SEO is one of the most reliable ways to get traffic to your site.
Sure, you could spend money on ads or invest in branding campaigns, but SEO is perhaps the best bang for your buck in terms of return on investment.
The challenge with SEO is that you are directly competing with several other businesses in your niche for the same lucrative keywords that will bring more visitors to your site and increase sales.
To ensure that you are equipped with the most relevant and up-to-date information regarding SEO, we’ve compiled this handy list of the top 11 things to keep in mind as you continue to dominate the search engine results page.
With 2020 coming to an end, here is a retrospective look at the SEO trends we expect to continue into 2021.
1. The Explosion of Mobile Search
This is a hot SEO trend that extends further before 2020. Google actually switched to mobile-first indexing in early 2019. As the capabilities of mobile phones increase, many don’t even use their laptops for most basic tasks anymore.
Things have changed, and they’re not going back. By 2012, it’s estimated that over 72% of internet users will solely access the internet with their mobile device.
Is your site mobile-friendly? For your sake, we certainly hope so!
2. The Rise of Voice Search
Can you imagine a world with Amazon Alexa? Technology and AI move at a lightning speed, and it could be the case where people rarely even type out questions on their phones.
For SEO, the rise of voice could be a huge tectonic shift in how search queries work. Up until now, search queries were always accessed via phone/computer, which came with a few great perks. For one, users would always see the top few links and could click around. Also, users could easily click related queries and easily read more content rather than listen to it.
With voice search, users no longer have a UI to see the results and Alexa will likely spit back the top link on the search results. This means being at the top of your keyword is more important than ever, as the second or third links may not even see the light of day.
Content that has bullet points or is succinct will do much better as voice search becomes more popular. No one will want to listen to Alexa drone for hours; they want their answers fast and in those few seconds, they will make a buying decision.
3. Featured Snippet
Being able to get rank 1 on a keyword is a huge win and should be celebrated. However, in 2020, we saw the rise of something called “rank 0”, the featured snippet.
A featured snippet is something that is displayed atop the SERP and is even displayed above paid and organic ads. A featured snippet directly answers the query, and data shows 50% of results with featured snippets result in ZERO clicks.
This means they either see your site and read your content as a featured snippet, or you have little shot at getting your content seen at all.
Optimizing for featured snippet is extremely important, and can be done by making your content structured and having “snippet bait” at the top of your article that clearly answers the search query.
4. Speedier the Better
I’m sure I don’t need to preach to the choir about page speed, but it’s something that needs to continually be checked.
While updating your site, you can unknowingly hurt your page speed, which can have disastrous consequences.
Yes, your SEO will be affected, but further than that, studies show that each extra second of load time will lead to a drop off in users who will head back to the SERP to find a faster site.
One of the hottest SEO trends in 2020 is actually a bit counter-intuitive. As more and more businesses become familiar with SEO, the number of companies spamming every business in their niche for a backlink has increased exponentially.
Even a few years ago, a well-written email could net you a free backlink with a relatively high success rate based on your lead gen.
Nowadays, almost any site that you ask for a backlink will almost definitely try to charge you or ignore you among the hundreds of others asking for backlinks.
This is not to say getting backlinks is a dead strategy, just requires much more nuance heading into 2021.
6. The Return of the King: Content
Google started as a search engine that looked almost purely at nodes. How many other sites/nodes linked to your site? From this data, Google ranked sites based on the keywords.
Over time, Google seemed to move further and further away from this paradigm. With the release of BERT, Google doubled down on its content position.
With BERT, Google is actually now able to read and understand what your article is trying to say.
Following this trend, Google is suggesting that what’s more important is not who is linking to the content, but instead what is the content is saying.
7. SEO is ever-changing
Even skimming this list should make it obvious that Google is no stranger to change. Any conversation with an SEO expert will have you feeling second-hand pain whenever there is a new Google update.
A changing search algorithm hurts the incumbents but rewards those who are able to shift their SEO strategies at the same pace that Google evolves its ranking strategies.
This will likely not change in 2021, 2022, or even 2122.
8. Videos to Reach Your Customers
You may have noticed that some YouTube videos are shown among the top-ranking links for queries that could be best answered via lecture or visually.
This is not going away in 2021 and is an SEO trend that is largely overlooked.
Add this question to your SEO checklist: could this search query be better satisfied with a quick informational video?
If so, you may want to consider posting a complimentary video on YouTube along with your article.
9. The Internet Is Becoming Younger
The average age of a child getting a smartphone goes down each year. Those children are going to be surfing the internet searching for similar answers as those who are a generation older.
To better accommodate for this, be sure to make your site is friendly for anyone of any age. One easy way is to ensure that your content has a low readability score. Anyone with a basic understanding of English should be able to enjoy and understand your content.
To achieve this, you can use services like Hemmingway or readability.com to help.
10. Posting Regularly is a MUST
There are about a hundred different avenues we could go in terms of why you need a consistent content strategy.
Having a regular content schedule allows you to regularly keep your brand in the eyes of your clients and customers. Them returning will do wonders for your brand recognition and SEO.
With SEO, having topic clusters is still a great strategy to employ. This means having one pillar page about your topic and several other articles that branch off of that pillar page and provide additional information. You can always be adding to pillar pages, creating new pillar pages, or crafting content around these pillar pages.
Google also rewards those who can keep their content “fresh” and “relevant”. Updating your previous content needs to be done on a regular basis for those who want to maintain their high-ranking positions.
11. SEO Is Alive and Well
With the naysayers constantly shouting that “SEO Is Dead” whenever a Google update eviscerates their rankings, it’s important that we end our list with this statement.
The rules of the game will always change, and the people comfortable at the top will always experience some diminishing returns. For those who don’t want to put in extra work and adapt, SEO could be considered dead.
However, for those who are hungry and able to roll with the punches … SEO is very much alive and well.
SEO is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity, and that is the hottest trend of all.
Best of luck with your SEO strategy in 2021!