The quest to be on top of the search results has never been so exciting. With several algorithm updates from Google, which has more than 70% market share in the Search Engine space, creating an SEO strategy that works is of prime importance.
We bring you the latest trends in SEO so that you could top the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Trend 1: SERP Consolidation
Google has evolved in recent years to enhance its user experience. Search results now contain Featured Snippets, People Also Ask sections along with the ads and organic results. There is also a carousel video section.
This led to a surge in Zero-Click searches and a decrease in the share of organic clicks from 50% to 10%.
Trend 2: Keyword Research
Keyword research is of vital importance for any SEO strategy. Every piece of content that you create must map to a set of primary and secondary keywords that not only rank well but also see a higher number of clicks.
Start with a seed keyword and prepare a list of long-tail keywords through tools such as Ahref, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and Ubersuggest.
Did you know?
70% of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords. So ensure to include them in the master keyword list.
Trend 3: Voice Search
SEO has taken a quantum leap through voice search. 60% of mobile users have tried voice search at least once in the last 12 months. Thus question-related searches comprise a key part of overall searches in Google.
Optimizing website content for question keywords will bring a tangible difference to your SEO strategy in 2021. Question keywords and semantic search go hand-in-hand. Let’s dive into the most popular categories of questions answered by Google:
- Direct Answer Questions (DAQ) - These questions start with ‘What’, ‘Which’, ‘Where’, ‘Who’ etc. Example: What is Marketing Automation?
- Short Answer Questions (SAQ): These questions start with ‘Why’, ‘Can’ et al. Example: Why do we need Marketing Automation?
- Long Answer Questions (LAQ): These questions require a longer and structural answer. Example: How to do an SEO audit?
Voice search is much faster than the average load time of a website. Comscore predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. It is safe to conclude that voice search optimization should be a key aspect of your SEO strategy in 2021. Some of the interesting snippets with Voice Search:
- Voice searches are longer than conventional text-based searches
- Voice changes how people consume the search results.
How to Optimize the content for Voice Search?
- Try including short and crisp answers in your content
- Creating content for Frequently Asked Questions
- Write content for Featured Snippets. 40.7% of voice search answers has come from Featured Snippet
- Hyper-local businesses must optimize for “near me” searches. This term has witnessed 150% raise in search volume over the past two years
Trend 4: Video Marketing
Video consumption per person is expected to reach 100 minutes a day by 2021, as per Zenith Media. Videos are one of the easiest ways to explain a service or product. Some of the insights on SEO for video marketing:
- Use an attractive thumbnail image which interests viewers to click your video
- Distribute video across multiple channels
- Optimize the title, meta tag and description in line with the keywords you are aiming for
Trend 5: BERT Update
BERT is one of the trending aspects for SEO this year. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Google came up with this update on the core search algorithm which comprehends the intent of the search query. Content which is based on E.A.T principle will be rewarded by Google.
Expertise - The webpage needs to have quality content
Authority - The website needs to have authority on the subject
Trustworthiness - The website should have authoritative links from trusted sites
Trend 6: Mobile SEO
From July 1, 2019, Google made mobile-first indexing as default for all new web domains. This essentially means, whenever a new website is registered it will be crawled by Googlebot. This is aimed at helping the company’s primary mobile users for a better search experience.
If you want to make websites work for mobile-first indexing, go through this guide from Google
Trend 7: Structured Data
Structured data enables search engines such as Bing, Google to understand the website better and what the webpage is about. It is a standardized format to mark up the information about the webpage.
Search engines use structured data to improve the user experience through rich snippets. JSON-LD, RDFa and Microdata are a few ways to mark up the structured data. Microformats and Page Date (ISO 8601 date format with the full specified year is recommended) help Google in parsing the web page content.
Schema.org contains the complete list of items that can be marked up in structured data.
Why you should consider Structured Data for SEO in 2021:
- Increase in Page Relevancy → As structured data helps search engines to understand the content better, there is an increase in page relevancy. This eventually helps in boosting the rankings
- Higher CTR and Conversion Rates → With structured data, you get more visual appeal for products and reviews in the SERP. This will boost the click-through rate of the featured website resulting in higher conversions.
- Authority → Improved SERP means increased authority and trustworthiness
Validating Structured Data
Post incorporating structured data, it is a good practice to validate it with this tool from Google. The testing tool will show whether there is an error in your data markup.
Trend 8: Link Building
Link Building is one of the key activities for any SEO marketer. In addition to driving traffic, link building from highly ranked domain authority sites will boost your website’s SEO rankings. Let’s get a peek into five techniques that you must follow in link building:
- UGC Tag → Include rel=’ugc’ tag in your blogs while you are backlinking. This helps Google understand that you are referring to user-generated content.
- Use long-tail keywords → Long-tail keywords help search engines to contextualize the hyperlink and excite readers
- Look for high-quality links → A backlink from a website which has higher domain authority than yours will do a world of good to your SEO rankings.
- Check for Relevancy of the backlink site → In addition to authority, what matters for link building is relevancy.
Explore ways in which you can get a backlink in an editorial way so that it looks natural to search engines. Do not forget to turn your mentions into links by using tools such as BuzzSumo. If an external website believes that your blog or webpage is amazing, they are going to link it and also endorse you with a “dofollow”. So it all boils down to creating content that resonates best with buyers and their pain points.
Now that you have understood the important SEO trends for 2021, generate the traffic your website deserves by ranking high in the SERP.