Google keeps making major algorithm updates and it is becoming obvious that the focus of the search engine giant is put on user experience. This does not change and 2021 will not be different.
Every SEO specialist knows that anticipating SEO trends is difficult but it can offer a huge advantage. The best example of this is low loading speed, which we mentioned in our article about 5 fatal mistakes in SEO. Google has been saying that page load speed is important for a long time since it implemented the changes to deal with mobile device use. Those that took it into account and made changes before the algorithm changed were the first ones to benefit.
Right now, we know about some important 2021 SEO trends that will surely have an impact on the industry. Those that prepare now will reap the rewards as soon as the changes are made.
So, without further ado, these are the trends to remember.
Web Vitals Google Core Update
Nowadays, it seems that every single update Google makes is all about offering more relevant, faster results. This culminated with the announcement of Web Vitals, whose main purpose is to offer developers, marketers, and website owners a set of metrics that can quantify on-site user experience.
The problem with Web Vitals is that it is way too complex and confusing to understand. This will surely change in 2021, which is when the Core Web Vitals are going to become an official ranking factor.
This core practically improves 3 main benchmarks to be aware of:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – This measures the loading performance of the website. The ideal scenario is not having to wait more than 2-3 seconds when loading a page.
- FID (First Input Delay) – This measures interactivity. Practically, the score you should aim for needs to be under 100 milliseconds.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – This measures visual stability. The best number to have is under 0.1.
The metrics can be tracked from various tools, including Google Data Studio, Google Search Console, and PageSpeed Insights.
Core Web Vitals are scheduled to be updated every single year in order to keep pace with modern technologies and customer expectations.
Also, there are hints of new metrics that might appear that will measure latency, smoothness, and privacy protection.
Search By Intent
SEO specialists that were active before the Hummingbird update of 2013 remember the very bad experience Google users had. This was because optimizing was done for huge clunky keyword strings. It was very easy to get high rankings but the huge problem was that optimizing for exact-match keyword phrases led to content that did not actually make sense.
In 2019, thanks to BERT, we saw the introduction of NLP (Natural Language Processing). This analyzed user search queries so that content can be served based on contextual clues. Thankfully, the addition helped the entire industry move towards the creation of content that was much more relevant for users.
Due to search by intent, you will need to optimize for what Google search engine users want to find. This includes optimizing for voice and using the appropriate schema to have the possibility of getting snippets. Audience insights will be very valuable and you will need to find the questions that people search for, together with the content that they resonate with.
Very good SEO will increase reach and awareness but without a very good brand, your marketing campaign is not as strong as it could be.
In 2021, Google will surely focus more on the stronger brands. This is connected with the EAT Google guidelines. The brands that will have more resources and recognition will be given better placements because they usually offer services and products that are trusted by people.
While this automatically means that the well-known industry names are given favors, micro-influencers and smaller brands will be able to drastically increase engagement when they properly understand the niche they operate in.
Practically, all this means that you have to build brand recognition. If you do this, you do climb higher in search engine rankings.
Some Last Things To Consider
If we are to take all that was mentioned above at face value, it is easy to think that 2021 will see major Google algorithm changes. This is not actually the case though.
Much of what will be used and implemented already aligns with the modern SEO practices that have been embraced by specialists. Marketers will find SEO simpler and better for their campaigns. We will have access to simplified reporting tools and there will be more context that we can use to understand how users interact with the content we create. This is important since we can find and fix most problems that could appear before worrying about damages.
On the whole, the big update will be the use of Core Web Vitals for ranking purposes. This will surely create some dramatic changes in search engine results. However, if you start preparing now, you will reap the rewards.