#RoadTo2021: The Role of SEO in a Digital Marketing Plan in 2021 – Social Samosa

Bottle Openers Digital Solutions’ Sachin Kumar explains the significance of SEO in digital marketing for brands to strengthen brand positioning and push for sales in 2021.

With 2020 being the year of dizzying changes and challenges, there’s a lot that the A&M industry has had to withstand in terms of accelerated evolution. Every quarter of 2020 felt like a year in itself, and the year as a whole felt like an era gone by.

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Following the initial lull in consumer interest and the consequent change in purchase behaviour, things gradually began to pick up in the second half of 2020, with competition growing fierce and the importance of a digital presence becoming more apparent than ever before.

E-commerce has seen a significant rise in patronage across categories. From groceries, gourmet products, and hygiene essentials to personal care and beauty products – online shopping has understandably seen a positive uptick. 

Through all the change and dynamism, one aspect of digital marketing that really deserves its due for staying constant is SEO. Search Engine Optimization has, of course, always been an integral part of a healthy digital presence, so here’s a look at some major aspects of SEO that you absolutely must factor into your 2021 digital marketing plan.

SEO for Awareness Among the Relevant TG & to Push Sales in 2021

Consumers show more trust in organic search results shown by Google. So, the right SEO strategy can help increase awareness of relevant searches, especially in the case of longtail keywords. In my experience, longtail keywords can get 4-6% higher CTR than pure generic searches.

Measuring brand awareness is also easy with SEO – The increment in backlinks, organic traffic, direct traffic all lead to an increase in TOM (top of the mind awareness). These factors should be carefully considered and going forward, SEO must be used not just to improve the ranking of keywords but also for sales. 

Customer Retention and Lifetime Value

The truth is, SEO is no longer merely about keywords and keyword research. The use of SEO is already beginning to go beyond this realm into a space where first-party user data (data collected directly from consumers in various ways) is more important and enables more relevant information for content creators and strategists. 

It can be used effectively to provide insights that keep customers coming back to your brand. How-To articles, effective FAQ sections, tutorials, acutely fine-tuned Help sections – the presence of such content can significantly help your brand remain trustworthy, reliable, and worth spending on.

There is no longer space for generic content on your products and services. People want their specific questions answered, rather than having to painstakingly sift through superficial information to get to the crux of what you provide.

SERP Optimization and Knowledge Graphs

A good way to know the intent of the consumer is through effective knowledge graphs and consistently keeping a tab on your brand’s score in the knowledge graph API. This is key to improving your brand SERP and overall digital presence simply because it helps you understand what exactly searchers want to know about your brand, your products, and your services.

This makes it easier for you to create effective content because you can ensure that the information most in demand appears easily, while also determining the associations and contexts in which your brand is searched.  

Further, being proactive on Google My Business, optimising the content on all mediums of presence including the brand website, YouTube page and social media pages is also important – These add to your brand SERP optimization. In fact, social shares can boost your overall SEO ranking by about 22% according to a HootSuite study!

V is for Voice and Video

Voice Assistants such as Siri and Alexa are increasingly becoming the normal helping hand when it comes to Search. This AI advancement is set to impact search queries because voice search keywords tend to greatly differ from regular ones. It’s best to focus on longer terms, natural and conversational phrases and question-type queries as these are most abundant in voice search.

Another rapidly advancing field is that of video content. Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular, with 63% of businesses now using video content. Here, optimization is mainly important in areas like the channel name, video title and video description. Using the appropriate keywords in these sections can help you reach the TG you intend to.

In a nutshell, while keyword research and analysis will continue to be important, it is also imperative to look beyond every little change in the A&M and digital realm, to re-examine SEO and what it can do in 2021.

The number of fresh perspectives and wide-open opportunities that SEO throws up every now and then can be quite a revelation! Consider the user above all else, not just in content creation itself but also in terms of UI/UX design, mobile optimization, and other important aspects of the content consumption journey. 

This piece has been authored by Sachin Kumar, Founder, Bottle Openers Digital Solutions.

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