SEO in 2021 – Trends, Tips, Predictions, and Strategy

February 22, 2020
seo-london-2021

 

As we edge closer to the coming year, everybody is keeping an eye on what the trend will look in their niches come 2021. It is not different in the Search Engine Optimization industry. The following keyword is being searched worldwide, according to the Google keyword tool:

  • SEO 2021
  • SEO trends 2021
  • SEO tips 2021
  • SEO strategy 2021

Countless blogs are already filling with topics such as 3/6/8/10/12 SEO trends in 2021, SEO strategy 2021, SEO tricks in 2021, etc. Everybody is looking forward to delivering smashing content that will reveal their thought process and expertise. Most SEO experts implement similar SEO predictions and strategies based on what they believe and what their role models in the industry are doing.

In all, SEO professionals keep asking one particular question – What SEO strategies and tactics could be used to dominate SERPs and increase earnings in 2021?

So let us take a quick look at SEO predictions and trends for 2021.

1. Featured Snippets

Recently, Google has been able to use Featured Snippets to improve users’ search experience. They have normally seen on top the first organic result, popularly called “Position 0” in the SEO world.

These very featured snippets will be generated when you ask Google most questions, particularly those queries that have why, how, will, do, does, should, is, can, are, etc. as prepositions.

Based on a SemRush study on various queries, featured snippets generate lists, paragraphs, and tables. Also, 52.2% of all the queries outputs “lists” for queries that have the preposition – how.

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Ranking for featured snippets in 2021

For your content to be ranked into the said featured snippets:

  • Write FAQs for items that are most searched
  • Data should be presented in tabular format
  • Also employ listed as well as unlisted bullets inside your copy
  • Use shorter sentences
  • Heading tags should be structured in a hierarchy
  • Set up structured data where necessary

Finding key phrases or topics where snippet generation is lacking will be difficult. If you ever find any, it will be out of sheer luck. You would have to do better than the ones that are existing, churning out more informative and better content from their content.

2. BERT & Voice Search

Let us understand, what BERT is?

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It’s a natural language processing technique that uses a neural network to help Google decipher context on the basis of words, after which better search outputs will be delivered.

 

With BERT being added to the featured snippets and Google ranking algorithm, Google has made moves to base content search on intent matching and not just the normal string matching.

In 2021, virtually half of all the world’s searches will be voiced, so people won’t need to type that much again. This will automatically increase long-tail keywords count, as well as the volume of local searches.

The update in BERT algorithm alongside BankBrain will be stealing the spotlight come 2021 while having deep knowledge of natural language via voice searches, as well as using machine learning to process SERPs. That way, your content would be the next big thing.

3. Content is for Readers, and not Machines

Although this contradicts my earlier statement, however, churning out meaningful and engaging content for your audience will do you many good in the coming year. Whenever we write content without focusing on keywords, we execute the topic in an apparently justifiable manner. Since BERT has to do with natural language processing, it is best to write in conversational natural language.

The objective of the created content should influence the mentality to focus on creating a topic that discusses a subject holistically instead of just basing the content around a particular phrase or keyword that ought to be targeted on a page. Include surveys, stats, or any industry study, which will ultimately earn you backlinks from journalists and bloggers.

Content Clusters

As you design your content strategy holistically, you should structure it in content clusters. An instance of a site that practices this is Hubspot.

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The overall goal is to create various sections of your content on specific topics, producing that hub & spoke structure. With this model, you’re allowed to link other content parts to the same topic. Having such models will assist search engines grasp the main topic and carry out page ranking accordingly.

Content-Length

Content-length has equally been a front-burner topic in past years, and it won’t be missing in 2021. Several research has indicated that writing long content promises better search engine ranking.

I do agree with that view. Writing comprehensively on a topic after enough research will enable you to reach a good length without writing things that are nonsensical. Just try covering as much of the topic as possible. While making your thought process clear, you will end up making the context clear to both search engines and those who would read it.

Video Content

Including video content as part of your SEO strategy is going to be another dominant SEO trend for 2021. The possibility of a video showing up on SERP’s first page is 50 times the possibility of a plain text web page showing up, according to Forrester Research. It should be also stated that 62% of all Google searches comprise video. Video contents can comprise a question, detailed answer using a storyline pattern of incidence as well as situations that your audience can link to.

You can have a video hosted on YouTube or a web server of yours.

To host a video on your own website, you need to install a video player on top of your server. Besides, you should include basic video schema markup in the video. You can go through all the necessary parameters that are usable with video schema markups here. It will be better if you can help search engines understand your content better by adding to your post, a video transcript.

SEO for YouTube is a different ball game. YouTube videos are bound to come up in Google search results, Google Images, video search results, as well as Google Discover. Please check previous blogs for how to optimize YouTube content.

FAQ Pages

You’ve got to pay attention to FAQs when it comes to creating content in 2021. Sometime in 2019, Google made an announcement of new search outputs for FAQs in Google Assistant and search. It’s designed to handle pages that manage lists for the most asked questions, as well as answers on a specific subject. Including this data structure assists Google in showing questions, as well as answers explicitly on Google Assistant and Google search. Here’s the Google Assistant and search documentation.

Google Passage

With the October 2020 Google Passage update, Google ranks passage of your web page independently. Google now takes an aim at your different page sections. So every section should cater to a particular subtopic. Some tips:

  • Write clearer and shorter sentences
  • Structure heading tags hierarchically
  • Use subtopic level keyword

4. Technical SEO & UX

The technicality in SEO revolves around crawlability; how the various search engine spiders are able to crawl and have your webpage indexed. It has to do with website infrastructure optimization without connecting it to website and content promotion.

You need to observe all technical SEO best practices for your site to be ranked in 2020 so that you can make more profits. Here’s a rundown of technical SEO elements you should embrace:

  • Setting a Preferred Domain
  • Navigation & Site Structure
  • SSL & HTTPS
  • Website Speed
  • CDN Optimization
  • URL Structure Optimization
  • Mobile Friendliness
  • HTML optimization
  • Structured Data Markups
  • Robots.txt
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Optimize your 404 Page
  • Canonical URLs
  • XML Sitemap Optimization
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Pagination & Multilingual Websites

Technical SEO addresses search engine readability, while UX addresses website visitors. Both of them have a common objective of ensuring users have a great experience. Nonetheless, the relationship between UX and technical SEO is very close; the contradictions!

When we talk of UX, we are implying faster load speed, seamless navigation, and swifter reactions to the user prompt. As such, JavaScript-focused frameworks seem to be the best, but also interfere with the crawling process of search engine robots. Either we have to do with server-side rendering or rendering before services for crawling at page level with relevant on-page elements.

5. Mobile SEO and AMP

Recently, more Google searches have occurred via mobile devices, making it crucial for content to be mobile-friendly. It is up to you whether you would have your mobile website implemented via a different URL, a responsive design, or via dynamic serving. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

In the years to come, the winning content will be those that are mobile SEO friendly. After the mobile-first index, Google is going to crawl your web’s mobile version and have the mobile webpage content and structure attributed, to place you on SERP. Hence, you should work towards having an excellent mobile page. If your webpage fails to load graciously on mobile screens, it will cost you on the mobile and desktop rankings. Google advises that your website loads in less than one second for mobile clients.

For many industries, in 2021 mobile SEO would be a core part of SEO techniques. It will focus on transactional sites having varying functionalities that are based on user actions.

Here are some actions to help optimize your site for mobile clients in 2021:

  • Faster mobile loading
  • Content should be structured for easy reading on the phone
  • Employ HTML5 For all Video & Animated Contents
  • Have “Viewport Content” Tag configured
  • Use small-sized header images
  • Employ negative spacing in between buttons, text, and design elements
  • Deploy social sharing buttons as tab bars

The Core Web Vitals 

Google Search Console came up with Core Web Vitals output to show how pages do with real-world data (they are called field data as well).

The report bases its output on 3 metrics: CLS, LCP, and FID.

The following boundaries are used to evaluate status metrics:

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It should be noted that Google does not recognize tablets as mobile devices. They are in their own class. For Google, mobile simply means smartphones.

Accelerated Mobile webpages are webpage versions designed for quick loading on mobile screens. AMP webpages load 4 times faster when compared with their counterparts.

For websites that display only content, AMP pages are going to be critical. On mobile screens, AMP webpages will rank more because of quicker loading. The basic core of the AMP project has to do with prioritizing readability and speed. AMP webpages are implemented with lazy loading for images, meaning images get to load when they are only scrolled upon. AMP webpages are also cached on Google server to render the content without wasting time.

6. Local SEO

With near me search queries becoming more popular, everybody is looking towards local SEO. That industry will grow bountifully in the year 2021.

WERE YOU AWARE? 46% of all searches come with ‘local intent.

It has become significant for many businesses to cater to local search. The increase in craving for local providers has created new business privileges for brands.

There are 3 core components of local SEO

  • Proximity: What is the distance of your business to whoever is searching? You need your business’s physical presence mentioned on Google My Business regarding your potential audience. In a number of cases, it will be difficult to implement this since Google picks some businesses due to the kind of online reputation they have. In such instances, you can list all the areas of service you are into.
  • Relevance: How important are your products & services to the said search query? You are to expand your products & services description inside Google My Business listings. Try listing each product & service in different sections with brief descriptions. You could target some long-tail keywords within your descriptions.
  • Prominence: What are other consumers saying regarding your products & services? Reviews will be very impactful in businesses’ local SEO in 2021. As a standard practice, post a reply to each review you get. Appreciate them when the review is positive, and sort out the issues related to negative reviews.

Some other important Local SEO factors in 2021 would comprise NAP syndication, social business webpages local reviews, local directories, citations, as well as supporting content.

7. Backlinks, Influencers & Branding

The general classification of SEO is on-page, Technical, and off-page SEO. While looking at off-page, SEO backlinks are what comes to mind first. I have seen that people from various forums are wishing to know if backlinks will be of any importance in SEO strategy come 2021.

Yes. But, it will not be the exact backlink stuff we used to know. In 2021, quality backlinks will be those gotten from natural backlinking through the publication of premium quality content. It is a shift toward making our content more topic centric, so we can earn backlinks.

Simultaneously, branding elements and influencers will equally play a significant role in the 2021 SEO strategy. Influencer marketing has always made the headlines for some years now and has paid off too. Influencer and branding marketing go together, where the brand will be promoted on different publications, and getting voices from authentic people.

Branding helps to advertise your brand while influencer marketing assists you with backlinks.

Brand mention – When you are referred to by your brand name or business name by other people, but they don’t hyperlink to your site, you will still get a high ranking on Google search.

8. Google E-A-T and YMYL

In 2015, the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines were released, giving us a clue of what is considered low or high in terms of website quality, from Google’s point of view. After the guideline handbook was updated in 2019, E-A-T & YMYL became extremely significant for SEO.

YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content refers to those content that could impact the safety, happiness, health, or financial wellbeing of the reader when it’s presented deceptively or incorrectly. A YMYL webpage with deceptive information could ruin the lives of people.

Google is pretty serious about such content. Ensure that only professionals write such content.

In Google’s rater guidelines, in sections 2.3, these YMYL topics have been defined by Google.

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E-A-T means Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. The same with YMYL, Google uses it to protect those who are publishing irresponsible content that can affect the safety and health of the searcher. The evaluation mechanism of content quality will review a site E-A-T and content creators’ E-A-T as well.

Google wants to know the authoritative level of the author when it is a YMYL topic. That means we need to develop author E-A-T alongside the site. That can be handled with the author boxes for blogs that connect with the social profiles of the author. You should equally employ author schema markups, that is, structured data markups that tell Google more about who the author is, thereby simplifying the process of linking the author with similar authority signals.

Conclusion

That is what my SEO blueprint looks like for 2021.

SEO has become crucial for all businesses. 2021 SEO trend will be like that of the upcoming years because search engines will keep improving on how to get the right content to the right audience. If you have a similar thought, then you’re on track.

For you, which of the listed factors are you willing to give a shot? Are you routing for local SEO, technical SEO, or you intend to have your content creation process streamlined in 2021?

I’d love to know what you think, you can leave a comment below or contact us directly.

 

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