Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is always evolving, changing, adapting.
And after a year like 2020 where people had to adapt so much more than the average year, it makes complete sense that SEO trends for 2021 are even more people-centred than before.
So here’s the low-down on changes you need to be making to your SEO to enhance your results and ranking this year.
2021’s SEO Requirements
SEO Director of Path Interactive Lily Ray summarised the upcoming phase in SEO as:
“Above all, a great SEO strategy should start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes and asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, the brand is trustworthy, and the website is easy to use (especially on mobile).”
In essence, ‘putting yourself in the user’s shoes’ is the definition of empathy. Not the first thought you usually have about the person behind the computer looking at front-end and back-end SEO strategy and marketing trends, right? In SEO terms, this ‘empathy’ translates first and foremost to truly understanding the user and search intent. Secondly, it is about usability and the user experience (or UX) on both desktop and mobile.
Let’s unpack this a bit, shall we?
User or Search Intent
Also known as audience intent, search intent is defined as the purpose of a user’s search.
The reason behind a user’s search on search engines is what they are trying to accomplish. According to Yoast, the most common motivations divide these 4 categories:
1. Informational intent
People look for information – a tutorial or definition or current events or weather updates or recipes or facts, etc.
2. Navigational intent
People look for specific websites or pages by searching the title rather than typing in the URL.
3. Transactional intent
People look for items which they want to buy online, browsing for whoever offers the best price or delivery options.
4. Commercial investigating intent
People look for help in deciding what to buy. Almost like a mix between informational and transactional intent, this is about not being fully decided on which item is the one for you and browsing the various options and their details and comparing.
Why is this necessary?
Understanding what the user is searching for helps you to build a page that satisfies their intent.
For example, if you offer expert information on different types of coffee machines, you need to optimise that page using keywords that relate to commercial investigating intent. This way, you are helping users make their decision and achieve their search goals by making it easier for them to find what they are looking for.
Usability & UX
Google no longer ranks your desktop and mobile experiences differently. That’s why SEO Director and Founder at Highly Searched, Inc. Shelly Fagin says that, now, all SEO is mobile SEO (just like all marketing is now digital marketing).
In line with Lily Ray’s quote above, this means you need to ensure that your website renders and stabilises fast on all devices and in a way that the user has a good experience.
Another good example of UX comes in light of the current move towards more video content.
Although video content is the next big thing, not all of your audience wants to watch a video to get the info that they require. This could be because they are reading your web page in a public area on their mobile phones without headphones or because they may have a hearing deficiency.
A solution? Accompany your videos with a summary text. This shows that you value the whole user experience.
Remember, you never want to make people work to find your content or to buy your products.
The final puzzle piece
The bigger picture is always paramount when it comes to SEO.
Read about whether your marketing strategy is on track for the new year in our Haystack How-To: Get your digital marketing strategy together for 2021 blog.
One of the golden threads of the above trends for enhancing your SEO in 2021 is your actual written content. And you can read more about that in our Haystack How-To: Get your content right in 2021 blog.
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