For businesses that focus on generating online sales, search engine optimization is unarguably one of the best ways of generating organic traffic to your websites. However, for it to live up to its potential, SEO has to be implemented correctly. The importance of getting page one results on search engines can be seen from the fact that out of the 3.5 billion searches conducted every day, a mere 0.78% of the users click on a page two result. In sharp contrast, the first-ranked result grabs a CTR of 25.8%, according to Searchenginejournal.com. What these statistics demonstrate is the absolute importance of ranking on page one of search engines’ results to drive sufficient organic traffic to the website for onward conversion. Since Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving in an attempt to deliver better results, SEO practitioners must also keep tweaking their SEO strategies to maintain their rankings or improve their positions. Here is a rundown of some of the more significant SEO trends for 2021:
Core Web Vitals Are Now Included as a Ranking Factor by Google
Three fresh metrics, Core Web Vitals, were announced by Google in May 2020 as a measure of user experience. The three metrics were loading, interactivity, and visual stability, all relating to the behavior of the webpage. According to Searchenginejournal.com, the upcoming SEO factor will be known as the page experience signal. Scheduled to be included in the ranking factors by May 2021, these metrics refer to the speed of the page’s loading, how quickly the page becomes interactive, and how stable the page is during loading. With Core Web Vitals coming into play, SEO practitioners will have to pay closer attention to the page performance as these metrics will help the search engine decide how to order different websites when everything else is equal.
Intent Matching Is at the Core of Google’s BERT Update
By using the concepts of machine learning and natural language processing, Google’s BERT algorithm tries to better understand the search terminology as well as what users are searching for. Its proficiency has now extended to almost all queries made in English while it is also capable of understanding more than 70 other languages. As a result of the BERT update, the ability of Google bots to interpret the intent of the search has become far better. In other words, Google is becoming better at thinking just like humans. It means if there is a mismatch between the intent of the search and the content of the website, the higher ranks will be given to sites fulfilling the user intent. Website managers should appreciate that BERT does not penalize websites for the mismatch. According to a top SEO services New York consultant, the algorithm filters out content that it determines to be most useful and relevant to searchers by interpreting the search query semantics like humans. Therefore, instead of penalizing sites and driving them down in the rankings, it just gives better ranks to the sites it determines as being more valuable to users — something that has always been Google’s intention. To get better page rankings, your content needs to be BERT-friendly and delivers the information that satisfies the user’s query. Research the keyword intensively and figure out how a user can use the term or the phrase in the query to provide insights into the search’s intent, which can help you create appropriate content.
With the increasing penetration of voice assistant technology, voice search has caught the fancy of users, and according to Google, a whopping 27% of the world’s population is already using voice search, primarily with their smartphones and increasingly on smart home devices. Another study indicates that already more than half of all smartphone users have already adopted voice search. SEO professionals will also need to recognize that voice search differs from text search appreciably. It is because the construction of voice search queries tends to be more specific with the use of long-tail keywords very much like real conversations. As may be expected when users use specific questions, they also expect specific answers that enable them to complete their journey of the sales funnel. With more smart devices incorporating voice search technology, voice search is expected to impact SEO heavily this year and beyond.
The Originality of Content Is Still Important
In recent years, Google has placed heavy emphasis on the relevance and originality of content in websites and accords it higher importance in search rankings. Generating authentic, updated, and unique content remains a top priority for SEO professionals because users want it. Relevant and original content also provides a distinct differentiator for Google to decide on the ranking. If your content is close to something that already exists online, there is no good reason for Google to give it a better rank than the original article. Because it is also well-established that the rank your webpage gets dictates the number of clicks it attracts from users, content managers must produce articles that are relevant to the search intent, are original, and are authentic. Simply copying existing content will not get you high enough ranks to be worth the effort. The more your content is liked by users, the better your reputation is as an authority on the subject in the eyes of Google as well as your audience.
In addition to this year’s important SEO trends, other things that will impact SEO include keyword research, artificial intelligence, video marketing, social media, featured snippets, influencer marketing, link building, and expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of websites. Many of these are already quite important in the current frame of SEO while others are predicted to assume more importance with the changes in the search environment. Brand reputation will continue to be a critical factor in driving traffic to your website. More than anything else, in the days to come, online brand management will be driven by SEO because people are inclined to like and trust names they encounter more often in their lives.