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2021 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore For Better Rankings

SEO is in continual flux. However, in 2021 SEO, the following SEO trends are here to stay.

SEO is proving it’s worth during uncertain times due to the pandemic. It is the most consistent global marketing tool for businesses available today.  

Internet usage went through the roof in 2020, with many countries in lockdown. People turned to the internet for more services, products and general browsing than ever before. It doubled up as a way to order goods through various means, becoming evident to business owners and the general public just how powerful and useful the internet can be.  

Once the pandemic dies down, internet users won’t. This trend is here to stay, and SEO plays a vital and integral part in powering this new-found online dynamic. SEO companies and SEO specialists will have a hectic year on more than one front as with increased usage comes increased challenges and competition. These will come in almost all sectors and industries, so staying up-to-date and continually adding to a websites online presence is key to driving traffic.

Living in Canberra, Australia, I am seeing new urban development and a surge in online services, put the two together, and local SEO in Canberra increases exponentially. For an SEO company Canberra was never a hotspot in Australia. Canberra SEO is now towards the very top of every businesses to-do list to stay competitive. This is a similar story in many towns and cities in Western countries in 2021. 

User Focus

When I first started learning about SEO, I came across a phrase that stuck with me ‘What works for the user, works for SEO and Google’. 

That phrase I came across a decade ago, and nothing has changed in the online industry today. More than ever, Google has a laser-like focus on providing its users with the most efficient and seamless online experience possible.  

For any SEO company or SEO specialists, or a business owner that is hiring an SEO company, the easiest way to have a clear path as to what a user would want from your website is to put yourself in their shoes. 

  • Is the content valuable?
  • Is the brand trustworthy?
  • Is the website easy to navigate to what I want to find and potentially purchase? 

Look at your own online experiences and make a note of things you like about other sites and precisely what you don’t. It’s the easiest way to look at the website in question and identify what needs changing, optimising or a complete overhaul. 

Search Intent With Conversions

From a business owner’s perspective, when you sit down with SEO specialists from an SEO company, it’s helpful to work as a team when it comes to new and engaging content. Remember, no-one knows your business as you do. 

Although content writing is part of any SEO companies packages, it’s helpful to meet them halfway and give them as much useful up-to-date information as you can from your unique perspective.

For any aspiring SEO specialists out there, you will be familiar with the buzzwords of using tools such as Google Search Console (GSC) or SEMRush, plus many others. When it comes to content writing, don’t go to these until you check out the SERP. The SERP tells you what Google ranks as the best results based on the user’s intent. 

Many beginners make the mistake of using the tools first.

Google is showing you the content required for that related search term for you to create. The trick is to match the intent; otherwise, you will fall short. 

Google’s algorithm is becoming more aware of search intent looking for expert advice, whereby it will rank articles containing content that satisfies the searcher. Articles lacking E-A-T will not be able to compete in 2021. 

The SEO companies that will succeed for business this year are the ones who understand what is required to meet searcher’s needs.

As any reputable SEO company will tell you, it’s not all about clicking anymore but also about conversion rates. Organic traffic is the first step, but they need to turn into leads or go to the point of sale. 

If a site garners millions of sessions but no monetisation results, then there are serious problems. If you have user’s landing on a lower-funnel page, the page must simplify the flow to get them to the point of sale or lead conversion. Make sure the funnel is easy to use; keep it simple at that point. 

If a user lands on an article from an informal search, it’s important not to hit them with the funnel too early. They may be nowhere near ready; that’s how you lose leads permanently. 

By understanding the user’s intent on each page, use it as a guide to the next logical destination through the product funnel.

Page Experience Plus Core Web Vitals – One Of The Vital 2021 SEO Trends

In 2020 Google announced Core Web Vitals combined with page experience would become ranking factors to their algorithm.  These will officially include site speed also. The update will be with us in May 2021. 

If this is news to you or you are not sure where to gather information, a decent starting point is Google Search Central Blog. 

Some SEO companies will tell you load-up speed ‘is already a ranking factor. ‘Yes’ to a point as slow load-up speed will inevitably lead to a percentage of user’s bouncing off and going back to Google. That is not what you want. However, this is now to be official. 

In your GSC account, you can find a Core Web Vitals report. The report focuses on three key metrics:

The way it has been explained is the Core Web Vitals benchmark has to be met if a website wants to qualify for a ranking signal boost. 

Google is looking into issuing badges/certificates for fast websites. So, if you, as a user, were debating which site to click, you’d click the one with the speed badge.

Either as an SEO specialist or an SEO company, check the GSC and look at where the Core Web Vitals are – particularly mobiles. If you find pages in yellow or red, they need immediate attention. Get your product and development teams on it and move it up the ladder of importance.  

Adapt Quickly

Be sure to make notes of what’s changing when you are focusing on the SERP. We are in a new era, and Google runs A/B tests daily, so long gone are the days of three paid links, some blue links with a URL, title and meta.  

So, when Google makes a change to the SERP, make sure you are ready to react quickly and efficiently. If, as a business owner, you are using a competent SEO company or SEO specialists, this should not be an issue. 

For SEO Companies, you should be allocating SEO specialists to focus on featured snippets. Albeit relatively new, they are already under Google’s microscope and under analysis to see if inserting a second snippet or adding contextual links into featured snippets will create further engagement. 

As a rule-of-thumb, if Google is doing it, make sure you follow and adapt your content accordingly. Google is also heavily investing in more structured data, this will help Google understand a page’s context in more depth, but it will also give you more leverage on the SERP. 

Google is only rewarding particular types of structured data, but it is fast expanding its list. So, if you currently have pages that fall into the category of types, my advice is to add them to your roadmap.

Depth Of Content

Both Google and its users need to know and trust you can practice what you preach. Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) are all now ranking factors.

But looking past Google for a moment, users need confidence that you know everything about your sectors and industry. Searching all over the place for answers is no good. Try to have a central page with strong informative content and links that link to other relevant content. It’s the perfect layout. 

Word volume goes a long way to showcasing expertise. Articles over 7000 words called ‘longreads’ are top of the tree for performance-based content. On average, you are looking at four times the traffic than an article around 1000 words in length. 

The goalposts have changed, and short content is not the answer today. Make sure the user knows you are competent in your field. If a user returns, Google likes that a lot and you can expect higher rankings off the back of it.

Internal Linking

For an experienced SEO company or SEO specialists, you may be slightly surprised I’ve added this to the list as It’s been around, it seems, forever.  

Albeit an old tactic, it doesn’t mean it can’t still be part of your SEO roadmap and be effective. Internal links always help the user and Google find pages you want them to see. Helping keep the user on the site longer, is essential now with Core Web Vitals in the SEO arena. 

They certainly help UX as the user doesn’t need to keep changing pages to find what they want.

If you are content laden or have multiple product pages, this can get a little tricky. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter, and if you have a clear site hierarchy allowing users to find information and it flows between pages, then you are in good shape. 

Here are some tactics:

Content hubs: 

  • Faceted navigation: Use filters and facets utilised by e-commerce sites – these allow shoppers to narrow a product by colour, style, or other characteristics quickly.
  • Linkpacks: These are a pack of links you place at the bottom of your product pages – linking similar products.
  • Related hyperlinks: Great to use in your blogs, to link to other comparable content.

Local Search

Ask your local SEO specialist about local SEO its no secret. It has helped support traditional SEO for years to drive more feet on the ground traffic however, 2020 was its breakout year into mainstream importance. The pandemic lockdown made localised SEO come to the forefront and play a significant role in servicing local areas and helping smaller companies that may have been struggling to become local household names. 

Google is now showing more localised content in its search results. 

Zero-click searches coupled with Featured Snippets are becoming normalised. Many zero-click searches are now local results commonly known as ‘local pack’. A Google My Business Page can still be applicable even if you don’t currently have a physical location. Just be sure to give your SEO Company and their local SEO specialists the relevant information to keep it updated at all times. 

Additional way to use your local SEO specialists to gain you attention:

  • Implement local keywords
  • Get your SEO company to register you in business directories
  • Develop local content focusing on local events and news stories

Conclusions On 2021 SEO Trends

2021 is set to be challenging for all businesses and SEO companies out there. So, time to sit around with your SEO specialists and get your creativity caps on for 2021.

The theme of this article has been about change. SEO is rapidly evolving with two major Google updates this year. Keep to the basics, follow the information in this article, adjust your SEO roadmap to keep up with new tools and trends, but don’t be afraid to try new things. Google updates tend to be an unknown quantity, so you may well stumble across something new the algorithm likes. Good luck!

Adrian Cruce

Marketer by day, gamer by night, human always!

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