SEO is one of the top digital marketing activities that bring the most return on investment (ROI). If you still do not know what SEO is and how it will benefit your business, read our article “Search engine optimization (SEO)”.
For 2021, it will be no different. SEO will be even more relevant to businesses. Search engines have been updating their systems to become better and smarter every year. Therefore, we, as marketers, need to be able to keep up.
Here are some of the top 5 SEO trends and tools you must prepare for, to improve your rankings next year:
Table of Content:
- Focus on page experience
- Content will still reign next year.
- AI will be a key tool for topic and keyword search.
- You need to start optimizing for voice search
- Local SEO should become a priority
The quality of a webpage has always been crucial to winning authority and rankings in Google. The search engine prioritizes the quality of the user experience and the recent updates to its service reveal that. This year google revealed that page experience signals would become another crucial ranking factor, and this will be implemented in May 2021. The search signals for page experience will include the Core Web Vitals (loading, interactivity, and visual stability), along with the other already existing signals.
Use tools like:
- Google’s Lighthouse,
- Core Web Vitals,
- PageSpeed Insights and others, to note the points of improvement of your webpage.
2. Content will still reign next year
If there is one thing that 2020 taught us, is that there is still so much to learn. Content will never one dimensional, especially when you go through a global pandemic a lot must be reinvented, reapplied, and relearned.
According to Google Search Trends, 2020 was the year of online and drive-thru concerts, social and racial causes, diversity in the film industry, Asian and Middle Eastern food.
By January 2021, most countries will have started their vaccination plan. But who knows until when we must stay at home and avoid social interactions? The usage of social media accelerated in the first half of 2020. More people have been turning to the digital world to stay in touch with family and friends, accessing healthcare, to entertain themselves and their kids, to exercise, learn about finances, and complete mundane tasks like grocery shopping online.
3. AI will be a key tool for topic and keyword search
It is not new to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) in digital marketing activities. But it is important to notice the evolution and appearance of new AI solutions for the industry. AI will aid SEO in 2021 by improving topic and keyword search quality, save marketers time by taking on time-consuming tasks, check grammar and readability, test content performance, improve work quality, and much more.
Among popular tools that use AI are:
- BrightEdge: shows real-time keyword research, recommendations, and rankings.
- Wordlift: is an SEO tool that aids marketers with content organization, text analysis, internal linking, customization of vocabulary that fits their audience, suggests images, recommends articles, and much more.
- MarketMuse: helps marketers strategize and optimize content. It uses advanced topic modelling to improve content creation and natural language generation to create the first draft of an article.
- Kafkai: is a tool that writes content for marketers. This a solution, that will save time to marketers when writing content as they will focus more on editing.
Artificial intelligence is nothing to fear. We have to be aware that it will keep evolving and becoming better at reaching human-level discernment. However, it will not take anyone’s job because it requires supervised learning. It depends on humans and their input for AI to learn and advance its capabilities.
4. You need to start optimizing for voice search
Due to the experience of living through a global pandemic, what types of behaviours will change? Numerous hands-free solutions were developed to move with the changes in behaviours.
Google shared that 27% of the global online population is using voice search. In the U.S, a study from Gartner showed that 39% of the population use voice assistants on their phone, however, 15% of brands optimized their mobile apps with voice search. In their 2020 research study, Perficient found that 55% of respondents included voice search in their top 3 ways to ask questions on their smartphones.
Even though voice search has not been growing as rapidly as many people thought, this situation of a global pandemic may change our habits forever. So, for now, the expectation will be that in the upcoming years these numbers will keep increasing.
The need to optimize for voice searches will be pressing next year, so marketers need to study the ways to adjust. For example, as voice queries tend to be longer than writing on your laptop, you will need to:
- use longer keywords,
- picking up natural language nuances
- improve the quality of content production.
Additionally, in 2019, 40% of google responses for searches on mobile devices were featured snippets. Therefore, you will also have to add schema mark-up code to your website to improve voice search results.
5. Local SEO should become a priority
While 72% of google local searches resulted in a visit to a store, around 56% of local businesses do not have a Google My Business listing. Bing Business listings presented even more shocking numbers at 82%.
Having a business listing on a search engine platform will improve your standing there. Google, for example, is enabling its platform for zero-click searches and providing information on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
To contextualize, when a user searches for something and the relevant information for them is presented at the SERP, when they end their search there it is called a zero-click search. Therefore, not having a business listing or a non-updated listing will put you at disadvantage.
This year Google My Business has made multiple updates to help businesses during the pandemic. From new health & safety attributes, setting more hours, service attributes such as video appointments, pickup, and delivery attributes and so on. Moreover, it has become easier to update your Google My Business.
On that note, for 2021, you need to get on board with business listings, but also have in mind that local searches are impacted by other signals, such as the use of local keywords, using complete business data (address, phone number, category, and attributes), use of photos, positive reviews, replies to reviews and the keywords used in them.
For a small-medium business, staying up to date and implementing complex SEO strategies can overwhelming. SEO relies on time and constant learning to see the efforts turn in results.
Our priority at Link37 is to not stop the learning process and implement the best and informed strategies for our clients’ online visibility. Book a meeting with us and find out how we can improve your ranking on search engines.