This pace of change will quicken in the decade ahead, which makes the lives of marketers especially complicated. As digital marketers ourselves, we have the opportunity of working on SEO approaches with clients daily, and we want to understand and anticipate what’s coming for SEO in 2021 and beyond.
Here are the top SEO trends for 2021 from where we’re sitting at Conversion Digital, including some necessary action items that digital marketers can start improving today to stay ahead of the game come 2021.
1. User Experience (UX) Will Be More Prominent
What do you think about when we talk about user experience (UX)? Well, the user, hopefully. People. Now, we know that enhancing the experience for consumers once they reach our pages is imperative—that’s UX 101. As it turns out, though, good UX will have a more notable impact on search engine rankings from now on.
With a Google Webmaster Central Blog post, Google Search announced that they would take into consideration a few notable UX signals into their rankings, especially Google’s new Core Web Vitals. Here’s what the Google team stated:
“Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience. They measure dimensions of web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads (so you don’t accidentally tap that button when it shifts under your finger – how annoying!).”
Now you have it: user-centered metrics. With these updates to its search algorithm, Google is indicating its own more prominent emphasis on “engaging” web experiences for people. This can include fast-loading content that is easy to use and find, and available across all devices and platforms. Sites that can provide this kind of user experience will be compensated with improved search visibility.
2. Semantic Search Will Become Fundamental
Users, and how people search for things on the internet, will be a fundamental theme for most of these 2021 SEO trends. Semantic search will be no different. To comprehend the semantic search, let’s begin with semantics: the study of words, their connections, and what those connections mean in particular contexts.
Ideal for Google, right? After all, sorting through oceans of data to present the best results based on a user’s search query is a search engine’s main job. When it comes to search engines, “semantic search” is about how search engines apply all the data available to determine the context, intent, and meaning to show the most relevant and complete content possible.
3. Search Intent Will Be More Important Than Keywords
While it is essential in semantic search, we consider search intent needs a dedicated section. In 2019, Google released its BERT update. While we encourage you to go over Google’s summary of the technical principles like natural language processing models and neural networks, there’s no need to say that since BERT, the Google search engine has shifted to be much more “conversational.” This suggests that the Google algorithm can now understand intent even from longer queries that use natural language.
That’s why Google is the most popular chatbot.
Why is this so significant? Well, it’s an improvement of the search engine experience to support the growing prevalence of voice assistants and voice search. People now talk naturally to Siri or Alexa, asking questions and handling those conversational AI platforms like search engines, like a “touch-free” search experience.
Moreover, the focus on search intent is a sign to the industries that people would rather search as they speak and Google is adjusting to meet their needs.
4. Google My Business Will Be Indispensable for Local SEO
Location-based search is based on a fundamental assumption: when a person from San Diego explores Google Maps for “street tacos,” they probably need to see results restricted to their neighboring geographic area. While that search experience might seem direct from a user’s perspective, there’s a large amount of content, data, and optimization that goes into it on the search engine side of things.
If local search is part of your digital marketing strategies, you’ll want to ensure that your Google My Business listing is full, loaded with detail, and updated regularly. We are assuming you have physical locations for your business, as it absolutely should be.
Because Google My Business optimization deeply influences local search experiences. Engagement and activity on your Google My Business listing are powerful ranking signals for Google, so the more comprehensive and updated your listing, the more likely your company will rank higher in local searches.
5. Video Will Continue Invading the SERP
Explore Google for just about anything any day and the first thing you’ll see on the SERP is a video carousel. Google included video carousels to SERPs back in 2018. Since then, the video has only gained more influence. When you think that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube, which is also a Google entity, it all makes sense.
For strong signs that video isn’t loose ground, consider these statistics from a recent survey:
85% of businesses use video as a medium in marketing, and 92% of marketers view video as a significant part of their marketing strategy
87% of video marketers experience increased traffic to their website as a result of their videos
96% of people have viewed explainer videos about products or services
84% of people refer to video as the element that influenced them to purchase something
As the last two statistics indicate, this focus on video is truly about user demand. Lately, the majority of users would rather watch a quick video than read a long article. It’s quick, applies well to multi-tasking and it’s mobile-friendly. Hence the Google algorithm is evolving accordingly.
Can The Year Of 2021 Be The Beginning of The Consumer-First Decade?
It feels that way, and we hope it’s the sign of the new era. Users and their experiences are the focus of almost all the SEO trends that we’ve presented out for 2021. Every one of them, from the emergence of semantic search to the enhanced prevalence of video, point your marketing efforts toward more “delightful” experiences, as Google likes to describe them.
Whether it’s looking for local movie times, needing a shopping comparison on eCommerce sites, or asking for vital information during a global pandemic, Google and other search engines proceed to develop updates to improve all of these experiences.
This gives marketers and SEO experts a lot of homework. There are very few measures—if any—to rig the system when it comes to SEO. We rather recommend that you concentrate your experience and drive on producing high-quality content that’s in concordance with your buyer personas and purpose, knowing the primary needs that drive your customers to go on Google and begin searching in the first place.
Developing strong content marketing strategies, incorporating well-defined buyer personas, search intent analysis, great content, and copywriters, and strong UX are all excellent places to start.
From there, it’s all about refining, adjusting, optimizing, and improving based on what the data is showing us. Let us help you fine-tune your SEO efforts and be ahead of the game starting today.