How will SEO change in 2021? Well, it’s no secret that Google loves updating their SEO algorithm. And only the companies that can adapt to the changes in the search engine landscape will be the ones who thrive.
SEO is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. When you optimize your content the right way, you’ll see your content ranking on Google and every other search engine.
Whether you are looking to boost your website traffic, start online marketing, build a presence online, or start a digital marketing and SEO agency, this guide will help you get started on the right foot. This article contains the best SEO practices for 2021, so you can improve your site’s performance in the search results, get more traffic, leads, and sales.
Let’s have a look at all of them one by one.
Rank for Featured Snippets
According to SEMrush, 6.83% of all search results have a featured snippet. These are the results that show up on the top of search engine results pages, typically after the ads but before the ranked results. There are different types of featured snippets including paragraph, numbers, bulleted list, table, YouTube videos.
Here is how a Numbered Featured Snippet looks:
How do these snippets help SEO rankings?
These snippets make content consumption faster as well as easier for users and keep traffic on Google’s search result page. Therefore, Google promotes such content and awards it by keeping them at the top of search results with high visibility. It is nevertheless beneficial for websites to implement it because you have a chance to be featured, which would eventually drive tons of traffic to your website.
According to the data from Ahrefs, featured snippets, on average, get around 8.6% CTR while the top organic result gets 19.6% of the traffic. This is extremely impressive and shows the power of a featured snippet in getting search traffic on your website.
Now, let’s learn how to get your snippet featured on the Google search result page.
Some of the key ways to optimize featured snippets are:
- Organize your content in a structured way.
- Opt for eye-catching pictures.
- Create answers to frequently asked questions.
- Write dedicated headings to answer featured snippets
For in-depth learning on optimizing content for Featured Snippets, read this article by Optin Monster.
Mobile Continues to Gain Importance
Google gives preference to the sites that are fully responsive and adapt to different screen sizes for a better online experience.
Most developers and webmasters are building their sites on desktop, but around 73% of internet users are accessing those sites through their mobile devices.
The trend towards mobile-friendly and responsive sites will continue to gain further traction in 2021. If not done already, you should take some immediate measures to make your website responsive and easier for users to browse on smaller screens as well.
To check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, visit this Mobile-friendly test by Google.
Alternatively, you can also run a mobile-friendly analysis of your website at Rank watch.
Master Search Intent
Understanding the user’s intent when they type a keyword in the search engine is important for webmasters, as it helps them to rank their website higher in the search results.
User’s intent and behavior are changing all the time and so is the algorithm behind the search engine.
Therefore, creating content that’s a 1:1 search intent match is going to be a must in 2021.
You can follow the steps below to match your content with the user’s intent:
- Figure out your Target Keyword’s Search Intent.
Sometimes the user’s intent is clear, like when they type in the keyword ‘compare’ or ‘buy’.
But usually, it’s not always the case. You’ll have to look more deeply at the keyword search intent from the search results.
For example, take a keyword like, Avocado Oil.
Someone searching for that term could want to buy oil, or maybe they want to learn more about Avocado Oil and its benefits.
Well, according to Google’s first page for that keyword, most people searching for Avocado Oil are looking for information, not to purchase an Avocado.
- Now, after you have identified search intent, create content that matches the search intent.
The length of your content is also very important because content with more than 2000 words leads to higher ranks in SERPs. A well-researched and detailed piece of content also demonstrates authority on the topic and helps you in getting high authority backlinks.
- Re-optimize old content for search intent.
If you identify that your old article is not getting much traffic or not ranking on the first top 5 pages of SERPS, then think about re-optimizing it. Keep the user’s search intent in mind and include content that is more useful for readers.
Rise of Video Content
Video has been steadily gaining importance in the past few years, and it is now one of the most easily consumable forms of media on the internet. In fact, according to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be online videos by 2022. So, it becomes imperative to develop and optimize your video content as an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
Videos can be uploaded to Youtube as standalone content or can be embedded in your website too.
As mentioned above, the video featured snippets are really prominent on search queries beginning with How-to tutorials, DIY videos and other forms of educational content. These are the three most important things to keep in mind to get your video content in featured snippets.
- Clearly mark sections in your video. It helps Google to use different clips from your video in a snippet.
- Optimize your video for SEO with title, description, and tags to clarify what your video is all about.
- Include titles in your video to help Google understand the content better.
Domain Authority used to be a metric to predict ranking based on the number of backlinks. But now, Google has confirmed that it also evaluates the site on EAT Principle. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
In other terms EAT is Domain Authority 2.0. A Domain Authority score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher ability to rank.
- Google mentions that content written by people who are experts on a particular topic will be more valuable than the content written by random freelancers.
- To increase the authority of your site, try and get cited on lots of other trusted websites and get other people to mention you and your site as a valuable
Getting Ahead With Right Keywords
Keywords are the linchpins between what people are searching for and what content you are providing. You may have heard that keyword-targeting is dead. But, in reality, keywords will always remain an integral part of the SEO strategy. You want to be sure that the keywords you are targeting are the right ones and satisfies the intent of the user.
There are four ways to categorize search intent, and you want to optimize your content for all types of searches.
- Navigational: when trying to find a particular site
- Informational: when searching for the answer to a question
- Investigational: pre-purchase searches
- Transactional: when users actually want to buy
Apart from search intent keywords, there are three other types of keywords, and amongst them, Long Tail keywords are the ones that are easier to rank. Below is the brief description of the 3 types of keywords
- Short keywords: Are no more than 1 or 2 words, with a high search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes)
- Medium keywords: Are 2 to 3-word phrases with a medium search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes for Blogs)
Long Tail keywords: Are phrases of 4 or more words with a low search volume. Most web traffic comes from long-tail keywords. (Ex: Free Responsive WordPress Themes for Blog)
Google features such as Google Autocomplete, People Also Ask, or Related Searches can be a great source to explore long-tail keyword ideas.
For more free Keyword tools, visit the blog by Ahrefs.
Visual Search is a Game-Changer
Visual search is changing the search marketing landscape, as improved visual search functionality is being built into platforms such as Pinterest, Bing, and Google.
According to a report by Google, Google Lens has already been used 1 billion times. Pinterest gets 600 million visual searches per month. People are increasingly conducting more visual searches than ever before.
Today, Google Lens can identify 1 billion objects. And that number is growing every day. Visual search is super helpful for shopping, directions, identifying landmarks, translation, recipes, and much more. Visual search is poised to take off in 2021.
For more information on Visual Search as a game-changer in SEO, read this blog by W3 Lab.
As the human attention span is declining, SEO in 2021 will be more focussed on visual content with visual search on the rise. Each year, Google introduces more than 3000 small changes to their algorithms, and each year, trends emerge in this volatile sector that nobody has been able to predict.
Stay on top of algorithms but, don’t dwell on them as important as they are; the fundamentals have never changed. The right SEO tools can help you get the information you need to guide a smart SEO strategy. The most important point on SEO strategy will always be to develop insightful and useful content for your audience.