What SEO trends should we watch out for?
Search engine optimisation – SEO – is a popular method that digital marketers and online businesses use to attract more valuable customers. This method aims to improve both the quality and quantity of traffic from search engines to a website or webpage. SEO refers to organic, unpaid traffic as opposed to the paid traffic gained through PPC.
SEO processes are continually evolving and improving – making it essential that we stay on top of any changes and updates. Keeping on top of these changes and challenges will help you to achieve top-ranking SEO performance. This includes paying attention to a number of metrics, such as backlinks, social shares, traffic and SEO content.
What do we think 2021 is going to look like for SEO professionals? We’ve put together a list of 6 expectations based on current industry trends. We’ve also explained how we’d go about applying them to our campaigns.
1. Optimising for voice search
We have previously spoken about the importance of optimising for voice search in PPC. With the rise and popularity of innovations such as Google Assist, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa – we expect to see more focus on this across channels in 2021. More users will be browsing online using voice search – meaning if you want to reach out to them, you’ll need to consider the keywords you’re targeting.
When people type – they generally shorten and abbreviate their search. However, when searching online with a voice assistant – users are more likely to use longer phrases that would sound natural in everyday conversation. For this reason, we would recommend also targeting longer search queries and phrasing going forward. Let’s look at an example:
- Search using voice search: “Siri, what is today’s weather in London?”
- Typing a search: “London weather.
We expect to see more of this in 2021 as these voice assistants become even more common.
2. Mobile-friendliness will become even more valuable
Google rolled out mobile-first indexing back in 2019 which meant that search engines focus mainly on a mobile version of a site. This was the result of more internet users being on mobile devices as opposed to desktop. There is no doubt that this will continue to rise in 2021 – so optimising for mobile is more critical than ever.
To ensure a page is mobile-friendly, you have to check whether Google can crawl the URL’s. First of all, make sure that you are using the same meta robots tags on both mobile and desktop.
It is helpful to consider any content that a Googlebot may not be able to load – i.e. interactive elements involving swiping or clicking. Think about whether Google will recognise any ‘lazy-loaded content’ which refers to the content that isn’t visible straight away. For example, a user may have to scroll further down a page or swipe through to find the content.
3. More long-form content
If you’re familiar with SEO – you will already understand the importance of long-form content. Longer content tends to drive more traffic and backlinks than shorter blogs or articles. As long as the quality of your content doesn’t decline with length – then this can dramatically improve search rankings.
How can you provide long-form content that is high-quality and shareable? Firstly, make sure you are using H1, H2 and H3’s when needed. These are there to split your content into clear sections and make it more readable for users. Ensure you are linking to reputable, authoritative sites when necessary. For example – if you’re referring to an SEO tool or another source. Include shareable links and clickable icons – so that users can quickly share your content.
Finally, try to use relevant and fully optimised images throughout to break up some of the text. We will explain more on this below:
4. Image optimisation to play a key role in SEO
Images are not only there to improve appearance – you can use them to tag and sell products, provide information, links and more. We expect images to provide even more opportunity in the next few years.
Google recommends using high-quality and fully optimised images if you want them to contribute to a higher ranking on SERP. The importance that Google places on images suggests that they’re part of a longer-term plan. Things like alt tags, descriptions and file names are all key. If your existing images are not optimised – now might be the time to get on track.
5. More businesses focusing on featured snippets
A featured snippet is a section that will appear above search results on Google. It is essentially a summary of what Google thinks you are looking for when you search. Featured snippets have been around since 2017, but we expect more businesses will begin to recognise the value of being featured. Here is an example:
Why are these helpful in terms of SEO? Well, if your page is appearing as a featured snippet – you’re likely to drive a significant amount of traffic and steal a lot of traffic from competing sites.
The pages that are featured snippets tend to be how-to-guides, top tips and Q&A’s. You can find out what searches have the most volume and then target these queries in your articles. For example, if a high volume of users are searching ‘how to do SEO’ – then you could create a relevant article answering this query and its subtopics. If google recognises your article as high-quality and relevant – it may choose it as a featured snippet.
We also suggest making use of the “people also ask” feature on Google to see what users want to know.
6. Video content will play a key role in any SEO strategy
Video content is becoming a popular choice for many businesses this year. This comes as no surprise considering YouTube now has over 1 billion users. Video content tends to provide more of a light-relief for users and build better engagement as a result.
If you’re not already using video within your campaigns – then 2021 is probably the time to get started. With this in mind, it will be useful to know how to optimise video content for SEO as we advance.
Start by making sure your video has a name and a description. Use your description to target important keywords but also provide a simple, user-friendly summary of why your video or channel exists.
Most video platforms, i.e. YouTube, will have an auto-complete feature. This means you can type in your video’s broader topic and find inspiration in the results. These tell you exactly what people are searching for – so you could use them a list of suggested keywords.
Are you hoping to start or work on an existing SEO campaign in 2021? Feel free to get in touch.