2021 SEO Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know
Increasing your organic traffic influx and Google SERP rankings is key to making your site a success. Deploying SEO carefully can really make all the difference by satisfying integrated algorithmic criteria to achieve a higher ranking. With Google’s continual updates in these metrics, you need to maintain pace in this evolving industry. User trends and preferences also play an important role in determining how you deliver services qualitatively and the consequent ranking that this brings. Hence, it’s imperative to remain in sync with suchlike, including structured data plus local demographic details. Let’s take a look at some of these factors in further detail:
1. Artificial Intelligence is becoming increasingly important in SEO
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how people handle online content. Google’s AI algorithm is imperative to understand, recently termed as ‘RankBrain’ forms a significant role in Google’s ranking factors for search engine results pages (SERPs) results.
The developers behind this have demonstrated its distinctive autonomous machine learning capabilities, wherein it’ll mature with time – akin to wine!
It’s theorized that user journey & experiences are a primary determinant of handling RankBrain. Ranging from click-through rates (CTRs) to page browsing duration. Coherent and meaningful material is what will engage as well as retain visitors. On-page SEO checkers can assist in evaluating page versatility, factoring readability, backlinks, etc.
2. Voice search will affect search query criteria
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With new inventions such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search technology has advanced and become increasingly popular. It’s even estimated that within the next year, at least half of all homeowners will own a smart speaker.
For voice search optimization, evaluate your keywords by selecting longer phrases which people use on a daily basis. Voice searches perform more accurately with such phrasing which also sounds more original. Upon input typing, people often truncate owing to convenience, rather than writing an entire sentence or question. So this is another advantage of voice search over conventional methods.
3. Mobile ergonomics influence search rankings
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Google recently released mobile-first indexing, where they focus on mobile versions of a site, taking precedence over the desktop version. This is sensible, considering that almost three-quarters of users will only access the internet over mobile devices within the next five years. You can gauge the effectiveness of your mobile site with Google’s gratis mobile-friendly test. Then browse and have a preview of the ‘mobile usability’ report in Google Search Console.
Ensure your page is user-friendly by enabling Google to crawl your URLs, to avoid a ‘disallow directive’ returning. Remember that Googlebot won’t load content that needs user interactions, such as clicking or swiping. Allow Google to view this lazy-loaded content and deploy identical meta robots tags on both desktop and mobile sites.
4. Content that satisfies Google’s EAT principle ranks higher
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Google always focuses on fidelity for greater ranking, however, what does this comprise of? Consider the EAT principle: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are the deciding factors & specifically relate to commercial settings categorized in the ‘your money, your life’ (YMYL) label, like health care and finance.
Here are some methods to achieve this:
- Design buyer personas: what type of material do your clients desire?
- Perform intent research, predicting the consumer journey
- Deploy this information for user-based content formats (e.g. video for younger audiences), as maturer followings may forgo this
Always remember this principle to apply in practice by reinforcing any claims with stats and facts. Integrate with reputable sites, such as “.edu” and “.gov” URLs. These authoritative sites return linking is another method to certify that you fulfill these criteria.
5. Long-Form content enhances SERPs
Official research suggests that lengthy prose consisting of 3K or more words draw threefold more traffic and quadruple shares. Furthermore, backlinks increase by 350% compared to the mean length of around a thousand words. By concentrating on long-form content you can acquire higher search rankings. Nevertheless, upholding fidelity is imperative, as distributable & engaging resources are ultimately the main goal here.
All you need to do is truncate your content into sections with H2 and H3 subheadings, making it digestible. Subheadings are particularly significant for mobile sites and you should associate with pertinent plus highly scoring authoritative sources. Lastly, the content should be conveniently distributable. Incorporate explicit sharing links in the headline and also in the summary for quick user access.
SEO content template tools can optimize your content for search purposes. Input the ranking criteria and find suggestions on length, semantically related keywords to be included, and detailed observation of the top-ranking pages.
6. Featured snippets gain prominence
Image source: Backlinko
Creating long-term content isn’t the sole factor to improve Google rankings. Featured snippets (launched a few years ago) are a quicker (and shorter) strategy to highlight yourself. Occasionally upon entering something into Google, you may have observed a box above the SERPs and results – this is a snippet,
Establishing a featured snippet is an ideal method to reach the first results page. They also divert much traffic from rivals. Furthermore, these reveal organized details, usually as Q&A or a concise manual. Rich snippets include images, star-based reviews, product prices, etc. To formulate snippets, evaluate question focused queries and pertinent keywords. Why not try the Google search function ‘people also ask’ for further ideas?
7.Predictive search is improving
Google Discover released in 2017, introducing an innovative query agnostic search strategy, part of their AI-driven tools. The content recommendation tool finds user activity trends over a period, eventually learning this behavior. This information helps discover reliable content of likely interest to the user.
With almost a billion active users, this autonomous page index-based protocol ranks as per algorithms that analyze content fidelity and user appeal. Despite not mentioning any specific criteria, location and browsing/search history, app usage, calendars, and home plus work locations all play a part in determining this.
8. Effective SEO strategies require videos
Image from Pixabay
The future of video format, such as the fact that YouTube has more than 1 billion users and extrapolations confirm the versatility of this content type. You can hone the video channel name and description, with the latter being an ergonomic summary of the theme.
Keywords are important with the auto-complete feature, as one begins typing topic wise and observes what emerges in the search field. These are a compilation of recommended keywords, informing you what exactly are people looking for on YouTube. Neat – isn’t it?
9. Image optimization is ever increasingly important in searches
Visual image search protocol has progressed a lot to potentially buying products, finding information, etc. Coherent labeling and optimization of images will ensure sustainability as Google brings this functionality further into practice.
Sharp high resolution and appropriate images, along with file name customization as well as labeling them to ensure that they correspond to the content will put you in good stead for the future. Deploy alt tags, used by crawlers for categorizing images. Add images to your site map for convenient crawling.
10. Semantically Related Keywords are becoming ever so significant
SEO experts conventionally focused on primary keywords, however now, we’ve also realized the importance of secondary keywords. Semantic search and intent optimization are set to become even more important as time proceeds. Rather than solely focussing on query strings, Google now analyses context. Understanding user search intent draws further specific information through intelligibly linked primary and secondary keywords empowers you to excel.
Tools that target this are available, however, designing material for addressing queries that your audience has is imperative. Try to optimize content for topic groups rather than only focusing on keywords. Apply structured data when required and retain that human touch.
11. Local search listings are significant for SEO strategies
The internet is usually perceived as a global resource – and it is. Ironically, however, many people actually use search engines to find local goods and services (such as a cafe). Therefore, local SEO is key and evolving too, as the incidence of zero-click searches increases as a marketing norm.
A zero-click search means that the user’s query is addressed inherently through the SERP. Hence such users end up not clicking on any ranked results. The increase in this trend is thanks to rising featured snippets. Most of these searches are locally based, displaying the results on the SERP. So how do you enter your business into that local pack? Incept a Google My Business page and possessing a robust backlink profile is also significant. You can always verify what types of backlinks your rivals obtain, for ideas and then target these yourself.
12. Prioritise data and analytics for better rankings
Data science helps you to understand buyers, visualize campaigns, and design targeted messages. Analytics check the URLs that are being crawled, identify referral sources, gauge page loading times, index pages, gauge redirects, response errors, bounce rates, etc. This also helps to identify pages that you don’t wish for crawlers to index and (unnecessarily) flag distinct traffic sources, like potential spam sites (which impacts your EAT credibility).
SEO analytics can collate this information, such as SEMrush SEO Toolkit which equips you with the tools required from rank monitoring to competitive research, on-page and technical SEO, link building, etc. Keeping pace with these details envisions both your success as well as improvement areas. This strategy allows you to resolve issues and constantly enhance your web presence.
13. Focus on user and search intent
Image source: Local SEO Tactics
Although usually already a given, you need to restructure annually to keep up with evolving user activity trends. Just look back at what 2020 unexpectedly showed us! Search engines including Google is where people seek answers from or acquire learning. Upon understanding the reasons people search and provide them content that answers their queries or helps the business in some way.
So what do you need to do for SEO this new year?
Experts state that conventional methods are dying away as algorithms become more robust (e.g. coding meta descriptions for all pages) and analyze the SERPs/searcher intent instead. As Google accommodates the main global search content, being cognizant of search results empowers SEO professionals to design competitive and desirable material. Essentially, just follow Google’s recommendations for user intent, along with its advancement. Make the information available in digestible chunks, as Google detects people looking for expert advice. Such articles are then prioritized with a higher ranking. This specialist recognition is honed upon a searcher seeking specialist material and will subsequently rank such posts higher than articles that are devoid of E-A-T. Those who can fulfill the needs of customers will be the most successful.
- Focus solely on consumer needs and not your own branding or promotion
- A fast loading site that renders and stabilizes with minimal latency
- Easy navigation and accessibility with no obligatory protocol, such as paid subscriptions
Find out exactly what a visitor wants, be it videos or other interactive elements. Using keyword research tools is more effective than performing this manually and the scalability enables you to supersede other sites that don’t. Your monetization should be linked to this for a holistic and sustainable outcome. Search data and the customer site experience of all organic sourced leads should be processed. This allows you to see what they searched, the keywords highlighted for every page seen, and of course, the terms used. Compile this information and create a content trail.
14. Brand SERP Optimization, Knowledge Graphs & Entities
Soon tracked brand SERPs and knowledge panels are set to normalize trends. This detailed analysis of your identity, services provided, and target audience will set a precedent for the future. Tactful marketers will familiarise themselves with this so-called (personalized) ‘knowledge graph’. Having access to details including your search history, correspondence, social media establishes a platform to do so. Google’s interpretation of this is also significant.
So for this year, optimizing your overall brand digital presence (i.e. YouTube channel plus images) and how Google lists them is the way forward. Nowadays, your assets and how they work together on the SERP (additional to your site) via various snippets is key. Understanding the complexity surrounding subjects (entities and subtopics) plus natural language processing (NLP) all contribute to Google rankings. This is required to keep pace with smart query analysis which now takes precedence over the traditional keyword research.
Google Discover is perhaps refreshingly keyword free, giving a new perspective to optimization via the knowledge graph API and its integration with topic layers. By firstly monitoring your brand’s score result and then delivering fidelity content, you’re almost home and dry.
These can be categorized into:
- Ensuring an accurate and comprehensive organizational contingency
- Creating an identity in pertinent knowledge bases (e.g. Wikidata)
- Asserting ownership over your knowledge panel to apply posts by Google feature
- Tangible businesses with offices create a Google My Business profile
15. Core web vitals & page experience optimization
Google will be introducing Core Web Vitals as ranking criteria this year, hence page experience metrics are now imperative. Without this, enterprises risk lagging behind their rivals. Insights by tools like Lighthouse and Crux API which relate to page load speed, mobile ergonomics, rendering, image optimization, and security frameworks need consideration. Additionally, a site page’s effect on the user experience is important (regardless of page accessibility and interpretation according to search engine crawlers). Think about:
- Whether a page loads quickly and seamlessly
- How quickly pages are responsive to user activity
- How convenient a site is to access and navigate on mobile devices
- Safety and security of the connection during browsing
This will all help to reinforce your upcoming frameworks in terms of coding updates as well as current interface plus conversion rates. Universal site accessibility with gaugable UX performance vs rivals is both also important. Test and deploy machine learning to view your material and eliminate any niggles during such previews. Now you’re ready to impress Google with a stellar site and overwhelm all visitors too!
The online world is constantly changing and with this change comes innovation. You need to be able to not only create brilliant content but also lead your site to success. Simply deploy advanced SEO techniques to satisfy the SERP framework and convince Google that this is great for your audience too. Only then will you be able to sustain and drive meaningful results.
March 25, 2021
March 23, 2021