Search engines such as Google strive to show the best search results, ie the search results that best match the wishes of their users. Google's algorithm is constantly changing to match this and to keep up with the changing needs of searchers. As a result, search engine optimization is also changing. What was a good SEO strategy ten years ago to get high in the search engine results, no longer has to be. That's why we give an update on the SEO trends of 2021!
Prefer to get started right away? Then view the SEO checklist for 2021!
1. More attention to quality and user intent
The main SEO trend is that search engines are getting better at recognizing quality content that matches the searcher's needs, also known as user intent called. Search engines want to give their users the results they are looking for and generally not web pages full of SEO tricks like over-optimization.
This development in which search engines are given a preference for sincere and good content has been going on for some time. For example, in 2012, Google came up with the Penguin algorithm. This update looks, among other things, at the quality of the links on the website. Are they relevant and do they fit the content? The adjustment of the Hummingbird algorithm in 2013 also means that Google attaches more importance to high-quality content that matches the user The intent.
But Google continues to build on this. Within this framework, BERT and EAT are important concepts in today's SEO policy. We explain them in a nutshell.
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The algorithm has been active since September 2019, making it the first major update to the Google algorithm since 2013.
It is a deep learning algorithm that is able to better understand and contextualize human language. Search engines can better interpret texts thanks to this form of AI. This means that the search engine will find it easier to understand exactly what a user is looking for.
For SEO it means that it is important that the information on your website matches the questions of the people you want to attract to your website. If you think that your customers need background information about the programming languages that you use as an ICT company, make sure you offer that information on your website. This is also called semantic optimization and fits the SEO trend of high-quality content.
On to the next SEO trend: EAT. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. In the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines of December 2019, Google makes it clear that the company attaches importance to the expertise, authority and trustworthiness of the website owner. With issues surrounding fake news, the need for tech companies to provide reliable information will only grow in 2021.
This is especially true for pages that fall under the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category. These are pages that can have a major impact on, for example, your health, your financial situation or your safety. Think of news sites, sites with medical information or sites with financial advice. Web shops are also covered.
What does EAT mean for your search engine optimization? Basically the same thing that was said before: don't use tricks, but go for quality content that matches the keyword.
EAT also makes it important not only to have a page about a certain topic here and there. Provide topic clusters in which you deal with different subtopics. This is how you show your expertise and authority. In our blog about Inbound Marketing read more about topic clusters.
2.Page Experience Update
Not only do search engines pay more attention to good content, but also to a good visitor experience. A site with a lot of bounces is not what people are looking for and should therefore not be at the top. For May 2021, Google has announced the page experience update, in which user signals, such as CTR and time-on-page, will become important ranking factors. The better this is, the higher your website will appear in the search results.
That is why it is important to ensure that your site offers a good visitor experience, not only in terms of content but also in terms of design. Therefore go ahead UX Design and use A/B testing to find out what works best for your target audience. The update will probably also mean that visual content and especially videos will play a greater role. After all, these ensure that visitors stay longer on your website.
3. Mobile-first websites & local search
The following SEO trend aligns with the increasing importance of the visitor experience. Since more and more searches are done via a mobile device, it is important for the visitor experience that your website is mobile friendly, or better still mobile first.
For several years now, Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, where your place in the index is determined by the mobile version of your site. Every new website that is developed will in most cases be mobile first. So nothing to worry about. If your website is older, a mobile first redesign is a good idea.
Mobile users are also more likely to search for local search results. So make sure you Google My Business have in order. This way you can easily be found via Google Maps. Also consider optimizing your website for local search results if that is important to your business. And if your business hours change from time to time in 2021, Google My Business is the place to let your customers know.
4. Technical SEO: Core Web Vitals
Not only content and user experience is becoming increasingly important, but also technical SEO. Google's ranking factors are the Core Web Vitals, such as the loading speed and interaction speed of your website. So reduce your code and don't use plugins like Flash. It's important to keep in mind that mobile users are even more impatient than desktop or laptop users. Is your website not loading within 5 seconds? Then you will lose them and your score will drop in the ranking.
Also a ranking factor is the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). That is the extent to which the layout of your website changes during loading. Definitely recognizable: you want to click on something, but because an image or advertisement is loaded, the layout of the website changes in the meantime. This obviously does not provide a good user experience and it is therefore only logical that Google would rather not offer websites where this happens to searchers.
In our blog about technical SEO you will find more tips to get this part of your search engine optimization in order.
Voice Search will be the SEO trend of 2021! In America, half of the searches are already performed via voice search and worldwide the counter is on 27%† Tools like Siri, Alexa and Google Home cause searches to change. A search via voice search will be longer, contain more colloquialism and often be formulated as a question.
This also affects the search results. Due to the length of the searches, the long tail being used more and more. A normal query like 'seo' and a voice search query like 'Google, what should I do to improve my website's SEO' will bring up different SERPs. The results of the voice search are more specific and not focused on head terms.
It is good to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. That is why structured data is an important SEO trend. If you let Google know that certain text is an answer to a specific question, Google can use your text when this question is asked.
Also keep in mind that voice search will emphasize the first search result. Google will read this out as an answer and the rest will be left out. Being at the top becomes all the more important.
Google is evolving from a search engine to an answering machine. This is not only due to voice search, but also featured snippets. This is the answer to a specific search query and is at the top of the search results at position 0.
This increases the ease of use of the viewfinder, because it is no longer necessary to click through. This is especially useful in combination with voice search. The featured snippet in position 0 is therefore highly coveted. You don't give your competitor that place, do you?
Because featured snippets are answers to questions, structured data is also important for search engine optimization here. Make it clear in your code which parts of your website are answers to questions or which parts are a list of tips for getting the coveted featured snippet.
Both voice search and featured snippets are expected to play a greater role in 2021. Google is in any case already preparing for this by not only ranking pages, but also passages. After all, these have a greater chance of answering the specific query. All this is expected to affect 7% of searches.
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