2020 was a year of shifts and changes — but in the world of digital marketing, SEO remains as important as ever.
The key to an excellent SEO strategy is being able to stick to the basics, but also shift with the times. While you can never overlook the importance of local SEO, mobile-optimization, and other fundamental strategies, you also have to keep up with new developments in the field to ensure the best possible results.
SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know
These SEO trends and new best practices will help leverage your brand this year and beyond:
1. Page Experience Optimization
User experience and SEO have always gone hand-in-hand, but with Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals, user experience is set to become a major ranking element for websites in 2021.
When evaluating your website’s overall UX, Google will look at a set of specific factors that determine the quality of experience a user goes through when visiting or exploring your web page. These factors include loading time and speed, mobile-friendliness, browsing safety and security, visual stability, and interactivity, among others.
Google’s focus on Core Web Vitals sends a clear message to websites: Provide your users with a pleasant experience and we will reward you in the SERPs.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is changing the way many industries operate, and SEO is no exception. Using AI and machine learning, Google (and other search engines) are able to provide a more personalized experience to users and deliver them the results they are looking for.
But while all this is quite revolutionary, the important question here is, “How can AI help with SEO strategies?”
With the help of machine learning and AI-based solutions, companies can more easily and efficiently decode search engine trends and algorithms. You can use this technology to analyze trends and determine which keywords or search engine results are most useful to users, and use the data to create more favorable strategies.
3. Voice Search
More than half of smartphone users reportedly engaged with voice search technology in 2020. And the growing number of households that own a smart speaker only suggests that voice search is going to get bigger in 2021.
Seeing how more and more people are using voice commands in their daily lives, it would do well for brands and businesses who engage in SEO to optimize for it. The thing is, optimizing your website content for voice search is quite different from keyword optimization for text searches. Voice search queries usually use long-tail phrases and are very specific.
One simple but effective way to make your website’s SEO more voice-search friendly is to use conversational language when creating content.
4. Video Marketing
Nowadays, many people prefer to digest information through videos rather than written text. That being said, it comes as no surprise that YouTube has come second, after Google, as the most popular search engine.
If your business doesn’t have a clear-cut video marketing strategy yet, you better get on it right away or risk trailing behind the competition. Videos are the best way to promote and reach new audiences because they’re entertaining, shareable, and multi-directional. A well-made and compelling video can go viral – and when it does, it can draw the attention of millions of people to your brand within a short period of time.
There are plenty of video marketing options to choose from these days. You can post optimized videos on YouTube and share them on your pages for social media marketing, or you can create seconds-long Stories and Instagram Reels. Whatever form you choose, don’t forget to make sure that they reach the right audiences.
5. Long-form Content
Content is still and will always be king, as far as SEO is concerned, but 2021 is likely to be the year of longer-form content. There’s a common perception that shorter content is more widely preferred, but that’s not always the case – especially for people that are looking to find all the information and answers they need in one place.
In 2020, blogs and guides with over 2,000 words were observed to repeatedly outperform content with a thousand words or less – and this trend is expected to continue in 2021. Some of the most popular types of long-form contents are guides, step-by-step tutorials, and articles that explain complex topics or processes in-depth.
Creating long-form content can be a lot of work, but you don’t have to do this for every single blog post you publish – only for the more important topics or common inquiries in your niche. Most importantly, make sure that your content follows the EAT principle: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The better quality your content is, the higher and more frequently it will rank in Google.
Adapting to a Shifting SEO Landscape
SEO changes fast. Google frequently updates its parameters to provide a better and more efficient experience to its users.
You need to be aware of the latest updates and adapt to the changing SEO landscape to improve the results of your digital marketing strategy.
Who knows? These SEO trends and best practices could be the extra push your brand needs to soar to new and greater heights.