14 Jun 5 Trending SEO Strategies for 2021 and Beyond
“Change is inevitable”. This stands completely true with the ever-evolving search landscape. In the quest to further improve the user experience and relevancy on SERP (Search Engine results pages), Google’s algorithm is consistently updated and refined. To keep a competitive edge, you need to keep pace with Google’s algorithms and their implications and accordingly revisit your SEO strategy to make place for the advancements.
According to BrightEdge, 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic searches. This certainly adds up to the positive impact SEO can make on your business and hence, it’s worth all the efforts. Successful SEO is an ongoing and iterative process. Your SEO strategy should be a union of the usual SEO best practices along with the new, trending practices.
In this post, let’s dive into the 5 most powerful SEO trends to make a place in your SEO strategy stack for this year and beyond:
1.The Core Web Vitals and User Experience:
Providing a fulfilling search experience to the user has always been Google’s priority. In 2020, Google announced a metrics called Core Web Vitals. With this, Google is quantifying the User Experience (UX). To put it simply, Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics that Google considers significant in measuring a web page’s overall user experience.
Google has confirmed that page experience signals would be included in the Google search ranking algorithm by 2021. Page ranking signals combine Core web vitals and the following, existing UX-related signals:
- Intrusive interstitial guidelines
Three signals of Core Web Vitals and the ideal score
- Largest contentful paint (LCP): Indicates how fast does the page loads. An ideal score is 2.5 seconds or faster.
- First Input Delay (FID): Here Google asks, how soon is the page interactive or time is taken by a page to become available for user interaction. Score should be 100ms or less.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS): This is to do with the visual stability of the page. How fast is the page stable? The Ideal measurement is less than 0.1
To measure your Core Web Vitals score, the simplest way out given by Google is downloading the Core web vitals report from your Google search console. This is an exhaustive report highlighting data about all of your webpage URLs that are indexed, whether they are good, or need improvement.
Since Page ranking signals or so to say, the UX experience signals will be a part of Google’s ranking algorithm, it goes without saying that a seamless user experience has become critical for an effective SEO strategy. Now, UX and SEO complement each other and share one common goal i.e., customer satisfaction.
2.Mobile-First Index, The New Normal
Mobile-first indexing means Google is considering the mobile version of the website for indexing and ranking, regardless of the device used for performing the search on Google. In simple terms, mobile being treated as the main version of the website, instead of desktop. Google enabled mobile-first indexing by default for all the new websites in July 2019. Google aims to roll out mobile-first indexing for every website by 2021.
Also note Google searches using only one index, which in most cases is mobile now and soon, would be only mobile index. Thus, all of the important content you want to be indexed by Google bots should be present on the mobile version of the site.
Page ranking signals, soon to be a part of Google’s ranking algorithm also include mobile-friendliness as one of the ranking metrics. It is needless to say that your SEO strategy must adapt to these Google updates and should be planned to deliver a great user experience on mobile.
3.Voice search is not a Fad
Is Voice search optimization a part of your SEO strategy, YET? In case you’re still thinking, here are some voice search statistics that’s might trigger the need:
- 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile, as per Google reports
- 58% of consumers used voice search to find a local business in 2017, reported by a Brightlocal study.
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the end of 2020, according to Comscore
Voice search has been evolving. Google’s improved Artificial intelligence has transformed Voice search in many ways, making it capable of comprehending and responding to user searches aptly.
Key strategies for voice search optimization:
Focus on long-tail, query-driven keywords:
As a marketer, we need to understand that the user search behaviour while typing the search query and when asking questions into voice search, is quite distinct. It has been observed, a user on voice search is seeking instant answers, fulfilling immediate needs.
Users tend to use more natural phrases and longer keywords when using voice search. For instance, when you type, you may put in a shorter search query like “Delhi weather today”. However, when on voice search you may end up asking the complete question, “How is the weather in Delhi Today?”
As a result, your voice search strategy must include more conversational and natural sounding keywords in the website content. This would help in ranking for the long-tail keywords.
Answer FAQs through your content:
A lot of voice searches are query-based, starting with, What, Where, How, Who, Why, etc. To address these queries consider adding FAQs to your content and answer them in more of a conversational tone. Keep optimizing content to increase your chances of ranking in featured snippets.
Use Schema Markups:
Schema markups give more clarity to search engines about the context of the content on your webpage. Further, it also helps Google to connect you with relevant searches. This improves your chances of ranking for specific queries made through voice search.
Schema Markup also helps your page to rank for featured snippets.
4.Craft Content Fulfilling the Search Intent
Google’s Bert update is a deep learning algorithm for natural language processing (NLP). With Google’s evolved machine learning, it has become possible for Google to understand the search intent of its users and deliver relevant results. With this, intent optimization is gaining more prominence and consequently, content that would not match the search intent would be unlikely to rank on the search engine.
Performing keyword analysis for the keywords that you would like to rank for wouldn’t be enough, rather you need to dig in deeper to decipher the search queries- Is the user seeking specific information? Do they want to make a purchase? Are they looking for a list of options? With each search query, there is an intention that needs to be comprehended adequately to deliver an optimal user experience.
Our recommendations here:
- Analyze the keywords to understand the search intent and context of the search.
- Build content that matches with the audience’s need and use more conversational keywords to address query-based searches.
- Consider optimizing the old content as well to match up to search intent.
- Make no mistake; write content for humans and not machines.
5.Optimise for Passage Ranking
Google, in October 2020 announced an update known as “Passage ranking”, allowing Google to rank individual sentences, phrases, or passages from a webpage. This means Google can now crawl a specific passage relevant to the search query, then ranking a broader page covering the topic alone. Having said that, this isn’t an indexing change, but more of a ranking change. Google is still indexing the whole webpage, but its system would be able to determine the relevancy of content in specific passages for ranking purposes.
This provides us with an opportunity to increase the visibility of our content. Few key aspects to take care of while optimizing for passages:
- Organize your page into clear, keyword-rich headings and subheadings,
- Focus on long-form content with a well-drafted flow of content.
- Optimize content for long-tail keywords.
User experience is the Centre Point of most of the Google updates. If your SEO strategy revolves around improving the user experience of your website in terms of page speed, content relevancy, and site accessibility, SEO wouldn’t be as daunting as it sounds.
SEO is dynamic in nature; Google has been constantly advancing its machine learning and AI to provide a more fulfilling experience to its users. Hence, today’s marketer needs to be proactive in not just adapting the changes but striving to stay ahead of the changes to have the edge on the competition.
Lastly, but most importantly have a solid foundation by implementing the basic SEO best practices optimally and then progressing towards strategizing for the upcoming trends.