2020 has seen a seismic shift in the marketing industry. The global pandemic triggered a mass exodus from high streets and offices, resulting in a sharp decline in face-to-face transactions.
Brick and mortar businesses took this opportunity to focus on building a strong online presence. This meant investing in services like web page building and design, content creation and digital marketing.
All these industries saw a boom in demand for their product. However, the most sought-after of these services is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Consultants in this field are experts at getting your website ranked higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). After all, having a beautiful web page and a fabulous product won’t do you much good if customers aren’t able to find you online.
In 2021, the growth in digital marketing (and subsequently SEO) looks set to continue. However, this also means an increase in competition and closer monitoring from search engine giants such as Google – who’ve already announced more stringent checking systems are on the horizon.
In order to help our readers comply with upcoming algorithms, stay ahead of the crowd and boost their rankings, we’ve called in the cavalry. And by cavalry, we mean 57 SEO industry experts coming in with data-driven predictions!
Here’s your free sneak peek into the hottest SEO trends for 2021!
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals will be ranking factors in the coming year. SEOs will be working strongly with their dev team to implement changes recommended by Google’s PageSpeed Insights test and Search Console to ensure their rankings don’t nosedive.
Nikola Roza – CEO & Owner, Nikola Roza SEO for the Poor and Determined
Core Web Vitals are a set of (future) ranking factors that’ll help Google determine the UX of your site. New additional ranking factors will be largest contentful paint, first input delay and cumulative layout shift.
Jeff Ferguson – Partner, Amplitude Digital
Core Web Vitals: website owners can already track three different page speed and user interaction measurements via Google Search Console; however, Google has promised that by 2021, these measurements will directly affect a website’s ranking in organic search results.
A good SEO strategy relies on high-quality content plus in-depth keyword research. Use keyword research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs to identify hidden opportunities for creating high-quality, keyword-informed content.
Stacy Caprio – Founder, Accelerated Growth Marketing
In 2021, your content will truly have to be great in a way that only a human could make it.
To make your blog rank and stand out, add that extra human touch – including great images, videos, audio and compelling stories!
Matt Zajechowski – Outreach Team Lead, Digital Third Coast
If you have content on your website that is ranking just off of page 1, consider giving that content a refresh or update in 2021. It’s a great way to further increase the SEO value of the content that is already ranking well on your website.
Andrew Cao – Managing Partner, Motoza
Create content that focuses on a specific answer to a question. You can find these questions through forums like Reddit and Quora. Continue building this library of valuable answers for your audience, which will build your credibility while improving your SEO.
Bruce Harpham – Technology Marketing Consultant
Content Optimization for older content is a growing trend that I have recently started to practice. If you have an outstanding article from 2018, that’s starting to lose traffic, and you update it with better information, you stand a good chance of getting traffic again.
Sean Chaudhary – CEO, Alchemy Leads
Monster pages that include thousands of words, great info, fresh infographics, and unique information are a valuable resource for Google. This type of content will become more valuable as time passes, and Google wants to recognize this type of skyscraper page.
Johannes Larsson – Entrepreneur, Financer Ltd
Content used to be king. Now, refurbishing content is king. We removed approximately 50 articles from our website and refurbished around 35 articles. This skyrocketed our traffic in the coming months, and the total growth was 273%.
Peter Thaleikis – CEO, Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd
9 out of ten pages don’t get any organic traffic from Google. With continued growth, this is likely to continue – or even get worse. To stay ahead of this curve it pays to regularly maintain your content and ensure it’s up-to-date, matches the highest-volume keyword, and is covering the topic comprehensively without any fluff.
Marc Gadsdon – Director, Logicata
Content production will be prominent and vital for SEO in 2020. Fracturing your content off into various parts is a much better way to develop content. The original piece can be the first layer of content, with the off sheets discussing the different aspects in much more depth in their own article.
Voice Search Optimization
In 2019, over 25% of all searches conducted on Google were voice searches. When users talk into their device, they use keywords that are conversational. Consumers are asking questions on Google and looking for answers. They are not looking for long-tail keywords.
Tarun Gurang – Digital Marketer, iFour Technolab Pvt. Ltd.
Adopting Voice search optimization to your content would be a good idea. The newly optimized content should be like most Frequently Asked Questions, infographics, video, or audio. Rephrasing your existing content is the best way to get the maximum advantage of your SEO.
Ajay Paghdal – Founder, Linkio
2021 will be the year of voice search. It has been rising in popularity for a while now, and I’m pretty sure it will become quite a trend.
Alexandra Zelenko – Marketing & SEO Specialist, DDI Development
A forecast by Juniper Research shows that voice commerce will reach more than $80 billion by 2023. Generally, people use short phrases as they have no time to type all sentences. That’s why it’s imperative to use a conversational tone throughout the content.
For SEO, 2021 will be the year of site speed and video. Google has intimated mobile-first, and mobile site speed will both be more heavily weighted in coming months. If you want to rank in 2021, include more video in your on-page elements and make sure it loads in under three seconds.
Itamar Blauer – SEO Consultant
Utilising video content as a way to generate more traffic and engagement will be critical in 2021. Embedding video content onto a blog post, as well as sharing snippets of the video on social media to drive traffic to the blog post itself – thus generating more traffic and engagement.
Sandra – Marketing Specialist, The Product Analyst
Youtube is the new TV. Optimizing SEO can help big time in allowing your videos to reach a bigger audience. Input the right keywords on the headline, and description to assure that your video hits the right market.
Jennifer Willy – Editor, Etia
Video content and marketing are becoming very important. Consumers love to watch video content as it is easy to engage, digest, and increase their curiosity.
Kimberly Smith – Marketing Manager, Clarify Capital
Video and interactive content both effectively captivate and sustain the attention of viewers, which plays into bounce rate and session duration. All of these improved metrics help to improve ranking and drive visibility.
Julia Enthoven – Founder and CEO, Kapwing
With continued decline of ATF (Above the fold) results on SERPs, in 2021, it’s crucial to have a video content strategy, to gain more visibility on SERPs and generate meaningful results.
Meisha Bochicchio – Content Marketing Manager, Wistia
Podcast SEO is a relatively new space. I believe that more focus will shift to not only investing more heavily in long-form video and audio content but also on how to maximize the return from those investments.
According to Statista, 50% of web traffic in the world comes from mobile users. This percentage is increasing. The device doesn’t matter, the experience does! Give responsive website layouts, quick website loading experience, quick query solutions, mobile websites, and more.
Israel Gaudette – Founder, Link Tracker Pro
Searches made via mobile phones own over 85% of all internet queries worldwide. Google will index first mobile searches in the future. Make your website optimized and ready for a seamless mobile experience.
Michelle Alese – Senior SEO Strategist, Kantaloupe
Mobile-First Indexing may be the most relevant trend for 2021. Our predictions are that websites that rank well currently but have a bad mobile version will slip down the ranks. There will be an increased demand for mobile optimizations in the SEO realm!
2021 is going to be the year of Search Intent. The search engine has certainly become more conversational, trying to provide people with what we can also call a “touch-free” experience in their search.
Mark Reynolds – Marketing Consultant, ProfitReach
Zero click searches aren’t new, but they are growing with Google constantly improving the user experience. Zero click searches still don’t play a big enough role in many SEO strategies, so in 2021 it’s critical that you’re focusing on improving SERP visibility.
Tory Gray – CEO & Digital Marketing Strategist, The Gray Dot Company
A study of two million featured snippets revealed that featured snippets consistently steal away clicks from the first organic search result. Adding short Q&A and how-to sections is a fantastic way to optimize your content for the elusive Google Snippet.
Kevin McMurray – Digital Marketing Associate, Blue Compass
Structured data, or schema markup, helps your website stand out in search results by telling Google bots what your page is about, enabling Google to provide users with essential information about your page in SERPs.
Pranay Anumula – Growth Marketer, Keka
Featured snippets, Q & A boxes etc. are taking over all the niches. In the coming months, we’ll see the advanced version of these, alongside the introduction of other improvements to SERPs.
SEO 2021 trendsGoogle is increasingly focusing on E-A-T. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Clear demonstration of E-A-T, both on and off the website, can help in improving Google rankings.
Domantas Gudeliauskas – Marketing Manager, SEO, Zyro
In 2021, Google will be focusing on E.A.T – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – more and more. If you want your content to rank, you’ll need to both work towards keeping your domain clean, content factually correct, and transparent.
William Chin – Web Consultant, PickFu
May was a big turning point for a lot of sites that did not have enough expertise or clout in the industry to back up their articles (especially when it came to YMYL). Therefore, we will see more and more of these broad algorithm updates targeting the “E-A-T” profile of websites.
Syed Irfan Ajmal – Growth Consultant, Gigworker
EJ Mitchell – Senior Director Head of Content, LiveCareer
In 2021 Google will emphasize the importance of quality content from businesses falling under the “your money, your life” (YMYL) category.
Google will look closer at pages that could affect its users in areas like future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.
Saqib Ahmed Khan – Digital marketing executive, PureVPN
Google is now focusing more on content rather than links. Because Google is now based on EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness), Google determines this by the number of off-page things you have, like links and brand mentions.
In 2021, we’ll see more SEO teams get folded in with content and PR teams. Manual link building yields diminishing returns, as legitimate websites get saturated with link requests. Google already understands what a natural article looks like: better to just hire a sharp writer.
Gregory Golinski – Head of Digital Marketing, Your Parking Space
Ranking a page by just adding the right keywords, building backlinks and making sure your website is fast isn’t enough anymore. To rank higher than your competitors, you can’t just think in terms of classic SEO anymore. You must come up with a multi-channel digital marketing strategy.
Jake Meador – Director of Content Strategy, Mobile Text Alerts
The line between “SEO” and other marketing roles, such as copywriting and design, will continue to blur. The work of “optimizing your site for search engines” and the work of “producing high-quality content that educates, looks great, and works well,” are increasingly one and the same.
Unlike what many SEO experts and content marketers are claiming, Google will not be differentiating between human-written content vs A.I. generated content in search. What Google concerns most is whether the content is relevant and provides value to searchers.
Samantha Moss – Editor & Content Ambassador, Romantific
One of the biggest SEO trends for the upcoming year will be UX-SEO relation optimization. Oftentimes marketers and designers can overwhelm their website visitors with features-loaded websites that don’t help in digesting content. Google’s algorithms have gotten great in identifying content relevancy and are getting even better in regards to content quality.
For SEO in 2021, stop trying to be everything to everyone and start being amazingly valuable to your target audience. For example, if you make software for corporate tax professionals in a specific field, your content should reflect that.
Matt Bassos – SEO Lead, Vuly Play
Build a brand that focuses on a product that is lacking a superior product gap in the market. There are dozens of brands that have grown into giants by pivoting in this direction, but get ready for the long run to get your brand SEO humming before anything else generic.
Matt Bowman – President, Thrive Agency
We created content in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, to name a few. Fast forward to today, though most of our clients are coming from the U.S, we grew our leads in many other countries. We took the opportunity to go global, and it is paying off!
Google constantly updates its algorithm regarding the local search. In fact, 46% of all Google Searches feature Local Intent. That’s why it’s important to focus on your local intent in your SEO strategy.
Scot J Chrisman – Founder & CEO, The Media House
Google My Business will be the new search engine for business, big and small. With the details provided and a map of the location, it’ll be a marketing strategy for most start-up businesses, too.
Alejandro Rioja – CEO, Alejandro Rioja
Local SEO will be performed relatively more in 2021 in comparison to 2020, so you should keep in mind the local optimization if you want to spread the word about your brand.
Google are slowly moving away from backlinks as a ranking factor due to backlink manipulation. They’re focusing on more on-page SEO factors to get web pages rank. There are many on-page SEO factors that will help to rank, but I think that keyword frequency is one of the main factors that most ignored.
Lora Bovie – SEO Editorial Associate, Choosing Therapy
We’ll start to see sites who pay for backlinks decline in rankings. Google can even scan our Gmail accounts for conversations that mention this, and will be able to connect the dots. This will become more evident in 2021 in SEO.
Andy Cabasso – Co-Founder, Postaga
Link building is going to be more important than ever. This includes link building through things like local directories, as well as tactics like blogger outreach to reach out to individual websites to pitch linking to their content.
Paige Arnof-Fenn – Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls
When a brand is shown in organic results alone, it only gets 60% of clicks, whereas a brand that appeared in both organic and paid search results, attracts 92% of total clicks. This means that clicks increase for both organic and paid listings when they are both featured and do not detract from each other.
Not only are these trend predictions straight from the experts’ mouths – but they’re also easy to action! If you’re looking to take your SEO game to the next level in 2021, these methods are the ones to watch.
If you’re new to SEO and want to maximise your online presence and get ranked, consider outsourcing!
Pearl Lemon is an award-winning SEO agency, based in London with local and global teams working around the clock. Why not shoot your shot and get in touch? If we can’t help, we’ll know someone who can (though we’re pretty sure that someone will be us)!