8 SEO Trends That Will Continue in 2021

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Everyone is aware of search engine optimization is a fast-moving trade. Google is regularly introducing new applied sciences and updating previous ones to enhance the standard of its search outcomes.

In the previous, a few of these updates have massively modified the search engine optimization sport. But we expect issues are unlikely to be heading that method in 2021. It’s extra doubtless that present developments will proceed and that Google will proceed refining quite than redefining the search panorama.

Given that prediction, listed here are a couple of search engine optimization developments to bear in mind in 2021:

  1. Zero-click searches will proceed to rise
  2. Voice search will proceed to extend in recognition
  3. Providing a great person expertise will get much more essential
  4. Mobile-friendliness can be essential for everybody
  5. Google will get higher at figuring out E‑A-T
  6. Google Discover will drive extra visitors
  7. Image search will achieve much more potential
  8. Search intent will stay king

1. Zero-click searches will proceed to rise

Between 2016 and 2019, the variety of zero-click searches rose from 43.9% to 49%.

That’s hardly shocking. Google is answering increasingly more queries in SERP options, and there’s no have to click on a end result when the reply’s proper there.

In the longer term, zero-click searches will solely proceed to rise because the Knowledge Graph grows and Google’s algorithms get higher at pulling solutions from internet pages for featured snippets.

What to do about it

Nothing you are able to do will change the share of zero-click searches, however you must maintain them in thoughts throughout key phrase analysis. If you’re contemplating a key phrase and many of the searches get no clicks, it won’t be the most effective goal.

For instance, if we test the clicking distribution for “what does seo stand for” in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, an estimated 71% of searches lead to no clicks.

That’s in all probability as a result of Google absolutely solutions the query within the SERP.

Now have a look at “SEO tips,” the place solely 26% of searches haven’t any clicks.

In this case, though Google makes an attempt to reply the question with a featured snippet, most searchers will in all probability click on as a result of they want extra particulars and visuals to assist them put the ideas into apply.

Does that imply it’s utterly pointless to focus on the primary key phrase?

No. Zero-click doesn’t imply zero alternative. There are different advantages to exhibiting up within the search outcomes, like:

  • Increased model consciousness. Because your area identify and favicon reveals within the SERP.
  • Improved model notion. If Google persistently pulls useful solutions out of your pages, searchers could begin associating your model with being useful.
  • Reaching extra individuals. Not all the pieces is about visitors. If you’re employed for a non-profit or have a interest website, reaching extra individuals may very well be a worthwhile search engine optimization KPI.

2. Voice search will proceed to extend in recognition

In 2019, Adobe discovered that 48% of consumers use voice for basic internet searches.

That quantity might be even greater now, and with sensible audio system predicted to reach 55% of US households by 2022, the recognition of voice search will solely rise.

Because individuals carry out voice searches with pure language, its growing recognition is undoubtedly partly why Google is investing in applied sciences like RankBrain, BERT, and the Knowledge Graph.

These applied sciences are complicated, however the brief model is:

  • RankBrain and BERT assist higher perceive the that means of search queries.
  • The Knowledge Graph helps perceive the relationships between entities like individuals, locations, and issues.

What to do about it

Although applied sciences like RankBrain, BERT, and the Knowledge Graph assist energy voice search, there’s no technique to instantly ‘optimize’ for them.

But there are a couple of easy methods to optimize for voice search:

  • Get a Google My Business profile. Answers to questions instantly associated to your small business, like instructions and opening occasions, are normally pulled from right here.
  • Make certain your web page masses quick. Voice search outcomes load 52% faster than the average page. And whereas that is simply correlational information, we all know that web page pace is a rating issue in natural search.
  • Get extra backlinks. Backlinks assist with rankings, and, in accordance with this study, Google is extra prone to pull voice search outcomes from high-ranking pages.
  • Add schema markup. This is essential in case you’re optimizing sure varieties of content material like pages with recipes.
  • Be succinct. The common voice search result’s 29 phrases. Again, that is correlational information, however who needs their voice assistant to reply with a novel?
  • Answer questions individuals are asking. Google can’t rank your web page for a question if it doesn’t reply the query.

To discover questions individuals are asking, test the Questions report in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

For instance, listed here are the preferred questions individuals are asking concerning the iPhone.

If you’re not but an Ahrefs buyer, strive our free key phrase generator, which provides as much as 50 solutions.

3. Providing a great person expertise will get much more essential

Google needs to rank content material that gives a constructive person expertise. They say so on their web page about how search works:

Google already makes use of alerts like HTTPS, intrusive ads, and mobile-friendliness for this, however in May 2021, Core Web Vitals will be added to the mix.

What to do about it

Google will use three metrics to resolve whether or not your web page passes the Core Web Vitals evaluation:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) How quick the biggest aspect above the fold is loaded. It must be 2.5s or much less.
  2. First Input Delay (FID) How lengthy it takes in your web page to reply after a person interacts with it. It must be 100ms or much less.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) How a lot issues transfer round throughout loading. It must be 0.1 or much less.

To test these metrics for any web page, use Pagespeed Insights.

To see all of the pages in your web site that want enchancment, use the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console.

If any of your pages fail to cross the Core Web Vitals evaluation, learn our information to enhancing pagespeed or speak to your developer.

4. Mobile-friendliness can be essential for everybody

Mobile-friendliness has lengthy been necessary. Google officiallymade it a rating think about 2015 and switched to mobile-first indexing for brand spanking new web sites in July 2019.

Google defines mobile-first indexing as when it ‘uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.’ Right now, 70% of websites are already on mobile-first indexing, and Google plans to change the remaining websites earlier than March 2021.

What to do about it

First test whether or not Google has switched your website to cellular indexing. You can try this in Google Search Console. Just go to Settings > Indexing Crawler

If you see “Google Smartphone,” Google has already switched your website.

If the swap hasn’t occurred but, ensure you’re ready.

There normally isn’t a lot to do in case your website is responsive. However, in case you have an m‑dot or complicated web site, it’s essential to make certain there are not any essential variations between your desktop and cellular website. To try this, crawl your web site utilizing a desktop user-agent utilizing Site Audit in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, then repeat the method with a cellular user-agent. You’ll see any variations between the 2 crawls as ‘changes.’

You also needs to test for alternate guidelines in robots.txt, pagespeed points, and constant navigation and inner linking.

Recommended studying: Mobile-First Indexing: What You Need to Know

5. Google will get higher at figuring out E‑A-T

E‑A‑T stands for experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google talks about it loads of their Search Quality Rater Guidelines (SQRGs)—a doc utilized by human search high quality raters to evaluate the standard of Google’s outcomes.

Despite what many individuals consider, E‑A-T will not be a direct rating issue.

It works one thing like this:

  1. Human search high quality raters periodically assess the E‑A-T of search outcomes.
  2. Google makes use of their suggestions to establish tangible alerts that align with E‑A-T.
  3. Google tweaks their search algorithms accordingly.

Google’s Vice President of Search, Ben Gomes, puts it finest:

You can view the rater tips [which talk heavily about E‑A-T] as the place we would like the search algorithm to go. They don’t inform you how the algorithm is rating outcomes, however they basically present what the algorithm ought to do.

Ben Gomes

What to do about it

E‑A-T is nothing new. search engine optimization professionals have been raving about its significance for some time. Improving and demonstrating E‑A-T may sound sophisticated, however there are a couple of tangible issues you’ll be able to do:

  • Update your content material often. Google’s SQRGs discuss this within the context of medical recommendation, however it doubtless applies to different matters.
  • Fact-check your content material. Google talks concerning the significance of being factually-accurate within the context of scientific matters. But once more, it’s in all probability necessary for different matters. At the very least, linking to respected sources is beneficial for guests.
  • Stick to what . Nobody will be an knowledgeable in all the pieces.
  • Get extra opinions. Google talks about low rankings being proof for a adverse popularity.
  • Get extra hyperlinks and mentions. Google’s Gary Ilyes once said that E‑A-T is essentially based mostly on hyperlinks and mentions on authoritative websites.

Recommended studying: What is E‑A‑T? Why It’s Important for search engine optimization

6. Google Discover will drive extra visitors

Google Discover is a personalised cellular feed showcasing content material concerning the issues that curiosity you. It does this utilizing exercise information from Google’s merchandise (search, YouTube, and many others.), location information, and matters you comply with.

Nobody is aware of precisely how many individuals use Discover in 2021, however Google formally announced 800 million customers in 2018—so it’s in all probability method greater now.

In reality, Discover despatched greater than twice as a lot visitors to our weblog within the second half of 2020 versus the primary half.

What to do about it

Unless you’re far alongside in your search engine optimization efforts, it’s in all probability not value spending an excessive amount of time chasing clicks from Google Discover. But there are a couple of easy issues you are able to do to enhance your possibilities of exhibiting up.

  • Meet Discover’s content policies.Unless your content material is listed and meets these necessities, it gained’t present in Google Discover.
  • Have a quick, mobile-friendly web site. Discover is a mobile-only feed, so cellular user-experience is necessary.
  • Use compelling titles. Make certain to explain your content material precisely. Don’t clickbait.
  • Publish content material about in style matters. Either evergreen or trending.
  • Include massive, compelling photographs. Google reveals considered one of these within the Discover feed.
  • Demonstrate E‑A-T. Google talks about this particularly within the context of Discover here.

7. Image search will achieve much more potential

Everyone is aware of that rating in Google photographs can ship visitors your method. In reality, we acquired over 16K visits from picture search prior to now three months.

But picture search is regularly evolving and because it does, so does its potential.

For instance, take Google Lens. Introduced in 2017, Google Lens makes it attainable to ‘search what you see.’ Just level your smartphone digital camera, and Google will search for comparable photographs and merchandise.

What to do about it

Image search engine optimization finest practices haven’t actually modified, however they do grow to be extra necessary as picture search evolves and utilization will increase.

For instance, the outcomes for a Google Lens search are photographs. If somebody factors their smartphone at a product that you simply promote, photographs out of your product web page may present within the outcomes. If they resolve they need to purchase it, all they need to do is click on by.

Google additionally usually pulls photographs from product pages in common picture search—even for informational searches.

For occasion, seek for “wedding dress with detachable skirt.” Given that there’s a picture pack on the prime of the SERP, and the highest pages are all lists, it’s clear that that is primarily an informational search the place searchers need inspiration.

Yet, in case you click on by to the picture outcomes, you’ll see loads of photographs from product pages.

It’s through the use of picture search engine optimization finest practices like descriptive filenames, alt textual content, and product schema markup that these pages are in a position to rank in picture seek for such queries.

8. Search intent will stay king

Search intent refers back to the purpose behind a search. Are individuals seeking to purchase one thing, be taught one thing, or discover a explicit web site?

For instance, an individual typing “buy iPhone 12” into Google is in shopping for mode, whereas an individual typing “how to reset iPhone” is in studying mode.

Google describes understanding the intent behind queries as a “critical aspect of Search” and continues to take a position closely in applied sciences to assist with this, like RankBrain, BERT, and the Knowledge Graph. We already lined these within the part on voice search, however additionally they assist with common search.

What to do about it

Make certain that your content material aligns with search intent. Fail to do that and your possibilities of rating are virtually zero. If you’re an everyday reader of the weblog, you’ll know that we’ve been banging this gong for some time now—as a result of it truly is that necessary.

Google’s search outcomes are the most effective proxy for search intent.

For instance, the entire outcomes for “beats solo 3” are product pages.

For “best beats headphones,” the outcomes are weblog posts.

It’s clear from these search outcomes what sort of content material searchers are searching for, however there’s extra to matching search intent than matching content material sort. You also needs to align your content material with the format and angle that searchers anticipate.

Learn extra in our full information to look intent.

Final ideas

Knowing the place the search panorama is heading is necessary. It helps you perceive the large image and optimize for the long-term over the brief time period.

Did we miss any necessary search engine optimization developments? Ping me on Twitter.

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