This post was most recently updated on September 10th, 2021
61% of digital marketers consider SEO efforts and boosting organic presence their top priority. Even I do that.
They keep an eye on the latest SEO trends and modify their SEO strategy to get the most out of them.
In this post, we will discuss the five most important SEO trends to watch for in 2021. I’d also be telling you how to prepare your site for each SEO trend.
Let’s get started.
2021 SEO Trend #1: Search Intent
Search Intent is simply what users ‘want’ when typing a query into a search engine. It helps you understand the ‘why’ behind any online search.
You will notice four common search intents:
- I-Want-To-Know: The user is looking for information. For example, ‘who is William Shakespeare’, ‘how tall is Burj Khalifa’, etc.
- I-Want-To-Go: The user is looking for navigational help. For example, ‘Nike store’, ‘Grammarly login’, etc.
- I-Want-To-Do: The user is looking for a solution. For example, ‘book a call doctor John’, ‘how to fix a leaking pipe’, etc.
- I-Want-To-Buy: The user is looking forward to purchasing. For example, ‘buy best smartphones’, ‘food processor discount’, etc.
One of Google’s top priorities is to satisfy users’ search intent. That means the better your page (and its content) can match a user’s search intent, the higher it will usually rank.
So, if you want to succeed in 2021, Search Intent must be part of your SEO strategy.
Optimizing for Search Intent: You must first understand how to analyze the keywords and decode their Search Intent. Secondly, you have to ensure your page aligns with that Search Intent.
If there’s a mismatch of the Search Intent between the page’s content and keywords, it will struggle in the SERPs. So, target keywords with the right intent.
You can use the Free Keyword Research Tool to generate keyword ideas. It will help you optimize your content more effectively.
2021 SEO Trend #2: Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a set of UX-related page ranking signals rolled out by Google in May 2021. They help you understand a user’s real-world experience of your site.
Core Web Vitals include three critical metrics:
1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP is the time consumed in rendering and displaying the largest content element on a web page. Google recommends having LCP scores less than or equal to 2.5 seconds.
2. First Input Delay (FID)
The time duration between the user’s action and the site’s response to that action is called FID. As per Google, good FID scores are less than or equal to 100 milliseconds.
3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS calculates how often users experience unexpected layout shifts or extremely poor visual quality on a web page. For the best user experience, CLS should be less than 0.1.
Core Web Vitals measure how fast your website functions and how easy it is to use and navigate. They emphasize that User Experience is also one of the top priorities of Google in 2021.
So, if your site does not pass Google’s Core Web Vitals, it will struggle in the SERPs.
Optimize for Core Web Vitals: Each Core Web Vital is affected by a different set of factors. So, you need to optimize for each core web vital separately.
Here are some basic CWV optimization tips:
2. Compress images and videos
3. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
4. Turn on browser caching
5. Design with web fonts and colors
6. Implement progressive loading (lazy loading)
7. Fix slot size for advertisements
8. Avoid animations
It will help you uncover ‘Opportunities’ for optimization and give you suggestions for improvement under ‘Diagnostics’.
2021 SEO Trend #3: Mobile-First Indexing
Now it prioritizes your site’s mobile version while indexing and ranking in the SERPs. In fact, the mobile version is the ‘main version’ of your site for the search engine.
With that, July 2021 saw mobile searches accounting for 55.89% of all searches. And as time passes by, it is likely to increase.
So, all content on your mobile site (which you want to get indexed) should be fully crawlable. Plus, it should function smoothly for all users.
Optimize for Mobile-First Indexing: The first step is to check out your site’s mobile usability. You can take the free mobile-friendly test to check where your site stands presently.
Here are a few things you must implement as you start optimization:
1. Use responsive web design to display the same content across devices.
2. Keep similarly structured data markup for both versions of your site.
3. Upgrade your servers to handle a potential increase in crawl rate.
4. Put the same metadata on both versions of your site.
5. Place your ads in a way that they don’t hamper UX.
6. Ensure images, videos, etc., are optimized to load quickly.
7. Add Robots.txt and Sitemap to your site.
8. Use standard web fonts, font sizes, and colors.
2021 SEO Trend #4: Voice Search
The ease of speaking over typing is driving voice searches. So, people are using voice commands more often.
Soon, voice searches will dominate and their use will be the new ‘norm’ in our world.
It is time to catch up with this SEO trend and ensure your site is ready for the voice search revolution.
Optimize for Voice Search: The key is your site’s content. If your content aligns with voice search queries, you are halfway through.
To start voice search content optimization, you must focus on:
1. Use long conversational keywords: Keywords for typed searches are often totally different than those for voice searches, even when the intent is the same. (‘What is the price of 1 kg sugar’ vs. ‘1 kg sugar price.’) Voice search keywords are longer, plus they have natural language.
2. Add FAQ section to your content: Voice searches are typically in a question-answer format. So, FAQs or dedicated FAQ pages are a great source to get answers for voice search queries.
3. Get Ranked for featured snippets: Most voice search results come from featured snippets. So, you need to pump up your site’s structured data and add markups that help you rank for featured snippets.
2021 SEO Trend #5: E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
Google introduces E-A-T in its 2018 Medic Update as a factor to evaluate the overall quality of a web page.
The algorithm’s core ranking factors ensure that quality, authoritative and expert content ranks on the search engine.
If your pages demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), they have a good chance of ranking higher in the SERPs.
Why is it important in 2021? Because it enhances the user’s search experience.
Optimize for E-A-T: Google might be using multiple factors to assess a page’s quality. So, you need to know what each letter in E-A-T means before you start E-A-T SEO.
- Expertise: The creator must have expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.
- Authoritativeness: The creator, content, and site must have a good reputation in a specific field.
- Trustworthiness: The creator, content, and site must be transparent and factually correct.
Now that you have a basic idea, here are some tips to get started:
1. Find out what your audience is searching for and create content around it.
2. Understand the search intent of your keywords and align content accordingly.
3. Think of the next questions your readers might have and post content for it.
4. Keep your content balanced – neither too descriptive nor too thin.
5. Build links from relevant and authoritative websites.
6. Earn positive mentions for your site from trustworthy sources.
7. Get your content shared genuinely and consistently across social channels.
8. Try to get a Wikipedia page for your company/brand.
9. Provide a clear and simple way to contact the website owner.
10. Mention the office address or store address (if applicable).
11. Use an SSL certificate for safe and secure browsing.
Stay Prepared For The Future
SEO is a long-term yet effective strategy to attract customers to your site (if you do it right). However, SEO is constantly evolving.
You must incorporate the current trends in your SEO strategy to stay on top of the game. I hope this post will help you update your SEO plan and get the most out of it.
Did I miss out on anything in this post? Do let me know in the comment section below.
Sahil is the CEO and Founder of Rankwatch– a platform, which helps companies and brands stay ahead with their SEO efforts in the ever-growing internet landscape. Sahil likes making creative products that can help in the automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas. You can connect with him and the Rankwatch team on Facebook or Twitter.