If you’re reviewing your accomplishments from 2020 and feeling good about your SEO, that’s fantastic. But what you need to know is that SEO efforts don’t end when you reach your goals.
That’s because SEO strategy is constantly evolving. Although your rankings might be looking great right now, if you don’t keep up with 2021 SEO trends, you’ll start to fall behind.
Let’s take a look at the expected SEO trends for 2021 so you can better understand the importance of an ongoing SEO strategy to stay at the top of search results.
2021 SEO Trends
Search engines are constantly evolving. And as they evolve, so must your SEO strategy. While Google doesn’t reveal its planned algorithm changes before releasing them, experts say these trends will dominate SEO strategy in 2021.
1. Improvements in Artificial Intelligence
RankBrain is Google’s artificial intelligence designed to focus on the intentions of a user’s search. That means exact keywords are still important but Google will also bring in synonyms and context to evaluate whether your content answers the searcher’s intent.
The emphasis on great content will continue to be more important with improving AI. No longer can your content just have strategically placed keywords, but now it needs to read well and match the searcher’s intent.
RankBrain isn’t new, but it’s constantly learning, which means you need to adapt your strategy to learn with it. If your SEO strategy was light on quality content development before now, it’s time to change that.
2. Voice Search Continues to Grow in Popularity
You’ll need to start optimizing content for longer phrases that match the way people speak. For example, if you were to do a Google search for this article, you’d probably search “2021 SEO trends.” But if you asked your personal assistant for the same content, you’re much more likely to say “What are the SEO trends for 2021?”
The difference is subtle, but if you’re hoping your content is the only search result that a smart home device pulls from, you’ll need to think about those more natural speaking phrases.
How important is voice search? In 2020, there are 4.2 billion digital voice assistant devices in use around the world. By 2024, that number is expected to double to 8.4 billion. Voice search is certainly something you can no longer ignore.
3. Quality Long-form Content Must Be Part of Your Strategy
Every day, more content is added to the internet. As search engines log the information, they’re looking for ways to differentiate the articles. One way it does this is through how thorough the content is.
While you might have a short and sweet article that explains one aspect of your business, that’s probably not going to be enough to claim a top position in the rankings. That’s because search engines are looking for content that will satisfy their customers’ queries entirely.
Longer form content will show your expertise and leadership in the space. So instead of all short articles, make plans in 2021 to create long-form content that engages your readers and keeps them on the page for longer periods of time.
4. Predictive Search is Growing
Google Discover is several years old now but its user base is growing. It now has 800 million active users. This is just one more way that search engines are using AI to improve results and engage their audience.
It uses a person’s behavioral patterns to learn their habits. That way, it can identify quality content the user will like.
To be part of Google’s predictive search, you’ll need to have high-ranking, quality content. That means you can’t disengage from your SEO strategy this year just because your organic traffic numbers are doing well.
5. You Need to Integrate Video into Your Strategy
Video content is another way to differentiate your content from the massive loads of information available on the internet. Search engines know that people want various ways to interact with your content. To serve those needs, video is an effective way to rise in the rankings or continue to secure your place on top.
With 1 billion users on YouTube and estimates that video will surpass all other forms of content in terms of consumption, it’s time to add video to your SEO and content strategy.
6. Semantically Related Keywords Matter
We’ve already discussed the importance of quality content in light of AI. Another aspect of that is the importance of adding semantically related keywords. That means creating keyword clusters of similar keywords and designing content around those.
When the search engine looks at your content in light of user intent, it will then see that it covers a variety of terms related to the main keyword, which can help your rankings.
7. Local Search Strategies Are Becoming More Important
As search engines look for ways to differentiate content with the ever-expanding availability of information, it uses local search information to improve results. That means that searchers located near your business are more likely to see your content if you’ve done the right things to optimize for local search.
This is even true if you operate a services business or e-commerce website where the location isn’t of great importance. Your Google My Business page is even more important than it had been and you’ll want to have effective backlinks from other local businesses to help reinforce your local search strategies.
8. Ongoing SEO Strategy Adjustments Are Important
While no one can say for certain what adjustments search engines will make to their algorithms in 2021, one thing is certain: there will be adjustments. You need to be constantly monitoring your rankings, evaluating content and adjusting your SEO strategy to meet the changing needs of search engines.
New Light Digital is an SEO strategy agency and full-service digital marketing firm. We offer a diverse set of services from content marketing to local SEO to help you grow and adapt to the changing marketplace. Get a free quote now to get started with your 2021 SEO strategy.