While 2020 was busy throwing curveballs, it was also opening up a unique opportunity for companies to adjust their business plans and experiment with innovative marketing. One of the most well-known yet constantly evolving marketing strategies is SEO, and in 2021 it has definitely evolved to a new level. Here are the top nine SEO trends to optimize for in 2021:
AI Takes Center Stage
RankBrain is, most simply put, an AI that looks for intent. What did the user intend when they typed “the best place for Chinese” into the search bar? Did they mean the best place for Chinese people to live or the best place to grab some Chinese food near me?
Looking for intent, rather than relying too heavily on keywords, means that in 2021 SEO factors such as time spent on a page, click-through rates, readability, and other items that ultimately contribute to a website’s quality and trustability will be held in much higher regard.
Voice Search is on the Rise
Thanks to smartphone AIs like Siri and in-home smart speakers, voice search has finally been widely adopted, and it’s now becoming central to SEO strategy. To optimize for voice search, adjust your thinking towards phrases used in everyday speech. Someone might type “best hotels Portugal,” but they’re more likely to say, “what are the best hotels in Portugal?” Longer, more natural-sounding search phrases are better poised to succeed in voice search SEO.
Reputation is Key
Have you ever heard of the EAT principle? It stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness,” and it represents the key factors used to judge if a website is reputable or not – and thus if it will rank. Ensuring that your website provides quality content is essential to stand up to this principle, as is linking to and from reputable websites.
So is Mobile-Friendliness
Since 2019, Google has been using mobile-first indexing. That means that the algorithm looks first at the mobile version of your site rather than the web one when indexing. It’s high time to make sure that your mobile site is truly up to par. Check the Google Search Console or Google’s mobile-friendly test to see where you stand and what you need to work on.
Long-Form Content Does Rank
Content with more than 3,000 words reputably gets more traffic and more shares than its average 1,000-word counterpart. This translates into higher ranked content – as long as you don’t let quality suffer. Providing users with shareable yet still engaging information means your business will want to invest more in quality web-writing than it may have in previous years.
Be sure to organize the content logically – both for human readers and crawler-bots. Employ subheadings in logical places, link to relevant, authoritative sources, and avoid plagiarism at all costs. Make sure to use natural language and one new aspect of SEO that’s particularly important in 2021: Semantics.
SEO used to be all about primary keywords. Now, with intent on Google’s mind, secondary keywords and semantic search optimization are quickly gaining prominence. The more logical and relevant information that you can provide that truly addresses the question your content is designed to answer – while remaining natural and readable – the better.
Featured Snippets are Central
Featured snippets, rolled out in 2017, show a short paragraph of information, often structured as the response to a question, right at the top of the SERP. Snippets are very brief, and if you get them right, they’re a sort of short-cut for getting first page results. If you’re aiming for snippets, make sure to tailor your content towards concise, easily-liftable answers to relevant keyword questions.
The proper labeling of images has always been key to SEO; however, with Google’s plans coming to a head, image labeling is more critical than ever. Optimize your images – use high quality, relevant images that are correctly labeled on the file name, alt text, and tags to ensure the crawlers can correctly classify them.
Video isn’t for everyone, but if it’s the main medium for your target market, then you should be doing it and doing it well. Optimize the name of your video channel and its description. Tag relevant keywords. Beyond actually creating videos worth sharing, organizing content is the key to ranking in video search results.
Although most companies took a financial hit last year, many are already back on the up-and-up and ready to thrive. Revving up your SEO strategy this year will ensure that in 2021, your company will be climbing back up the rankings, right to the top.
Hire an Experienced SEO Firm with a Proven Track Record
To ensure you are making none of these SEO mistakes, UnReal Web Marketing has a systematic search engine optimization program that generates page one rankings every time. Our SEO program has been proven time and time again; our holistic approach integrates research, design, content, structure, links, UX, and analytics. Contact us today for a free health check and ranking report.
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