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SEO in 2021, what can you expect?

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The SEO landscape is ever-changing and probably the most important change to happen in 2021 will be the way SEO agencies go about their backlinking.

Whilst backlinking has been around for years and is considered probably one of the most important components of any SEO campaign, we feel that in the coming 12 months, Google will be placing a lot more emphasis on the quality of these links and the speed at which they are applied.

Updated April 22, 2021

In terms of link quality, this has always been a huge ranking factor and in 2021 you are going to need it. Long gone are the days of buying cheap, low-value links. These will have absolutely no benefit for your Google rankings and if you practice and apply this technique long enough, they will in fact start to harm your rankings. Google is now far too sophisticated and can easily detect fraudulent link building activity.

When I say fraudulent I mean activity that is designed to purely manipulate your page rank via link acquisition, Whilst this is what will rank a site, Google will only acknowledge links that are relevant to your business and if they are from a credible source. So if in the next year whilst you are shopping around to find the best SEO agency make sure they don’t base their entire sales pitch to you on:

  • the number of links they tell you they will get for you every month
  • cheap campaigns where quality link acquisition is almost impossible.

As always, for any SEO agency, the challenge has always been to find these links and  2021 will not prove any easier. In fact, Google is going to make it a hell of a lot tougher to get to page 1 unless these links are seriously good. When I mean good I mean really top-notch. Anything less will not suffice and you can forget about getting to the top of the search engines.

So whatever you are planning in 2021 in regards to your digital marketing and SEO make sure you are working with a company that is able to provide you with these links. Having said that, for most businesses this is hard to pinpoint and finding the best SEO agency is not as easy as it would seem, especially with so many startups out there all professing to be the ‘bee’s knees’ when it comes to knowing what makes Google tick.

So you should really be aware of some warning signs that they are unable to get quality links and they are in fact a dodgy SEO business.

Here they are:

  • you found them online and they have paid to be on page 1. If you have searched for say: ‘SEO Sydney’ and you have clicked on any of the first 4 results, this is extremely bad when it comes to SEO. Never ever, call or try to contact any company that has paid to be up there. Why? Because they are simply unable to rank their own website organically. If there was ever any clear cut evidence there it is right in front of you. The top 4 positions on Google are reserved for advertising and when it comes to partnering with a proper SEO company, these should be steered well clear of. I know many people might say that they are happy to click on the ads and they do this all the time. That’s fine if you’re looking for an electrician, lawyer, rubbish removals or dentist, but for the purposes of SEO, this is strictly a no-no!
  • they have quoted you a ridiculously cheap price in order to get you to sign up with them. I have addressed this already but let me say again, 2017 is all about the best quality links and you have to ask yourself how on earth are they going to buy these links (some costing up to $500 per link) if you are not paying them enough. It stands to reason that they are just going to take your money every month and buy low quality, worthless, useless links and pass this off as actual work. be really careful of this as a high percentage of SEO businesses operate in this manner. I can say this with professional integrity as we often perform link audits on many a website and owners are amazed when I show them how little has actually been done over the past 6 or 12 months. It is, unfortunately, a scam and many unsuspecting, well-intentioned honest hard-working businesses fall for this all the time. It’s a real shame because they have put their faith and trust in a company to do the right thing and because with SEO, the barriers of entry are so low, this type of unscrupulous behaviour is rampant. Believe me when I tell you this!
  • I am going to bold this next point because you really have to understand the importance of it. If they offer you a type of ranking guarantee or pay on performance SEO they are simply scamming you. This is a common tactic designed to make you feel as though their SEO strategies are invincible and even they have outsmarted Google. For many people doing the ring around this sweet-sounding sales, talk is too good to pass on. But for god’s sake, you must realise that no one can guarantee any type of Google ranking. The reason for this is simple: Google is a third party and will never ever let you know what they are doing. They are constantly shifting and changing their ranking algorithm which is a highly held secret so for anyone to tell you that they can guarantee you page 1 position on Google is simply lying to you. I’ve been in this business for nearly 20 years and I won’t even promise or guarantee rankings. In 2017, Google will be very much on the lookout for suspicious link activity conducted by SEO companies that promise quick rankings and guaranteed it. For them to even achieve this would require a massive amount of high-quality links in a short period of time. An activity like this will be noticed by the algorithm and your site may get penalised. The question is, are you willing to risk believing the sales con just so you can feel good about your decision? Best give these shady and very crooked guarantees a wide berth for the future health of your business.

Related articleWhy Reputable SEO Agencies Will Not Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings

I previously mentioned that in 2021 Google will be on the lookout for the speed at which your site has links pointing towards it. The most important thing to take away from this article regarding this point is that your link activity has to be very slow and gradual, especially if your website is brand new. Let me elaborate on this a bit further as I often get parole calling me up begging me to rank their new website quickly.

The issue with new websites is that they have no trust or value. Google sees them as merely new websites and will rank them accordingly well behind other older sites that have built up some trust. If you suddenly hook up with an SEO team and they promise you miraculous results within 90 days, Google as stated previously will detect this, especially for sites less than a year old. Yes, you may get a sugar hit and rise a few pages but you will vanish soon after.

When people ask me how long it takes to rank their site, I honestly tell them that we don’t know. But what we do know is that if we follow our strategy of appearing as organic as possible, then what we can guarantee you is fantastic rankings over the long term.

In conclusion

So let me surmise my thoughts here for 2021 in regards to what Google is looking for. Basically, they want to see that you are making an effort to build trust with your site via effective and credible link building. This and only this will be the cornerstone for measuring a website true value in the eyes of Google.

2021, will be the year when choosing the best SEO agency is going to matter more than ever as Google will come down harder on sites that are non-compliant. In years gone by you could rank a website a lot easier than now. In today’s online landscape where page 1 is going to be critical to the success of your business, you had better make the right decision when it comes to engaging an SEO partner.

As one of the directors of SEO Sydney Experts, I am more than happy to go over any of the above points and explain this in more layman terms if any of this was confusing. Just call our Surry Hills, Sydney office on 02 9360 8514 and ask for Steve.

steven waldberg - ceo seo sydney experts

About the author

Steven Waldberg

Steven is the director of SEO Sydney Experts and is one of the founding members ( that’s over 18 years ago). He has one of the longest careers in the SEO and content marketing industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including B & T and AdNews. If you’re serious about working with someone who will dedicate 100% of himself to your business; Steven is your SEO Expert.

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