As we are starting off 2021, it’s time to consider your SEO strategy for the upcoming year. 2020 was a year full of unexpected changes and acclimating to the world’s new normal. So how does all that affect search engine optimization going forward? There are several impacts, but we will prepare you for what to expect this year. There are several SEO trends for 2021 we all need to prepare for as SEO and content marketing professionals. In this article, we will outline the most important things you will want to keep in mind as you plan your SEO for 2021.
2021 SEO Things to Know
SEO is just as important in 2021 as it was in 2020, but we will need to make some adjustments to our strategies while keeping the latest trends in mind. Let’s discuss the most important ideas to keep in mind for your 2021 SEO strategy:
Focus on User and Search Intent
We all know how a Google search works. Searcher intent is the idea of understanding what is the intent behind a person’s search query. If you understand searcher intent, you have a better chance of building a page that best answers their query. Though this has always been a major principle in the world of SEO for a long time, searcher intent is even more important now than ever.
In 2020, we saw that pandemic changed the search intent for many queries. For example, while in the past someone might be searching for the best restaurants near them to go eat at in person, it’s now more likely that they are looking for somewhere to get a take-out order.
In fact, some experts say that Google began adjusting searches to include more virtual and online results for queries as of last year in response to the new norm.
Keep an Eye on Trends
As we also saw last year as a result of COVID-19, certain searches gained popularity overnight. For example, the term “coronavirus” exploded in search popularity beginning March 15, 2020, according to Google Trends. By the same token, some other terms took a steep dive in their searchability. For example, concert tickets lost popularity starting as early as January 2020. Keeping an eye on the latest trends – and jumping on them and integrating them in your content planning and keyword research as soon as they start – can help take your SEO to the next level in 2021.
SEO Experts Must be Adaptable
So, how do SEO professionals protect against changing searcher intent and Google trends changing daily? It’s important to be as adaptable as possible. While we can’t change searcher behavior or intent, we can monitor it and adjust our strategies and tactics accordingly.
For example, in order to see changes in search intent, you can keep an eye on your target search engine results pages and watch how they change. If you notice more pages ranking that actually serve a different search intent than your page does, it’s highly likely that Google is trying out serving a different intent. In this case, you might need to adjust your page – or risk losing your rankings.
To see searcher interest, you can use several different tools that measure monthly search volume, like SEMrush, Moz, or Ahrefs. Google Trends can also help you see the latest search trends.
The main takeaway? In your 2021 SEO strategy, don’t get too comfortable or stay stagnant.
Get Creative with Local SEO
Sadly, one of the hardest-hit areas of the economy during the pandemic has been local small businesses. This has had a major effect on local SEO efforts. But what can SEO professionals do to help their clients who are these kinds of businesses? There are many ways local businesses can get creative and stay connected with their regular customers, like going virtual or offering pick-up and delivery services. However, there are ways they can utilize SEO, too.
For example, just keeping a company’s Google My Business page updated with their latest info, like letting customers know if they are open or not, can make a big difference. Plus, updating websites frequently with the latest news on COVID-19 safety measures and precautions is another way to tell search engines and clients the latest from your company. (Plus, don’t forget to post your updates on social media!)
Behavioral Analytics Take the Forefront
Though SEO is traditionally all about keywords and driving traffic, it has become a lot more than just that. The focus is more and more on data focusing on behavioral analytics. While keyword volume and SERPs positions are still important, there will be an increased focus on how people are reaching websites, what they are doing on the site, and how to get more of them doing it. This is partly due to the evolving nature of the SEO field, and partly due to the unreliability of keywords and search intent following the pandemic.
Focus on Online Customer Support and Self-Services
More and more, people are searching online for the products and services they used to go to a physical storefront to find. (Once again, this change is due to the pandemic.) If one of your competitors has a more user-friendly website that offers a completely self-sufficient experience and your website does not, you are likely losing business. This is why it’s so important to offer a help center and an FAQ section.
Increased Spotlight on Value
As we all know by now, what SEO really comes down to is value. Value is at the center of SEO. Why? Because the goal of your content should be to provide value to its reader. Content that provides value will rank highly all on its own. This has become clearer over the years. Poor content will not rise to the top. While keyword research and structured data are still important, your focus in 2021 should be all about producing high-quality content that provides value for your target audience. If you do that, the search engines will provide you with a valuable ranking as a reward.
Core Web Vitals
Google announced a key algorithm change last year that is expected to take effect in 2021: Core Web Vitals. Since the search engine provided us all with a heads up (thanks, Google), we might as well prepare for it accordingly! Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in the web page’s overall user experience, like the page speed, the interactive elements, and more. Particularly if you want to appear in Google To Stories in 2021, you will need to take Core Web Vitals into consideration as part of your 2021 SEO strategy.
While for a long time mobile optimization was thought of as second to desktop optimization, these days, most searches are being conducted on mobile devices. This means that optimizing for mobile should be a priority in 2021, especially if it hasn’t been a priority for you in the past. Google also uses your website’s user experience for mobile users as a ranking factor. This means your mobile UX will have a direct effect on your search engine rankings.
Just as marketing automation is on the rise, so is the amount of SEO tasks that we are able to automate. Though this will be tempting to jump on this trend, there are also benefits to remaining human in your quest for the highest search engine rankings.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is increasing in popularity, and so should your focus on it. This means optimizing your web pages in order to be found with voice search. What question might someone ask Siri or Alexa that would lead them to your article? The answer to that question will help you with your voice search optimization.
Get Help with Your 2021 SEO Strategy from SEO Design Chicago
If you need help creating your SEO or digital marketing plan for 2021, contact the experts at SEO Design Chicago today. We can help you craft the perfect search engine optimization strategy for your company.
FAQs about 2021 SEO Trends:
- What are the best SEO strategies in 2021?
- How did the pandemic affect SEO?
- What are Core Web Vitals?
- Is SEO worth it in 2021?
- What is new in Google’s algorithm in 2021?