Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective way to attract consumers to your online business platforms — provided that you do it right. Being that SEO is constantly evolving, staying on top of the latest search algorithm updates can be challenging. Acknowledging the fact that SEO is constantly changing, here is a compilation of 21 SEO trends and tips for 2021.
Google makes over 3000 algorithm changes every year. SEO changes so often because of the extraordinary number of algorithm changes released by Google each year. Admittedly, most of these changes are small, but the major algorithm updates can have an enormous effect on your Google search rankings. Most recently, in December, Google began releasing a new core algorithm update which, as predicted, produced new winners and losers in the search rankings. As far as an actionable strategy — Google states that if your rankings have dropped because of their most recent core update, there are no specific actions that one should take to recover, and that a negative rankings impact may not be a signal that anything is wrong with your web pages. More information about Google Search Core Updates an be found on their developer blog – What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates .
Then how does one prepare for the major algorithm updates in 2021?
What other aspects of SEO are changing in 2021?
Personally, I’ve been practicing SEO for over two decades. During the early days of SEO, late 1990s to early 2000s, ranking on page one was literally as easy as adding keywords to a title tag or within the body text of a web page’s content. Eventually it was necessary to do things like on-page SEO and link building, but it wasn’t complicated.
Today, the reality is that there is no SEO silver bullet. Despite some opinions that SEO is not effective or even dead, the truth is that SEO still works, albeit, a much more complex process.
21 SEO Trends & Tips for 2021 (#1 to #7)
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #1 – Search Rankings Will Fluctuate
The first important SEO trend is that your search rankings will fluctuate. Despite the fact that Google releases many ranking algorithm changes every year, the most important, and of greatest consequence, are the major updates; your search rankings may go up or they may go down, or, less frequently, they may remain unchanged.
Doing all the right SEO stuff doesn’t guarantee that rankings will always go up. Rankings may very well still go down. But, by continually doing the right SEO stuff and putting the user’s experience first, in a year, your search rankings will have improved. Your website traffic should also be up, but you need to get accustomed to and accept fluctuating rankings.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #2 – Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) #1
Search engine ranking position (SERP) #1 has never been more important! The #1 ranking spot is the goal. Ranking #1 has never been easy and will continue to be extremely challenging in 2021. It’s not just about on-site SEO and more links than your competitor any more. User metrics are more significant than ever. With Google constantly making new algorithm changes, the number of variables that can affect your traffic and revenue are daunting.
The lower you rank on page one, the fewer clicks you will receive. Being ranked in the top 10 spots, on page one is no longer enough. There are a significant number of queries where there aren’t 10 spots on page one. Page one search result listings on Google may only contain seven, eight or nine query results. The top spot is crucial spot because Google is including many other types of search results that result in decreased organic traffic.
This should not be interpreted as the demise or irrelevance of SEO. There are an ever-increasing number of people using and searching via Google, so position two or three or even on page one may still reap benefits. But search ranking position #1 has a massive advantage over position two, three or four, even on page one of the SERP.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #3 – It’s All About User Experience (UX)
SEO in 2021 is all about user experience. Google is combining the signals derived from Core Web Vitals with their existing Search signals for page experience, including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines, to provide a holistic picture of page experience. Because Google continues to work on identifying and measuring aspects of page experience, they plan to incorporate more page experience signals on a yearly basis to both further align with evolving user expectations and increase the aspects of user experience that can be measured.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #4 – Niches And Niche-Focused Websites
The greatest SEO opportunities will be in niches and building building niche-focused websites. People who focus on a particular niche tend to demonstrate greater level of expertise tend to be more of an “authority” for that niche; not as a rule, but quite often the case. Over time, they end up with better rankings simply because they cover their niche in greater depth on their respective topics.
In the online business world, people are usually searching for very specialized solutions. When Googling for the best dog food for your Old English Bulldog, are you searching “best pet food?” Most likely you’re searching for “best dog food” for your “English Bulldog” of a “specific age.” You can obviously get very narrow. The more specialized you get, the easier it is to to stand out and reach your desired audience.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #5 – Length of Content
In the past, recommended content length varied greatly, from 200 to 3,000 or more words per page, depending on a topic’s complexity and objectives. But in general, the primary goal of website content has been, and will continue to be, to get one’s message across effectively and concisely, motivating the reader to take action.
In 2021, the length of content will not be as significant as in the past. Lengthy content can still be helpful for some queries and rank high, especially technical subject matter, but you need to ask yourself, “Does someone really want to read a 2,000-3,000 word article when the same information is available via an educational animated gif or an instructional video?” Again, in some cases, a longer discussion may be beneficial if written well, and may result in high engagement, backlinks, shares, etc. In any case, strive to be clear and as detail-oriented as necessary, but make your point without digressing too far from the primary theme of your content.
When Google began releasing updates focusing on user experience in their algorithms, variables such as content length became less important. Google knows if a user bounces off your page, regardless of content length, the page is perceived as less relevant and the page’s rankings will go down.
Don’t be overly concerned about things like word count or keyword densities. Instead, focus on the quality of your content and giving the user the information that they’re looking for in as clear and concise manner as possible.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #6 – Organically Generated Backlinks
The number of backlinks will not be as important as the quality of the links. User metrics can easy identify if you acquire too many backlinks too fast. This will be construed by Google as attempting to “game” search engine rankings and will actually cause longer waiting times to rank and/or can damage your search rankings.
The recommended approach for 2021 is to publish your content, not concern yourself with building links and allow links to it occur organically. Then, after your content has been live for several months, manually reach out to relevant link prospects. When done this way, industry experts are seeing that rankings climb faster and higher than if building tons of links from the start. Building tons of links is just not authentically organic. This absolutely applies to buying links. Never buy links in an attempt to get away with breaking Google’s policies. The best practice in 2021 is to build links slowly and patiently.
SEO 2021 Trend/Tip #7 – Featured Snippets
Featured snippets, or Position Zero results, appear at the top of the SERP in a rectangular box. They are useful for searchers as well as beneficial for websites. However, the content that is shown in a Featured Snippet for a given search is determined by Google’s AI search algorithm and not easily manipulated or optimized for, within a website. The exact method for getting one’s web page in the Featured Snippet isn’t fully understood. Digital marketing and SEO experts utilize a few strategies that may be helpful such as answering a specific question via bullet points within well-structured content.
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