The year 2020 is one that many business owners will not look back on fondly (unless you own a company that sells toilet paper or face masks). And to make things even tougher, Google recently put out a new core update that is affecting SEO rankings for a lot of companies. But to try to help you get the upcoming year started off right, here’s a list of SEO trends for 2021.
Voice search has become more important as the technology has improved. More and more people are using Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. The searches that people tend to do with these devices are more conversational (probably because they’re literally talking). People often use keywords that are long-tailed and very specific. For example, someone may decide to ask Siri “Where are the best pizza places near me?” Meanwhile, a person who is typing in their search will probably use a shortened version of that, like “best pizza near me.”
People would much rather watch a short video than read a long page of written content. Google realizes this, so pages that have video along with supportive written content often show up on the first page of results. Using a video isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be on the first page, but it doesn’t hurt. You’ll have to do some work to optimize your video content, using keywords that reflect the topic of your video and your website.
Featured snippets have been around for about three years now. They are a great tactic to target because the snippet will be placed at the very top of Google Search results, before pay-per-click (PPC) ads and organic results. If users can get their questions answered by the featured snippet, there’s no reason for them to even scroll down the page. So, we’re seeing more zero-click searches. To try to get a featured snippet, you’ll want to use relevant keywords. Often, it helps to ask a question. Also, you may want to learn more about structured data, which helps Google understand exactly what your page is about.
You may have heard of Google’s E-A-T principle for creating quality content that helps you rank. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And this is especially important for businesses that fall under the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category. If you’re creating content for businesses in the health or finance industries, you should keep E-A-T on your mind as you’re working. On the other hand, if you’re writing content for a website that sells different kinds of matching pajamas, E-A-T may not affect you as much.
But there are a couple of things you can do to prove you have E-A-T. Creating different buyer personas may help you design content that is relevant, and you want your content to be up to date. It can also help to build more quality links and get more reviews. If there are certain sites within your industry that people trust, try to get some good reviews on them. For example, if you run a vacation rental in Florida, you might try to get some reviews on TripAdvisor.
Like the E-A-T principle, using long-form content helps to show that you’re an expert on a topic. If people spend a lot of time reading your longer page, it shows that you’re bringing quality, informative content that is helpful. A blog post that contains 2,000 words (or more) will probably rank better than one that has 1,000 words or less. But you need those 2,000 words to be top-quality, and you must thoroughly address the question the blog is raising as well as any related questions.
Pretty much everyone has some sort of smartphone now, and a lot of people don’t even own a computer. So, it makes sense that Google has taken a mobile-first approach to indexing pages. If you’re not sure exactly how mobile-friendly your website is, you can take Google’s mobile-friendly test. Additionally, Google Search Console has a mobile usability check that you can check out.
If you’ve already optimized your site for voice search using long-tailed keywords, you’re on the right path. However, there will probably be a few technical SEO aspects you’ll have to address for mobile use. Also, it can help to go through your pages on a mobile device to make sure everything is loading and functioning correctly and that images on a page aren’t covering up written content.
Local SEO had taken a bit of a hit in 2020 because more people are sitting at home instead of going out and relying on their phones to bring them nearby results. Over the past few months, you may have seen the commercials that Google put out for “search near me.” It features people supporting local businesses by using “near me” searches. Google wants the results that people get to be relevant to them, so it makes sense for them to support local SEO. Getting your site to show up in Local Pack snippets can help your local search results. To do this, you’ll need a properly optimized Google My Business listing as well as a great backlink profile.
There is so much content and advertisements online nowadays that people don’t know who to go to. They’re looking for authentic advice from people they can identify with. If you team up with an influencer, it can help increase your traffic and overall visibility. But you don’t want any old influencer who happens to have a huge audience. It’s better to find someone who’s established a niche in your specific industry and can form stronger relationships with your target audience.
In conclusion, we hope that these SEO trends for 2021 help you out. But, as we all know, SEO is something that will continue to change, so you’ll want to stay up to date with the newest developments in the industry. Good luck!