Keeping your website at the top of its game requires knowledge of the SEO space. With every update to Google’s algorithm, major or minor, a different set of circumstances arises. Let’s look at the SEO changes that make a difference in 2021.
SEO Changes 2021
You probably know by now that mobile-first indexing is a key criterion in Google’s eyes. However, in the first quarter of 2021, Google took it a step further. Many websites have two versions due to their optimization efforts: the desktop and mobile versions. Until recently, Google placed its emphasis on ranking the desktop version first. Now, Google applies mobile-first indexing.
NP Digital recommends that your website is mobile-friendly in order to ensure a quality user experience. Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly helps boost its rankings since Google now deems mobile its go-to format.
2. Voice Search
Voice-driven services were buggy and virtually unusable when they first came out. In the past two years, voice technology has improved leaps and bounds. Google Assistant and Alexa lead the way with regards to innovation in the voice technology space.
With over 50% of queries being conducted through voice search, it’s apparent that Google will continue to innovate to that end. Optimizing your website for voice search should be high on your list of priorities.
To do this, make your site’s content scannable. Make sure you use conversational language in your text so that Google can match your content to users’ queries. Enrich your content with long-tail keywords and understand the way people use voice search. Delve into some of the questions people ask when searching and tailor your answers to these questions.
In its quest to provide the most valuable content to its user, Google hones in on Expertise – Authority – Trust, also known as E-A-T. In 2021, Google started valuing authoritative, expert content above information that doesn’t inspire as much trust in users.
This doesn’t mean that you have to go and get a Ph.D. in your niche. It simply means that you need to offer well-researched information in a way that inspires trust. Provide actionable advice and show as much proof of your claims with useful data and statistics.
4. Long-Form Content
We are talking about SEO changes, then how can we forget to discuss content length. Content length has always been a point of contention among search engine optimization experts. At one time, 300-word posts were considered ideal for targeting individual keywords. Now, 1500-word articles are all the rage.
Google has entered a new era where it values its users’ satisfaction above everything else. Long-form content that solves people’s pain-point is the way to go. Don’t focus so much on the word count but rather on fully educating your visitors without any extraneous fluff.
5. Video Content
The average user in the United States has 10 video streaming apps on their smartphone. Contrary to what you should do regarding your written content, short-form videos attract far more interest than lengthy efforts. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are good measuring sticks for what works with video.
6. Data and Analytics
In 2021, Google moved to Google Analytics 4. Familiarize yourself with the interface and prepare for the changes to come as Google moves to data tracking in a cookie-less manner.
Achieving top rankings in the SERPs for your keywords depends on your ability to understand data. Track your analytics closely and draw useful conclusions from how your users navigate your site.
7. Predictive Search
Predictive search in 2021 considers app usage, browsing history, and calendars in its functionality. The service will also account for home and work locations to serve appropriate content depending on where users are located. Using these criteria in your content creation can give you access to different sub-niches in your market.
8. Image Optimization
For a while, images were relegated to secondary content. Now, images are taking on a greater role in ranking your website. Fully optimizing high-quality images with alt tags and descriptions will provide your posts with a well-needed boost. Furthermore, snap photos with your own camera rather than relying on stock images that you may find elsewhere is a good practice.
9. Semantically-Related Keywords
The Google Bert update was released in October of 2019. Since then, Google’s algorithm continues to evaluate website content semantically. In 2021, Google is looking to provide its users with content that is as close to what they would get from talking with a human being offline.
10. Local Search
Local search listings are already important for Google. With zero-click searches becoming the new standard, Google will look to provide answers to its users within the SERPs. Accounting for this paradigm shift is vital to the survival of your business. Failing to adjust may render your website virtually invisible in search engines.
Keep Up With the Trends
Google is moving into the future by making some ground-breaking SEO changes. Optimizing your website to meet your users’ needs will be vital to its sustainability through 2021 and beyond.