Red Hot Thoughts | Top SEO Trends to look out for in 2021

Top SEO Trends to look out for in 2021

There can be little doubt that 2020 has been one of the most unpredictable years of our lives. But where uncertainty has been ever-present, innovation and adaptability have followed, across all sectors.

With light now seeming to appear at the end of the tunnel, we wanted (as we’re sure many of you are doing too!), to look ahead to 2021. So, in this post we are going to explore what next year might bring in the world of SEO.

E-commerce has had such a huge boom this year and the high street has taken a hit, so staying ahead of the developing trends online can reap considerable rewards for your business. Our expert SEO team has identified a number of key areas which we could see becoming ever more crucial in the coming year, so read on to find out the ways your business could steal a march on your competition.

Keep E-A-T’ing

The concept of E.A.T. centres around Expertise, Authority and Trust. These have been pillars of good SEO and content-marketing strategy for some time, but they take on even more importance now as Google’s algorithm is increasingly able to identify unreliable sources of information and not favour them in SERPs.

The internet is rife with misinformation which can lead to negative and potentially damaging user-experiences. When building out a website, businesses need to carefully consider the content that’s being created, and the sources of information used.

The copy you write should give value to your user, highlight your expertise within your sector, and illustrate why potential customers can engage with your content and, in turn, use your services. The same extends to managing your social media platforms. Remember – an ill-advised retweet, like, or share, can be just a couple of clicks away from controversy!

If using data for content, referencing reputable sources such as The Office for National Statistics or gov.uk websites will show to your users (and search engines) that you are providing genuine, insightful content, which is to their benefit.

Going Local with Search

Optimising local search can be hugely beneficial for small to medium size businesses as a means of getting in front of the right people on a local level, often converting casual consumers to long-term customers.

In the microclimate of local business, being at the top of local results is essential for you to become the ‘go-to’ provider in the area for your specific offering. The need for local optimisation has also grown in importance with increasing amounts of zero-click searches, where featured snippets or local results come up first in the SERP meaning the user’s query has been answered without having to actually click through to a website.

Video to become more vital

Ways of creating multi-channel experiences for users are always developing and video is an area which is growing in popularity among businesses of any size. Technology has allowed for video to be produced relatively cheaply and easily, and it can be really influential to your website’s SEO performance.

Incorporating video into relevant pages on your website can boost rankings and you can end up on YouTube results for common queries if your videos are informative and relevant. It’s also a great tactic to increase user-engagement, as you can encourage shares, comments and likes. There are also massive benefits in terms of being able to repurpose video content. For example, if you produce a webinar or digital meet-up, why not do a bit of editing and chop it up for social media snippets, do a write up for your blog, and include in a newsletter – three for the price of one!

Increased focus on voice search

With virtually everyone now having a Siri, Google Assistant, or equivalent voice-search capability in their pocket, the emphasis on this aspect of SEO is continuously growing.

In terms of the content on your website, optimising for voice search should not precedence over to traditional SEO copywriting but it is worth bearing in mind. For example, simple things like using rhetorical questions as sub-headings rather than statements can put you in line to provide the answer to a voice query which matches the sub-heading.

Clearly voice search is predominantly a feature used on mobile devices, so the mobile optimisation of your site, as well your site speed, are essential if you’re to take advantage of this innovation.

Emphasise Schema for Featured Snippets

Snippets are a relatively new innovation for Google, first appearing in 2017, but they are now a great potential shortcut to appearing on the first page of a SERP. The snippets are usually structured, so utilising structured data and schema mark-up throughout your copywriting and coding process is essential.

The set structure implemented here makes it easier for Google to interpret what the content on the page is about and makes it more likely for your content to be used as the Snippet. Other benefits of using this structured approach are rich results, where Google pulls information from your content from its relevant structured data. You can also feature in Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph’ due to relevancy to a query.

The basis of the content you produce in terms of its theme is all about identifying potential queries related to your sector and answering them in a clear, concise way – so, focus on question-based searches and the layout of the content, then align them with your keyword research to come up with a potential solution.

Core Web Vitals = Ranking Signals

Google recently announced that the Core Web Vitals of Loading, Interactivity and Visual Stability will become ranking signals in May 2021. These combine with four other existing signals – mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS and non-intrusive interstitials – to create ‘page experience’ signals upon which rankings are determined.

Breaking down these Core Web Vitals, Loading relates to Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) which is the time is takes a page’s main content to load – ideally this should be 2.5 seconds or less. Interactivity is First Input Delay, which is the time is takes for a page to become interactive, and Visual Stability refers to the Cumulative Layout Shift, which is the amount of unexpected layout shift of visual content on a page.

In preparation for these changes in May, it would be a good idea to chat to your developers and see how your performance is currently for these signals and what could be done to improve. The early bird, and all that…

We’re sure that there will be plenty more developments throughout the course of next year, because there is no standing still or stagnating in digital marketing! But these are some key areas to address that can potentially keep you ahead of your competitors, which will be so crucial after the difficulties of 2020.

If you have any questions about the points raised in this post or you’re interested in our SEO Services at Red Hot Penny, then why not get in touch!

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