the overall user/page experience as a ranking factor in 2021. Page speed is important from both a user and SEO perspective. The faster your page loads, especially on mobile devices, the more Google likes your site.

If the page is seen as having a poor experience, Google may not rank it as high as it does now.  Page speed is just one factor Google is using to assess your site for SEO ranking, but it is a big part.

3.  Fix unnatural or “toxic” backlinks

Unnatural backlinks (also called toxic backlinks) are bad links purchased or built by spammers that can easily target your website without warning. Search engines like Google have cracked down on web spam, a significant segment being link spam. Unfortunately, this snags unsuspecting webmasters who inadvertently violate Google’s terms of service.

All unnatural backlinks, regardless of intention, are considered webspam and subject to penalty. These range from algorithmic demotion to neutralize specific elements on a page, to manual actions to completely remove a domain from search results.

To remove toxic backlinks, follow our backlink audit primer.

4.  Audit your drip emails (again)

If you audited your drip emails at the start of the pandemic, now is a good time to make sure your messaging is still on target. Drip emails are the tried-and-true channel for helping move a prospect down the customer journey or take an action toward conversion. If they are in the “set-them-and-forget-them” variety, take another look.

5.  Write for humans and search engines

SEO (search engine optimization) copy is a specialized form of writing that targets search engines. And it has to become an integral part of your marketing strategy. But it doesn’t replace good writing. They go hand in hand.

Think of SEO copy as the special seasoning that enhances the main course. If you sprinkle those specific words throughout your copy on your website, it helps drive traffic organically to your site through Google or other search engines.

6.  Pair content marketing and paid digital marketing

There’s a reason that businesses continue to turn to content marketing and paid digital marketing either separately or together – they work. Together, they are an effective strategy.  Paid digital marketing helps with online impressions that help your prospective customers know you exist. Content marketing keeps them coming back.

7.  New from Google Analytics

Finally, there has been a sea change in Google Analytics, the industry standard for SEO and website measurement. The latest iteration, called Google Analytics 4, comes with new properties and has a very different look and feel from the p version, Universal Analytics.

Make it a great 2021!

Whatever your resolutions, set your goals and build your 2021 plan to meet them. Put in the resources and diligence you need to make your digital marketing all it should be. Reach out to us with any questions. Happy New Year and best wishes for good health, happiness and success.