The SEO landscape is tumultuous at the best of times, aided by the algorithm updates that Google launches from time to time. Due to the industry’s volatile nature, it’s crucial that you stay on top of all the developments to ensure your company keeps growing sustainably. Now, at Freelancers Hub, we specialize in providing top-notch SEO services to businesses of all sizes.
Our custom approach to creating cutting-edge SEO solutions means we are constantly scouring the SEO landscape for new developments. That means we know everything about the top SEO trends you need to incorporate in your business, and we thought we should let you know how we expect 2021 to pan out.
In the following passages, you will find some of the best practices that we use to take our client’s operation into the stratosphere. All you need to do is read the article thoroughly, and you should be ready for whatever’s coming your way in 2021.
Now, you will find that some trends are repeating this year from last year’s top SEO trends, and that’s because some trends are here to stay. So without further delay, let’s check out the top Google SEO trends for 2021!
Two Structured Data Option For Video SEO
If you are looking to spruce up your video SEO efforts this year, then the 2021 Google I/O offers just what you need. Google recently announced that video SEO is getting two different structured data, Seek Markup and Clip Markup, to help videos appear on SERPs with the key moments.
Now, key moments are only available for Youtube videos. However, Google plans to introduce Key Moments for any platform that hosts video with the help of those two new structured data markups.
Clip Markup tells Google about timestamps in the video, and the Seek Markup is an automated way to communicate the same to Google Search. So now, if you want your click-through rates to go up on SERPs, utilizing these two types of structured data in your video content is a must. Here’s how you can add Clip and Seek MarkUp in your video content!
Clip Video Markup
Whenever you want to optimize your videos for Clip Video Markup, you have to make sure you instruct Google on which timestamp and label to use when displaying the key moments. Furthermore, you have to embed this information to the Video Object element of the structured data by including these required properties.
Seek Video Markup
Seek Video Markup isn’t as complicated as its counterpart. Its purpose is to tell Google how a URL structure works so that the search engine knows automatically to display critical moments identified for your video that you’ve outlined in your VideoObject.
Now, even though Google doesn’t require SeekToAction properties, if you want the search engine to understand how your URL structure works to link users to a point within the video, you have to include it. It’s still in beta, but you can expect more feature additions to this markup in the near future.
MUM Improves Ratings
Google has been using AI to improve the quality of search results for some time now. The most significant AI-based change came when Google introduced RankBrain and then later with BERT in 2019. Now the search engine giant is making another big leap by introducing Multitask United Model or MUM. During Google I/O 2021, Prabhakar Raghavan said the new Natural Language Processing Model MUM is 1000 times more powerful than BERT.
Plus, it’s capable of multitasking, meaning it can analyze video, images, and text within 75 languages to give users the answers to complex search queries. It implies that MUM will combine different aspects of the search query and try to understand the sentiments, context, entities, and most importantly, user intent and try to provide the correct answers that they expect.
Raghavan even demonstrated what MUM could do by putting in a complex search himself. He wrote, “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” The results that came from that query were far superior to the ones that we are accustomed to.
According to Raghavan, unlike its predecessors, MUM can acquire deep knowledge of the word, and it can understand language, generate it, and train across 75 languages simultaneously.
MUM is still being tested in the lab, but you can expect to see it soon on the Google Search ecosystem. Google will put out the information about MUM like it did with BERT.
So any Webmaster looking to optimize for MUM should first understand its impact on the search. Now, we won’t know the real impact until it releases, but there are a few possibilities. Here are the things we speculate will happen when MUM rolls out this year:
- You may see new types of results with improved Google Answers where the algorithm combines all the information out there to provide answers that are better aligned to user intent.
- It can mean more 0 click results; that’s something we are already seeing with Google Search.
- The use of structured data. Google takes all the data from the Knowledge Graph, and the markups within sites are feeding it.
- The rise of long-format content will keep growing. That’s because if users can get a large share of the information from one source, then those pages will shoot up to the top right away.
- Keyword stuffing will be more irrelevant as the focus will shift towards natural content that touches the audience’s pain points.
- We still don’t know the extent of MUM’s powers, but with the general trend, it would be better to make the content simple and highly readable. Meaning if your content is filled with jargon, then there’s a big chance that MUM won’t find it relevant.
Along with MUM, another developing top SEO trend you should know about is LaMDA. It’s another Language Model introduced in 2021 Google I/O works. One of the reasons we think it will be one of the biggest upcoming trends is because it’s a Language Model for Dialogue Applications and its implication on voice search.
LaMDA is setting new standards for natural AI conversations and making conversations realistic by fetching information from Google’s Knowledge Graph. Sundar Pichai himself previewed LaMDA at the I/O event, where he said it’s able to carry on an open-ended conversation with users without repeating the same information.
LaMDA is based on the same transformer-based model as BERT and MUM. It’s capable of being trained to read words, understand the relationship between words in a sentence and predict what word might come next. Google has shifted its focus to training it to produce sensible and specific responses instead of generic responses.
Google is also introducing a new algorithm called Passage Indexing. Now, if you regret writing long-form content that fails to drive traction, then Passage Indexing might be what you need. It uses the natural language processing feature when indexing pages and tries to understand the meaning of the passages within the page.
So what it means is that if there’s a passage in your article that covers a particular topic that coincides with the search query, then it will pop up on the SERPs even if it’s buried inside a vast content that covers multiple topics. Cathay Edwards from Google already explained how Passage Indexing would impact 7% of the search queries in all languages by the end of 2020.
A similar announcement was made about BERT back in 2018, and Prabhakar Raghavan revealed that BERT is already being used to deliver results for almost every search query users enter. So it’s clear that Passage Indexing will be more like an internal ranking system and might have a more significant impact on the results you see in the SERP.
In addition, there is clear evidence that web pages with highly structured data will see more benefits once the Passage Indexing Ranking Algorithm goes live. That also means that in 2021 Google will focus more on improving the ranking of holistic content. Holistic content is where you take an in-depth look at a topic that addresses the pressing questions target users ask.
From now on, passage indexing will play a significant role in long-tailed and question-based search queries. That’s because finding the answer to a pinpointed question requires a “finding a needle in the haystack” approach, and that’s precisely what Google is trying to achieve with passage indexing.
How It Works
Google had already said that it finds 15% of the queries daily to be new, and it’s believed that most of those are long-tailed and question-based queries back when it announced Bert.
With passage indexing, Google hopes to provide people with the best answers from a wide variety of legitimate sources. The search giant is trying to display solutions to a query from a forum page; rather than showing a result that points the user to a broader page wherever applicable.
The previous indexing format took the entire page context and relevance into account. In contrast, with passage indexing, Google now tries to find context and relevance within individual passages of a page to provide better answers.
However, do not think that passage indexing is a separate indexing process. With the help of Google’s Advance Natural Language Processing algorithms, this entire process will happen as and when Google crawls and indexes the pages.
The Importance Of Content Structuring
With passage indexing, it seems that the structure of your content will be almost as important as the quality of it. To get the most out of your content, you should create multiple sections, and each section must discuss a sub-topic. That way, Google will get a better understanding of the depth of your content and how it will satiate the search intent of the users. So make sure to utilize Heading tags to organize your content.
If you are writing short articles, you may not see the full impact of passage indexing as Google says its most prominent effect comes when there’s valuable content buried inside. With short content, you will be specific topics and might not be covering sub-topics and smaller passages. Now, Google will rank your content for the core topic, but you won’t rank for queries that require granular answers.
You can check the Google ranking for highly competitive search queries in which you will find that 9 out of 10 are long-form content that exceeds 2000 words. With long-form content, you should also think about the user experience aspect and ensure there is a table of content user experience angles.
It was designed like that because users don’t like to wait to link, and you can’t force them to read the entire content. Since the beginning of the internet, users will abandon login-form pages with poor navigation as locating the information itself is painful and time-consuming.
Core Web Vitals
Before Passage Indexing was announced, the SEO community was in uproar about Google’s Core Web Vitals announcement. However, Google has been pushing webmasters towards providing a better page experience for some time now.
The search behemoth wants to ensure everyone who enters the website through Google search doesn’t leave because of poor page experience. The Page Experience Algorithm has been in play for quite some time now, and in May 2021, Core Web Vitals were added to it.
So Core Web Vitals should be considered the same as HTTPs, Intrusive Interstitial, Safe Browsing, and Mobile Friendliness which are the existing Page Experience signals used to determine the ranking factor on SERPs. Core Web Vital is a set of three key page experience metrics that Google uses to analyze the user experience offered by individual pages on the web. The three metrics for it are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CIS)
While Google did say that Core Web Vitals will be a determinant factor in page ranking from May 2021, they later added that the impact would be limited to mobile search results in the Core Web Vitals section FAQ.
While AMP pages are designed to handle fast loading with heavy images, Google warns web admins against using heavy images to impact their Core Web Vital score. However, Google did say that Core Web Vitals won’t be a primary signal to rank pages on SERP.
Google announced that it will still rank web pages with high-quality content and links even if it doesn’t comply with Web Vitals standards. So now, if you already have activated AMP, then you’ve saved the time and money to optimize the site for Web Vitals.
The Focus Shifts To User + Search Intent
2021’s entire focus has been about increasing the focus on the search intent of the query and user behavior over everything else. However, it’s clear that people’s search intent and behavior are constantly changing.
People usually come to Google and other search engines to find answers and learn about a topic. So when businesses understand what people want, they will be better able to serve their purpose while also benefitting the users. So experts suggest moving away from traditional SEO practices that hold little value today with the current state of the algorithms.
For now, the focus should be mainly on understanding search intent to match search queries. When you do that, you will create competitive content that the online audience wishes to consume. Google is focused on getting better at identifying and providing expert advice for queries. Meaning content that followed the E.A.T guidelines will rank higher.
The only way to get maximum value out of your SEO efforts right now is to understand users’ search intent. A brand in 2021 will need to know how to cater to audience requirements rather than being experts in highlighting its services. It means that you should move your primary focus away from forcing users to sign up on your site, showing them unnecessary pop-ups on your site, or redirecting them to registration forms.
The key to dominating this would be to analyze the organic leads’ on-site journey and search data. That way, you will understand the search term they used while also getting the on-site search keywords for all the pages they visited. In the current state of search, data aggregation is vital for brands to map the content journey.
Analytics, Retention & Lifetime Value
The constant evolution of SEO has meant that brands need to continually work harder to bridge the gap between web traffic and ROI. In 2021, it’s evident that the focus is shifting towards behavioral analytics. With Google’s fast rate of evolution, conversions and revenues are becoming an ever-important factor for success online.
Unlike before, keyword volume will be taking a backseat, and behavioral analytics is coming to the forefront. This year brands are focusing on what their customers are doing, how they are doing, and what could be done to make them take action on the site faster than they usually would have. For success, you will need to reverse engineer the content you produce.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, keyword research isn’t always beneficial because of the constant state of flux in the world. That’s why behavioral analytics has become vital, as it can unlock hidden content opportunities that keyword research usually fails to detect.
Businesses will also need to focus more on customer retention and increasing customer lifetime value. Now, it’s all about understanding the customer and providing them with the answers and solutions that the other businesses fail to do. Considering the current state of search, you should also look to better your customer service capabilities.
Establishing a sales and support staff process to solve and answer important and incoming questions or requests has never been more critical to establishing a brand online. You can utilize Google Search Console keyword data with common question modifiers to find relevant topics that need to be addressed.
You have to remember that it’s pretty easy to lose customer attention and trust if you consistently fail to provide value. So now, brands have to retain customer attention by always providing comprehensive, helpful, and factually correct content. So if you want to be on top of your SEO efforts, then make sure to be focused and committed to creating such content.
SERP Optimization, Knowledge Graphs & Entities
Another top SEO trend of 2021 is brand SERP and knowledge panels. One of the biggest weapons you can have right now is knowing who you are, what you offer, and what audience you serve. This information is invaluable if you want to see progress in your SEO campaigns. There might even be a personalized knowledge graph in 2021.
Google has plenty of data on search history and behavior, email, and social media, meaning it can scale up the process of personalizing knowledge graphs. What this showcases is that you have to focus more on optimizing a brand’s entire digital presence, like its social media profile, Youtube channel, etc., to influence Google and feature where you want to on the SERPs.
Nowadays, it’s not only about your website and what it has but about your brand’s entire digital presence and how they interact with each other on SERP. If you want to succeed with your SEO efforts, you should also understand how NLP (natural language processing) and entities influence Google’s ranking.
Now, don’t think for a second that good keyword research isn’t necessary. It’s still crucial to the SEO landscape, but it comes second to understanding the query and intent topics. So optimizing right now will require you to establish your entity within the knowledge graph and hone its connection within the topic layer. Here are some of the things you should focus on:
- Ensure a correct and complete organization markup.
- Establish a strong presence on knowledge bases such as Wikidata.
- Claim your knowledge panel to use the posts by Google feature.
- Set up Google My Business profile for brick-and-mortar businesses.
All Your SEO Efforts Should Aid In Mobile SEO
As we advance in 2021, ensuring your site performs well for mobile devices is vital, and it will be one of the top SEO trends going into the near future. Every SEO expert out there is focusing on mobile device user experience. Simplicity is key to ensuring user-friendly web design.
Along with that, you will need to personalize the content to fit your target audience to the tee. As time goes on, Google will start to ignore your desktop site and entirely focus on your mobile site. So make sure to shift to improving user experience on mobile devices. If you haven’t already migrated to a mobile responsive site, then it’s high time you do so in 2021.
Assessing, Adapting & Executing
With the current state of things in the SEO landscape, thinking out of the box is vital. If you don’t have a better perspective of the opportunities, then you will be left behind. Now is the perfect time to get organized, build a plan, and work according to it. It’s all about being strategic in your SEO efforts; otherwise, your competitors will be the ones interacting with your customers.
You have to make sure you shift from focusing on user behavior only to assessing the customer market and then device strategies to meet changes in demand in real-time. You will find plenty of tools online that you can utilize to understand how economic, social, and psychological factors impact search demand. When you do this, you will better understand consumer behavior at a deeper level and strategize accordingly.
Automation is taking over the world, and it’s true for SEO as well. One of the top SEO trends in 2021 is the number of tasks that can be automated. It’s going to lead to more significant opportunities. You can expect to see the quality and quantity of AI-generated content increase in 2021. However, this possibility also increases the challenges for search engines to weed out spammy content.
Also, over the last few years, more and more industry-leading tools have introduced automated features to roll out site changes, and it has been particularly beneficial for in-house SEO roles. Now you can spend more time focusing on strategies to improve site performance.
The SERP Layout & Functionality Changes
Everyone knows by now that there will be significant changes to the way we view content or laid out on the website when Google Passage Ranking was announced. Now, instead of having multiple pages on a topic, brands will be shifting towards having an entire page dedicated to that particular topic. As a result, according to many SEO experts, you are bound to see Google identifying and ranking passages change and expect it to become a colossal SEO trend in 2021.
When it comes to Google’s ability to extract the exact information that the audience is looking for is concerned, passages play a pivotal role. That means having a strong page and schema structure will help with passage optimization and text with a high readability score and is easy for NLP to evaluate.
Long-Form Content Still Reigns Supreme
If you want to outrank your competitors in 2021, then consistently publishing long-form and relevant content on your website is something you should incorporate in your SEO content marketing efforts. Always try to make sure you adhere to E.A.T guidelines and try to post content that’s 2000-word long or more.
Long-form content is only increasing in importance and hence is a top SEO trend and should be one for the foreseeable future. If you want to see considerable gains in your digital authority, make sure to create well-written long-form content. These can even cross the 2000-word threshold, and you can even try and aim to standardize a 3000-3500 wordmark.
You can’t expect to grow if you don’t have scalability built into your SEO efforts. It’s a surefire way to get the upper hand on your competitors. When planning your overall SEO campaign, you should list out all the tasks and workflow and then determine which tasks and steps could be automated using available SEO tools.
We also recommend you integrate some alert system that will monitor significant changes in the ranking of your essential keywords, URL changes, or changes in content. Establishing SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all the other tasks you can’t automate would be best.
Work With SEO Experts To Build Your Brand
So there you go; those are all the top Google SEO trends for 2021 that you should know about. Of course, it would help if you looked to implement these SEO strategies on your website. That way, you will be able to stay on top of your competitors with ease. As you can see, Google is constantly changing the format and changing how to approach SEO.
There are plenty of nuanced factors to consider when creating the right SEO strategy. Now, creating comprehensive SEO strategies while also building a business can become a daunting task, mainly due to the constantly changing platform that is Google.
That’s why working with SEO experts who live and breathe SEO is one of the best ways to ensure sustainable growth, and that’s where Freelancers Hub can help you out. We are a group of experienced digital solutions experts known worldwide for our success with SEO services. Our work with e-commerce SEO stands out amongst many of our other achievements.
Our cutting-edge techniques and comprehensive approach to SEO ensure we leave no leaf unturned when it comes to finding a sustainable growth solution for your brand. So if you need top-notch SEO solutions, then contact us, and we will seamlessly fit into your operation and work with you to find sustainable organic growth that also grows your brand’s digital presence.
Also, if you have any questions or queries about SEO or any other digital marketing solutions or think we missed any top 2021 SEO trends, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on our socials. We will answer all your questions and include the missed trends in the update. Your feedback is invaluable to us as it helps us know how we can better serve your interests. So do send them in.
Also, you can schedule a meeting with an SEO expert to understand better how we approach SEO and find out whether or not we are the right fit to take your brand to the next level. And with that being said, that’s about all we have for you today. We will come back with something new for you soon. Until then, see ya!