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  • Simone McNichols-Thomas

Develop a Winning SEO Strategy in 2021

Updated: Sep 30



Confused about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? It can look like there’s a lot to it, but really it’s about getting the basics right - planning your technical SEO, and then your content SEO.


Developing your SEO strategy for 2021 can help you become more visible in rankings, build greater trustworthiness with your audience, and establish authority and credibility.


Josh Mendelowitz works as an SEO Marketing Manager at Refinitiv where he leads the in-house SEO team. Refinitiv, formerly the Financial and Risk business of Thomson Reuters, is a leading global financial data provider worth over $6 billion.


During our ‘In This Together’ live broadcast, Josh shares his expertise on how to ensure SEO success through content creation and technical metrics.


Think you know SEO?


A lot of people's understanding of SEO can actually be outdated. It’s not just about manipulating search results to rank higher on Google.

It’s about finding your customers needs and centering your digital strategy around enabling potential customers to discover how you solve those needs.



Technical SEO


Can Google actually find your site? It’s a critical first step, and there’s a few things to look at:


Site speed


Stay focused on site speed - make sure it performs really quickly. Whether it’s analytics, tags, videos - these can all affect the performance of your site.

A millisecond can make a 9% difference in your conversion rate!


Crawling and Indexing


Make sure what you’re creating is crawable and indexable. Also, minimize critical errors. Lastly, ensure you don’t accidentally noindex your content, for example.

For this technical piece, validate it by bringing in your SEO teams early. Make sure they do those checks across your website early on.

Once you’re happy your site is performing well, you can move onto the content.


SEO content strategy


For your content strategy, it’s important to focus on dedicated pages targeting top keywords aligned to the user journey.


Dominate your brand terms by using Google My Business and claim Knowledge Search Panels in order to influence the search results and make them visually appealing.


Brand content author pages and product reviews can help your brand build visibility by establishing expertise, authority and trust.


Focus on generic terms that tie closely to your USP, and answer user’s queries in order to gain a featured snippet - it answers a question directly as a dropdown on Google.


Build your entire site information architecture around your SEO research, making sure there is a semantic relationship between content.


Align all of this to the user journey and the sales funnel. Use long tail keywords for the top of funnel content, and use more specific keywords for the bottom of funnel.


Content SEO


The first step here is creating linkable content. Think about what high-value content you have, and make it relevant and easy to digest.


Link worthy content


There’s essentially two types of content that you can create:

  • Reactive content (such as blogs, news articles, video streams etc)

  • Evergreen content (such as whitepapers, how to guides, expert talks)

However, both of these need to be visually striking, interesting, have a strong UX design in mind, and utilise thought leadership to make it unique and engaging.


Keyword research is still important


It’s important to know what people are searching for so you can capitalise on these trends and make content people want to engage with. Some free tools include AnswerThePublic, Google Search Console, and Keyword Planner.

Understanding the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is super valuable, because you can look up any search terms and analyse what results Google pulls in.

There are also hundreds of paid SEO tools, such as Semrush, Ahrefs and Moz. If you’re wanting to be serious about your SEO strategy, it’s worth investing in these.


Identifying primary keywords

  • Consider long tail keywords: Long tail keywords have lower search volume but are more targeted for SEO, leading to better engagement and conversions.

  • Make sure it matches user intent: Ensure it aligns to your audience’s needs rather than the most searched for keywords. It’s easy to get caught up in internal language, so focus on what the user wants.

  • It has to work as a page title: Remember, you’re using it for content, so it has to make sense!

Page titles and descriptions


Your page title is one of the key SEO ranking factors. Test different titles to maximise CTR (Click Through Rates), and ensure it has your primary keyword for content.

Having a meta description is not necessary for SEO, but it is vital in order to have a good CTR.


Content creation


It’s wise to start with a good structure for a page of content.

  • Plan your headings (H1, H2) around other keywords of interest, and utilise an SEO tool to find other related keywords that are relevant to that topic.

  • Ensure paragraphs are easy to read - Google looks for 2-5 sentences and around 150 words as best practice.

  • The scores on tools such as Yoast (SEO plugin for Wordpress) are just a rough guide, so don’t be too concerned if you have a low score.

  • Making your content look great is important - think images, video and graphs.

  • Have a strong CTA (Call to Action) at the bottom of every page.


Linking and Backlinks


  • Don’t forget internal links to raise your SEO - use a page that gets a lot of traffic.

  • Always make sure you’re linking down the sales funnel - so from a blog post to a product.

  • The best links are natural links, so outreach. Generate links to your content by targeting influencers and other blogs. Sites such as Buzzsumo can also help with trending topics.

  • Utilise best practice and create link ‘cheat sheets’ internally within your business -make sure they link the right keywords, so you have the best possible link going out.

  • Adding tracking links (UTM parameter) shouldn’t affect your SEO.


More SEO resources


Utilise sites like Google, Moz, or Semrush if you’ve got minimal budget. Spend some time on upskilling yourself by accessing their wide range of resources, and you’ll be ready for 2021 in no time!


Thank you to Josh for his insightful tips. Find out more about Refinitive


Want to learn more about how to smash your SEO strategy? Sales Impact Academy has a 4 week course, ‘Demand Generation’ with a class on ‘SEO - The Basics’. We are also looking to develop more marketing courses in the future so watch this space. Join us!



Our In This Together broadcasts bring together leaders from across industries and disciplines to provide insights and learnings on the hottest industry topics. Catch up on what you missed like Mark Roberge and Christopher Lochhead, by visiting our YouTube channels.


Learn more about becoming a member of Sales Impact Academy here.


Learn more about our latest Masters Series below



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