Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a great way of attracting people to your online platforms – if you use it right. It’s constantly evolving, and it can be a challenge to stay on top of all the changes. But it’s really worth the effort. 70-80% of Google users focus exclusively on organic results and ignore paid listings.
Top SEO performance requires attention to a variety of metrics, including traffic, social shares and backlinks. This article gives you insights into some of the most relevant SEO trends to watch for in 2021, allowing you to prepare your SEO strategy accordingly.
1. Voice search will impact search queries
Thanks to innovations like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, voice search technology has rapidly evolved and grown in popularity. The percentage of households predicted to own a smart speaker by 2022 is 55%.
Consider your keywords when optimising for voice search. Think about phrases that people use in conversation. Voice searches tend to do better with longer, more natural phrasing. Whereas when people type, then tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might voice search “What are the new SEO trends for 2021?” but type the words “new SEO trends 2021”.
2. Local search listings will play a larger role in SEO strategies
When people think of the internet, they often think of its worldwide nature. But most people use Google to find localised goods and services, such as a local restaurant. Local SEO is important, and it’s evolving. This is in part because of the rise of zero-click searches, where the user’s query is answered via the search engine results. They therefore don’t click on any of the ranking results.
One reason for the rise in zero-click searches is the increase of featured snippets, and many zero-click searches are local searches that show the answers on the results page. So how do you get your business involved in this? Start by creating a Google My Business page if you haven’t already.
3. Content that fulfils the Google EAT principle will rank higher
The EAT principle stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These factors help determine if a webpage has useful quality content, which Google has reiterated is critical for ranking success.
There are a few ways you can ensure quality content. Firstly, create buyer personas, to understand what kind of content your clients value. Second, conduct search intent research to map out the consumer journey. Then use this information to create content that fits the format your users prefer. For example, if you’re catering to teenagers, video is probably preferable. But video may be less appealing to an older audience.
Keep EAT in mind as you craft your content. Back up claims with facts and statistics, and link to reputable such as those with “.gov” URLs. Having authoritative sites link back to you is another way of proving you fulfil the EAT criteria.
4. Featured snippets will be more prominent
Featured snippets, which were rolled out in 2017, are a shortcut to gaining prominence in Google. You may notice when you sometimes type something into Google that a box similar to the image below appears above the actual results. That’s a snippet.
Having one of these is a great way to get on that coveted first page of results. They also steal a significant amount of traffic from competitors. To create snippets, focus on question-based queries and relevant keywords. You can use the Google search function “people also ask” for inspiration.
5. Mobile-friendliness will impact search rankings
In 2019, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, meaning it looks primarily at the mobile version of a website. It’s predicted that 73% of internet users will access the internet solely via mobile devices by 2025, so check how effective your mobile site is with Google’s free mobile-friendly test.
6. Image optimisation will play a larger role in search
Visual image search has drastically evolved. It used to be that people could just look at images. Soon, people will be able to use images to obtain information, buy products and more. Google has insisted on strong optimisation of images. If the images on your website aren’t optimised, take care of it now.
Use high-quality, relevant images and ensure you customise the file name, labelling the photo file so it is relevant to the content on the corresponding page. Include alt tags, which crawlers use to classify images.