In business, the only constant is the change, and SEO trends are no exception. With the grueling competition among enterprises to enable their websites to appear at the top rankings of search engine results, you need to keep yourself abreast of the trends for 2021 so that your business will remain visible over the internet.
It goes without saying that if you fail to make your website visible in search engine results, you will likely be out of business. As such, it will help if your gear up yourself to stay ahead in the intense SEO competition in 2021 with the following steps:
1. Voice Search Optimization: Next Level SEO
When you look out for impactful SEO strategies for 2021, you should not miss out on voice search. The trend of people doing online searches with their voices has been growing steadily. And studies show that voice queries now account for almost half of online searches. As such, optimize your website for voice search to leverage the trend.
Today, users want quick and relevant answers, so they prefer speaking to the search engine rather than typing the query.
With voice search, you get the flexibility of doing online search anywhere and anytime and get the information you want. It does not matter whether you are on your way to somewhere, in a position where you cannot type, or do not have much free time to type. Voice search has become a matter of convenience rather than a luxury.
So, when you optimize your website for voice search, it will help if you consider the most likely queries people do and the corresponding answers. You can begin some paragraphs of articles on your website, like ‘what,’ ‘when,’ or ‘how.
It will also help if you consider the niches where people are likely to do voice searches while composing the website content. For example, there is a strong likelihood of people using the Google Assistant to purchase stuff like cinema tickets, schedules, and premieres.
Likewise, people are likely to do voice searches for seeking stuff, such as life hacks, cooking recipes, cooking video tutorials, how-to’s, etc. People also tend to use voice to search restaurants with their menus and their work hours, and so on. As such, you need to consider the type of business, structured data, and local optimization.
There is also a bit of difference in how search engines process conversational queries and simple keyword searches. During processing conversational queries, search engines interpret what the user wants and then returns the best matching results.
In the context of voice search, the Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology is helpful in enabling search engines to process search queries. NLP assists search engines by analyzing speech and interpreting user queries. And it works with unique patterns, accents, dialects and other human speech characteristics.
Simultaneously, it would help if you did not fall behind in optimizing your website for mobiles as voice search as people predominantly do voice searches on mobile devices.
Speed is another critical factor for optimizing your website for voice search. You need to bear in mind that your website will not catch Google Assistant’s attention if you cannot provide fast results against search queries.
2. Prove Your Authority: E.A.T. Concept
The Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E.A.T.) concept personifies itself as a webmaster (or a copywriter), mimicking a competent professional who produces quality content, free of negativity.
# Why is E.A.T. Important?
The importance of E.A.T. arises from Google’s intent to receive relevant and proven information. If your website bears content that might hurt user sentiments, then Google’s algorithm will push your website to the deepest SERP layers so that it will perform very poorly in search engine results.
Therefore, you need to make sure you publish authentic and clean content. Incorrect data might be a disaster for your website rankings and are likely to attract bad reviews. If you do not take care to write clean content, users might eventually dump your website.
# How to Work the Best With E.A.T.?
The best way to work with E.A.T. is to introduce yourself properly in your website’s About Us section. In that section, you can describe who you are, your achievements, and the reasons why people should use your business offerings.
You should add backlink to and from trustworthy sources as nowadays people do not trust unknown or suspicious sources. If they find your links suspicious, they will not trust you. Therefore, eliminate backlinks from extremely low authority or irrelevant domains, if you have any, using Google Disavow. It will also help if you avoid linking to suspicious domains.
It is not only your website from which people can learn about you and your offerings. There are other online sources too. Therefore, make efforts to gather positive reviews about your brand on other internet authentic review platforms.
- Easy for search engines to fully crawl, render, and index
- Accessible to users with outdated browsers
If Google cannot index any of your website content, it will severely impact the page rankings. It will help if you:
You should figure out the code that is causing the rendering issues by looking at your page sections that do not properly load. Then:
- Avoid using # in URLs as Google avoids #, and that could prevent Google from accessing the content
4. Influencers: Social Media Meets SEO
It will help if you leverage an influencer’s popularity, such as a well-known actor or singer, to build brand awareness and increase your reach to consumers.
When the concept of an influencer comes into your mind, you might tend to consider only the big celebrities who have massive social media followers. But that is not totally true. An influencer can be any person who has substantial influence on the followers on their social media channels.
Teaming up with an influencer can help a business to impactfully market its business offerings. As people are more likely to trust and engage with an influencer, they are likely to trust the brand which the influencer endorses. As such, the business is likely to see increasing sales.
If you work with an influencer, it will entail substantial benefits, such as broader reach, improved brand awareness, and quality backlinks to your website. As such, you will see higher traffic and rankings ultimately better SEO. But, do not fall behind in choosing an influencer who is relevant and respected in your industry. Also, it would help if you made your goals and expectations clear with the influencer.
5. Artificial Intelligence: Personalizing User Experiences
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has made inroads to online search and hence the SEO arena too. Google uses A.I. to improve search results, classify, and rank pages in search engine results. At the same time, A.I. incorporates all the new trends and technologies to derive the best search results. As such, integrate artificial intelligence into your SEO strategy.
Google’s venture into the A.I. started in 2010 when it incorporated the Caffeine update which was a new web indexing system. It improved the method in which Google crawled data and stored what it found. The update had enabled Google to accelerate its crawl process, boost its index and return faster results. The search giant had subsequently released A.I.based updates:Panda in 2011, Hummingbird in 2013 and RankBrain in 2015.
When it comes to the association of A.I. with search engines, you need to keep two fundamental facts in mind:
- Content plays a big role
- A prudent SEO strategy is a must
6. Page Experience – Core Metrics
It is no longer a secret that Google’s new page experience update will go live in 2021. As Google announced with a long lead time, it is reasonable to expect that it will be effective.
Google has already included user experience as a part of its algorithm, which bears features such as site security (https), page speed, intrusive interstitials, mobile-friendliness, and safe browsing.
The ranking factors included in the latest update are already a part of page speed insights. But the difference is that Google will further refine the factors and weight them separately with more importance.
The new ranking factors are called Core Web Vitals, and you can measure those in a new report under the Google search console. Those are:
# First Input Delay (FID)
The FID measure refers to someone who can first interact with the page. The page should have an FID of less than 100 ms for ensuring a good user experience.
# Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
It would be best if you did not get confused with the first contentful paint. L.C.P. measures the loading performance of the most massive content on screen. Ideally, the measurement has to happen within 2.5 seconds to elicit a good user experience. So, you need to optimize your website for speed.
# Cumulative Layout Shift (C.L.S.)
It is a new factor for page experience. The C.L.S. measures the visual stability of elements on the screen. You need to make efforts to maintain a C.L.S. of less than .1 seconds for your website pages.
7. Search Engines: Multi-Platform Optimization
Google is not the lone search engine that you can find on the internet. There are others, such as DuckDuckGo, Bing, StartPage, Gibiru, Search Encrypt, and Ekoru. The main difference is that Google is the most prominent and popular search engine.
As you cannot expect die-hard fans to switch search engines, you should optimize your website for multiple search engines and search-enabled platforms.
8. Video Marketing
Videos have become popular marketing tools for businesses. People nowadays tend to watch a video rather than reading to get information. A recent study by Google showed that six out of ten people prefer watching online videos rather than T.V.
You should therefore include video content on your website. And it would help if you made sure that the videos you include contain helpful, relevant, and timely content. Simultaneously, you also need to optimize your videos for search engines by adding relevant keywords to each video title and description to attract consumers.
9. Structured Data
Structured data enables Google to understand what the content on a page is about. The understanding can help your site to become a featured snippet that will attract more and more attention. It can be anything such as the top result at Position Zero, an entry in the Answers section, which could be a “Q&A menu”, or the Knowledge Panel on the upper right of a results page.
But getting a featured snippet is a huge challenge. It will help if you try to counter this challenge on your own. What you can do is, write high quality content with valuable keywords and structure your data (using Schema). In this way, you can ensure that it will be a top-notch answer for a specific query.
# How to Optimize for Featured Snippets?
To optimize your website for featured snippets, you need to work on the layout of your content. However, that does not imply that you need to change some elements of your writing style. You can just add some small details that will ease your work with users and Google. For example, you can begin your articles with the definitions of the terms you are going to use in the article or in your title. Google can consider such content as the most relevant short answers to users’ queries.
# Apply Schema Markup
Schema is an evolving concept that helps in defining the context of a query and simplify page content. It enables search engines to easily understand what that page is about. Once you add schema to your website, it will create rich snippets in search. They are enhanced listings that are more attractive to a user.
Rich snippets give detailed information about your page content. They can include elements such as pricing information, review ratings, product availability, images, and videos.
Schema markup helps you to become noticeable in the SERPs, such as marked up FAQ pages that have a greater chance to appear in the SERPs in the form of rich results.
10. Progressive Web Apps [P.W.A.]
There is no clear cut description of how you can leverage Progressive Web Apps (P.W.A.) to improve your SEO, yet it has been observed that they can increase user engagements. In essence, P.W.A.s are app-like web pages that are driven by the browser. And users get the experience of using a standalone application. Some examples are Housing.com, Starbucks, Airbnb, Yummly, and Twitter.
When it comes to user experiences, Google defines P.W.A.s as reliable, fast, and engaging because:
- Loads quickly and runs well even in poor network environments
- Responds instantly to user interactions with smooth animation
- Bear the look and feel of an app
SEO is a vast subject and there cannot be an end to the technical elements to pay attention to in the evolving world of SEO. However, the above mentioned are the ones which are expected to be the most important to have a well optimized site in 2021.
Have questions or want to know how your site is stacking up to the new Google update? Drop us a line.
All the Best!