Beginning of the year requires an article on SEO trends 2021 is essential! I share with you here the areas of optimization and the trends on which I will personally work throughout the year on the various sites that I manage.
As the years go by, the basics of natural referencing remain the same but new SEO trends are emerging and are also taking hold.
If he’s still as important in 2021 to optimize your SEO bases (Title, hN tags, unique content, technically clean site, well-managed indexing, optimized crawl …), Google, through his updates and the many information he distils between Twitter, his Hangouts on air with John Mueller or the few blog articles he shares, directs SEO more and more towards an SXO approach (a clever mix between SEO and user experience (UX)).
8 trends to boost your SEO in 2021
Here is a summary (and a selection) of 8 most important SEO trends to work on in 2021 (in my opinion) :
1- Create exceptional quality content
Purposely put first, this trend that has been going on for many years has never been truer than in 2021. Google no longer wants our 300-word articles rewritten (or written quickly) just to fill a site with “unique content” “. Beyond the unique content, Google loves great content, by its substance but also its shape.
The attention of Internet users is very easily lost, Google knows it, which is why it rewards useful, detailed content, but also pleasant to read.
To create exceptional content, you must no longer limit yourself to words but also integrate video, podcasts, comparative tables, dynamic tables, infographics, studies, … In short, everything that will make the reader have no only want to read the content but also want to share it around him.
2- Think about SXO and adapt its pages, its content and its UI to the research intention of Internet users on the targeted keywords
Research intent, does that mean anything to you? In my opinion, this is THE emerging trend since 2017 – 2018 that has taken even more place in SEO discussions in 2021!
In summary, it is offer the right content (or the right products / services) according to the request of the Internet user that we are targeting, while taking care of the user experience.
The idea is also to do not try to “fight” on requests where we have 0 legitimacy to be well placed because Google will notice sooner or later in any case and you will have wasted your time, money and resources that you could have allocated on much more relevant queries with a much better ROI.
Ex: if my brand only offers “shoes made in china”, there is no point in trying to target the query “shoes made in France” by highlighting my 100% made in china products.
(On the other hand, a blog article on the concrete differences between made in china and made in France could be relevant for the Internet user who is looking for this, so you can most of the time offer a relevant alternative but you will need above all observe what Google likes to bring up on targeted queries to find out if you have a chance and an interest in doing so and most importantly, if it brings you more than just traffic.)
3- Drastically optimize the loading time (mobile and desktop) of your site
Now that all the sites (or almost) are in HTTPS, Google has been attacking for a few years now the page load time !
Included in the list (and prominently in the top) of more than 200 positioning factors that impact the positioning of pages on Google, optimizing loading time is a priority that should not be overlooked in 2021, especially when the navigation is done mainly on mobile!
AMP, Progressive Web Apps, lightweight responsive site, you just have to see what Google is doing in countries with a weak connection to know what it expects from us: speed and performance even with a degraded 3G connection.
If you want to know where you are, do not hesitate to consult the PageSpeed Insights tool, a free seo load time analysis tool based on Lighthouse (very interesting coupled with an analysis with GTmetrix or Webpagetest.org to mention than these two free tools).
4- Create quality links WITHOUT optimized anchors: always more quality than quantity
Quality content is good, with quality links is better. Google had also confirmed in 2016 that links were the second most important positioning factor that influences rankings in search results.
In 2021, you will still need to create quality links to rank on competitive themes but the good news is that you need less links than before, even on very competitive topics.
While quantity has less and less interest and impact, quality is essential!
Take the time to ask yourself and determine what a quality link is for you, analyze the links of the best positioned competitors and focus your 2021 netlinking strategy on what seems most relevant to you.
Regarding anchors, although they are important, always pay attention to over-optimization which can trigger automatic penalties. Remember to dilute your optimized anchors with natural anchors such as brand or URL for example.
I am also personally convinced that Google measures unrelated citations in its calculation of PageRank (or any other indicator specific to Google but linked to popularity). For me, it makes perfect sense that quotes somehow enter the scales as to whether one site has more or less notoriety and legitimacy than another: press relations have never been so important for SEO only in 2020 and will continue to be so in 2021.
5- Analyze to better reign
This key point has always been at the heart of my actions and it will remain so once again in 2021.
In my opinion, analysis is the basis of any SEO action : what are your best performing pages? Why do these perform better than others? What are the least competitive and most ROIistic keywords to target? Why is your bounce rate high here and not elsewhere? Which pages should be updated as a priority? What are the concrete differences between you and better positioned competitors? Which pages are unnecessary and to deindex / delete? …
6- Optimize the CTR of its pages in search results
With equal SEO positions, you can gain a significant amount of traffic over a year by simply optimizing your snippets (views of your pages in search results).
For this, we have several levers available that we can optimize:
- the title,
- the meta description,
- the url,
- the breadcrumb / breadcrumb (when properly marked with Schema.org),
- rich snippets (recipes, reviews, products, etc.) (when correctly marked with schema.org),
- “News” inserts for content and news sites,
- FAQpage markup to bring up frequently asked questions under the search result,
- optimization for People Also Ask (PAA),
- the optimization of its content for Featured Snippets (position 0),
- the AMP icon when its pages are compatible,
- the addition of emoticons in his snippets …
7- Add videos to the content
In 2021, video marketing has clearly taken a new step. To optimize the user experience of its website in 2021, the use of an explanatory video (or a video presenting a product) is increasingly recommended.
Indeed, it will improve the conversion rate of its traffic and limit the bounce rate and pogosticking which are two indicators closely scrutinized by Google.
8- Continue to target the long tail
If the optimization of the long tail is not a new trend in itself, it is in my opinion one of the essential axes to boost your SEO and get qualified traffic on any website.
Numerous studies prove that long tail traffic leads to significantly more qualified and profitable traffic than short tail traffic, so why not?
9- Obtain links on pages already positioned
If most historical netlinking strategies are based on the acquisition of links on new pages, the current SEO trend is to buy links on pages and articles already positioned in the theme that we target with his landing page. Although several known platforms allow it, the most successful to date is this one.
10- Update your content so that it is always useful in the eyes of Google
Over time, an article or page, if not updated, will gradually lose positions in the search engine. To avoid losing too many places and traffic, it is important to regularly review and update its content so that it remains current and fresh content is discovered by Google during its next crawl.
What ? Are voice search and AI not in your SEO trends for 2021?
I deliberately did not address what I consider to be the “buzzwords” of the moment as the subject of voice search because in my opinion, if your site is already optimized for referencing as it is understood for a traditional search, it will also be used for voice search (however, try to be more present in featured snippets).
For AI and RankBrain, these elements are now integrated into the heart of Google’s algorithm and this is not a trend in itself. However, the impacts of these changes in how Google operate can be found in the trends mentioned above (SXO, search intent, CTR optimization, etc.).
Google is now able to adapt and personalize search results in a very precise and dynamic way, but this should not change your approach and what you need to do to position yourself well.
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