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SEO Strategy in 2021

SEO trends in 2021 by Bo Lund Pedersen, Seven Peaks Software

Let’s face it, the right SEO strategy is what makes businesses have a great online presence. Whilst there was less drama in 2020, at least regarding SEO, 2021 seems to be a defining year for businesses seeking to control the online space.

With many businesses joining in the hunt for the online market share, existing businesses must redefine their SEO strategies to match the new competition. Digital marketers can employ a wide range of strategies that can boost the visibility of businesses online.

What is the most important thing to remember about SEO strategy in 2021?

Even before sharing the precise strategies that can be used to boost online presence, there are important things that an online marketer must know about 2021 and SEO strategy for the year.

  • Keywords will retain its importance in 2021, and marketers need to refine their keywords with a focus on keyword clusters.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will take center stage in the coming years, 2021 included, thus the need to familiarize with these important SEO components.
  • Search engines will focus more on enhanced User Experience.
  • Google will be using Expert, Authority, and Trustworthiness as ranking factors.

This set presents just a hint of what to expect in 2021, which can guide online marketers on the areas that they will need to put more focus on.

SEO Trends in 2021

The impact of digital marketing was stretched in 2020, with many businesses noticing the potential of using the internet as the sole marketing platform.

With more than 4.66 billion internet users, digital markets have been forced to adopt unique strategies that can sustain their presence online. In equal measure, top search engines, led by Google, have also enhanced their ranking factors to capture the needs of the growing number of internet users.

Here are the top SEO trends that digital marketers can use to tap into the growing consumer market found online:

  1. AI to show greater impact
  2. Voice Search to impact search queries
  3. Mobile-friendliness remain key to search rankings
  4. Expert, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) principle will apply
  5. Long-form content will improve rankings
  6. Predictive search will improve
  7. SEO strategy must include video
  8. Image optimization to determine search rankings
  9. More importance on semantically-related keywords
  10. Local SEO will gain prominence

AI to show greater impact

Artificial Intelligence will play a major role in determining the ranking of a website or a web page. This ranking factor has been fronted by Google as it has made a great difference in how people are interacting online.

A few years back, Google unveiled an algorithm called RankBrain, which played a major role in ranking web pages on Google search engine. The algorithm was able to detect and learn ‘other signals’.

The inclusion of this algorithm as a determining factor means that AI will be a big thing in 2021 and a top trend for digital marketers to watch.

So, one of the hardest questions digital marketers will be asking themselves is how they can implement this ranking factor in their web pages. Well, the sad reality is that Google doesn’t share details on what websites should do to maximize their visibility using this factor.

However, experts advise digital markets to focus on user experience signals as they are the likely determinant for RankBrain.

In the future of ATT, Facebook will stop tracking customers who opted out on iOS to remain compliant. It can reduce their access to receiving web conversion events. It can also limit your ability to report and optimize your campaigns.

All that you need to do to stay ahead of this trend is to ensure that users of your website are captivated and stay on a page for long.

Voice Search to impact search queries

Another major trend that is set to dominate SEO strategy in 2021 is voice search as a major factor in determining the ranking of web pages. The development of voice search technology is tremendous. Various applications such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa have been at the forefront of developing this technology.

The development of voice search technology has also seen it become more popular among internet users. It is estimated that by 2022, about 55% of households will be owning smart speakers.

There is nothing the search engines like more than what is becoming popular amongst internet users. The search engines are also racing against themselves, thus, they must use ranking factors that are reflective of what the consumer market prefers.

Given the fact that more than half of households will be owning smart speakers in 2022, there is no doubt that voice search is going to be a leading trend in 2021.

Therefore, digital marketers simply need to think about this strategy in 2021. One of the best tips is the optimization of keywords used in voice search. The simplest way to begin is by identifying phrases that people use daily in their conversations. Also, note the fact that long and natural-sounding work perfectly for voice search.

Mobile-friendliness remain key to search rankings

If there is one ranking factor that Google has been emphasizing in the recent past, then it must be mobile-friendliness. In 2019, Google made it clear with its mobile-first indexing. This meant that the search engine was to use the mobile version of a website as the primary consideration.

Therefore, the mobile version of the website takes a natural priority over the desktop version.

Again, this was fueled by the growing number of internet users who visit websites using their mobile phones. It is projected that by 2025, about 73% of internet users will use their mobile phones as the sole device for accessing the internet.

The plain implication of this is that website developers are tasked to make their websites mobile-friendly. Therefore, digital marketers should ensure all their web pages are mobile-friendly. Another important action to do is to keep both the desktop and mobile sites use the same meta robots tags.

Expert, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) principle will apply

Of course, Google and all other search engines have repeatedly used content quality as a major ranking factor.

However, some digital marketers do not understand what Google means by ‘quality’. Well, it is better to get accustomed to what Google refers to as quality content because it will be a major ranking factor in 2021.

The EAT principle dictates that a website must show expertise, authority, and trust in the published content.

These three factors are what Google uses to certify the quality of content on a web page. This principle has been widely used in online businesses such as finance and healthcare that fall under the “your money, your life”.

As an SEO strategy, using the EAT principle is pretty straightforward. Digital marketers need to put themselves in the shoes of their target consumers and think like them. After understanding what the clients value, craft a journey for the consumer then use the information to create appealing content.

With the EAT principle in mind, digital marketers need to create content that can be backed up with statistical evidence and facts.

Long-form content will improve rankings

One of the most surprising SEO strategies in 2021 is long-form content, which is set to become a leading factor in determining the ranking of websites. According to research, internet users prefer long reads.

Posting content of more than 3,000 words will be more beneficial to the website than shorter content. Therefore, the right strategy is to start putting much focus on long-form content as Google is likely to use this as a ranking factor in 2021.

However, it is worth noting that this factor is not as plain as it looks; it is embedded in the quality of the long-form content posted on the web pages. As a natural drill, the content posted should be engaging so that the readers can stay on page reading.

The best way to achieve this is to sub-divide the content into subheadings for easy reading. It is also important to include share buttons to make the content shareable.

Predictive search will improve

Another important SEO strategy that will take center stage in 2021 is the use of predictive search. In 2017, Google launched Google Discover, a unique product that changed the face of ‘search’.

This application does not even need a query for it to respond; it does so intelligently using the AI tools offered by Google. This tool ‘studies’ the behavior and patterns of the users and learns these habits gradually. It then uses the information to suggest content that may interest the reader.

Since its launch in 2017, Google Discover is already enjoying more than 800 million users. So, one of the questions that content providers and digital marketers must be asking is how they can make their content appear on their targets’ Google Discover.

Well, this is done naturally using factors such as location history, calendars, browsing, and search history among other relevant factors.

Since Google will still be using Discover in 2021, it is important to develop accurate content that can be picked by the software.

SEO strategy must include video

If there is one mistake that a digital marketer can make in 2021 is to exclude videos as part of the SEO campaign.

Currently, there are more than 1 billion users of YouTube, a number that is still growing. Cisco affirms projects that video content will surpass other content types in terms of consumption.

However, it is worth noting that the SEO strategy does not just end with the inclusion of video in the content. A digital marketer must optimize the video and include a relevant and optimized description and name of the channel.

When providing descriptions for a video, it is important to avoid overusing keywords but instead focus on natural words that are user-friendly.

Image optimization to determine search rankings

It is one thing to have an image on your website and a totally different thing to optimize the image. Well, in 2021, image optimization will be a key factor that will determine the ranking of web pages.

The evolution of visual image search cannot be underrated since it has shown drastic changes. Currently, people just use images for checking things.

However, in 2021 going onwards, it is expected that the use of images will expand rapidly. Some of the expected advancements include using images to obtain information or buy products.

Digital marketers are encouraged to start exploring the use of images extensively to gain an upper hand when this factor is used for ranking. It is equally important to use high-quality images that are well labeled to make them relevant to the page.

More importance on semantically-related keywords

When SEO was relatively new, the focus was put on primary keywords without any consideration of the semantics around the words. SEO experts used to place the keywords without ensuring that they are sensible.

However, things have changed and secondary keywords have now become important as well.

In 2021, the SEO strategy for keywords will change a little bit. The focus will be on semantically-related keywords. Google is determined to make its search engine as friendly as possible to the users.

In doing this, it is reverting from placing strings of words that do not have a semantic association. Therefore, SEO experts keen on implementing this new strategy should construct keywords that can fit the wider context in which the content is placed.

Local SEO will gain prominence

Local SEO will definitely gain more prominence in 2021 than it has in 2020. Think about the number of times internet users have used the phrase “near me” and it will become apparent that most people prefer localized SEO solutions.

According to recent research, this kind of search has shown a 900% increase in the last two years. As more people continue to use this option, Google will use it to rank local SEO.

Therefore, a digital marketer should take advantage of this and optimize their SEO strategies in 2021 to fit the local context.

Some of the useful tips that SEO experts can use to implement this SEO strategy in 2021 include:

  • Use the local keywords
  • Use the business directories to get information about the locality
  • Use local events and news to develop content that will engage the readers directly

Final resolve:

Clearly, the importance of SEO cannot be underrated. If the trends in 2021 are anything to go by, then digital marketers and website owners need to develop clear SEO strategies that will help to rank their websites higher.

Starting with these top ten trends for SEO in 2021 is a guarantee to a good spot in the top search engines.

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