SEO, or search engine optimization, is a common practice by website designers and owners to help boost a website’s ranking in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Common SEO trends include keyword optimization, writing compelling titles, and building backlinks. However, Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and evolving — so your SEO practices need to change, too.
In 2021, intelligent website optimization will likely involve a few new techniques. Today, we’ll be discussing the future of SEO so you can optimize your website the smart way.
What we’ll discuss:
- An overview of SEO trends in 2021.
- Four SEO trends to watch.
The Future of SEO in 2021: An Overview
SEO best practices are constantly shifting to keep up with Google’s changing algorithms. When Google changes how it analyzes websites for its SERPs, your website’s ranking can change, too.
That’s why it’s important to stay up to date with the latest SEO trends to make sure you don’t get left behind when it comes to website optimization.
According to SEO experts at Moz, the future of SEO will consist of fine-tuning old-school SEO best practices — like featured snippets, meta descriptions, and title tags — with an additional focus on technical SEO.
In particular, Core Web Vitals, voice search, and mobile-first indexing will play a big part in the SEO landscape in 2021 — but we’ll get into that later on.
In general, SEO best practices remain the same as ever, but you can never do too much of a good thing. Marketers should focus on producing high-quality digital marketing content backed up with smart, SEO-friendly titles and descriptions to increase clicks per Google search.
Let’s get into a little more detail.
Top SEO Trends To Watch This Year
Looking to improve your SEO strategy by getting a little more specific? Here are four of the biggest SEO trends of 2021.
Mobile SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for mobile devices. More people now use their mobile devices to browse the web. In fact, as of 2021, mobile internet traffic accounts for 54.18% of all internet traffic around the world.
Spend some time perfecting your website’s mobile-friendliness by ensuring your website offers an exceptional user experience on mobile.
As Shelly Fagin, SEO Director of Highly Searched, told Search Engine Journal, 2021 will see a shift in how Google analyzes your website. “Google will essentially be ignoring your desktop site,” she said. “Your mobile site will determine your rankings.”
This shift is known as mobile-first indexing. If your website optimization has been primarily desktop-focused, this is the year to prioritize your mobile version.
User Experience and Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals, which Google announced will launch in June 2021. As the future of SEO, these signals are designed to improve the user experience of browsing the internet. Core Web Vitals will improve how Google crawlers analyze your website’s page experience.
Google’s guidelines explain how it will rank websites based on their speed, responsiveness, and visual stability. Google will measure:
- Largest Contentful Paint. This ranking factor measures loading time. A page speed of 2.5 seconds or faster will be given priority.
- First Input Delay. This measures how fast a webpage takes to start interacting with the user. This should take less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift. This measures the visual stability of your webpage. In other words, it measures whether elements on your webpage shift around unexpectedly.
Spend some time testing your Core Web Vitals to find out how you can improve your user experience to better suit Google’s new algorithm change.
Voice Search Optimization
Voice search is quickly becoming the future of SEO. As of 2019, a third of Americans used voice search. Another study estimates that by 2025, 75% of homes in the U.S. will use smart speakers, which offer the voice search feature.
Because voice search is increasingly common, digital marketers need to focus on website optimization for voice search queries. One major change that comes from voice search is the increasing popularity of longer keyword phrases.
Most people type short keywords into the Google search bar but prefer to ask Google long-form questions.
According to SEMrush, FAQ pages are more commonly ranked in voice searches. This is because people often use voice search technology to ask questions.
Start incorporating FAQs sections into your webpages and blog posts to improve your chances of appearing in voice search results pages.
Artificial Intelligence and RankBrain
Google announced the RankBrain algorithm in 2015. The machine learning AI algorithm helps make SERPs more relevant. It weeds out low-quality content and reduces bad user experiences.
To be competitive with your SEO in 2021, you’ll need to optimize for this AI algorithm to keep attracting organic traffic. As Knowmad explains, the RankBrain algorithm only impacted 15% of searches in 2015.
But as of 2021, it impacts every single search.
RankBrain is able to self-adjust in response to how users interact with results pages. For instance, RankBrain might test out an algorithm alteration that favors a certain type of keyword. If users respond positively, the change stays.
In other words, AI is constantly adjusting the RankBrain algorithm to ensure the best possible user experience.
The main job of RankBrain is to understand a user’s search intent. Instead of simply looking at a webpage to see if it contains matching keywords to the user’s search term, it can understand what the user is trying to find with each organic search.
For marketers, this means that content marketing with keyword stuffing is no longer sufficient.
To succeed in website optimization for RankBrain in 2021, you’ll need high-quality content — including both short-form and long-form content with intelligent keyword research. This way, Google will understand what your content is all about and can accurately match it to what the user meant when they made their search.
Final Thoughts: The Future of SEO and Website Optimization in 2021
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