The 2020 impact on SEO trends – What to look for in 2021
SEO. In digital marketing, it’s an acronym that is thrown about without a bat of an eye-lid. Search Engine Optimisation is a fantastic and often overlooked method of getting a website up there with the big boys in internet hits. Whether advertising to the masses or pinpointing a more targeted audience, the further up your website sits on Google Search, the more likely consumers are to notice your service; you can find out more about mass and targeting marketing here.
Consumers have little time or patience to scroll through endless pages of search engine results; everything is at our fingertips and the quicker and easier we can find a service, the better. Combine consumers’ short attention spans with an increasingly saturated market, your standing on search engines really does have the power to get you noticed, create traffic and ultimately drive customer sales.
SEO generates organic search results, ones that are often seen as more trustworthy by consumers. People trust search engines to give them the best solutions for their problems, the best answers to their questions. With PPC (Pay Per Click) becoming increasingly more expensive and Google ramping up its efforts to push automation, SEO offers a free, flexible method of improving website rankings where the marketers are in control.
And SEO is not just about technical exposure – it has its roots firmly based in the understanding of people and trends in consumerism. SEO is about understanding what people are looking for online; along with what answers they are looking for, what words they use whilst searching and what type of content they find most appealing. In other words, SEO keeps on top of trends as they happen, allowing those using web search browsers to be certain of getting results that answer their questions, and sites that offer the precise service or product they require.
Trends gather momentum with exposure — trends themselves a product of social movements and following influenced by an infinite number of socio-political, economic and geographic factors. Some gather momentum slowly, others take-off globally in a matter of weeks. Predicting trends through consistent, in-depth market research and data gathering can give businesses a huge competitive lead when it comes to providing search results that their target audiences want today and tomorrow.
Now turn the world on its head. Welcome to 2020. Consumer market predictions have been quashed, previously strong trends abruptly halted, new trends sky-rocketing out of thin air. Who would have factored in a global pandemic in their 2020/2021 market predictions? Global trade itself almost ground to a standstill, business as we know it turned upside-down. The 2020 Covid-19 outbreak has affected more than just our economies. Psychologically and emotionally, the outbreak has changed the way we think, feel and interpret the world around us. So when it comes to the already complex task of understanding consumers and predicting their online movements, the last thing needed is a global event that brings uncertainty and chaos into the mix. Priorities have changed, lifestyles adapting to a ‘new’ unchartered normal. With physical movements restricted in almost every single country, where possible, the world has moved to the digital. Online footfall has boomed — and therefore the competition for user attention is greater now than it ever has been. When the only or primary interaction you can have with your customers is through your website, you’ve got to have digital clout; a website and online service that is professional, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. SEO has the ability to get you seen in a heavily saturated online market, therefore understanding where SEO is heading in the next year in terms of trends, allows us to pinpoint marketing efforts exactly where we need them.
So what are the trends for SEO in 2021?
Here a few to consider jumping on board, or at least factoring into your marketing strategy.
High quality content – Creating short, low-quality articles ram-packed with keywords will continue to be a no-no; keywords are important, but content is king. If your content isn’t up to standard, your listing in search engines is highly likely to sink; and rapidly. In the end, its high quality content that gets you talked about, shared and ultimately boosts your brand influence.
Focus on UX (User Experience) for mobiles – How your website feels, looks and works is at the heart of customer satisfaction. UX has always been problematic in SEO, and since more and more people are using their mobiles rather than desktops, optimising websites for UX on mobile devices is highly likely to become a focus in the coming few months.
Focus on E.A.T. – Google is to carry on its checks on companies reputations and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). The focus is on making sure that website content, is not negatively affecting peoples’ well-being. Unproven, inaccurate data leading to bad reviews and customer satisfaction will have an algorithmic response that sees you at the bottom of the pile with regards to SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Consumers want to invest in a company not just for its product or service, but for its morals, social standing, its transparency and reputation as a reliable, reputable source of information or product.
Voice search – With more people staying at home, voice searching has sky-rocketed. On-the-spot answers to on-the-spot questions has become an increasingly popular method of searching the web. Evaluating whether your content answers the who, when and how-to’s is likely to feature highly in SEO in 2020/2021; especially since Google has begun focussing on shorter answers to searches, in the form of Featured Snippets and Answer Boxes.
Google Page Experience Update – This update solidifies Google’s commitment to having search results filled with only top quality links. Based on Core Web Vitals, speed and usability of a web page are measured; the smoother user experience, the more likely it is to feature heavily in search algorithms.
Where will you focus your SEO efforts in 2021? Trends come and go and certainly at present, with so much uncertainty in our global society as a whole, analysing consumer psychology and learning how best to market to appeal to such psychology in an emotionally charged world, is certainly challenging. Ultimately, whilst focussing on SEO may lead customers to your website, it is your content and UX that makes them stay, purchase and then come back for more.