Evolution of Enterprise Search Engine Optimization in 2021

Evolution of Enterprise Search Engine Optimization in 2021
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 12 Jul 2021

In recent years we have witnessed a rapid digital transformation of marketing and advertising functions. This has led modern enterprises and their CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) to use digital channels and digital tools for marketing their products, communicating their value and promoting their offerings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most powerful tools in this direction. SEO refers to interventions in the content of websites towards improving their search ranking in popular search engines like Google. Ten years ago, SEO was a top priority for CMOs, as other digital marketing channels (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) were in their infancy. Nevertheless, SEO remains relevant given that it is still one of the few digital tools that empower organic marketing. Specifically, a good SEO strategy can help a brand grow its marketing outreach without spending very large amounts of money on paid campaigns. Hence, SEO complements nicely paid advertisements like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn marketing campaigns.

In its early days, SEO was mostly about optimizing the quality and quantity of certain types of content within websites.  For instance, SEO experts suggested metadata keywords, URL links to other websites, and specific domain names that increased the ranking of a website in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for certain types of queries. Over the years, SEO techniques have evolved in different directions as the page rank algorithms in Google and other search engines changed their search criteria. Hence, there are additional criteria and best practices that matter, which add up to older criteria and guidelines.


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SEO Evolution in 2021: New Features and Opportunities

Here are some of the most important trends for SEO in 2021:

  • Keyword research revisited: Once upon a time, users used to initiate searches to locate a company or brand page, and subsequently to click and visit its website. This has changed over the years, as many users execute zero-click searches i.e., they are able to locate what they need (e.g., a phone number or an address) simply by asking a query. In this content, keyword research has become more important. Companies aim at ranking among the top web sites for a range of relevant queries. SEO aims at ensuring that the website ranks among the top in cases of certain keywords in order to direct customers to readily available sales and marketing channels. In this direction, SEO experts use the Google Search console to locate unique keywords for their clients. Furthermore, they spend significant effort on analysing the SERP for specific keywords. There are cases of keywords with moderate traffic and low competition from other websites, which can lead to significant revenue generation. The latter can become higher when the SEO process manages to display a website in the featured results of the SERP, as featured results is what end-users tend to use most.
  • Use of Authentic and Unique Content: Another trend relates to the selection and publishing of authentic content i.e. information that is not published in other websites. Unique content lowers the competition: When publishing content that is available elsewhere it becomes much more difficult to make it rank high in the SERP. Therefore, companies must look at authentic content in forms that are not widely available like case studies and customer testimonials. The latter can differentiate a website from others with similar content.
  • Accounting for Voice Searches: There is a need for evolving SEO practices in ways that account for voice search. Voice search tools like Siri, Alexa and “Hey Google”, lead to queries that are long, general and in most cases poorly addressed in the SERP. There is ample room for optimizing websites to rank high in cases of verbose and very general search queries. Voices searches increase in number every year and whoever manages to address them could gain an advantage over competitors.
  • Reverse Engineering for SEO processes: The advent of machine learning, and artificial intelligence could also become a source of competitive advantage for SEO marketing. Specifically leveraging machine learning, it is possible to reverse engineer the operation of page rank algorithms. This can provide insights to companies on what works best for the queries of their interest. Accordingly, they will become able to take educated SEO decisions about their website, i.e. decisions that will rank them higher than competitors for specific classes of queries. Nowadays, there are many companies that offer such services. Some of them provide also online tools that can help companies in the challenging reserve engineering process.
  • SEO for Video Marketing: During the last couple of years there is surge of video marketing, thanks to YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other social channels. Moreover, YouTube is, without doubt, the second most popular search engine after Google, as it is already used by many hundreds of millions of users. Therefore, significant opportunities lie in SEO optimization for video content. To this end, SEO experts must revisit the basics (e.g., keywords, metadata, channel name, video descriptions, channel descriptions) to achieve exceptional performance in video search. Competition is high but less stiff than in the case of Google search.
  • From high traffic websites to influencers: One of the most prominent SEO practices entailed the linking of high traffic sites to the website that was to be SEO optimized. In several cases, SEO involved paying high-traffic websites to accept and perform this linking. In 2021, this practice must be extended to influencers i.e. influencers can be paid to provide links to certain websites. This is a practice that boosts SEO performance, given the popularity of influencers and their significant number of followers. Modern SEO must find effective ways to take advantage of influencers in mainstream social media platforms.


Insights for SEO Investments and Optimization

SEO leaders must go beyond general best practices and traffic optimization guidelines. In this direction, there is a need for a structured and detailed analysis of SERP outcomes for a variety of keywords. Such analysis can lead to the identification of significant changes in search results for specific keywords, which can be later exploited to increase traffic and revenues. Likewise, gaps that are not covered by competing websites must be identified and filled based on improvements to the content of the website.

Another key success factor for modern SEO is the proper collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, including sales teams, product teams and the senior management of the enterprise. Key trends and the outcomes of SEO analysis must be regularly presented to these stakeholders in order to help them understand the limits of SEO and its impact on their roles. Likewise, collaboration is important for defining actionable recommendations as a result of the SEO analysis. The latter recommendations may include suggestions for new content development, as well as advice about the keywords and topics that must be addressed as a matter of priority.


Even though SEO is no new discipline, it remains a relevant and powerful tool for increasing marketing outreach, generating revenues and improving business results. CMOs must keep up with latest trends in SEO in order to make the most out of it. The above-listed guidelines provide a good starting point for CMOs that want to shape a modern SEO strategy.

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