If you are a marketer, then it is inevitable that you must have pondered upon what 2021 is going to be like for SEO professionals. Does it feel like the pace at which SEO techniques and their effectiveness are changing is on a constant incline? Especially when you’re trying to bring organic traffic to your website. If you feel the same, then you’re not alone in the boat. Google is getting powerful and smarter; it’s not only analyzing and understanding web pages but consequently keeping people at its framework effectually.
The opportunity to peek into a new decade is exciting but also daunting, particularly for a marketing discipline that seems to change swiftly and have its changes as intensely debated as SEO. Over time, the SEO landscape has changed in several profound ways, often in lockstep with introducing new technologies, such as voice assistants, artificial intelligence (AI), and the rise and evolution of mobile experience.
You may think, ‘why?’ Well, the better Google is at giving you the accurate results of your queries within the SERPs or directing users to ads instead of organic listings, the more money it makes. Unfortunately, this may not be a glad tide for those who rely on Google’s organic search traffic as a lifeline. The SERPs are changing and for the marketers, not for the better. However, it’s not all bad news; you can still stay ahead of the game by making few changes to your website to dominate the SERPs in 2021, sounds like the dream, right?
Here are 5 SEO trends for 2021 to rank your site organically, including some important action items that digital marketers can start working on today to ace at SEO techniques.
Ameliorate User Experience (UX) All Over Your Website
Let’s kick things off with a transient explanation of why you should improve the user experience. Here’s a question for you all, what do we think about when we talk about user experience (UX)? Well, the user’s experience, right? We are aware that improving people’s experience once they reach our website is crucial; that’s basically UX 101! As an effect, however, excellent UX will eventually have a more eminent impact on search engine rankings in the future.
As stated by Google Webmaster Central Blog post in May 2020, Google Search will now factor a sizable nuisance of UX signals into its rankings, including Google’s new Core Web Vitals. Here’s a more detailed explanation from Google’s team;
“Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!).”
Get this, just like any search engine; Google is perpetually trying to find the best possible results for each user’s query; If they fail on this front, users are not likely to use the search engine again. That being said, Google does excel in this category, which is why they are the most used search engine in the world, as of now!
Did you understand the gist? With these updates to its algorithm, Google signifies its greater emphasis on ‘delightful’ web experiences. You will need to think about that constant desire to provide the best results when you’re optimizing your site for SEO; why? The answer is pretty simple, poor-quality sites do not make it to the top ranks, and Google is getting better at determining website quality. If your website looks outdated, amateurish, untrustworthy, or extremely slow to load, potential users will likely close your website and bounce back to the SERPs. And just like that, you’ve lost a user and a potential conversion.
Fortunately for you, there’s now a dedicated Core Web Vitals report that you can pull through Google Search Console to get an idea of where your pages stand from a UX viewpoint, against all of Google’s UX ranking signals, as well as suggestions on how to make improvements.
With that statistics in hand, it would be an ideal move to give your website a whirl on iPhone, desktop, Android, and any other platforms or devices your users are likely to access your site through. Are there any pages or functions that are slow? However essential to demand generation, does your website have pop-ups that are annoying and intrusive for end-users? Last but not least, are there experiences that don’t translate well to mobile devices? If yes, then work on that, use every tool that you’re aware of to make User Experience (UX) better than before, and you’ll witness a significant change just by doing that.
Don’t Overlook the Semantic Search
How people search for queries on the internet will be a central theme for most of these 2021 SEO trends. Semantic search is no exception. To understand semantic search, let’s begin with semantics. Essentially, Semantic search refers to the capability of search engines to consider the intent and contextual meaning of search phrases when providing content to users on the web.
Ideal for Google, right? After all, sifting through oceans of data to provide accurate results based on a user’s search query is a search engine’s primary job. In this context, “semantic search” is how search engines utilize all the data at hand to determine the context, intent, and meaning they need to serve up the most relevant and complete content possible.
For example, how many times a song gets stuck in your head that you’ve forgotten about? You only remember a few words of that song, and it bugs you that why you can’t figure out the name of the song until you type those words in your google search bar, and voila! The YouTube listing for that particular song was right in the featured snippet, precisely the song you were looking for.
It all hearkens back to delivering the best search experience possible by allowing people to quickly get the relevant search results using natural language search terms. This is how search engines bring together lots of different info from discrete sources.Improving your website’s semantic search value requires attention; there’s no simple way to go about it. There are, however, uncomplicated principles your team can follow as their plan for, build-out, and update content for the 2021 content calendar. It comes down to how and why your users search; what information, answers, content, or even experience are they looking for?
Here are the areas you can focus on when it comes to semantic search:
- Write for people, not search engines
- Develop advance content that answers your target market’s questions
- Use structured data where it makes sense
- Implement contextual internal linking on your website
- Optimize content for topics instead of keywords
Google My Business Will Be Vital
Location-based search is constructed on a basic premise. When a person located in Karachi searches Google Maps for the best “burgers,” they probably want to see results limited to their surrounding geographic area. While that search encounter might seem straightforward from a user’s perspective, there’s a whole lot of content, optimization, and data that goes into it on the search engine side of things. Just want to throw in a little fact here, 1,000,000,000+ people use Google Maps every month.
If local search is a part of your digital marketing mix, you will want to make sure your Google My Business listing is rich with detail, complete, and updated on an ongoing basis. Why, you ask? For starters, Google My business optimization factors heavily into local search experiences. Activity and engagement on a GMB listing are strong ranking signals for Google, so the more downright and optimized your listing, the more your business is to show up in local searches.
The first thing to do is to sign up, claim your company and verify it through the Google My Business service, a process that can take a couple of weeks. Once your location is verified and established, go through your Google My Business listing and optimize every aspect of the listing that you can. Luckily, Google makes this process very intuitive and straightforward; when you log in, you’ll be notified of your profile “completeness” and a strategy for completing any exceptional information you still need to add, such as location, phone number, hours, and more.
Content Quality Still Matters
Many things will likely go by the wayside in 2021. However, the content remains the “king.” If you are a marketer, you must be familiar with the term “Content is king.” It’s a reminder that EAT, Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness still matters, especially for businesses that fall under the category “your money, your life” YMYL. Few SEO wonks believe that Core Update from Google in May 2020 was something of an EAT update, that Google is signaling to the world that it cares about the quality of content more than the power of a given domain.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, this has come in handy. Corona-virus has been a massive topic of interest since the hit of pandemic and subsequent lock down measures. When people need authentic answers, facts, and updates for something as critical and potentially urgent as corona-virus, you don’t want to be the company scrambling to meet this demand and miss out on valuable search traffic as an outcome.
So, it’s high time to consider the information that people are looking for and need first. As much as the emphasis on quality content recommences to grow, now is the time to get a robust content marketing strategy in place for 2021. Here are some areas to start with:
- Conduct search intent research
- Build Content in the formals your users actually require
- Build buyer personas
- Build content in the formats your users actually want
- Hire strong content writers
Video Will Flood the SERPs
Search anything on Google these days, and you will be most likely to see a video carousel on the SERP. Google introduced video carousels to SERPs back in 2018. Since then, video has only attained prominence. When you consider the fact that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube, a Google entity, it all makes sense.
- 87% of video marketers report increased traffic to their website as a result of their videos
- 96% of users have watched ex-plainer videos about services or products
- 85% of businesses use video as a tool in marketing, and 92% of marketers consider video an important part of their marketing strategy
- 84% of people cite video as part of what convinced them to buy something
As the statistics indicate, the significance of video is really about user demand. For better or worse, most people would rather watch a quick video than read a long blog. It’s quick. It’s mobile-friendly, it lends well to multi-tasking, and the Google algorithm is evolving accordingly. So, the question is, where do people tend to engage the video most? Of course, on search engines!
This deviation in preference toward video both for people and search algorithms means that it’s time for businesses to create and plan a lot more video content and optimize their videos to improve search visibility, website traffic, and views. Easier said than done, according to the wyzowl survey, 20% of marketers don’t use video in their marketing strategy; the reason is, it’s too costly. Yet, making videos can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. Here are a few out of the box ways to start creating videos from what you already have without breaking the bank:
- Interviews with customers, staff or thought leaders
- Publish or re purpose webinar replays
- Re-purpose podcast recordings into shorter videos
- Reprocess the top ten or twenty pages driving organic search to your website into video content
- Optimize your video for YouTube SEO
- Focus more on live video through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
As it is known, SEO is expeditiously evolving. Business owners and marketers have to adapt new techniques; you can’t just follow the old tested techniques that are of no good. Give your website the edge over your competition. Make sure to spend time on the fundamentals of solid content creation and copywriting and stay ahead of technical trends and the impact of things like backlinks, site, and schema. There’s a lot to consider, but bear in mind, you don’t need to become the world’s top SEO expert overnight. Make an effort to learn even the basics of SEO, gradually implement the trends mentioned above to see a massive difference in your website’s click-through rates, engagements, and, of course, rankings.