Search engine optimization (or SEO) is perhaps the most valuable and consistent marketing channel a marketer has access to. TOP SEO TRENDS IN 2021 – According to Merkle’s 2019 Digital Media Report, SEO drove 22 percent of all website visits in 2019.
SEO isn’t dying. In fact, it’s growing, contrary to what many people believe. SEO is here to stay. However, what you know today about SEO will not be the same SEO in the future. It’s crucial to keep up-to-date and be aware of what Google has in store for you in 2021. These top SEO trends for 2021 will help you drive more organic traffic.
SEO TRENDS IN 2021
- Focus on the user
- Conversion and search intent
- Page experience and web essentials
- Rapidly adapt
- Content depth
- Internal linking
- Local search
FOCUS ON USER SEO Trends
When it came to SEO, one of the most respected SEO leaders I have ever worked with said a simple but profound statement: “What’s good is good for SEO (and Google) & improving your web design.
This was true ten years ago and is still true today. Google wants users to have the best experience possible. When Google sends a user via the search engine results page (SERP), it wants them to be satisfied. They will return to Google next time they search for something if they are satisfied.
In an interview with Search Engine Journal, Lily Ray, Path Interactive’s SEO Director, summarized this whole mindset: “Above everything, a great SEO strategy must start by putting yourself in a user’s shoes, asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, brand trust is maintained, and website is simple to use.”
SEARCH CONVERSION AND INTENT
Your content team or SEO team should be checking the search engine results pages (SERP) before they start writing new content. Go to the SERP before you go to SEMRush, Google Search Console, (GSC), or any other SEO tool. The SERP shows you the results Google considers to be the best that meet the user’s search intent. Google will tell you what type of content you should create for that query or similar search terms. You will surely fall behind if you don’t know how to match that intent.
Marie Haynes Consulting Inc. CEO agrees. She told Search Engine Journal that Google will be able to recognize when a searcher is seeking expert advice. The top SEO trends in 2021 Google will also rank these posts higher than articles written by content writers lacking E-A–T. “The SEO professionals who will succeed in 2021 are those who truly understand the needs of searchers.”
These needs will help you convert more users when they are ready. SEO’s goal is to get more organic traffic and more leads for your company. Without monetization, a site is worthless if it receives millions of visits. If a user arrives on a lower-funnel site, it is important to make it easy for them to move forward. Make sure your funnel is quick and simple to use. Don’t push your funnel too hard if a user does an informational search and ends up on an article. You could lose the lead forever. Once you have a clear understanding of the user’s intent, determine their page type and use this information to guide them to the next page in your product funnel.
PAGE EXPERIENCE & CORE WEB VITALS
Google last year announced that Page Experience and Core Web Vitals would be ranking factors in Google’s algorithm starting May 2021. These are great places to start if you don’t know what they are. Google will officially use site speed to rank sites.
Ask any SEO expert and they will tell you that site speed is a key ranking factor. It’s evident that it’s an indirect ranking factor due to the fact that a slow website will cause users to bounce back to Google. Google refers to this as “pogo-sticking” and it can hurt your SEO rankings.
Core Web Vitals is a report that you can find in GSC. It will focus on three key metrics.
Largest Contentful Painting (LCP), measures the speed at which pages’ main content is loaded. It should load in less than 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delayed (FID), measures the speed with which users can interact with a page once they have landed on it. This should occur in less than 100 milliseconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift, (CLS), measures how frequently users experience unexpected layout changes. CLS should not exceed 0.1
John Mueller, a Google top SEO, stated recently that all three Core Web Vitals benchmarks had to be met in order for Google to give a ranking signal boost. Mueller stated that Google might even display badges in the SERP to indicate faster sites. When you were deciding between two similar listings on Google, would you not click the one with the speed badge?
Go to GSC to see your Core Web Vitals, especially for mobile. Tell your product and development teams immediately if you have page types that are yellow or red and make sure they move them up on your SEO roadmap. Google granted SEOs almost a year to improve site speed. This advanced notice could be a sign of a major shift for a company that has a lot to do with SEO changes.
Pay attention to the SERP and take note of changes. There are no longer three paid links or 10 blue links. All you need is a URL, title tag, and meta description. Google runs A/B testing every day. You won’t be disappointed if Search Engine Roundtable’s newsletter is subscribed to by Barry Schwartz, its founder.
Google is constantly changing the SERP so you need to adapt fast for the top SEO trends in 2021 if you want your business to be ahead of the rest. Google’s feature snippets are still relatively new. However, they already see if adding contextual links or inserting another featured snippet can increase engagement. This information is essential to adapt your content strategy and design strategy. Google does it and so should your site.
Google is also investing more in structured data. Structured data allows Google to understand the context of pages and can reward you with more SERP real estate. Google currently only rewards structured data in the SERP. However, this list is growing quickly. If you have pages that fit into the Schema.org categories, I would be happy to add them to your roadmap.
Google and users need to believe that you are knowledgeable about your subject. EAT, or Expertise Authority and Trustworthiness, are ranking factors. Users need to be able to show that they are knowledgeable about their niche beyond Google. A user searching for information on artificial intelligence doesn’t want to have to visit multiple websites to find the right information. Take a look at the way Built-In presents its artificial intelligence content. A single page, with links to related pages, is a great informational blog layout.
Longer content is more effective in demonstrating your expertise. According to a SEMRush 2019 study, longreads (articles of 7,000 words or greater) drive nearly four times as much traffic than articles with an average length of 900-1,200 words.
SEO is not for those with short content. Your users will see that you are an expert in your field. You will see the results in return users, Google, as well as your organic rankings.
INTERNAL DEEP LINKING
Since internal linking has been essential to SEO for decades, you won’t find it on any SEO trends lists. But, just because this tactic is old doesn’t mean that it’s no longer effective. Google and your users will find the pages that you are interested in if they have internal linking. Google can find URLs on your site using XML sitemaps if they are set up correctly. However, users won’t be able to use them so they will need to navigate to the right page.
Ways To Do Internal Linking
This can be difficult if you have lots of content and millions of product pages that offer search functionality. Google and users will both benefit from a clear hierarchy on your site that allows them to move easily between pages. These are some ways to do it:
Content hubs: A page that serves as a pillar and links to articles on the topic.
Faceted navigation: E-commerce sites offer a variety of filters and facets that allow customers to quickly narrow down a product selection by color, style, or other attributes.
Linkbacks: A set of links at your product pages that link to similar products.
Similar hyperlinks: Link to similar content in your blogs.
Machine learning, AI, and natural language processing (NLP) are all on the rise. It is not difficult to create a lot of content, generate reports for CMOs and perform other important business functions. Many, including Google’s BERT update, are turning to automated tools to do the job faster and more efficiently. According to Data Prot’s latest report, 37% of organizations and businesses already use AI. The AI industry is expected to make around $118 billion in 2025.
This is the right time to start researching and testing AI software for keyword research, content writing, and reporting. It is important to thoroughly test it. GPT-3, the most recent development in AI, showed unsafe biases.
LOCAL SEARCH SEO TRENDS
- Local SEO has helped in-person traditional retailers to drive more traffic.
- Local SEO has seen rapid growth over the years. Google recently started to show more local news when it comes to search.
Zero-click searches and featured snippets are becoming more common every day. Zero-click searches often include local searches, which show the results in what’s known as a “local package”. Even if your physical location is not available, I recommend creating a Google My Business account. Also, make sure to update it as often as you can.
You can also take advantage of local SEO by:
- Local keywords are a great way to make a profit.
- Make use of online business directories.
- Create content that is based on local news stories and places specific to your areas, such as Built-In West Palm Beach or Built-In Palm Beach County.
It’s now time to be creative with your SEO. This article has a key theme that needs to be changed. SEO isn’t dying but it is constantly evolving. Many of the strategies that worked in years past won’t work today. Keyword stuffing and content sharing were once very lucrative SEO strategies. These archaic SEO tactics are not only no longer profitable, but could also lead to Google penalties.
It’s important to keep up to date with current trends and try new strategies. Do not be afraid to try new things. However, you should not go all-in until your experiments prove to be successful.
Do You Need Help With SEO Trends In 2021?
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