SEO Goals in 2021

I’m speaking on SEO Simplified for Indies and Firms at ClientCon on October 13th. Want to skip the line for my talk at ClientCon? Go and register right here for free.

This week, to celebrate, we’re going to talk through SEO in 2021 (and potentially answer some reader questions on SEO).

Let’s start at the 50k foot view with SEO for indie consultants, answer three questions, and compare the answers and see what stands out.

Q1: What’s your goal with your website as an indie consultant?

Your website is one of your marketing tools. Your website aims to attract visitors and convert visitors into prospects, leads, customers, and clients.

To do that, you want to portray yourself accurately as an expert, authority, and trusted resource to your prospects and visitors.

How do you do that?

  • Write high-quality articles for your audience, market, or niche that answer their questions
  • Earn links and citations from relevant authorities and sources that your market trusts
  • Speak at conferences and events relevant to your market
  • Make it easy for visitors, prospects, clients, and customers to learn about your business (e.g., about page), get in touch (e.g., contact page, customer service page), and know that their online payments are safe and secure (e.g., make sure your website is secure and encrypted with https)

Q2: What’s Google’s goal as a search engine?

Google’s goal is to return the most relevant websites, resources, and pages to a searcher for the searcher’s query.

If you search “Red Dance Shoes,” “What to pack for Burning Man,” or “How do I get on podcasts as a guest?”, Google wants to return the most relevant results for you.

The issue? Spam and black-hat SEO.

People want to be at the top of the search results without investing the time, energy, attention, and resources. In the before times, if you blasted a page with links and keyword-stuffed content, you’d jump to the top of the search results. Sure, you’d fall over time, but until then, you were at the top! And searchers were getting a lower-quality webpage at the top of the results.

Bad mojo.

To fix this, Google has started to look at page quality as an essential ranking factor. To assess page quality, they look at Authority, Expertise, and Trust. Over to an excerpt from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines:

“For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important. Please consider:

● The expertise of the creator of the content.

● The authoritativeness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.

● The trustworthiness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.”

Q3: What’s Google’s goal for you and your website?

Google’s goal is for your website to be an expert, authoritative, trusted resource for relevant queries.

For that, Google wants your website to be an expert, authoritative, trusted (E. A. T.) resource (or, at least, not be a non-expert, unauthoritative, untrusted resource).

The more E. A. T. your website and webpages are, the more likely you will be helpful for someone searching with a relevant query.

To judge E. A. T., Google layers expertise, authority, and trust on top of your content and links. (This is one of many ways that Google sifts the good content from the bad.)

  • Expertise: Have content that is comprehensive, digestible, and relevant to your searchers and viewers ​(e.g., article, guides, product descriptions, backlinks, cited by others as an expert)
  • Authority:​ Citations or links from experts in your vertical​, niche, or market (e.g., mentioned or linked-to in third party articles, interviewed on podcasts, backlinks)
  • Trustworthiness​: You need to make it easy for customers to see that buying from you/working with you is safe ​(e.g., straightforward ways to get in touch with you, customer testimonials, backlinks).

Comparing & Contrasting Answers

Let’s compare the three answers.

  • You want leads. You need high-quality, relevant content and perception as an expert, an authority, and a trusted individual/business to get leads.
  • Google wants to show the best pages to people in the search results. In the past, people could sometimes spam their way there. To minimize that, Google has started incorporating Expertise, Authority, and Trust into its ranking guidelines.
  • To help you rank better, Google wants your website to be an expert, trusted authority in your niche. To get there, Google wants you to focus on having high page quality through Expertise, Authority, and Trust. You build E. A. T. with relevant, high-quality content, links + citations from trusted websites, and easy points of contact.

There’s an interesting alignment here that only started to pick up speed in the past few years. To rank well, you need content, links, and expertise, authority, and trust.

Tomorrow? We’ll dive a little deeper into what this tactically means for you (and what high-quality content means in 2021).

Got an SEO question? Tap reply and send your question, comment, or feedback my way.



I write a high-quality, daily newsletter about marketing, growth, and lead generation for indie consultants, freelancers, and service professionals.

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