June 8, 2021
Any marketer knows that to outrank a competitor on Google, a solid grasp of SEO is key. And as SEO trends rapidly evolve and algorithms get tweaked, the need for creating relevant, helpful content is clear cut.
Read on as we demystify top SEO trends to know in 2021, and unwrap SEO best practices to integrate into your marketing strategy.
SEO — which stands for search engine optimization — is the practice of boosting the website traffic you receive through an organic Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
SEO helps you:
In short, SEO is important because it bumps up your website visibility, providing an opportunity to convert leads into loyal customers.
Here’s our selection of top SEO trends to expect this year. We’ll do a deep dive into each one below.
1. Core Web Vitals
Google introduced Core Web Vitals in 2020, a new three-pronged metric system that tracks user experience. All three metrics — Loading, Interactivity, and Visual Stability — monitor page speed, including how fast your page loads, how quickly it engages with the user, and how stable the page is when loading.
Set to roll out in May 2021, Core Web Vitals is one of the defining search engine optimization trends to keep track of, helping your site appear on the first page of Google. In this instance, outranking your competitor is perfectly possible since search engine bots will ultimately favor pages that load faster.
Did you know that more than half of all Google searches end without a single click? To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, go deep with your keyword research; what are your users searching for? Since Google focuses more on fulfilling user intent, your content must stay relevant to users.
SEO keyword research platforms like Semrush or Google Search Console are handy in determining search intent, helping to pinpoint what keywords rank highly, and which long-tail and targeted keywords make sense for your content marketing strategy. Ultimately, the end goal is to drive traffic and sales, and intelligent keyword research is an integral part of the process.
One last tip is to aim for keywords that are easy to rank for. Hard-to-rank-for keywords will be nearly impossible to conquer, so it’s best to stay strategic with your keyword selection.
Copying and pasting content from your competitor’s site should never be the answer to your content marketing strategy. Not only will it make you look like a copycat, but Google’s algorithms will categorize your content as duplication, and you’ll be penalized.
The bottom line is, content is king when it comes to SEO, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Prioritizing long-form, quality (and original) content will position you as a trusted, authoritative brand in the eyes of Google and your leads.
Machine learning has been a critical part of how Google calculates its algorithm, and it’s only becoming more sophisticated. Google is getting better at filtering out spam and over-optimized pages, shifting its focus to content that embodies the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) principles.
Artificial intelligence will continue being part of Google’s approach to site valuation and searcher intent analysis this year. To place your content in the best-ranking position, you can improve your SEO by using an on-page SEO checker like Yoast or Semrush. These tools will look at factors like keyword optimization, the use of backlinks and internal links, and readability, helping you to optimize your content.
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri have all been game-changers for voice search. Today, around 27% of the digital population use voice assistants to search for sites on mobile devices, showcasing just how trendy voice search is becoming.
Identify what content could be used for voice search and ensure words are said conversationally, omitting hard-to-understand words.
6.Featured snippets on SERP
Appearing as a text box at the very top of the SERP, a featured snippet can capture different information about your business, highlighting a prominent piece of content from your site. Since featured snippets are known to have higher click-through rates than normal organic results, they are an incredible way to beat your competitors in ranking, saving you the hassle of producing long-form content.
But how to win featured snippets? One of the most successful ways to optimize a featured snippet is to create E-A-T content. This entails understanding a user’s search intent, organizing content into question-type search queries, and using long-tail keywords in your copy.
Stunning, high-resolution images are great-add on features to your content, and SEO trends show that image optimization will continue to benefit businesses in the long haul.
If you want crawlers to read your images easily, then ensure your images encompass the following:
It’s no secret that video marketing is exploding, with a reported 85% of businesses using it to communicate with their target audience in 2020. Investing in a video content strategy can help elevate your brand, bring qualified leads to your doorstep and engage your target audience.
Here are some best practice tips to optimize your videos:
9.Data and analytics
Data and analytics should go hand-in-hand with mapping out your SEO strategy. Data capturing your customer’s profiles can help you produce targeted messages tailored toward their needs. Meanwhile, analytics help you to understand better what is and isn’t working in your communications, enabling you to check loading times of page, bounce rates, indexing redirects, and so forth.
As SEO trends surge forward, data and analytics remain critical ways to pick apart your content, enabling you to identify areas of improvement.
While internal linking is an old-school SEO technique, it works like a charm. Internal linking is critical in helping users and Google discover the pages you want to be found. Think of it as a family tree of links, with a comprehensive sitemap connecting all your pages.
A clear site hierarchy will do wonders for your SEO, and some tips would be to:
There’s no way around it, mobile use has skyrocketed these last few years, and Google has noticed. With increasing importance placed on mobile site rankings, some experts predict that Google will eventually scrap desktop sites altogether from its ranking calculations. Known as ‘mobile-first indexing’, bots will crawl only the mobile versions of websites, regardless of what device the user employs in their search performance.
You can jump in on this trend by ensuring your mobile site is in shape. Review your pages and make sure they interact well on a mobile screen. Mobile-first SEO works hand-in-hand with how the site is constructed, including its styling, images, and compression, down to font size and call-to-action buttons. The bottom line is, you want users to find your content quickly and navigate around your site without a hitch.
12.Titles and meta-description
While optimizing titles and meta descriptions is not news, it’s still relevant today. Carefully constructed meta descriptions — with the inclusion of primary and secondary keywords that people search for — can prompt users to click through to your site. A good meta description should capture your content and employ keywords and a call to action.
Your title should also be optimized with the primary keyword appearing in the title. Also, including numbers or dates in the title can certainly help improve rankings for some pages.
Here are some best-practice SEO tips to apply for 2021:
Need help with planning your SEO strategy? Check out these innovative ways to successfully integrate SEO with content marketing here.
As new SEO trends evolve and Google updates continue to surprise us, focus your efforts on user experience and build a credible online presence. Get creative with your SEO techniques, experiment, and note what’s working and what’s not. But be quick about it. SEO is a fluid industry, and strategies have to be adopted quickly for your brand to stay relevant.