Search engine optimization or SEO can get more eyeballs to the website and boost your online presence. The trick is to get hold of the right SEO strategy. Brands must keep a track of the latest SEO trends and adopt them before it’s too late. This subsequently attracts a lot of consumers to the website. However, this whole process can be very challenging when you are alien to the new-age SEO.
To make SEO work, you need attention to details – traffic, social shares, backlinks, blog views, link clicks, and more. Here’s a comprehensive guide on the most relevant SEO trends for 2021. This helps you prepare the SEO strategy and workflow.
1. Long-Form Content:
Did you know? A 3000+ word blog will get 3X traffic and 4X shares. They also get more backlinks than the conventional 1000 – 1200 words blogs. So long-form is the key to higher search rankings, provided the content is of top quality. This format gives more scope to embed a lot of shareable links and CTAs to enhance user engagement and boost blog traffic.
Here’s a quick tip to write good long-form content. Make the long piece more scannable by breaking it into sections and subsections – H2 and H3. These are important for mobile sites. Also, ensure that all the links are from authentic sources, and are easy to share with a single click. Links coming from trustworthy sources claim more authority score.
2. Mobile-Friendly Site:
As per the mobile-first indexing launched by Google in 2019, your mobile version of the website takes precedence over the desktop version. Yes, Google considers it the primary version during a search. In the near future, the number of internet users opting for mobile devices to access the sites is expected to increase, so this change makes sense. Get to Google and check your site’s mobile-friendliness. Then take a look at the mobile usability report here.
Check whether your site has a ‘disallow directive’, this will not allow Google to crawl your URLs. Get away with that. And use the same meta tags for mobile and desktop sites.
3. Artificial Intelligence:
Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm – RankBrain – is changing the way of interactions with online content. It plays an important role in search engine results. Experts believe that you can optimize your SEO for RankBrain by focusing on user experience. Those signals are the initial triggers for SEO. You must engage readers with well-organized content and increase the time spent on the pages and click-through rate. These factors might be of importance for RankBrain. Check the page strength using an on-page SEO checker. This helps you assess your site based on backlinks, readability, etc.
4. Voice Search:
Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant gave a new dimension to voice search and made it easier. More than 50 percent of households are planning to own a smart speaker in 2 to 3 years. Optimizing voice search is another key trend to look out for. As voice searches do better with natural and longer phrases, it’s good to identify such phrases used in daily conversations and optimize the search. For instance, ‘What are the safe tourist places to visit in 2021?’ for voice search, but the user can simply type ‘safe places to visit in 2021’ and cut down on the number of words.
5. Google EAT Principle:
Content is king and quality content works wonders for your website. Even Google reiterated that. So, the prime focus is on the EAT principle. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are the determinants of quality content on a website. The principle works well for various categories of websites falling under finance, health care, career guidance, and so on.
Follow a three-stage approach to get the best quality content for your website.
- Create personas for your buyers. In the case of a financial planning website, understand the user’s investment pattern – are they aggressive or conservative, are they risk takers or not, then you get to know what kind of content they value.
- Follow it up with a search intent research, and
- Finally, use this information to create content in a format that’s appealing for them.
You can send an email asking for their preferred format. That also increases client engagement.
Link authoritative and trustworthy sites in your articles to increase credibility. If these sites link back to you, then it fulfills the EAT criteria.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. And if you are not creating content for YouTube then you are probably missing the next big thing. Cisco says video will sooner take over other content forms. With readily available gadgets and the internet, the ease of watching videos has become the new normal. That makes online videos the next big thing in content marketing.
On YouTube, optimize the name and description of the video channel. Make it more user-friendly than cramming it with tech-heavy jargon or keywords. When you type in the topic of your video, YouTube pops up a list of suggested keywords in the search field. This gives you an idea of what people are searching for on YouTube.
7. Image Optimization:
Thanks to new-age technologies like Google Lens that made image search possible. People are using images to get information, buy products, and do a lot more. That makes image optimization the need of the hour. Google also insisted on the same.
Few websites are loaded with images and it increases their loading time. When users are on a slow internet connection, the loading can take forever. So, these images have to be optimized to a high quality and smaller sizes ones and should not hamper the website loading speed.
Take care of the images on the website. Replace the not so good ones with high-quality images. Customize the file name and label to make it relevant to the website. Crawlers classify images with alt tags, so add them.
8. Featured Snippets:
At times, you might have observed a box at the top of the search engine results page. That gives concise and compact information about what you have searched for. That’s a snippet. Featured snippets were introduced in 2017 and are gaining importance in Google. These help you climb up the ladder of Google rankings and is a great way to get featured on the first page of results. More than that, snippets reroute the traffic that was meant for your competitors.
Features snippets normally provide information like reviews, product prices, how-to guides, FAQs, and other bite-sized pieces. Focus on relevant keywords to roll out snippets that work for your business.
9. Local Search Listings:
Remember the last time you searched for a restaurant or a convenience store or any place nearby. It could be yesterday, today, or right now as you read this article. Many people are using search engines for local search. This is also leading to zero-click searches, which is the new normal. The user search query is answered on the search engine result page itself and the user finds no need in clicking any link to go further.
Featured snippets are one big reason for the increase of zero-click searches as all the relevant information is packed there. Brands should create a Google business page and have a strong backlink profile to grab a pie from the local search.
10. Data and Analytics:
Take the help of data and analytics to create targeted messages. You can know what kind of campaigns work and what doesn’t based on the past data, and tweak a campaign accordingly. With Analytics, you can verify page loading time, bounce rates, response errors, and more.
Well, that’s a long list of SEO strategies that can be a total game-changer for your website. It might take time to implement all of them but make an effort to understand the basics of SEO at first. Eventually, you will see an increase in your website’s rankings, customer engagement, and click rate.
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