Keeping track of SEO trends is essential if you want to stay one step ahead. SEO is very much a trend-driven industry, and those who can react and respond to trends quickly are destined to be the most successful. Those that charge ahead with their own agenda should be warned: ignore the trends at your peril.
With search engines changing their algorithms by the hour, it would be impossible to predict and stay ahead of every single update. But keeping an eye on the wider trends can help you to stay ahead of the curve. In this guide, we will look at 12 of the most popular SEO trends which are emerging in 2021 according to the SEO experts.
Trying to achieve the number 1 position in Google is no longer the primary goal, now every marketer wants to achieve that elusive position 0. Rich snippets have transformed the way to access information, and therefore changed the way we build websites. These little snippets of information allow users to find out what they need to know without ever leaving the SERP.
It’s no longer optional to have a non-secure website. By now, almost every website should have an active SSL certificate to confirm it is safe. Even if you aren’t running an eCommerce website, you should still have an SSL certificate in place. Fail to install one, and your visitors could see a pretty scary warning from their browser when they land on your site.
Focus on mobile rankings
The mobile-first Google update has pushed many marketers to think about optimising their mobile website. Even if the majority of users land on your site from a desktop device, the prevalence of mobile can no longer be ignored. If you’re not sure if your mobile user experience is up to scratch, you can use the Google Mobile-Friendly test to investigate.
Optimising for voice search
The demand for voice search has seemingly plateaued in 2020, but this doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Demand is still high, it just isn’t rising. This could mean that we’ve reached the saturation point for voice search devices and we now need websites to catch up to be able to provide a better voice search service. When this happens, maybe we will see demand continue to grow.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. This acronym has been floating around in relation to the Google Medic update of 2018. Although this was aimed at medical information available on Google, it can easily be applied to other areas. If you want to produce content that gets noticed, you need to ensure that it is thoroughly researched and verified.
Machine learning can be applied to the SEO industry to help inform everything from keyword research to user experience. It involves taking lots of data and using algorithms to spot trends within this information. This guide from Search Engine Journal offers an excellent overview of machine learning in an SEO world.
End of single search engine
We’ve all grown accustomed to the ubiquitous Google, but in 2020 we could start to see smaller search engines take a share of the market. This is mainly fueled by privacy concerns, so we could see search engines like DuckDuckGo becoming a lot more popular this year. This means that marketers will need to sit up and pay attention to the ranking signals for more than just Google.
The return of blogging
Blogging went out of style for a while, with social media and video content taking the lead. But 2020 could be the year we start to see the rise of the personal blog again. In 2018, the focus shifted to sites like Medium as a way to amplify reach. In 2020, expect a lot of businesses to rekindle their affection for blogging and start to revitalise this often neglected portion of their website.
The day of the standard 350-500 word blog post is now behind us. It’s clear that the most successful content far exceeds 2000 words. Long-form content is the darling of the SEO community as it leans on other trends such as E-A-T content. But be warned, writing long-form content for the sake of it won’t get you very far. You also need to focus on creating something that offers genuine value to your website visitors.
Improved user experience
Website owners that have ignored the user experience for too long may soon see this creep up on them. User experience covers everything from the speed the website loads, how the information is laid out, and how simple it is to reach your goal. User experience also crosses over into conversion rate optimisation. So if you want to get more value from the users that are landing on your website, this is an avenue worth exploring.
Influencers and SEO
We’ve primarily seen influencers dominate on social media, but 2020 could be the year that their reach spans over into SEO. Using influencers for SEO might seem like an odd concept, but it also allows us to open up the door to B2B influencers. Influencers for SEO could include something like guest posting and reviews to help increase the credibility of your products or services. If influencer marketing has always seemed a little shallow to your business, then this transformation could be just what you need.
Link building has always been a murky topic in SEO. The days of bulk buying links are far behind us, but websites still need links to build authority, trust and referral traffic. In 2020, we expect organisations to take pages out of the journalism and PR playbooks.
By taking a journalistic approach to creating original content, brands can establish authority. And through a PR approach, brands can also ensure that their content gets noticed like never before. Rather than focus on links for the sake of the link, brands will have to think about how the mention will drive traffic, increase awareness and ultimately deliver value.