What SEO trends are you using to optimize your content visibility and search ranking? Are you wondering what trends in SEO are relevant in 2021 and beyond?
This article will highlight the importance of SEO and the current trends to focus on for a maximum return on your investments (ROIs). Search engine optimization is one of the most valuable marketing channels that must be present in every marketer’s toolbox. Why?
Because it helps improve organic search visibility and SERPs ranking. To think of it, how do consumers find your brand? They go online and perform searches to see the products or services you offer.
Hence, no matter your niche or the type of business you operate, having a robust presence on organic search is essential for:
- Driving targeted web traffic
- Generate leads
- Attract new customers
- Increase sales
- Boost revenue
However, since SEO involves various factors, you can’t control how search engines work. But there are helpful steps you can take to optimize your chances of showing up on searches. Understanding the importance of SEO and staying up to date with current trends in SEO play a crucial role.
Why is SEO Important to Your Business?
You can never overemphasize the value of SEO. That is because SEO offers businesses and organizations the opportunity to attract prospects through online searches. As you are aware, over 90% of internet activities start with a search. Also, organic search accounts for over 50% of web traffic.
Further survey points out that:
- Over 60% of online consumers will research a product or service online before making a purchasing decision
- Almost 60% (57%) of B2B marketers noted that SEO traffic drive more leads than any other marketing initiative
- 80% of internet buyers perform one or more online research before making a considerable purchase
- 75% of online searchers never scroll past Google’s first page or other search engines
- Search engines account for 300% more organic traffic to websites than social media.
Thus, if your brand does not have a robust SEO strategy and is not conversant with the latest SEO trends, you will find it challenging to optimize your ROIs. Therefore, SEO is vital because it helps position your content, blog, and other website properties high on SERPs for related search terms.
That way, you guarantee to drive target traffic and attract potential clients to your sales funnel. Besides, SEO is also essential because it:
- Improve user experience (UX)
- Build relationships (trust & credibility)
- Increase conversions
- Influence the buyer circle
- SEO is cost-effective
- It is measurable
- Boost organic traffic
The Top SEO Trends for Better Content Visibility and Search Ranking
SEO continues to evolve, and with search engine algorithms’ constant update, keeping up-to-date with the latest SEO trends is challenging. Also, considering that over 70% of internet users concentrate on organic search results, knowing the latest trends in SEO has never been more critical.
Understanding these trends enables you to prepare for what’s ahead. It also helps optimize your content and website for higher search visibility and Google ranking. Therefore, let us look at the top search engine optimization trends for your focus.
1. Featured Snippets Will Gain More Importance
Featured snippets are excerpts of text that show up at the top of search results. These snippets get pulled automatically from pages in Google’s index to provide quick answers to users’ search terms.
Take a look at the examples of featured snippets in the screenshot:
Notice that the results contain numbered lists. But at other times, they may have bullet points or show up without numbers and bullets in a single paragraph. Also, the snippets appear before a link to a web page, in contrast to the standard search results where links appear first.
Any Google search results that appear this way are featured snippets. They answer users’ queries with a short sentence or paragraph. Interestingly, they can help your content appear more prominently in searches.
That said, featured snippets are your bypass to Google’s page one ranking. More importantly, they swipe organic traffic from competitors on SERPs’ first page and will continue gaining prominence for years ahead.
Therefore, to optimize for featured snippets, concentrate on long-tail keywords and question queries your target market may be asking.
Further Reading: How to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets in 2021 and Beyond
2. Core Web Vitals
Google disclosed three latest metrics, termed Core Web Vitals─a page metric for evaluating the kind of experience users would encounter when they visit your website. For this, Google will look at your web pages’ loading, interactivity, and visual stability to determine your site’s page experience for better web browsing.
According to Google, they’re merging signals from Core Web Vitals and existing search signals for page experience, including:
- Mobile friendly
- Safe browsing
- HTTPS, and
- Intrusive interstitials
The combination of these signals is to enable Google to provide a comprehensive outlook of page experience. Thus, Google has put more emphasis on improving user experience. As a result, the search engine giant will establish whether your web pages load fast enough to keep visitors on the page.
Therefore, Web Vitals enables you to examine how fast your site loads, becomes functionally visible and ready for use. For this, Google uses three test metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP.)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS.)
Also, considering that Google declared page experience and Core Web Vitals as ranking factors, you need to watch these metrics closely to enable you to appear on searches. Indeed, all three metrics connect to page speed. It means that if your web pages load slowly, you will have difficulty popping up on SERPs.
So, test your site speed to determine how fast it loads and how durable the pages are when loading. You can find your Core Web Vitals in the drop-down menu in Google Search Console.
How to boost Core Web Vitals:
- Apply lazy loading
- Compress images and optimize them accordingly
- Use appropriate image dimensions
- Enhance server response time
- Improve largest content paintful (LCP) score
- Increase first input delay (FID) score
- Improve cumulative layout shift (CLS) score
3. Google BERT Model
Google’s Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) is Google’s most significant update since Rankbrain. Its purpose is to understand search intent through natural language processing (NLP) using machine learning (ML) or Transformer.
The Transformer is a mechanism that learns contextual correlations between words in a text by instantly reading the entire chain of words. It is in contrast to the directional models that read texts consecutively to understand the context.
Given the BERT update, Google spiders are more conversational and can quickly understand the intent behind a search query. It means that your blog content must satisfy user intent for Google bots to show it on SERPs.
Otherwise stated, if you’re not creating content around search intent or satisfying user search query, Google will choose your competitor’s content over yours. That’s because it filters content in the Google index to find the most relevant material for each query.
According to Danny Sullivan, you need no optimization for Google BERT. But you can improve your content to show on searches. How?
Tips to enhance your content for user satisfaction::
- Remove unnecessary and high-flown words
- Be precise as much as you can
- Create content that satisfies the reader (must answer readers’ questions or search query)
- Produce more blog content around question your readers are asking online
4. Testing and Improving User Experience is Vital
Google’s primary goal is to improve user experience (UX) on all platforms. For this, UX influences SEO ranking via different engagement metrics that Google uses based on its algorithms. These metrics are crucial since they let search engine crawlers see how visitors interact with your web pages.
This KPI (UX) objective is to guarantee user satisfaction through easy accessibility, usability, and efficiency when using your website. And because UX is now a Google ranking factor, it’s essential to prioritize testing to improve your site user experience. It helps boost your SEO strategy.
As a result, the content you produce must be:
- Valuable and satisfy a need
- Applicable and easy to consume
- Desirable or appealing enough to provoke emotion
- Searchable across platforms
- Accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities
Your website should:
- Load faster
- Be easy to navigate
- Use the right fonts, images, and illustrations
- Have user-friendly URLs and sitemap
- Have user-friendly themes
- Increase website security
5. Local SEO
Local SEO has become more prevalent because more consumers are searching for products or services in their locale. If you enter a search on Google for a service near you, you will see more than enough results.
Hence, local business owners are devising new SEO strategies to beat the competition. I searched for “Ford auto shop near me” and got over 2.8 billion results for this illustration. So, how can you stand out from the rest if you’re not optimizing for local search SEO?
It shows why local SEO will keep dominating the landscape, and the trend is not slowing down. Nevertheless, the growth of zero-click search helped in propelling the rise of local search engine optimization.
According to research, zero-click search’s click-through rates (C.T.R.s) surged in 2020 to 65%—a 15% increase from 50% in 2019.
Zero-click searches are search results that resolve a user’s query instantly on SERP without clicking a link. And most zero-click results are the outcome of local searches. Remember that marketers characterize local search to a local pack.
The local pack is a SERP feature of Google results that displays local businesses based on search terms with local intent. Besides, a study indicates that 50% of searches end without a click on a result─meaning that most results do not require further clicks for information.
How to optimize for local search:
- Create a Google My Business page
- Include Schema Markup to your business blog or website
- Add your brand to local directories
- Optimize your site for local keywords.
- Update name, address, and phone number (NAP) on your website
- Create blogs around local search terms, local events, and news stories
- Ask for reviews for your business website
6. The E-A-T Concept
The expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) concept are essential in SEO. Why? Because Google uses these three elements to gauge your site’s credibility to provide users with the best online experience and trustworthy information.
Consequently, Google released a white paper that explained its effort to address the intentional spread of disinformation across:
- Google Search
- Google News
- YouTube, and
- Its advertising platforms
The company’s idea is subject to three primary elements:
- Upgrade its products to continue delivering quality
- Counteract or offset the effort of those seeking to spread disinformation across Google products
- Give the user more context about the content they see
Hence, E-A-T is a vital part of Google algorithms, with the search engine intending to support only websites it finds trustworthy. As Google search continues to upgrade its performance, it will eventually get better at determining credible websites using the EAT concept.
Remember, EAT is not a direct ranking factor. But you can apply the following pointers to boost your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT):
- Create quality and well-researched content frequently
- Check your data for accuracy, and link only to credible sites and resources
- Adhere to producing content you’re confident will add value
- Update old blog content
- Obtain quality inbound links and mentions
- Get more positive reviews from happy customers
7. Mobile-friendly Websites
Before the rollout of Google’s mobile-first indexing strategy, the company made several updates, including mobile-friendly, which became one of SEO’s ranking factors. These measures revealed Google’s preference for mobile-friendly websites.
That’s understood since more people access the internet via mobile devices. According to research, mobile devices (excluding tablets) account for 54.8% of website traffic globally in the Q1 of 2021.
Thus, mobile-first indexing and the enforcement of mobile-friendly sites became crucial elements for SEO successes. These shifts put mobile in the most vital position for the standard of indexing your site and SEO ranking.
What does it mean for your online business?
It implies that Google will continue to favor mobile-friendly blogs and websites, which will continue. It also indicates that your SEO campaign successes correlate to ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly.
But before you confirm your site friendliness, check whether Google already switched it to mobile-first indexing. To do that, go to Google Search Console (GSC), scroll to the bottom of the menu, and click “Settings.” On the settings page, scroll down a little to find “Indexing Crawler.”
There you will see “Googlebot Smartphone” and the date when Google switched your site to mobile-indexing. That means Google already swapped your website. But if you don’t see the “Google Smartphone,” it indicates that the search engine giant is yet to switch your web property.
In this case, you can’t do it yourself. The best you do to prepare for the switch is to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Use the Google mobile-friendly test tool to evaluate your site’s mobile friendliness.
8. Informative Quality Content
In section-3, I noted that Google BERT filters content materials in the Google index to pick the most appropriate content for a user’s search query. The software does that because it understands the search intentㅡthe motive behind the search.
It reveals that your pages will not appear on SERPs if your blog content does not satisfy a user’s search query. Also, considering that content fuels all marketing channels, your posts must be informative to attract the right audience.
- Blog articles
- Podcasts and more
You need to provide value to keep your readers longer on the page and reduce bounce rates. Increasing dwell time gives signals to search engine bots that your blog content is helpful to the reader. Hence, if you want to rank on search results, create informative quality content frequently.
Further Reading: 12 “Secrets” to Writing High Quality Content for Your Blog
9. Voice Search SEO Will be a Crucial Factor
Why is voice search SEO a critical element for consideration? That’s because over 43% of online consumers make purchases through voice-enabled devices. And almost 60% of shoppers find local businesses using voice search.
Also, given that sales of voice-enabled devices will surpass tablets in 2021, the need to optimize your business website for voice search is more crucial now than ever before. While some may consider voice search an emerging trend, the fact is that it fuels SEO and has transformed the way people use the internet.
For this, content marketers and SEO’s have devised several methods to accommodate voice search. These include creating content according to the way we speak. The reason behind this trend is because most voice search queries sound the way we communicate. They are typically longer than text searches─from about 6-words and above.
Internet users look for particular answers to their problems when they use a voice search command. And these are usually precise or definite long-tail keyword phrases that give users the exact answers to their queries.
As a result, more consumers opt for voice search, and the trend will continue way down the line. So, how can you optimize your blog content for voice search?
Here are a few voice search tips to follow:
- Make your content conversational, according to the way we speak.
- Use concise words and question phrases.
- Write longer blog posts with long-tail keywords.
- Optimize for rich snippets
- Get your business on local listings using adequately structured data.
- Update your data frequently.
- Add a F.A.Q.s page
10. Video Content Marketing Will Keep Trending
Video content marketing is vital for SEO and broader digital marketing successes. Research proves that video content can increase time on page meaningfully and explode your online visibility.
Please, consider these stats on video marketing:
- 83% of marketers say video marketing increased visitor’s average time spent on a page
- 86% of marketers state that video increase organic traffic to their websites
- 93% of content marketers allege that video marketing is a crucial part of their marketing strategy
- 86% of respondents say their company use video as a marketing tool for business growth
- 87% of marketers who responded say video, in general, generate an excellent return on their investment (ROI.)
Besides, your site is 53x more likely to rank on SERPs’ page one if you add videos. Why? Because 75% of consumers visit a business website after watching a video about its products or services.
These figures indicate the power of video marketing and its impact on SEO. The more engagements (views, shares, likes, and comments) your video gets increases your chances to rank higher on search results. Why?
Because those interactions help you get quality backlinks, and search engine bots use those metrics as vital signals to rank your website. Notwithstanding, the trend is not slowing down. So, you should use videos to amplify your marketing strategy and SEO campaign.
How to optimize video marketing for SEO:
- Use the best video hosting platform (That’s if you’re not hosting the content on your website)
- Enclose video transcripts
- Guarantee that your thumbnail images are engaging to attract attention
- Craft compelling headings and SEO-friendly descriptions
- Include videos in your web pages
- Avoid inserting identical video on several web pages
- If there are several videos, check that you embed the video you want to rank first
11. Link Building for SEO
SEO link-building strategy has been around for the longest, and the trend is not showing any signs of deceleration. Instead, it remains a timeless search engine optimization technique for first-page ranking. Indeed, one of the considerations for improving EAT, as mentioned above, is building quality links.
But why are inbound links so crucial for SEO? Link-building is critical for three primary justifications. Search engine spiders use website links to:
- Discover new pages on your blog or website
- Determine the quality of your site, and
- Establish how to rank your web pages on SERPs
Notice that creating an efficient link-building portfolio involves two methods.
- Internal links to other pointing pages on your site
- External links from authority websites pointing to your web property
For instance, Google crawlers and other search engine bots may struggle to reach new pages on your blog without a proper link structure. Hence, the lack of an appropriate link setup will negatively impact your SEO tactics.
Also, these machines can’t rank you higher on search results if you have low-quality inbound or incoming links pointing to your web. It makes link building for SEO a crucial marketing strategy for improving your SEO effort.
That is why link building for SEO is crucial and will remain indefinite until Google says links are no longer a factor for ranking websites. Therefore, you should start building quality links to boost your SEO techniques. Please, take a look at these SEO statistics to understand the essence of link building.
Search engine algorithms continue to update―making SEO an ever-evolving marketing practice to keep a close eye on frequently. Whatever your niche market, it’s essential to be up-to-date with these SEO trends and adapt to the latest changes. Why?
Because a diverse range of SEO hacks that worked years ago may not be relevant today and in the future. Consequently, adjusting to trending SEO best practices gives you the advantage and arsenal to compete with heavyweights in your industry.
It gives you an edge over your competitors and increases your odds of appearing prominently on Google page one results. Note, search engine optimization plays a critical role in boosting your online visibility and sales.
What more would you be willing to add to this article for our readers? Please, use the section below!
Hero photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash