Throughout 2020 and years past, we’ve seen SEO trends become obsolete as new, more relevant factors rise. For instance, Local SEO took centre stage last year as people began searching for businesses closer to them, choosing to buy from local stores, especially when they have specific attributes that matter to them.
But it isn’t only local SEO that can put your website at the top of search results. There are other trends that you need to consider to make your entire SEO strategy work which can further empower your local SEO.
With that, let’s take a look at SEO trends that can and will affect your ranking in 2021.
1. Mobile-First Indexing Requirement
Mobile SEO is an essential strategy because more people check their smartphones. In 2019, Google earned 61% of organic mobile search results. This has most likely increased by the end of 2020 since a large majority of the global population have decided to stay home due to COVID-19. Because of this movement, Google is taking mobile SEO more seriously and has made mobile-first indexing a requirement for all websites.
What does mobile-first indexing mean? Google will rank a website based on its mobile version rather than the desktop version.
While this has been in practice since 2016, mobile-first indexing will take full effect in March 2021.
This transition doesn’t mean the desktop version of your website is obsolete. Instead, you’ll need to turn it into a mobile-responsive site. If you’re wondering how you can make your website more mobile-friendly, take a look at Google’s checklist and make the necessary changes even before March.
2. Local SEO to be More Complex
An SEO trend we’re always excited about is anything that relates to local SEO. In 2020, almost 50% of businesses that have created or verified their own GMB listing have seen over 800 monthly discovery searches and nearly 200 monthly direct searches.
As well, we’ve noticed that Google is focusing more on relevance and reliability than proximity, which means that even if your business is nearer a prospective customer, as long as a competitor of yours has a fully optimised GMB listing, they have a higher chance of appearing on Google’s 3-Pack as well as on top of local search results.
What does a fully optimised GMB listing look like? For starters, you can do the following:
- Update your NAP, website, categories
- Respond to reviews and questions in a timely manner
- Regularly update Google Posts
With this in mind, knowing that GMB is most likely to change some more in 2021, best to optimise your GMB listing now to make the most out of local search results.
3. A Bigger Role for E-A-T
EAT has been around for a while already, so it’s no news that this is one of the more staple SEO trends. An abbreviation for ‘Experience-Authority-Trustworthiness’, this factor determines page quality. To do this, Google works with third-party search quality raters from around the world and they evaluate search results.
Naturally, sites with good EAT rank higher. For this to happen, you need to have content creators who are knowledgeable about the topics your website discusses and your audience accepts you as one of the leading voices or authorities on the matter. This can be a challenge for newer websites that want to compete for page one in SERPS as Google tends to make more or less a thousand updates annually.
But how relevant is EAT now? If you want to make the most of this in 2021, older yet useful strategies like using credible backlinks can help your content rank higher in search results. As well, you need to work on your reputation in order to rank high. Using a secure connection, or HTTPS, signals to your audience that you value their privacy. As well, creating high-quality content improves your trustworthiness.
But guess what: Google My Business can also help you get a good EAT rating, as adding your website URL on your GMB listing serves as a legitimate backlink. It’s also important to reply to reviews on GMB.
4. Enhanced Core Web Vitals
Early last year, Google released additional metrics that further measure User Experience:
- LCP: Largest Contentful Paint – How fast does your page load?
- FID: First Input Delay – How fast does it become interactive?
- CLS: Cumulative Layout Shift – How stable is your page when it loads?
This is definitely going to be one of the SEO trends that will create a big impact on how websites are made. These will become official ranking factors in May 2021 so it’s best to update your website especially if you’ve noticed that they don’t load as fast as you want them to. These metrics are useful if you want to appear on Top Stories – a powerful Mobile SEO tool that places highly authoritative content at the very top of page one, or if you simply want to rank high in SERPs.
5. UI & UX Focus
UI and UX have always been talked about among SEO groups. It’s something that evolves every year, so it’s often on every specialist’s mind. But this year is more important than ever as Google will be putting a higher focus on user interface and experience. This sums up all the trends we’ve discussed previously.
These two play a big part in driving in your target audience, with personalisation providing a huge impact in increasing traffic and engagement. This simply means that your website feels like it’s especially created with the reader or visitor in mind. But it’s not as simple as giving visitors the option of using light or dark mode; rather it’s using the personal information they’ve given to their benefit. So it goes without saying that good user experience also needs to be highly secure to gain your visitor’s trust in giving their details.
In summary, while one or two of these SEO trends may work for you, focusing on all these would give you a huge boost in rankings. Beyond a more personalised design, UX also needs to encapsulate core web vitals, and your content should be authoritative and trustworthy and mobile-friendly. When you’ve built or remodeled your website, it’s time to improve your local SEO and use Google My Business to the fullest.
At DigitalMaas, we put these SEO trends to practice, gearing towards improving local SEO for all our customers. Sign up for the DigitalMaas Platform today and see how we apply these trends to make your business rank on page one.