Just as 2020 caused the vast majority of businesses to adapt to a world affected by a pandemic, 2021 businesses will have to adjust to a world going back to some form of normalcy as vaccines start to roll out. Though not directly related to the coronavirus, its affects have indirectly caused changes in how businesses handle digital marketing, as well, as more online traffic due to COVID stay-at-home orders means a reason to invest more time and money into these strategies.
Here are 6 trends in SEO marketing expected to continue (or begin) in 2021.
“Mobile-Friendly” Improves SEO
More than half of access to websites in 2020 was done from a mobile device, and that consumer trend is starting to affect SEO. The vast majority of web hosting services do a good job at making it easy to align your mobile site with your main site, but now it’s more important than ever to check from all different screen sizes. Formerly, poor mobile-friendliness just meant a user had some struggles when accessing your site. Now, it means they may never even go to the site in the first place.
Another side effect of the COVID lockdowns was a nation glued to screens even more often than they were before stay-at-home orders. Video conferencing (e.g., Zoom) for work, FaceTiming family over the holidays, and even the rise in popularity in services like TikTok (and brand influencers that come with it) point to video as being a preferred means of delivering information for many Americans and individuals abroad. If you haven’t started including video in your content, the time is now to look into it.
“EAT” it Up
The Google algorithms still aim to make engaging content rise to the top, but articles such as this wouldn’t exist if there weren’t ways to make that content seem more engaging to Google. Following the E.A.T. principle can help ensure you’re checking these boxes regarding engaging content. E is for expertise. Share quality sources in your writing and ensure they are relevant to context. A is for authoritativeness, so write confidently and express that confidence in those experts you have pegged. The T is for trustworthiness, and this also is determined by source credibility and confidence in prose.
Think Small (Occasionally)
Even though the internet is a legitimately endless entity, it is still used a lot for the most local of activities. What do people do when they want to figure out the best place in town for chicken? They Google it. Even if you do business on a large scale, generally, creating localized messaging for certain locales where your product or service has stiff competition, will help bring it to the top as far as SEO is concerned.
Continued Focus on Data
Some things are trendy. Some trends can still pay dividends by following them, even if you know they are just trends. Data is not one of those trends. Data is here to stay, and for good reason, is one of the most lucrative industries in the world. Keeping ahead of trends in data will keep you ahead of trends in SEO marketing, and the very predictive nature of data can help you better use your own datasets in future marketing campaigns.
Featured snippets fall in line with the mobile-friendliness section, as it’s something you should have had in line, simply for good business practice, but now it can affect whether or not potential customers ever even get to your site. Featured snippets are the short blurbs about your site or product that come up when someone Googles something relative.
When you ask Google a question like “What is the biggest waterfall in the world?” the answer returned is generally a snippet from a Wikipedia page related to waterfalls. In the same sense, if someone Googles “Where is the best place to get [insert service] in [insert locale] and your services is relative to the question, ensuring your snippets exist and are maximized for SEO will be more important in 2021 and beyond, than it has been in the past.
With changes coming related to the end of the pandemic, 2021 will be another year where preparing and dealing with change will be one of the few actual constants in day-to-day operations. As far as SEO is concerned, it changes as the industry does, so keep an eye on all aspects of your business as post-COVID changes are implemented. Any and all of them could affect how Google decides to rank its content.