According to Lila Ray, “SEO Director, Path Interactive: “Above all, a great SEO strategy should start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes and asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, the brand is trustworthy, and the website is easy to use (especially on mobile).”
When we talk about SEO trends of 2021, there’s a lot of things to discuss and evaluate. The most important thing is finding out the strategies that will help you take over the SERP’s and earn more profit in 2021.
After speaking to 42 top SEO professionals, I carefully wrote down their thoughts and suggestions in this article. You’ll discover the top ten most important SEO trends you need to know, to stay on top of the search results in the coming year.
What are the ten important SEO trends of 2021?
1. Pay More Attention to User and Search Intent:
Although this is not a nutrient, it is very important to focus on the user and search intent as it changes every year. This is an essential point of focus for the best SEO results in 2021.
Jenn Mathews, SEO Manager, GitHub says “At the core, Google (and other search engines) is a place to go when people want to answer a question or to learn more about something. When we understand the nature of why people search and help them with content that provides the answers they are looking for then our business benefits from it.”
Britney Muller, an SEO consultant & Data Science Student, Britney Muller LLC, believes that SEO experts should shift from traditional methods of doing things (for instance, writing meta descriptions for every single page) that will have less value as changes are made and the algorithms become stronger.
More emphasis should be placed on understanding what happens in the SERPs/searcher intent.
According to Muller, “Google houses the world’s information and they know what the majority of people searching ‘x’ seek. Paying closer attention to search results will give SEO pros a leg up in creating competitive content in the way that searchers desire to consume it.”
A lot of SEO experts also agree with Muller’s suggestions. For Andrew Dennis, Content Marketing Specialist, Page One Power, “Google is already showing you which results in it thinks to serve users’ intent, use this data for your own strategy. For me, SERP analysis will be an important practice not just in 2021, but moving forward as search intents change and Google continues to become more sophisticated to keep up.”
Marie Haynes, CEO, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc, believes that “Google will get even better at recognizing when a searcher is looking for expert advice and will rank those posts above articles written by content writers who are lacking E-A-T. The SEO pros who will be successful in 2021 will be those who can truly understand how to meet a searchers’ needs.”
So how do you adopt this strategy? Here is a suggestion from Adam Reimer, president of Adam Reimer Marketing:
“Brands are going to need to forget about themselves and cater to their visitors. This includes:
- Copy that addresses the visitor’s needs and concerns and not copies the one that talks about your products, your company, or why your product is good.
- A quick website that renders and stabilizes fast.
- Not making people work to find your content or to spend money with you. No forced pop-ups, registrations, etc.”
- Customer Analytics, Retention and Lifetime Value
Before, the major aim of SEO was to drive traffic to your website. However, it has evolved to include so much more over the years.
Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Head of SEO, Erudite, argues that in 2021, you would be driven to make the traffic you already have, work a lot harder for you to bridge the gaps in revenue, and show return on investments. Behavioral analytics is bound to become the hot new thing in 2021.
According to Inameti-Archibong, “With Google evolving faster and faster to give instant satisfaction, taking responsibility beyond visits, as well as marrying up UX, conversion, and revenue have become even more important. Keyword volume will take a back seat and it will be more behavioral analytics – what your customer is doing, how they are doing it, and how we can get them to do more of it quicker – and reverse engineering that to the content you produce.”
Stephan Bajaio, Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder, Conductor, said, “Your post-acquisition content must answer the questions, concerns, and needs your customers are expressing in search and you need to show up for those terms. If not, you will risk others influencing them away from your brand. It will be about understanding your customer best and providing them with valuable content, or risk losing them to someone who understands them better… introduced to them by their trusted friend Google.”
Expanding on this theory, Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte, explained, “First of all, establish a process with sales and support staff to ensure that you are aware of important and incoming questions or requests that can be resolved with help articles.
Dig into your Google Search Console keyword data with common question modifiers to find relevant, existing topics that should be catered to. Make sure these are answered concisely and factually and published to a related FAQ topic page.
Help centers and FAQ sections should be created with UX at the very forefront, and should not be a single, un-maneuverable page of questions.”
2. Optimization of Brand SERPs, Knowledge Graphs & Entities:
In the coming year, tracking brand SERPs and knowledge panels will be more prevalent. For Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy, Kalicube.pro., “In 2021, the reality that entity-based search starts with Google’s confident understanding of who you are, what you offer, and what audience you serve will gain enormous traction. Savvy marketers will truly get to grips with looking at their brand as an entity and start to work in earnest on Google’s understanding of the ‘who you are’ part of that trio by creating or improving their presence in the Knowledge Graph.”
Nik Ranger, an SEO Specialist, also believes that “Google has access to so much information about you, your search history, emails, social media, and other types of user information that they have the ability and means to scale personalized knowledge graphs. Qualifying the relationships between the legitimacy of author credentials to content, in addition to the way Google perceives value from content, will be ever more important.”
3. Core Web Vitals & Page Experience Optimization:
Ignoring page experience metrics is no longer an option as Google has introduced core web vitals as a ranking factor in 2021. According to Areej AbuAli, SEO Manager, Zoopla, “Websites and businesses need to prioritize for them to ensure they don’t fall behind their competitors. Make the most out of insights provided via tools such as Lighthouse and Crux API. Everything from page speed, mobile-friendliness, rendering, image optimization, and security protocols need to be optimized for.”
Rachel Costello Technical SEO Consultant, Builtvisible, advises that more emphasis should be placed on the kind of feelings a page triggers in a user and not just the accessibility or comprehension of the page.
She said, “This will involve us taking a user-centric approach with our optimization efforts, including a keen focus on:
- How quickly and smoothly pages load.
- How soon pages become responsive to user interactions.
- How easy a website is to use and navigate on mobile devices.
- The safety and security of a site’s connection as users are browsing through it.
Incorporating page experience into your SEO workflow will not only help to future-proof your website’s performance and rankings ahead of the upcoming algorithm update, but it can also help to improve UX and conversions now.”
4. All SEO Is Mobile SEO:
You must not refrain from ensuring that your content or website performs very well on a mobile scale as this is where most searches occur.
According to Jeff Riddall, VP Product and Customer Success, Mintent, “What type of experience do your users have when accessing your content and trying to find answers on their mobile devices?”
Brock Murray, Co-founder, seoplus+, firmly believes that a significant focus of SEO in 2021 would be mobile device user experience. For him, “The best thing you can do when it comes to mobile UX is to think about the user first. Simplicity in your design is the key. Also, be sure to personalize the website content and elements based on your user.”
However, that’s not the only reason why all SEO is now mobile SEO. According to Shelly Fagin, SEO Director and Founder, Highly Searched, Inc., “Google will essentially be ignoring your desktop site. Your mobile site will determine your rankings. Don’t just settle with getting passing scores and consider it a job well done.”
She also added, “It’s time to closely review your pages and make sure they are intuitive for your users, are easy to navigate, and you aren’t hiding valuable content and images on mobile devices.
“It’s OK to have a different experience between desktop and mobile, but It’s important to know that Google will no longer be ranking your desktop and mobile experiences differently. If you still have a separate mobile site, now might be the time to reconsider migrating to a mobile responsive site instead.”
5. Evaluate, Adopt, and Implement:
You must be ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked in 2021. As you access your current strategies and adopt new ones, be ready to implement them as well.
Motoko Hunt, President & International Search Marketing Consultant, AJPR., said, “Thinking outside the box will be more important than ever. The business opportunities are still out there. If it’s not where you normally look, you need to find where they went.”
Corey Morris, Chief Strategy Officer, Voltage., also stated, “Maybe this is more of a theme or mindset than a trend – but seeing it as a recognized need and something many are arriving at makes it a trend for me,” Morris said. “Now is the time to get organized, build a plan, develop a process, and get ahead.”
6. Lots of Automation:
Hamlet Batista, the CEO, RankSenseIf, said, “if we look back at the increasing number of SEO tasks that we can automate in 2020 (structured data generation, quality content, etc.), the possibilities for 2021 will be mind-bending.
“Expect the quality and quantity of the AI-generated content to increase dramatically. It will definitely create a bigger challenge for search engines to keep spam out of the index. Human-in-the-loop automation to make sure the value is high for search users will be the main focus to avoid penalties and remain competitive.”
7. Changes in SERP Layout and Functionality:
According to Dave Davies, Duke of URL, Beanstalk Internet Marketing, “Why have a page on a general topic, and sub-pages on specifics, when you can have one long page for it all and know that Google will drive the user where they need to go? Isn’t that the best of both worlds? And they’re doing similar in the video.”
8. Long-Form Content:
According to Ron Lieback, CEO/Founder, ContentMender, this is one of the trends that help you outrank your competitors. Publishing long-form content that appeals to Google’s E-A-T guidelines and people’s emotions will boost your website ranking.
He also said, “Throughout 2020, I consistently witnessed blogs over 2,000 words dramatically outperform blogs of 1,000 words or less,” Lieback said. “Expect this long-form content trend to continue in 2021, and as more and more websites follow this trend, the length will get larger – maybe even toward that 2,500-3,000 mark for a blog to rank well over others.”
9. SEO Scalability:
You should use 2021 to build your SEO scalability if you are determined to stay on top of your game and ahead of your competition.
According to Mark Traphagen, Vice President of Product Marketing and Training, seoClarity, there are three ways to do this:
- Write all the tasks, procedures, and workflows you do regularly. Decide which steps could be automated or handled more effectively by using a tool.
- Create an alert system to monitor significant changes such as the rankings of your important keywords, flip-flopping URLs ranking for the same keyword (URL cannibalization), page content changes, URL changes, etc.
- Set up SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to take care of regular tasks you can not automate. This will prevent your team from time reinventing how to do them when they are needed.
The world is changing rapidly, and 2020 has shown us that it’s best to prepare for the unexpected. These are the SEO trends to look out for in 2021, and implementing them on your website will ensure you stay ahead of your competition.