SEO trends evolve on a semi-regular basis with every update Google makes to its search engine algorithm. This fact alone means that last year’s SEO-friendly page may need an overhaul.
Did you know that the No. 1 search result on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks? On the flip side, only 0.78% of all users click over to engage with anything on the second page of results. These statistics explain, in a nutshell, why every business wants its content to show up on the first page.
It’s no secret that search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful strategy for bringing high-quality traffic to your site and boost conversions. But only if it’s done right. The right SEO techniques and tools can help land you a spot on the coveted first page. The problem, however, is that SEO trends are constantly evolving, and staying on top of the latest trends can become quite daunting. I’ve put together what I think are some of the most critical SEO trends you need to be aware of in 2021, so let’s take a quick look.
For a long time now, Google has been favoring high-quality content. But what exactly does “high-quality” mean in 2021?
First, your content needs to have some sort of beneficial purpose and attempt to help users. The second indicator of high-quality content, at least as far as Google is concerned, can be summed up with the acronym E-A-T. Your content needs to reflect a high degree of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google’s third-party Search Quality Raters use these indicators to rate the quality of content on web pages. Google then leverages this information to improve the results it showcases to users.
Google favors reliable sources of information. Content written by genuine experts in their fields is likely to rank higher in searches. For example, Google’s quality guidelines state that only medical professionals and experts should write medical advice. This helps to explain why every article on Virta’s blog is written only by medical practitioners and healthcare experts.
Google also favors content and websites that are reputable and trusted by external sources. This means that content that has been cited on multiple other reputable websites will rank higher. If The New York Times mentions you, for example, that’s going to send a strong signal to Google.
Google favors websites that offer a high degree of transparency about their creators. Some examples of trust signals include:
For example, healthcare provider Virta has a very impressive “About Us” page on their website. The page provides an overview of their mission, origin story, and achievements. It also showcases their leadership team, investors, advisors, and board of directors. All these comply with current SEO trends and are excellent trust signals as far as Google is concerned.
If you want to outrank your competition in 2021, you will need to create content that 1) benefits your audience, and 2) conforms to Google’s E-A-T guidelines. Even if you outsource content development, make sure you hire people who are knowledgeable about your industry. Use relevant statistics, facts, and real-world examples in your content to support your claims. Also, make sure that your website includes detailed information about your business.
One key to adopting winning SEO trends in 2021 is to understand the “why” behind the “what.” Ask yourself: Why do people flock to Google? What are they essentially looking for?
People look to search engines for answers to their questions or to learn more about a particular subject. So, if you can 1) understand the intent behind their searches, and 2) provide the answers or information they’re looking for, you’ll be one step closer to your goals.
Google has evolved far beyond simply analyzing strings of words. With the BERT update, Google now uses pattern recognition to understand how people actually converse and present more relevant search results. Regardless of how you combine words or spell your search queries, Google tries its best to understand user intent and return relevant information from the web. So, if your content fails to match user intent, your search rankings will be negatively affected.
This is exactly why marketers should focus on creating valuable content that satisfies search and user intent. A study conducted by Ahrefs found that optimizing a landing page for search intent resulted in a 677% increase in traffic in just six months.
Before you start creating any form of content, search your target keyword on Google to understand its intent. For example, when someone searches for “content marketing,” it’s likely that they’re looking to learn more about content marketing. However, if they search for “content marketing services,” it’s more likely that they’re looking for vendors who provide such services. Once you know the search intent for a particular keyword, you’ll be able to ensure that your content matches the intent.
Google defines “page experience” as a measure of how users feel when they interact with a particular web page. Beginning May 2021, the page experience factor will have an impact on the ranking of a website. In addition to existing signals such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS-security, and safe browsing, a new set of metrics called Core Web Vitals will now determine the page experience.
So what constitutes these Core Web Vitals?
The addition of these metrics means you can no longer afford to ignore these factors if you want to optimize for SEO trends and improve search rankings in 2021. If a couple of pages have equally relevant content, the one that offers a better user experience will rank higher once the new algorithm rolls out in May.
As the new changes won’t take effect until May, you still have time to optimize your website and improve the user experience. Start by analyzing the loading speed of web pages using Google’s PageSpeed Insights and take the Mobile-Friendly Test to see where you stand. If you don’t have the necessary expertise to optimize your website in-house, consider outsourcing to an outside agency.
Gone are the days when SEO was all about keyword research and optimization. As SEO trends continue to evolve and become more complex, the only way to win is to stay abreast of the latest trends, concepts, and techniques.