A Guide to 2021's Top SEO Trends

A Guide to 2021’s Top SEO Trends

Google makes between 500 to 600 changes to its search engine algorithm every year. If you’re not keeping track of these changes, your search engine ranking might drop. A lower position could make it difficult for you to reach your customers.

In fact, 75% of searchers never look beyond the first page of results!

Instead, you can follow these 13 SEO trends for 2021 to boost your ranking. A higher ranking can put you in front of more customers. You can draw more traffic, generate fresh leads, and establish your credibility in the industry.

About 51% of all website traffic comes from organic searches. With these SEO tips, you can set your business up for success!

Get started by following these 13 search engine optimization trends today. 

1. Core Web Vitals

Google wants to send its users to websites that provide a positive user experience (UX). Otherwise, users will get frustrated and leave. If people leave your site without exploring your content, your bounce rate will rise.

Google will drop your search engine ranking if you have a high bounce rate.

Instead, you can make changes to your website design to improve the clickthrough rate and dwell times. Improving these metrics can boost your search engine optimization.

To encourage websites to improve their UX, Google created its Core Web Vitals. Google’s Core Web Vitals are user-centered ranking factors. Updating your website with the Core Web Vitals in mind can create a better UX on your website.

These ranking factors will ensure your website is fast, easy to use, and organized. 

There are three main areas you’ll need to focus on when updating your website:

  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)

You can learn more about Google’s Core Web Vitals here.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS considers how page elements move while a web page is still loading. Here are a few ways you can improve your CLS:

  • Limit embedded content and iframes
  • Set fixed dimensions
  • Preload custom web fonts

Updating your website with the CLS in mind will ensure your site is functional and stable. Otherwise, visitors might struggle to look at your page content.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP considers a website’s loading performance.

If you want to improve the UX on your website, you need to consider your page load times. After all, no one wants to wait around for a page to load. If your pages take too long to load, people might leave.

Remember, if people leave without clicking around, your bounce rate will rise. Meanwhile, your search engine ranking will drop. You can use these SEO trends to improve your ranking and start reaching more customers.

Otherwise, slow load times could hurt your ability to draw leads and conversions. In fact, a one-second delay on mobile can hurt conversion rates by up to 20%.

When updating your website, make sure to consider the desktop and mobile versions of your site. Consumers who have a bad experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase in the future. 

You can update the LCP on your website to speed up load times by:

  • Using a content delivery service
  • Using page caching
  • Minifying CSS and Javascript codes
  • Finding better hosting
  • Optimizing the images on your pages

Once your pages load faster, you can improve the UX. Visitors will have an easier time finding what they’re looking for on your pages. 

First Input Delay

FID focuses on a website’s interactivity. It looks at what happens when visitors type or click around on a page. FID considers how long your browser will take to react to these interactions, too.

You can improve the FID on your website by:

  • Eliminating unnecessary third-party scripts (themes, plugins, etc.)
  • Deleting unwanted code or files
  • Splitting up long Javascript tasks
  • Enabling browser caching
  • Minifying and compressing Javascript

These updates can ensure your site is responsive based on the user’s actions. 

2. Artificial Intelligence

Remember, Google’s search engine algorithm changes throughout the year. If you want to follow these SEO trends, you need to follow the algorithm changes. Its machine learning abilities allow it to better understand consumers.

Google’s ability to predict the consumer’s wants and needs can impact your search engine optimization.

To get ahead of this trend, start researching your customers. The more you know about your target audience, the more likely you’ll appeal to them. You can create personalized content with your distinct target audience in mind.

If you’re targeting a broad audience, segment your customers based on demographics and psychographics. For example, you can focus on age, location, or gender. Maybe you have data regarding their interests, buying behaviors, and pain points.

Then, write with your customers in mind. In other words, write for humans, not search engines.

When creating your content, focus on the value you’re providing. Consumers will start to recognize that value and choose your business before any other. They’ll visit your website directly, which can benefit your search engine ranking.

Google’s RankBrain gathers data about consumers constantly. The information it gathers could impact SEO trends and ranking factors in the future. Keeping up with these changes will ensure you don’t fall behind the trends. 

3. Mobile Optimization

Consumers interact with brands twice as often on mobile devices than desktops. Mobile conversions are 64% higher than desktop conversions, too. As you follow these SEO trends, make sure to consider the mobile version of your website.

In fact, Google uses mobile-first indexing to determine your search engine rankings. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you might not appear in front of consumers. The people who do visit your website might get frustrated if they have to pinch and zoom to interact with your content.

Instead, you can use mobile optimization to boost your ranking and start appearing in front of more customers.

First, run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you’re not optimized, consider working with a web design and development agency. An experienced team can adjust your website for mobile devices. 

If your website isn’t optimized for smaller screens, your competitors might rank ahead of you on search pages. They’ll draw more prospects to their business before you get the chance.

Mobile optimization can benefit your search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising strategies. It can help you draw more people through social media marketing and email marketing, too!

It’s also essential to your local SEO strategy. 

4. EAT

EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Adding EAT within your content will tell Google you’re a high-quality resource for customers. You can also establish your credibility, which can help you build brand trust and loyalty.

Make EAT a part of your content marketing strategy this year. For example, you can add EAT to your small business marketing by:

  • Developing your personal brand
  • Generating high-quality backlinks from websites with a high domain authority
  • Adding client reviews and social proof to your website
  • Telling your brand’s story
  • Backing up claims within your content using references and statistics
  • Demonstrating your experience and expertise
  • Adding author names and bios to your posts
  • Working with credible influencers in your industry
  • Sharing your content on other trusted platforms

Show Google authoritative experts are offering consumers helpful, high-quality advice.

Make sure to return to your old blog posts each year. Is the information still accurate and relevant? Update any outdated statistics, too. 

5. Long-Form Content

As you develop your content marketing strategy, consider the length of your content. Long-form content can keep people on your pages longer. Your dwell time will increase, which can boost your search ranking.

Don’t add fluff to your content. Instead, focus on offering actionable advice your readers can’t find anywhere else.

Make sure to focus on quality over quantity this year, too.

As you write your content, consider readability. You can make your content easier to read by using headings and subheadings. Try writing with shorter sentences, too.

6. Voice Search

About 50% of consumers use voice search for general web searches. More people are relying on Siri, Alexa, and Google for help. Optimizing your content for voice searches can help you reach more customers.

In fact, over 40% of voice search answers come from a featured snippet. Featured snippets appear at the top of search pages. About 75% of voice search results rank in the top three slots for a query.

Gather your keyword research. Look for long-tail keywords that are posed as questions.

Then, add a short answer to that question in your opening paragraph. Go into more detail throughout your post.

Formatting your content for voice searches could boost your SEO rankings. 

7. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets appear at the top of search pages as bullet lists, videos, summaries, videos, and more. You can format your content for different snippets to boost your ranking.

First, determine which pieces of content Google already displays featured snippets for. Then, create your own post that covers that topic. Make sure you provide additional value within your post.

You can also use Schema to format your content with featured snippets in mind.

If you rank first for a query and as a featured snippet, you could gain 31% more traffic than sites without a snippet. Ranking at the top of a search page can help you gain more traffic and brand awareness. 

8. Predictive Search

Remember, Google’s machine learning abilities allow it to better understand consumers. It no longer needs search queries to understand the consumer’s needs. Today, it’s able to use artificial intelligence to predict what consumers want.

Google uses predictive search to improve the user’s online experience. Predictive search gathers consumer behavior data to learn about each consumer. Then, it can offer content based on the consumer’s previous needs.

If you want to appeal to predictive search, keep up with your customers’ wants and needs. Make sure you understand their search intent, too.

Then, create high-quality content with their wants and needs in mind. 

9. Image Optimization

Optimizing your text content isn’t enough anymore. As you follow these SEO trends, make sure to optimize your images, too. Consumers can explore Google Images to find the content they need.

They can also complete image searches to find products online.

Update the image’s file title and alt text with your focus keyword. Make sure you’re using high-quality images, too. 

10. Video Content

As you develop your content marketing strategy, don’t neglect video content. Video content is engaging and easy for people to consume.

Optimize your video content by adding a transcript. Make sure to use your target keyword in the page title and URL. Don’t forget an engaging description, too!

11. Local Search Listings

About 50% of all Google users are looking for local information. Over 70% who look for a local business visit a nearby store. About 80% of these searches lead to a purchase.

Improve your local SEO strategy by updating your Google My Business listing. Then, ask people to post their reviews on your listing. Reviews can boost your credibility.

You can also:

  • Create fresh posts for your list
  • Add photos and videos to your list
  • Improve your backlink strategy
  • Feature reviews on your website
  • Use location-specific keywords in your content

If you have multiple business locations, don’t forget to add location pages to your website.

12. Semantically Related Words

Make sure to keep up with your audience and keyword research. When developing your content, use a focus keyword and secondary keywords. Use synonyms to add related keywords throughout your content.

Using semantically related keywords can help you draw more traffic. It can help you avoid keyword stuffing, too. 

13. Website Data

Once you’ve followed these SEO trends, review your data.

Which blog posts are helping you draw traffic and engagement? Try using different formats (polls, quizzes, infographics, etc.). Cover different topics within your posts, too.

Then, optimize your small business marketing strategy based on the data you gather.

Boost Your Rankings: 13 Essential SEO Trends to Follow in 2021

Keeping up with search engine optimization changes doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, keep these SEO trends in mind this year. Using these SEO tips can help you appear in front of more customers.

You can generate brand awareness, gain fresh leads, and more!

Need help improving your small business marketing strategy? You don’t have to manage it alone.

Schedule a free consultation with our team today to get started.