8 Search Engine Optimization Trends To Look Out For In 2021
We all know that relationships are hard, but perhaps the hardest to figure out is the one between a marketer and Google.
The search engine is constantly changing and evolving, making massive shifts to how things are done when it comes to search engine optimization.
This leaves marketers dazed in its wake, scrambling to catch up.
But now it's time to get out ahead of it with next year's SEO trends.
It's never too soon to start preparing for your future, and because it looks like 2021 may be quite a revolutionary year SEO-wise, you need to know all about the coming trends to avoid having to kiss your content rankings goodbye.
Here are some predictions from a few of the top industry experts about what you can expect to see in 2020:
1. Keyword Research Is Evolving Thanks To Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is set to change the way marketers do keyword research.
Some major keyword research practices already use private demographic data, and that trend is set to grow. AI is going to become omnipresent meaning that SEO specialists will have to get a deeper understanding of automation and machine learning.
More people will be using voice search, which means that SEOs will have to adapt to this type of search which is still relatively new. And since voice requests differ from traditional queries, the entire process of keyword research will likely change.
Virtual technologies have already started bringing sci-fi movies into real life, but VR and AR haven't yet had a great impact on SEO.
According to industry experts, it may be 5 to 10 years before that kind of SEO becomes more common.
Search engine results pages (SERPs) are going to get more personalized, taking into account the user's location, search history, gender, interests, hobbies, and so on.
SEOs will have to consider a bigger number of content-related factors like the length, quality, and structure in their efforts to rank at the top of the search engines.
2. Voice Search and Amazon Search Will Take Impressions From Your Site
SEO specialists predict that both voice search and Amazon search will be huge trends in the coming year, with over half of all consumers' searches beginning around Amazon products (as opposed to Google).
This is a massive shift which means that marketers cannot afford to neglect Amazon search. In fact, some have even gone so far as to say that Amazon could very well be the new Google.
Voice search is going to be another huge trend in 2021.
Digital assistants are going to change the way that consumers conduct online searches in a significant way. When searches are done vocally, the queries are very different than when they are written out.
One of the most noticeable aspects of this is the huge number of long-tail keyword queries that voice search produces.
Optimizing for those terms is going to prove challenging, to say the least.
Another relatively new challenge is the 'Position 0' concept, where Google answers your questions above the standard listings and organic search results.
3. There Will Be More Emphasis On Code Optimization And Search Intent
In 2021, experts predict that websites with a load time of over two seconds will be penalized and that search intent will continue to grow in importance.
For instance, a user might conduct the following search: 'Best way to make butter cookies.' that users is probably looking for ways to bake butter cookies, but they may want to know WHY that method is the best, how intensive the whole process is, and even what ingredients are best to buy.
Marketers can do research and create valuable content with lots of helpful information that users weren't even aware they needed.
By doing this, user search intent is better satisfied and this increases engagement and boosts your rankings.
New Tools, Technologies, And Methodologies For 2020:
More of our lives are taking place online, which means that it's more important that our sites be secure.
Google already favors sites with secure protocols (https instead of http) and this is expected to grow as time goes on. This means that hosting your site on secure servers, encrypting the site, and keeping everything updated is vital for SEO.
Blockchain may actually be the next implementation in this process.
Modern Internet users have extremely short attention spans.
This means that if your site takes too long to load, then the visitor will probably leave, so it's vital to ensure that your website load time/speed is as optimized as possible.
While the use of CDNs, caching mechanisms, plugin technologies, and strategically organizing scripts/CSS files are all methods that are currently effective, in the new year developers are going to have to seriously tighten up code, and really optimize their CSS, JS, and overall HTML.
4. AR and VR Will Have Thier Own Sections Within Organic Search
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Blockchain may revolutionize Google's algorithms for organic search.
AR and VR will impact both organic and paid SEO in 2021.
Although they won't change the way we do search completely, these new technologies will certainly alter the way in which marketers build links, engage audiences, and generate leads using content marketing.
These days content marketers are making more efforts to include video in their marketing plans.
AR and VR will make it easier to figure out how to leverage these things. VR and AR content can also be used as a replacement for infographics in SEO, which is great news for those who produce a lot of those.
Google already favors sites that are mobile-friendly, and with AR and VR becoming mainstream, the search engine may tweak its algorithm to favor the websites with more mobile engagement.
They may even come up with new search engine sections that focus only on AR and VR, just as they do with images.
5. Voice Search Is Set To Account For Half Of All Searches
Nearly 50 percent of all searches are going to be made up of voice queries in 2021.
Content marketing experts predict that 2021 will be the real year that voice really gets going. It will be one of the major areas of focus when it comes to search engine optimization in the new year and beyond.
With over 40 percent of adults already using voice search at least once a day, it's clear that voice will soon take over in the coming years.
Those in search marketing will have to focus on how they want to attract their share of this traffic, and this provides ample opportunities for the savvy, early-bird marketers.
They will definitely catch the worm because we aren't currently seeing a lot of people focusing on this.
Another thing to keep in mind is that voice search not only has more words in it, but it's also more targeted toward what the users are expecting to see.
This means that practices like creating on-page content will call for a different approach.
An example is where some e-commerce sites may have optimized for 'Black Summer Dresses', they might now consider optimizing for long tail queries like, 'where can I buy the cheapest black summer dress?'
6. The Role Of Blockchain In SEO
The impact of Blockchain will be ascertained depending on the scale of adoption.
Looking at the current trend, many businesses may start incorporating blockchain or web 3.0 in their hosting, thereby making it compulsory for site owners to maintain their websites on the technical side in order to maintain their rankings.
Schema communities are already creating a markup for that exact same purpose.
Some experts believe that when it comes to search in 2021, blockchain will create massive new movements that were previously impossible.
Web businesses will start using more voice to text tech, and this will increase search activity and boost engagement.
Another big opportunity for fostering relevance in the next year will come from visual search which is based on both engagements with images and camera data.
For instance, a user may take a photo of something in their environment using their phone, and then tell it, 'I want this', and carry on with the rest of their day. The issue of 'fake news' will also be solved as authentication and authorship attribution win the day.
Users will start to abandon all those channels that provide terrible content.
This means that subject matter authorities are going to carry a lot more weight as time goes on, and the tools we use will either assist in searches for reliable content, or they will become irrelevant themselves.
This is an area where blockchain has a lot of promise.
Yet another area where blockchain shows a lot of potential is in the tools that will be created and adopted in an effort to mute personalization online and allow for broader viewpoints.
While those cocoons of information and news that we have created for ourselves from preference and relevancy settings online are super useful most times, each of us sometimes needs to travel online without being encumbered by our breadcrumbs, and in the near future, anonymity is going to become a premium.
7. The Importance Of User Experience Increases
Experts believe that UX (User Experience) is going to become a pivotal focus for SEO in 2021. Search engine optimization has changed a lot over the past five years, and these changes are only expected to accelerate over the next year or two.
So what is it going to look like in 2021?
Well, user experience is going to become one of the biggest ranking factors as Google pushes toward search results that are more personalized.
This means that if you want to ensure that your content performs well, you have to provide a better user experience for your visitors and keep them on your site longer.
Your content needs to engage them, and your site must load super fast to keep users from hitting the back button.
8. Social Media Becomes More Important For Organic Search
Social media channels will start to see a lot more indexing from Google as social media optimization becomes more vital for organic search. Google may even prioritize social media over the website's pages.
Content marketing in 2021 will be a $300 billion industry, which means that it's going to have a massive impact on SEO across the board. This isn't surprising when you consider that the two go together after all.
In the future, SEO is set to be focused even more on content and consumers than it is now.
Sites will continue producing valuable content that is specifically aimed at humans (and not search engines), and brands will start experimenting more with the content that they share as well as the partnerships they enter with influencers.
The role of social media in future SEO is increasing.
Social channels will integrate even more with search as a whole in the following ways:
Also, when it comes to users making use of social network platforms as search engines in their own right. Remember, YouTube's search engine is already the second largest after Google.
These aren't necessarily things that you have to immediately implement in your online business, but they are certainly worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.
The great thing about a lot of the trends that are expected in the new year is that most of them involve things that you already need to be doing in your business anyway.
Ensuring that your website loads as fast as possible
Optimizing your content for mobile devices
Making sure that Google can crawl your site easily
Taking care of the technical side of things to achieve higher rankings
And creating a great user experience for visitors on your site.
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Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published October 22nd 2018