SEO predictions for 2021

A good strategist knows that familiarizing yourself with the terrain can often win battles. When you look at the bigger picture and understand all the factors, you can make predictions and gain an advantage. As a New York SEO company, we understand just how competitive the race to the finish line can be. And information is one of the most valuable currencies to have in the digital age. Therefore, with the start of this new year, we look towards the future. In this article, we explore the SEO predictions for 2021 as well as how businesses can benefit from those predictions.

Let’s start with some essential SEO stats for 2021

Magnifying glass looking at graphs and analytics chart.
You have to look at facts before making SEO predictions for 2021.
  • Roughly 60% of marketers claim that SEO generates more leads than any other digital marketing approach.
  • Over 70% of marketers describe content marketing as their most effective SEO tactic.
  • Only 25% of online users scroll past the first page of search results.
  • Sales experts claim that organic leads have a 14.6% conversion rate while outbound leads only amount to 1.7%.
  • Up to 80% of people tend to ignore paid ads on search results.
  • 10% of searches today are voice searches.
  • Over 70% of local searches end up in consumers visiting a store within 5 miles of their location.
  • Nearly 90% of smartphone users do an online search at least once a day.
  • Over 85% of online users use Google Maps to look up the location of a business.

And these are just some of the many SEO stats that go to demonstrate the dominance of this approach. Whether you are a small local or large corporate business, SEO is a vital component for establishing a strong online presence. Without it, your competitors will leave you in the dust within months. As we step into 2021, the overall weight of having a strong SEO strategy will only be more important, especially with so many industries taking a beating due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Top ten SEO predictions for 2021

SEO 2021
Explore what is to come in the world of SEO in 2021 and start adapting and creating strategies.

#1: Search Intent should be your primary focus

This might not be fresh news for experienced marketers, but facts are facts. The intent and behavior of consumers online change as a result of the passing of time as well as any drastic changes. And when it comes to 2020, the coronavirus pandemic definitely marked a historical change. And it has influenced everyone. So, it is only logical for businesses to re-evaluate their approach and tailor their content to the needs of customers in 2021.

As Google’s algorithm and other ones get stronger, it will be practically impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution for it. So, as far as SEO predictions for 2021 go, digital marketing agencies will be focusing efforts on catering to satisfying the needs of online users rather than search engines. The reasoning is simple – once you understand what the intent of a search is, it becomes easier to provide a quality answer through content. By exploring search results for different inquiries, you can put together an idea of what your strategy needs to respond to the searcher’s needs.

What can you do about this?

  • Switch the focus from bragging about your company and its products to being a guide to potential site visitors and helping them understand the value of becoming your customers. Use their perspective to create content that will function as an inner voice. Let them be the hero while your business takes on a supporting role.
  • Optimize your website to provide a quality user experience for customers. Modern consumers are more focused on online shopping than ever. So, you need to make sure that your website is up to standards in terms of page loading speed and rendering.
  • Let the buying process play it on its own instead of forcing it on customers. People are sick of pop-ups and registrations – they need a sense of control over what they are buying.

#2: Use behavioral analytics to extend relations with customers

The basic principle of using SEO strategies to generate traffic has been outgrown and is much more now. SEO predictions for 2021 give more influence to companies that incorporate behavioral analytics in their relations with existing customers. Visits are no longer enough to give you the online authority you need. With Google evolving faster and faster, keywords are no longer as reliable as they used to be.

After 2020, the global economy is in a constant state of flux, shifting influence on a daily basis. And since the purchasing power of consumers has drastically dropped, the chances of acquiring new customers has dropped as well. Since the majority of shopping is being conducted online, most consumers will be looking into making safe purchases with businesses they can vouch for. So, rather than focusing on finding new customers, marketers will be more interested in retaining existing customers through remarketing and engaging trending content. It will be a much safer card to play than to chase after new leads while neglecting past ones.

What can you do about this?

Start by focusing on extensive first-party research rather than relying on standard keywords. Google’s algorithm has evolved and we’ve already discussed this much through search intent. So, rather than believing in keywords that were established and valid before 2020, marketers now need to dig into Google Search Console data to discover the trending relevant topics they should explore.

Give value through content. Despite the importance of optimization when creating content, 2021 is a year that promises the most power to content that is valued by readers. And this will be the key to retaining current customers looking for answers on how to adapt to all the changes happening around them. Your brand needs to be an anchor for them rather than a beacon.

  • “We retain interest and build trust with our readers when our content is the most comprehensive, practical, and useful piece they’ve interacted with when searching Google. That kind of content requires focus, time, commitment, investment, to create.” Julia McCoy, CEO, Express Writers.

#3: Using SERP optimization to appear on knowledge graphs and present your brand as an entity

It is a widely known fact that Google has so much information about each and every one of us that they can create and scale personalized knowledge graphs. Google’s understanding of the identity of a brand will dominate the exposure it gets on SERP. And so, optimizing the digital presence of your brand as a whole will become a necessity for you to gain value. SEOs will need to venture past mere topics and dive into the notion of entities and subtopics to create a deep-rooted structure for their brand.

What can you do about this?

Keyword research still matters – it just doesn’t come first any longer. Instead, marketers will want to start pouring their efforts into gaining visibility on Google Discover. The only way to accomplish this is to emerge your entire brand entity in the knowledge graph. And a proper way of going about this is:

  • Ensuring a complete and correct organization markup.
  • Establishing a presence in relevant knowledge bases such as Wikidata.
  • Claiming your knowledge panel to use the posts by Google feature.
  • Setting up your GMB profile.

#4: Using page experience optimization to cater to Core Web Vitals

Professional digital marketing agencies have a deep understanding of the time, research, experience, and resources a business needs to achieve SEO success. However, they also know just how demanding it can be to not only learn how to use certain tools to track and monitor optimization efforts but to also have the knowledge to interpret the metrics you have and to improve them. For some marketers, this is a daunting task. For most business owners, this is practically an impossible task. So, Google came up with Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals are Google’s way to simplify the entire process of using dozens of tools to monitor various digital marketing KPIs by simply focusing on measuring page experience. It is a simpler way for business owners to analyze their pages and learn how well they perform in terms of a user-centric approach. And satisfying those criteria should be the primary concern for most businesses in 2021, taking into consideration the SEO predictions for 2021 we mentioned earlier.

What can you do about this?

Start investing time and resources into improving the experience each of your pages provides for users that land on them:

  • Page loading speed;
  • Responsiveness;
  • Mobile-friendliness;
  • Rendering;
  • Image quality and optimization;
  • Security protocols.

By ensuring that your pages meet all these conditions optimally, you will be able to incorporate page experience into your SEO strategy. And that alone will give your business the advantage it needs to gain recognition and value from Google. Start by measuring, testings, and learning how to tackle these challenges.

#5: Mobile SEO is the embodiment of SEO now

With the passage of time, desktops are becoming obsolete when it comes to online searches. With the world turning toward accessing information through mobile devices, businesses need to reshift their efforts toward satisfying mobile user experience with their web pages. Only by doing so will you be able to adapt to the changes that are coming in 2021. Mobile users are the shopping majority now – this much is certain. And although desktops still play a key role in modern consumerism, Google will be looking at both desktop and mobile versions of your website before passing judgment and ranking you on SERP.

What can you do about this?

A good place to start is by inspecting your web pages through a variety of mobile devices. Take into consideration all the relevant factors:

  • Are they user-friendly and intuitive?
  • Can they offer the loading speed mobile users expect?
  • Is all the content visible and engaging?
  • Are the images optimized for mobile devices?
  • Are there any bugs with navigating through the pages?

These are all vital questions that you need to ask and answer, as your revenue and online growth depend on it. A logical step would be to turn to the assistance of professional web design agencies such as Digital Dot. Get a professional perspective of the good and the bad sides of your current web pages and how to make them better.

#6: Crank up the automation

In 2020, we had the chance to see some amazing advancements in terms of automation, machine learning, AI development, etc. And with 2021 before us, those advancements hold all the promises of the futuristic world we always imagined as kids. As AI-generated content promises to start increasing more and more, it will be more challenging for content creators to remain competitive.

What can you do about this?

Investing in automating as many SEO processes and tasks as you can is definitely a smart way to move your strategy forward this year. Whether we’re discussing SEO companies or in-house SEO teams, automation will free up the time and resources necessary to re-focus your expertise from manual daily tasks to actual research.

#7: Adapting content creation to Google Passage Ranking

SEO specialists are expecting major changes in how search engines process and rank content with the introduction of Google Passage Ranking. The idea is simple – rather than having separate articles for a general topic and each of its subtopics, why not have one page that is structured to include it all? So, Google has decided to give the same fighting chance to articles that answer a search query through a sentence or paragraph just as much as those that have an entire long, diluted article dedicated to the same topic.

According to Google’s Martin Splitt, this is a way to balance the scales and offer the content that ranks low to gain value if it offers the answers that top-ranked articles to. Splitt also notes that this will not change the standings of well-ranked articles but will simply make for a better.

What can you do about this?

Creating content in a way that will help Google identify and rank segments of each article will be among the more important SEO trends for 2021. By investing in strong page and schema structures, businesses will have a higher chance of gaining ranking on SERP. However, this approach should not neglect the in-between text necessary for natural language processing and a positive readability score.

#8: Long-Form Content

The previously stated fact that Google Passage Ranking will equalize content creation does not eliminate the need for long-form content. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that top-ranked blogs average 2000 words. And as more and more websites follow this and other digital marketing trends for 2021, this number is expected to rise closer to 3000 by the end of 2021. However, this does not mean that you can take a general topic and dilute it for the purpose of boosting your word count. No. You need to create long-form content that will answer E-A-T requirements as well as search intent.

#9: Assess, Adopt & Execute

SEO predictions for 2021 come in the form of mindsets as well as trends. And with the overwhelming amount of changes that we witnessed in the past year, the ability to recognize, adapt, and respond rapidly has become more important than ever. Despite the collapse we are surrounded by, business opportunities to grow your brand awareness are still there – it’s simply harder to spot them. So, this is the perfect time to take a step back, re-organize your efforts, and create a plan that will account for all the upcoming changes this year.

What can you do about this?

Many marketers will have to step out of their comfort zones and reinvent their approach to catching the attention of customers. These historical changes have influenced all aspects of our lives, and businesses need to take the time to understand how before creating new campaigns. A blended and strategies approach will be the best way to accomplish this.

#10: SEO scalability

With everything that’s been said here, the importance of taking your SEO efforts higher and higher is pretty obvious. Your competitors will definitely make the efforts to create scalable growth in terms of optimization. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to find new ways to challenge marketers and push them further in the pursuit of gaining value and rankings. SEO scalability is an evergreen trend, which still puts it among SEO predictions for 2021.

What can you do about this?

  • List all the tasks, processes, and workflows you do on a regular basis. Determine which steps in those could be automated or better handled by use of a tool.
  • Set up an alert system that monitors significant changes to things like rankings of your important keywords, flip-flopping URLs ranking for the same keyword (URL cannibalization), page content changes, URL changes, etc.
  • Establish SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for any regular tasks you can’t automate so your team isn’t wasting time reinventing how to do them each time they need to be performed.

Start building strong and structured SEO strategies for the upcoming months

2021 Digital Marketing Trends in search bar.
Make all the right steps for your business with the support of a professional digital marketing agency.

One thing that comes to mind after going through all these SEO predictions for 2021 is that it will be complex and challenging. Despite Google’s efforts of simplifying matters for business owners, there is still too much to keep an eye on and plan for. And this is definitely a job for a skilled SEO agency with experience and resources.

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