It’s that time of the year again! SEO marketers and business owners are scrambling to find, assess, and integrate new SEO trends into their 2021 growth strategies. With the online sphere being in a constant state of flux, the land of SEO, and the ways to grow online keeps shifting with new trends popping up each year.
That is especially true in 2021, with a brand new decade starting. New technologies like VR/AR. AI, voice search, and innovations in data collection and analysis have given birth to many different trends that allow businesses to reach new people and grow exponentially.
So what are the latest SEO trends in 2021? Well, that’s what we are here for today. We here at Freelancers Hub specialize in providing innovative digital solutions like SEO optimization that help businesses worldwide grow. Our close connection with the SEO world has allowed us to notice the latest trends that will dominate the new year, and we thought we should tell what they are. So without any further delay, let’s begin!
Intense Focus On User + Search Intent
The importance of user and search intent has never been a trend or and isn’t something new, but it’s always something that you should revisit when building your strategy for the new year. Google is still primarily a place where people go to look for answers and learn about things. Thus, understanding what the search is for or understanding the user wants allows you as a business to cater to their needs more, resulting in growth.
As the search engine algorithms keep getting better, more and more traditional SEO efforts will become obsolete. Pro SEO marketers understand this and know that the general trend is moving more towards understanding what’s happening within the SERPs/searcher intent.
If you are looking to understand user or search intent, the best place to start would be to do SERP analysis. The search engine algorithms are getting better at understanding search with each passing update, and content that lacks the EAT principle will suffer in their ranking. As a brand, you can already start integrating some changes right now:
- Create content that focuses more on the user’s needs and concerns than about your brand and product.
- A website that loads and stabilizes fast.
- Make it easy to go to your content. Take away all the forced pop-ups, registrations, ETC.
Remember, you have to analyze every aspect of the search data and on-site journey of any organically acquired leads. You also need to analyze the on-site search and highlighted keywords the user put in for all pages that they visited. Make sure you aggregate the data and map it to a content journey.
Artificial Intelligence & It’s Growing Influence
Artificial Intelligence or AI has been changing the world, and it’s no surprise that it’s changing how people on the internet connect to content. Google’s AI algorithm called the RankBrain now plays a vital part in SERP rankings. Google has already demonstrated how Rank Brain studies discoveries and insights and learns about search intent, and with time, it is touted to become the best tool to understand search intent.
Now, you may have a hard time finding the information you need to know Rank Brain optimization because SEO marketers seldom share that information. However, we have seen that user experience signals tend to be the primary determinant. These vary from factors such as click-through rate to time spent on-page.
Optimizing your site with captivating and engaging content that’s presented in a well-organized fashion should do the trick. Use an SEO checker to find out the strengths of your page. Check out significant factors like readability, backlinks, and more to ensure you have perfect optimization for Google’s AI.
The Impact Of Voice Search
Voice search has been growing in recent years, and it has been touted as the next big thing as more and more people are using it to look for something on the internet. With Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, the voice search technology has come a long way. According to a Techcrunch article, the number of households owning a smart speaker is expected to be around 55%. So you see, it’s an SEO trend that you need to optimize for in 2021 if you want to see meaningful growth.
Remember, you need to find keywords that are a bit different than the usual keywords. Keywords for voice search are usually longer phrases that people say in real life. Identify natural-sounding phrases. People only abbreviate when typing, but in voice, they tend to say the full phrases. Make sure you dedicate a portion of your time researching and integrating voice search aspects in 2021.
All SEO Efforts Should Be Mobile-Centric
The entire online world is a mobile-first place. Around 73% of online traffic is expected to come from mobile devices within 2025. So it is no wonder Google introduced the mobile-first indexing back in 2019. What mobile-first indexing means is that when Google checks a site, it considers the mobile version the “primary” version instead of the desktop version.
Google even allows you to check if your website has been perfectly optimized for mobile users or not. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out more, and also make sure to check out the “mobile usability” report from Google Search Console as well to see if the optimization worked. Remember, you need to make it easy for Google to crawl your sites. Check for “disallow directive” and make sure to remove it.
You also need to make sure Google can read any content that requires user interactions, like clicking or swiping. These types of content are known as lazy-loaded content, and Google needs to see them, so make sure you optimize for that as well. Another thing to remember is that you have to use the same meta robots tags on both the desktop and mobile sites.
Focusing More On Google EAT Principle
The EAT principle has been the backbone of content marketing & SEO for a long time. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are the factors that determine whether or not a webpage has useful quality content.
EAT is even more critical for niches that fall under the tag “your money, your life” (YMYL). There’s a wide variety of businesses that fall under the category, such as health care and finance. There is a process to ensure that you create content that follows the EAT principle. Here what you need to do:
- Create well-researched buyer personas.
- You need to conduct search intent research.
- Use the information from the research to create your content.
Remember, you need to determine the content format according to the customer persona to have an impact. You also need to backup your content with stats and facts from reputable sites. Backing up your content with sites with .edu” and “.gov” URLs will also help you rank high and meet the EAT criteria.
Long-Form Content Is King
According to experts, long-form content is still the best way to rank high on SERPs and gain authority. Long-form content not only generates more traffic but is shared more frequently. These types of content also get more backlinks than articles that fall under 1000 words. However, you have to make sure the content you create maintains quality throughout.
Remember, the goal is to create content filled with shareable information that keeps users engaged. You also need to make sure the long-form content you create can be easily read, especially on mobile devices. So utilize H2 and H3 subheadings to ensure a clear readability score.
When linking to sites, you have to make sure the sites and sources are relevant, authoritative, and have a solid authority score. Your main goal is to have them share your long-form content, so you also need to integrate sharing links at the headline and again after the content.
Featured Snippets Are Becoming Even More Prominent
Now, all the content you generate doesn’t need to be long-form content. You can create impactful content and get featured as a snippet at the top of the SERP. Featured snippets were introduced by Google back in 2017 and are the perfect way to gain prominence on Google. Did you ever notice a box at the top of the SERPs when searching for something? Well, that’s a snippet.
Scoring a snippet is one of the best ways to rank on the first page and steal some valuable traffic from your competitors. The form of content that is usually featured on snippets is structured as Q&A or brief bullet-point, how-to guides. There are rich snippets as well. Those are generated through images, star-based reviews, product prices, and similar bits of information.
If you want to create snippets for your content, make sure you have much content with question-based queries and relevant keywords. Google’s “People Also Ask” can be a gold mine of information if you want to get a snippet for your content.
Predictive Search Is Improving
Google Discover was introduced back in 2017, and it is one of Google’s AI-driven tools that identify user behavioral patterns and gradually learn their habits. That means Discover can even suggest users’ content without a query. It can find the most accurate content that is most likely to interest the user.
Google claims that Discover has over 800 million active users already. Whenever your pages are indexed, it’s included within the Discover network. Google’s algorithm will inspect the content quality and user interest, then rank your content accordingly.
While Google is yet to release any information about specific factors that impact predictive search, things like location history, browsing history, app usage, calendars, search history, and home and work locations seem to impact predictive search results.
Video Will Be A Major Force In SEO
If you haven’t been creating video content for your business, you will probably do things wrong. Video is one of the most engaging forms of content you can make. Look at Youtube; it already has more than 1 billion active users. According to a CISCO article, it is well on its way to being the most consumed form of content out there. So make sure you start optimizing your business for video.
One of the first things you need to do is optimize your video channel name and description. Do not cram your description with keywords. Make sure it is clear and user-friendly to understand what your channel is all about. Keywords are just as crucial for videos like it is on other types of content.
Finding a list of keywords people are using on Youtube should be a priority, and it’s real easy to do. You can type in your topic in the search tab see what the autocomplete feature shows. The phrases and words you see are what people are looking for, so make sure you integrate them within your videos.
Image Optimization Needs To Be A Priority
One of the latest SEO trends in Google is the need for image optimization. Image search has been growing each year drastically, and it’s going to be even more prominent in 2021. Soon, you will be able to purchase products, obtain information, and do other things from images you look up. So optimizing your images with the proper marking and other optimizations is the only way to ensure sustainable growth in the long-term as well.
Always make sure you have correctly optimized images on your site. Please make sure they are of high-quality and are relevant. You should also ensure the file name is customized and label the photo file to be relevant to the content on the corresponding page. Make sure you use alt tags and add the images to your sitemap so that the search engine can easily crawl, identify, and index your content.
Semantically Related Keywords Are Going To Be Vital
As we have been saying all along, understanding and optimizing for user intent is a significant part of ensuring growth in 2021, and this SEO trend suggests that’s what’s happening. Semantic search and intent optimization will play a vital role in your SEO efforts for business growth. Long gone are the days where you could only focus and optimize your content with primary keywords.
Google is looking to match your content with the search intent, so when you optimize your content with semantically related keywords, it allows the search engine to understand your content is the right match for the search. These keywords help Google to understand query context and discern a user’s search intent. Always create content that is designed to answer questions that your target audience would ask.
Remember to create topic clusters instead of focusing solely on keywords and utilize structured data when logical. The final thing to remember is that you are writing for people and not bots, so write accordingly.
Local Search Listings Need To Be Your Focus
While search engines connect you to the entire world, people usually use them to find new localized goods and services. Local SEO is one of the backbones of growth, and it’s one of the SEO trends that you need to take even more seriously in 2021. The rise of zero-click searches has been one of the prime reasons local SEO has evolved this much in recent years.
So what is a zero-click search? Well, it’s where the SERP answers the user’s query, which means that the user doesn’t need to click on any ranked results on the page. Zero-click searches rose in prominence because of the increased focus on featured snippets.
Most zero-click searches tend to be local searches that showcase the results in SERPs. This is what’s called a “local pack” by SEO managers. So how do you optimize your business for this latest SEO trend? You can start by creating a Google My Business profile first and then create a comprehensive backlink profile with only quality and relevant links.
Never Forget The Importance Of Data and Analytics
Regardless of whatever happens, one of the things you can count on being a continued SEO trend is the need for data and analytics. Using data science, you can understand buyers, visualize campaigns, and create targeted messages specifically for your business.
On the other hand, analytics will help you verify which URLs are getting crawled, identify referral sources, check page loading times, indexing, redirects, response errors, bounce rates, and plenty of other things. Utilizing the right data science tools, you can easily find pages that you don’t want crawlers indexing and pinpoint unusual traffic sources, such as potential spam sites that will harm your EAT scores.
There are plenty of tools out there you can use. Make sure you use one like SEMRush that offers everything from rank tracking to competitive research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, link building, and plenty of others.
Understanding and reading the data will help you stay ahead of the competition and find where your website is failing. Make sure you focus on this, as it is one of the most important SEO trends if you want to grow this year.
Read The SEO Trends & Strategize
So those are the current SEO trends that will make sure your business grows in 2021. So make sure you check out the trends, read the data, and strategize accordingly. If you are having a hard time strategizing, you can contact our SEO managers who have years of experience building SEO strategies that generate growth.
You can also contact us if you want to know more about the most impactful SEO trends and techniques to ensure sustainable growth. If you think we missed a 2021 SEO growth, please let us know in the comments below or hit us up on our socials. And with that being said, we are done for now. We will come back with something for you to read about the digital landscape soon. Until then, see ya!