2021 SEO Trends
Not long into 2021 and we’re already seeing some major trends emerge.
One of the first and most important things I learned about SEO is that it is not a ‘one and done’ situation–SEO, and your digital and content marketing strategy as a whole, needs to be rethought and restructured regularly to keep up with the ever-changing online market.
The internet is constantly evolving and so should your SEO strategy and tactics.
Looking forward into 2021, here are five major trends that are already making waves and what you should do about them:
1. Featured Snippets.
These have always been important, but in the year 2021, we have already seen some massive changes.
A featured snippet is a Google tool that brings up the most relevant and concise information right to the front of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
It’s a simple way for those searching a question to get a quick answer.
They take up plenty of retail space on the SERP, offering great visibility for something a potential customer is already interested in.
A Featured Snippet gets approximately 8 percent of all clicks, according to Search Engine Land, and helps knockout organic traffic to your competition.
However, on January 22, Google made the following announcement:
If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results.
This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily.
Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.
This changes the whole dynamic behind Featured Snippets.
Semrush recently published an article describing how this change may affect SEO, as well as sharing what some experts have to say about this big change and what it will mean for your click-through-rate.
As of right now, the consensus is that how this update affects your depends entirely on your type of business, and the most important thing is to track the performance of your keywords and pages that may have a featured snippet and determine if that is the best spot to be.
However, as Aj Kohn states, “the net of having a featured snippet might be less, but it’s still better than your competition having the featured snippet.”
2. Optimization for Voice Search.
People don’t speak like dictionaries–they string words together in unique ways, specific to spoken language.
Tailoring your website and content for the way people speak will become increasingly more important throughout 2021 and beyond.
According to Quoracreative, voice-based shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion by 2022.
When voice searching, people are typically using a device such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant.
According to Tech Crunch, over 26 percent of U.S. adults now have smart speakers in their home, and many use them daily.
While realistically, we don’t expect searchers to completely abandon their keyboards and screens any time soon, the number of voice searches was sitting around 20 percent of mobile queries in 2016.
This was a statistic shared by Google when they introduced the Google Home device.
You can only imagine how that number has increased since smart speakers and voice technology in smartphones have become easier to use and more common.
We can order sushi, make a grocery list or turn on any song all with our voice–and doing this is only going to become more popular.
So what does this mean for optimization?
Well, let’s think about it… do you write the same way you think?
When typing, people tend to shorten their search phrases and use fewer words.
However, when speaking, people will use full-sentences, simply because it sounds better aloud and it’s not all that difficult compared to typing.
Focusing on long-tail keywords is essential to getting to the top of Siri or Alexa’s search results.
Another key point that brings us back to featured snippets: according to Brafton.com, more than 40 percent of all voice-search answers were pulled from featured snippets.
Google has made localization increasingly important to their ranking algorithm.
Learning how to tap into this and take advantage of it will only benefit your business.
What exactly does localization mean?
Well, it’s basically content that is tailored to a specific audience in a specific geographic location–this changes the keywords you may use, the links you build, and your relevance on the SERP.
Ensuring you properly localize your website will help you reach the people you want to reach, all in the right areas.
Picture this: you’re the owner of a restaurant in Salt Lake City, and you’re looking to start a series of cooking classes.
Your target audience is going to be people in the area–for now, you’re a small business owner and have a limited area that you service.
You want to build your website and content so that anyone in the geographic area of Salt Lake City will find your website and learn of this new service you offer.
Google helps with this, but only if you have a website and content properly built with localization in mind.
For example, if you search ‘cooking classes’ in New York City and Los Angeles, you’re going to have some very different search results appear.
You want to make it as easy as possible for Google to place your business in your target area–and make your website one of the first that appears for anyone in that area that may search for your service.
The main idea behind a localization strategy is to find out what content you can offer is unique to each geographical area, then focus on those on all levels: state, city, and neighborhood, all based on your specific goals for who you want to reach.
Build around that content: create new pages, link to local business directories, identify good local websites in your niche and establish natural backlinks to your website.
In an article written for pageonepower.com, Carina Cesano sums it up perfectly, “Carried out correctly, web localization can boost your SEO, increase traffic to your website, and eventually grow your conversions and sales.”
4. Influencer Marketing.
The term ‘influencer’ only became relevant as we know it a few short years ago, but in those years, influencers have shaken up the advertising, marketing, and digital media worlds.
Influencers have a powerful reach and excellent engagement—both things that your SEO benefits from.
Going forward into 2021, it’s clear to see that a good strategy on working with influencers is crucial to online success and not just because of their reach and engagement.
Links associated with your business have a huge impact on your ranking.
Working with influencers is a simple way to get natural backlinks and improve your link profile, as well as get unique and engaging content you may not have gotten on your own.
Moz conducted a study that proves that the quality and authority of sites that link to you are among the top search engine ranking factors.
Earning links from influencers that are trusted by their audience earns you a more credible, authentic link profile.
The application of this to smaller, local businesses may be less obvious, but let’s take a look at Scottsdale, AZ fashion and lifestyle influencer, Sarah Tripp, known on instagram as SassyRedLipstick.
With over 1M instagram followers, Sarah’s reach is astounding.
Since moving to Scottsdale from San Francisco, she has worked with several Arizona companies to help build her family home.
Her partnerships with local businesses such as Classy Closets, Moelleux Events and Joseph’s Moving has helped drive traffic and create strong, authentic links to their pages.
5. Content Length.
It used to be that shorter was better–more concise, careful wording was essential in keeping the attention of the reader and increasing dwell time and decreasing the bounce back rate.
At the tail-end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we see this changing.
More than ever, people are looking for the answers to their questions–the full answers to their questions.
Rather than clicking through five websites to find all of the information they need, they would much prefer to sift through some irrelevant information to find all of their answer in one place.
That’s not to say you need to fluff up your content–make sure it’s easy and enjoyable to read while providing all of the information on one topic and you’ll be good to go.
According to an article updated Jan. 1, 2020 by Wesfed.com, the ideal length of a blog is 1,500 words or more.
Mostly because of your readers.
With 1,500+ words, they will have more content to enjoy and they will spend more time on your website.
User engagement is huge when it comes to SEO.
But also, 1,500+ words gives a search engine more information about the context of your content.
Good content without good context is useless to a search engine.