In the age of digitalization and instant gratification, our society’s most efficient matchmaker is none other than Google. Individuals and organizations alike are continuously competing with each other for a chance to make a lasting connection with you. It’s a battle for who will make it to the first few results because at the end of the day, 75% of Google searches don’t go past the first page of results.
But, how do some sites make their way to the top of the search results and catch your eye? One of the best ways that companies ensure they’re putting their best foot forward when it comes to content and distribution is through search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
In 2020, SEO content marketing tactics were some of the most implemented strategies by marketers. Keeping up with current and future SEO trends, and developing a constantly evolving tool kit of SEO best practices, will allow you to enhance your content so it ranks higher in Google search results.
This article will discuss the latest SEO trends that have started emerging as we head into the new year so you can optimize your content marketing strategy accordingly.
SEO Trends for 2021
Before we get into examples and tips on how to improve SEO, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the best ways to improve SEO for your website is to increase traffic through quality content. Without spending time creating content that will resonate with users, these tips and tricks won’t take you very far.
Since Google’s algorithms are constantly being updated to act more human, Google is basically reading your content and analyzing it. The days of “keyword stuffing” to cheat the ranking algorithm and increase your website’s ranking are long gone. Users who search on Google are who you should cater your content towards because visitors to your site have the potential to become customers. By determining your content’s level of quality, Google is both your first critic and your matchmaker.
- Make it Mobile
52.2% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones, so it should be no surprise that one of the best ways to optimize your content for SEO is to make it mobile-responsive. When people want to quickly look up or buy something, they immediately turn to their mobile devices for answers. If your content doesn’t look just as nice and user-friendly on mobile as it does on desktop, then it’s time to make some changes. Formatting your content for mobile is one of the easiest ways to drive up your content’s traffic and engagement rates.
By making your content mobile-friendly, you’ll also start to develop a mobile SEO strategy. Nowadays, you can even compare mobile and desktop keywords on their own. These kinds of SEO tools can help you discover insights into mobile-driven analytics. Looking at what content thrives within a specific space will also help you determine what is most important to your audience when they seek out information.
- Consider Google’s AI Algorithm
One of the newest growing trends within the SEO industry is the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is changing the way users interact with content online. Specifically, Google’s AI algorithm is worth considering as this field continues to evolve. Google’s algorithm “RankBrain” plays an important role when it comes to Google’s ranking factors for search engine results pages (SERPs). As time goes on, the knowledge and power of AI tools like RankBrain will only continue to gain traction.
Although there are no specific ways to know exactly how to use AI to improve your SEO strategy, experts believe that user experience signals are the primary determinant for these data insights. So, by providing a positive user experience, you will also take advantage of AI’s growing presence.
- Increase Site Speed and Efficiency
Speaking of user experience, another way to optimize your SEO strategy is to increase your site’s speed and performance. The slower your site, the more business you lose.
Potential site visitors want information quickly and efficiently; they are inpatient and are often on a specific mission when browsing through a lot of content. While you might not think of content loading speed as a way to improve your SEO strategy, the fact is, users are more likely to engage with your site’s content when it is more easily available to them.
To make sure that your site’s visitors don’t ditch before they actually look at your content, be sure to take a look at how your site performs. You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check your website’s speed and ability to load content, and find ways to improve its overall performance.
- Coordinate with Voice Search Trends
Another trend that is on the rise as we enter 2021 is voice search. New innovations including products like the Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa have shown how voice search technology has evolved and continues to increase in importance for consumers. With the introduction of this kind of technology, more and more consumers have invested in this trend of voice-activated devices and applications. In fact, 55% of households are predicted to own a voice-enabled smart speaker by 2022.
In order to optimize your content for these emerging voice technologies, it’s important to take a closer look at the language you are using. It’s helpful to note that the typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. Especially when it comes to using keywords, think about what sounds the best when you actually say it out loud. How will users ask for information? What kinds of words will they use? How can you use these keywords and phrases to put your information at the top of their voice-enabled search history?
- Diversify Your Backlink Usage
While this piece of advice may not be new to 2021, it’s still an important part of optimizing your SEO strategy from year to year. A backlink is a hyperlink to your page’s website that redirects the visitor from the website they are reading directly to your website. You can think of a backlink like this: A professor (another credible website) reads your book (your website) and recommends it to the person (Google) looking for the best book on that topic.
For example, this would be considered a backlink to Mirabel’s Marketing Manager.
Why do content writers include backlinks in their content? Simply put, they add credibility to content. Google equates backlinks as an authoritative and credible source, so ultimately, backlinks can help your website be more easily discoverable by Google.
- Develop Longer Content that Goes the Extra Mile
Focusing more on developing longer content might be another trend you’ll want to take advantage of in the new year. While you might initially think that long content deters the average person from reading, long form content actually ranks very well. Long texts (3000–7000 words) get double the pageviews & 24 percent more shares than articles of average length (900–1200 words). Providing users with more information will help build your brand’s credibility and reputation as an expert in whatever industry you are in.
In addition to establishing credibility, long form content also helps you beef up your backlink strategy, as we mentioned earlier. On average, long content receives 77.2% more backlinks than short articles. This means that by creating content that is longer and contains more valuable information for your audience, you’re actually conquering two key challenges of SEO strategy.
- Use Snippets to Attract Audiences
While curating longer content is a great way to boost your SEO strategy in 2021, there’s also ways to use shorter “snippets” to showcase what you have to offer. Some users want a simple answer to the question they’re asking, and they don’t necessarily need a ton of information before they click on to your site. Enter: Google’s featured snippets. Featured Snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results in order to quickly answer a query.
One of the main advantages of implementing snippets is that they have the ability to steal a significant amount of traffic from your brand’s competitors. By featuring your content in a snippet, you have a greater chance of landing on the first page of Google’s search results and you can still have your website come up as an organic listing. In this way, snippets allow you to get another chance at grabbing a user’s attention in a simple, straightforward way.
- Optimize Video Strategy
The use of visual aspects has evolved in terms of its impact on content and SEO strategy. Videos can have a great impact on your SEO ranking, as video is the no. 1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics. Video continues to gain traction and relevance no matter what industry you’re in. In fact, posts that don’t contain a video get 92 percent less traffic and 24 percent less shares than posts that contain at least one video.
Creating video content may be something worth looking into for your brand’s content strategy. Users look for video content that is high-quality, engaging, and relevant. Once you’ve created content that is striking and coincides with your brand’s values and aesthetic, make sure to optimize your video channel name and description. Use a description that isn’t just packed with a bunch of random keywords. Instead, be sure to provide an overview of what your channel is about that will resonate with users.
- Think About Which Keywords to Include
When it comes to fine-tuning your existing SEO strategy, take a look at what keywords you are using for your content. Keywords help you emphasize what your website is about for Google’s own indexing purposes, which in turn will affect your site’s ranking. Take the time to do some keyword research and really understand how you can get the most out of your keyword choices.
While keywords will help Google match user’s searches (queries) to your website, try not to go overboard. Google looks for quality over quantity and can see through your overstuffing of keywords to try to obtain a higher rank.
When doing keyword research, think about what people are searching for and what their goals are both before and after they actually find what they are looking for. Thinking from the perspective of the user will help you relate to your audience and ultimately boost your site’s ranking.
- Keep Your Content Strategy Consistent
Part of having a successful SEO strategy has to do with how well you know yourself as a brand. Finding your area of expertise and sticking to it is one of the most important things to think about when you are developing your content strategy in today’s inundated web world. While you should always stay curious when developing your content, try to maintain a strong sense of your brand identity that speaks to your users no matter what you are talking about or showing them.
Consistently targeting specific topics, ideas, and keywords will help search engines like Google to rank your site higher.
Putting Together the Tips and Trends
Staying up to date with the latest trends is one of the most important and exciting parts of being a marketer in today’s evolving market. While new technologies often provide initial challenges and roadblocks, they also unveil new opportunities for success. These SEO trends and tips will help you up your game in 2021 and beyond and allow your brand to shine in all things content-strategy related.