SEO is an effective and efficient way to attract consumers to your online platforms, but only if you stay on top of the latest SEO trends and updates. Complacency can lead to an outdated SEO strategy and a slip in rankings, and although remaining knowledgeable in SEO and digital marketing can be challenging, it is most definitely worth your time and energy.
Therefore, in this new year, it is time to look ahead and take note of the latest trends that are set to impact SEO in 2021. Here are the top three trends you need to know right now.
1. Content Continues to be Valuable
Quality content is an essential aspect of a successful SEO strategy. Not only does it provide the opportunity to generate backlinks and insert targeted keywords, but it is also a means to engage with your audience and prove to your customers that you are a brand that has something to offer. In fact, 84% of people expect brands to produce and publish content.
However, what type of content is proving popular and powerful within 2021?
Long-form content will reign supreme
Long-form content generates much more traffic and more shares than short-form content. The reason behind this is because there is more room to insert backlinks and keywords. However, you must not fall into the pitfalls of trading in quality content for longer content. Remember, your aim is to provide your target audience with quality information that is useful and of value. You want your content to be shared so that you generate more reach and click-through rates.
How can you create long-form content without reducing its quality?
Firstly, you need to have a solid content plan, detailing the points you wish to make and how you are going to effectively hit each one of them. Without a plan, you run the risk of straying from your topic of choice or writing filler content (both of which will irritate your readers and also reduce your content’s quality in the eyes of Google). It is also during your content planning stage that you will want to do keyword research.
Once you have a content plan in place and are ready to start writing, you need to ensure your content is scannable. This means writing your content in easy-to-read and digestible segments, and including H1, H2, and H3 subheadings. Not only do subheadings make your content more readable, but they are essential for mobile-friendly websites.
Lastly, you need to ensure you include stats and link back to authoritative sources. Not only does this add substance to your content and value to your readers, but it will greatly increase your authority score when Google is crawling the webpage.
Content will need to Focus on the Google EAT Principle
Google continues to reiterate the importance of creating quality content that holds its value. The EAT principle was huge in 2020 and continues to be important in 2021.
What does EAT stand for?
And how can you ensure you EAT with your content?
Expertise refers to whether the author of the content in question is knowledgeable in the subject they are writing about. While certain subject matters such as lifestyle and travel could be well executed by a seasoned copywriter, in the subjects of medicine and finance, you will want to invest in a copywriter with a degree and plenty of experience in that particular field.
To gain authoritativeness, ensure credible sites are linking to or referring to your website (and the piece of content in question). Link building is a well-known SEO practice and ensuring your backlinking is strong can help increase your website’s credibility.
Is your website known for producing high-quality content? Much like authoritativeness, you will want to create a trustworthy image by creating content that is accurate, full of reliable references, and has plenty of links to reputable sources. Many reputable sites will end with a “.gov” or “.edu” URL. Be wary of newspaper and media sites that may be biased.
2. Mobile is still Vital
Google first introduced mobile-first indexing in 2019, and since this introduction, it has continued to play a major role in the SEO industry. Many brands consider mobile to be the primary version of their website, as more and more consumers are turning to explore the internet via their smartphones and mobile devices (such as tablets) over their desktop browsers. It is expected that nearly 73% of internet users will choose to browse the internet via a mobile device by 2025.
Google has a free mobile-friendly test so that businesses can see how effective their mobile websites are, making it easier for companies to determine whether any improvements need to be made.
3. Prepare for Image Optimization
It used to be that you could only search for images. However, soon it is expected that you will be able to use images to locate and purchase products online. Otherwise known as image SEO, image optimization allows your website to rank higher on Google Image Search while also improving the visibility of your website and individual web pages.
You should already ensure proper labeling of your photos, but if you are yet to do this, now is the perfect time to fill in the correct information.
For image optimization, you will want to:
- Use high-quality and relevant images (remember that poorly optimized images can also reduce website loading times as well as harm SEO)
- Have a correctly labeled photo file name
- Fill in the alt tags and add alt text
- Add images to your site map
The world of SEO is ever-changing, with one singular change to the Google algorithm having the potential to nullify the strongest of SEO strategies. To ensure you can continue practicing SEO excellence, it is essential that you remain knowledgeable of SEO practices and be prepared to adapt to any changes that may occur. While we may not know what the rest of 2021 brings within the SEO and digital sphere, the above tips remain relevant and effective.