With the chaos and uncertainty of 2020, it’s not a surprise that so many industries are equally daunted by what 2021 has in store. While many businesses have closed or filed for bankruptcy over the past year, other industries have been experiencing an unprecedented rise. Fields like ecommerce, digital marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) have been experiencing growth and demand, unlike any seen before. The global pandemic has led to a mass exodus of physical retail and services to the online landscape and has increased the demand for digital advertising.
This pace is only projected to quicken in the years to come, which means more and more people will attempt to penetrate the digital marketing industry. The challenge for established digital marketers is to stay updated on any trends and algorithm changes on search engines to secure their foothold in the industry and continue to deliver their clients’ desired outcomes.
Washington DC Digital Marketing Agency has given us some insider information on SEO trends they’ve observed in 2020 and will continue to persist in the coming year.
The importance of user experience
User experience is how the end-user feels when interacting with a system. It almost seems obvious that businesses that are based online should prioritize the development of a website to maximize user experience, but surprisingly, most businesses put little to no effort into their websites, and many don’t even have websites at all. As SEO marketers, you should emphasize to your clients the importance of maintaining a website. Sites that are buggy, poorly-designed and hard to navigate will result in a poor user experience and might drive them away for good. Good site user experience has always been important in digital marketing, but it will have a more prominent effect on search engine ranking in 2021.
The Google Team has stated that it will now measure “a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.” These metrics include website load time, interactivity, and the stability of content. Keeping these in mind, optimize websites to ensure they get a perfect score on all these criteria. Gather data by surveying user preferences on site browsing, and make sure the site is accessible on any device and browser.
Quality over quantity
A few years ago, algorithms absolutely loved sites that generated a lot of content. Content farms were a thriving industry for this exact reason. However, in May 2020, Google updated their algorithm to now prioritize content quality over quantity. This made sense because content farms have been recycling and regurgitating their own content, and even copying others’ content, in the guise of being productive content creators. They rise on the search rankings and users are inundated with low quality, repetitive content, which lowers overall user experience. When search engines reward higher quality content by boosting in the search rankings, it creates a more pleasant experience for the user and discourages spammy content. Your takeaway from this should be to invest in the resources necessary to produce higher quality content. Washington DC Digital Marketing Agency has a team of in-house creatives, as well as the necessary tools for content creation such as studios, photography and videography equipment.
The rise of voice search
Innovations like Google Assistant and Siri has revolutionized search engines through a phenomenon known as voice search. It is predicted that by 2022, 55% of US households will own a smart speaker. This means that the way search engines work will be drastically different from how they did a few years ago. Back then, most users would type isolated keywords on searches, like “cat videos” or “cute gift ideas”. Now, with the rise of voice search, people will be more likely to search the way they talk, for example, “what are cute gift ideas for a friend” or “what restaurants are still open nearby”.
Optimize your pages for voice search by using long-tail phrases instead of keywords. Voice searches match better with more natural phrasing.
The emergence of zero-click search results
You may have noticed recently that Google has changed their search results page to allow users to browse relevant portions of a website without actually clicking the site. On top of this feature, Google also includes other relevant information on the search page itself, saving users from clicking through websites to find what they are looking for. To illustrate, a Google search for Minnesota doesn’t just give you top websites about Minnesota. Look to the right and you’ll find a widget that includes information like the state capital, points of interest, and much more.
As of 2019, 50% of all Google searches have been zero-click. eCommerce is taking advantage of this through product carousels, where users can browse and compare product prices across retailers without clicking individual sites.
Video vs. long-form content
Nowadays, people would much rather watch a video than read an article. Long-form articles have taken a backseat to their video counterparts, and it’s understandable why. Videos are easier and more engaging to consume, and if the content is instructional, the visuals provide clearer directions compared to plain text. People are also able to multitask with content in video format. In the past year, the biggest earner on YouTube made 26 million US dollars because so many businesses are investing in video content creators. It’s clear to them that there is a huge audience and a high demand for this content format. If you’re not already offering video production services, consider adding it to your service list.
If you notice, the core of many of these trends is that search engines are prioritizing user convenience. Given this, when developing an SEO strategy, make sure to always put yourself in the shoes of the end user. Determine current preferences and search habits and incorporate those into a specialized SEO strategy for your clients. By staying in touch with trends and what resonates with the target audience, you’ll be able to get ahead of your competitors and offer your clients the best service possible.
Source: https://www.cardinaldigitalmarketing.com/blog/top-seo-trends-every-marketer-needs-to-know-in-2021/ (the rise of voice search)