SEO never stays the same for long. And 2021 has been an exciting year of change for SEO.

We’ve seen the rise of new trends, new strategies, and new challenges.

And regardless of how your business approaches digital marketing, there’s no denying how important SEO is when it comes to organic search.

We’ve put together this list of SEO tips to show you the top techniques and tactics you need to know in 2021.

Perfecting Content Design for Maximum Engagement

You should think about writing the right website before advertising it. Search engines look for content that’s original, authoritative, and relevant to the interests of the searchers.

Keyword Research

Keywords are as imperative as they ever were for driving traffic and sales in the field of SEO. In 2021, the industry is going towards long-tail keywords with specific targeting strategies in mind. Tools like Google Search Console can be invaluable for finding these unique keywords. Remember that even low-volume keywords can generate plenty of revenue in the long-run.

Just as important is the concept of topic clusters. Using the right keywords is about knowing your audience and creating buyer personas for each category of potential clients. The result is a better understanding of search intent.

Organize your website based on these content clusters by having a “pillar” page that appeals to a broad range of keywords. From there, make individual cluster pages that go into more detail regarding specific points from the pillar page. Link these to the pillar for best results. This strategy allows your site to create meaningful value for visitors.

Search Intent

You need more than just a surface understanding of keywords; search intent is becoming a new focus for businesses in 2021. Intent refers to how the same search query can come from customers with entirely different needs in some cases.

For instance, a search for “apple” can come from someone looking for a new smartphone or a future fruit stand entrepreneur. A search for “Android,” likewise, could come from a robotics enthusiast or a Star Wars fan.

Google understands that appealing to the appropriate search intent matters when you design your site content. That’s why it created the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) algorithm, which uses machine learning and natural language processing to ascertain the intent of search queries.

Original Content

A website is more than just a platform for your branding. It’s an opportunity to publish unique material that cannot be found anywhere else. If a website is too similar to another, then there’s little reason for Google or your potential visitors to pay attention.

Design your content to be authentic, unique, and helpful to your target demographic. Useful resources include:

  • Company-specific news and milestones
  • Case studies and experiments
  • Customer testimonials
  • Industry news, especially if it relates to the company

It may be constructive to refresh some of your old content as well, building on the success of previously successful posts. Make your content long enough to accumulate backlinks and generate value but short enough that you don’t lose the interest of readers. The idea is to establish yourself as a trusted name in the industry.

Giving the People What They Want

Consumer needs are evolving, so how do you appeal to the new search preferences in 2021? The key is to start paying attention to voice search trends, video marketing, and Google’s snippets feature.

Voice Search

How many times have you asked Siri, Google Now, or Alexa the directions to a restaurant or the state of the weather outside? It turns out that voice search is becoming more popular with the public engaging with virtual assistants and speech-to-text applications more than ever.

Users of voice-activated speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home reportedly love using those devices and perform voice search daily, even making purchases occasionally through it.

What implications does this trend have for businesses? Most voice searches are:

  • Long
  • Specific in intent
  • Locally focused
  • In the form of a question
  • Made by users who are far along in the sales funnel and highly likely to make a purchase

It’s worth writing blog posts that appeal to individual long-tail keywords for this reason, as well as Question and Answer sections.

Video Marketing

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to know that YouTube is a popular video platform. With over 1 billion users, YouTube is an excellent place to market through videos.

  • The video title should contain a keyword and be at least 5 words long. Use the site’s autocomplete feature to see what people are searching for.
  • The description is almost a blog post by itself and is the best way to tell YouTube’s algorithm what your video is about. Also consider using the audio transcription service for the same reason.
  • Create a custom thumbnail rather than the default one for a compelling title card.
  • Organize the channel with playlists to group together related videos. This feature encourages users to stay on your channel longer.

More and more businesses in 2021 are starting YouTube channels thanks to the boost in SEO.

Featured Snippets

Also known as “Position Zero,” Google’s Featured Snippets feature is a rectangle shown at the top of the search results page showing a snippet of a website. You’ve probably seen it if you’ve ever Googled a question like “how do I start a new website?”

While it’s not fully understood how Google decides on snippets, SEO experts agree that creating structured content that answers specific questions improves your chances of being featured in a snippet. Think Q&A sections with bullet point responses.

Mastering the Technical Aspects

The push for technical SEO is not going to slow down in the coming year. Marketing departments everywhere know the importance of a positive, efficient user experience for site visitors.

User Experience

An amateur-looking website that takes too long to load in raises the bounce rate, or the incidence of visitors clicking on your site but immediately clicking off. Some tips to address UX include:

  • Making the content easier to read by using shorter paragraphs, varied sentence lengths, bullet points, images, and subheaders. Most online readers just skim at the most.
  • Keep the flow by using phrases like “let’s get started…” and “have you ever wanted to learn how to…?” These sentences encourage the reader to flow into the next section rather than hop off.
  • Start off strong by putting your most valuable information at the top, as many readers probably won’t scroll to the bottom.

The user experience is about more than just content; it encompasses how users will interact with the website. That’s why companies often use scientific A/B testing, where multiple versions of a website are shown to individual visitors.

The testing team then analyzes the response to each version to determine the best one. Even small changes like a different color or a moved button can have significant implications for bounce rate and other SEO KPIs.

Flexible Mobile Design

Did you know that half of all purchases take place on mobile devices now? More potential buyers are searching through smartphones and making purchases on a mobile app. Take the mobile view into account when designing a business website. Almost all web design agencies have a smartphone layout in mind.

Google’s Core Web Vitals

Google, being the most popular search engine available, recently announced in May of 2020 its Core Web Vitals, or 3 metrics that have large influence in how websites are ranked in the search results:

  • Loading times
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability

These metrics relate to page speed. How long does it take for your website to load in and become interactive? How stable is it during this process?

Ensure that your site ranks well by minimizing unnecessary code and using strategies like compressing images to shorten loading times.

Miscellaneous Tips

Let’s end on a few miscellaneous trends for search engine optimization that will likely accelerate in 2021.

The Need For Influencers

Social media influencers have a lot of followers with similar interests, so imagine the benefits of putting your brand name in front of their eyes. The return on investment can be enormous, hence the push for influencers in SEO fields.

Influencers can help promote backlinks for your website, increase brand engagement, and help generate social media traffic, all of which are helpful for raising search rankings.

Building Your Own Influence

But what about your own influence as a company? Building up your brand’s awareness and reputation can be just as important. Search engines love it when websites show off a degree of expertise, authority, and trust.

Build up this reputation by publishing in news media and encouraging backlinks with other sites in your relevant market.

Take Advantage of Artificial Intelligence

AI is only getting more relevant in the field of personalizing search results. Google itself has already adopted it, and you should too. That, of course, does not mean you need to create your own AI from scratch.

Search engine algorithms can be complicated to understand, so many SEO experts use machine learning-based solutions for decoding the algorithm and creating actionable strategies. These AI-based services are becoming more common and will continue to trend in 2021.

How Globalgraphics Web Design Can Help You Stay On Track

Looking for some help to keep your business up to speed on new trends in SEO? Get in touch with one of Toronto’s most trusted web design specialist groups. Globalgraphics is your key to capitalizing on these SEO trends and finding new ways to appeal to new audiences.