Search Engine Optimization - 24 Dec 2020
12 Must Know SEO Trends for 2021
Staying on top of industry trends isn’t always easy, that’s why there are leaders and laggers; some who embrace change and others who try to ignore it. However, with the rapid pace at which technology is transforming the environment in which businesses operate, not having a plan is like planning for failure.
Don’t let 2021 be the year that your business gets left behind because your SEO strategy isn’t on-point, instead let this be the year that your business breaks though the ranks and catapults to the top of the SERPs. To help get you there, here are 12 SEO trends you definitely should not be ignoring.
The Growing Importance of AI
Google continues to develop tools to help improve the quality of search results for users. The newly updated Google BERT, which expands upon the principals of RankBrain, uses AI to help filter through and rank the most relevant search results. Quality content will be key to ranking high on SERPs, but content should be written to appeal to the audience and not search engines.
Voices are Speaking Up
From in-home devices, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, to hands-free browsing on the go, voice searches are becoming increasingly common – and your SEO will need to capture the subtle difference in search query language. Longer, more natural sounding keywords will replace short, choppy sentences and SEO should be optimized to reflect a more conversational tone.
Semantically Related Keywords
Following the trend of more natural language and writing for the user and not for Google, semantically related keywords will continue to grow in importance in 2021. The evolution of AI has allowed search engines to become more apt at deciphering intent from users, which allows them to offer up better quality results. Logically connected secondary keywords will help provide context and rank your content higher on SERPs.
Focus on Local Searches
There is a movement that has been brewing for a while; tired of big box retailers and Jeff Bezos, communities are rallying support around local businesses. Being visible in local searches was already important, however features, snippets, and zero-click results are gaining momentum. Making sure you come up on top of your localized searches with Google My Business and area-specific content will be essential to your success.
You Must be Mobile-Friendly
Mobile optimization is no longer an option for businesses of any size. In 2021, it is more likely that users will search for and browse websites from mobile devices. Search engines like Google have quickly adapted to this trend, with mobile-first indexing giving preference to better performing websites. In this environment, slow running, poorly formatted websites will fail to rank on most SERPs.
Video sites are not just for cat videos, YouTube has grown to over 2 billion active users worldwide and its importance can no longer be ignored. With Millennials and younger generations leading the charge, and growth showing no sign of slowing down, 2021 may be right time to branch out your SEO to include rich media elements, such as video, live streams, webinars, or podcasts that your users will find relevant.
Along with rich media content, your images need to be optimized for search engines as well. Not only do high quality images directly help influence consumers, but they may also help you rank higher on SERPs as Google will often feature relevant images along with featured snippets (more on that in a moment).
These text boxes located at or near the top of SERPs feature a summary of information directly related to a user’s query. There are ways to write and format your content that will improve your chances of being a featured snippet, but there is no way to buy your way in, making snippets an excellent opportunity for businesses of all sizes to be featured.
EAT Will Continue to Influence Results
Continuing with the trend of quality, relevant, user-forced search results, the EAT principals – expertise, authority, trustworthiness –will continue to play an important role in SEO. To help your website meet these criteria, you must ensure that content is accurate, within your field of expertise, well written, and provides links to credible source of information.
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are a new set of Google tools, aimed to help rank websites based on user experience, which will roll out in May 2021. To help prepare your website for these changes, optimizing speed, interactivity, visual stability, mobile-friendliness, security, and navigation will all be vital.
Analytics Will Help Shape Success
Tracking your metrics has always been important, allowing you to see where you are excelling and where you are failing. But now search engines will also be using this data to help evaluate your website’s user experience, based on a number of factors, including click-through-rate, bounce rate, time spent on your site, and tracking new and returning visitors. To help your rankings, pay attention to high-performing content, and quickly fix underperforming content.
Strategic SEO is a complex system of elements all working together to improve your business’ rankings. And in an environment that is continuously changing, what may have worked in the past may no longer be enough to ensure success in the future.