Is SEO worth it for a small business?

Well, let’s answer that.

It should go without saying that search engine marketing trends changed dramatically during the pandemic.

For one, search traffic exploded across the internet. SEMRush combed through the data to understand the latest search trends and discover where web traffic is heading in the future. Their conclusion is as follows: traffic significantly decreased after the worst of the pandemic, and is slowly, but gradually, declining. 

However, search engine traffic is higher on average than it was pre-COVID 19.  Additionally, the U.S. internet saw a 34% increase in new domains through the pandemic. Even with all of this growth, typical user behavior on each site didn’t change. In fact, the time spent on a website across the majority of industries was equally comparable to years before. 

In short; people used the internet the same way, but they used it much more often during the stay-at-home orders. Below, we outlined the 5 search engine marketing trends that are here to stay—and how you can use them to optimize your own marketing. 

Keyword Usage is Changing

Previously, it was thought that keywords with long tails would grow in popularity, especially with the addition of voice-to-text searches. 

However, Google is incredibly good at its job, so it only takes a couple of focused search words to give the user what they’re looking for. According to current data, 67% of keywords that are searched for are between 3-5 words. 

Users are getting more concise in their search inquiries, which means keyphrases beyond 5 words are losing steam SEO-wise. Even more so, “lazy searches” of 1-2 keywords are becoming increasingly popular. Likewise, there is a huge drop-off in search volume for keywords at 10 words and above.

Google Rankings are Getting More Volatile: However, There is a Bright Side

In 2021, web page rankings had 57% more volatile days compared to 2020. In Google’s world, “volatility” is a measure of how unstable webpage rankings are in a search engine’s results page (SERP). High volatility relates to Google search algorithm updates, site migration issues, or even website hacking. 

Regardless, higher volatility means it’s going to be harder to rank consistently in search results. However, there is a bright sideyou have more opportunities to develop strategies that maximize your website’s potential to reach your target audiences. It’s essential to keep in mind as the long-term goal, and focus less on the day-to-day rankings.

Google is heading towards a future where core updates are more frequent, but less impactful. They’ve become more responsive and innovative through their prioritized processes. Luckily, soon enough, one core update will no longer have such a devastating impact on a business’s rankings. 

On the other hand, the decreased period between roll-outs means more peaks and troughs in search rankings than we’re used to. Knowing this search engine marketing trend is the new normal should persuade you and your business to focus on your website’s user experience now more than ever.

SERP Features are Seeing Variance in Popularity

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it both universally accessible and useful. The past couple of years has shown us some winners and losers in SERP importance. Below, you can find the winners and losers for 2021:

  • Winners: People Also Ask (PAA), Instant Answers, FAQ, Images, and Video
  • Losers: Ads, Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panel, and Image Pack

This emphasizes Google’s mission to get the user information as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

*Keep in mind that SERP varies across devices as well. For example, video results are much more popular on mobile than on desktop.

The Rise of Low Code

Low code, or the visualization of software development, has made it easier than ever to reach the end of the website development process. In other words; just about anybody can create and launch a website with the tools offered today. This is why in the SEO industry we’ve seen the number of domains rapidly grow in the past few years. 

Even though there are many more domains competing for search ranking, the top performers are still holding onto their place on the SERPs. 

Ultimately, better user experience and SEO optimization are still gatekeepers to new websites getting a first-page spot organically.

Page Speed Can Affect Your Ranking: Learn How to be Fast

As stated above, Google is not only focused on a website’s content, but the speed in which a user can access the content. A website’s Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded. 

A fast LCP is important, because it gives the user confidence that the page is useful. Especially so when trying to make your website mobile friendly. Always monitor your LCP, because it can decrease your bounce rates and increase your conversions.

Your next question might be: how can I lower the time on my LCP? Check these problem areas to make sure you’re not getting bottlenecked:

  • Image Optimization
  • CSS and JavaScript Optimization
  • Faster Server Response Time
  • Use preloading, lazy loading, and loading order

Is SEO Worth it For a Small Business?

We know; we just handed you information overload on a silver platter. While your website is paramount to your business’ success in today’s world, you don’t have to do it alone.

At RED66, our professionals focus on what we do best, so you can continue doing what you do best. Whether it’s optimizing an existing website for SEO and user experience, or starting from scratch, we can help with it all.

Need help keeping up with the latest trends in marketing? Reach out today and let our experienced team help you reach your goals.