E-commerce sales grew by 30% last year and are expected to continue growing in 2021. Increasing shifts in consumer behavior and demand, combined with technological advancements, make it as important as ever to stay on top of the latest digital trends.
You wouldn’t want to wake up tomorrow finding out 20% of your organic traffic is lost due to not keeping up with the latest updates, would you? We don’t want that to happen to you either. Unfortunately, there have been cases of some websites, losing up to -41% traffic and visibility compared week over week before and after a new update was rolled out. Read on to find out more about the SEO trends you should pay attention to in 2021.
Top 6 SEO Trends in 2021
What are the most important SEO trends to pay attention to in 2021?
1) Voice Search Increased Adoption and Capabilities
Some Facts on Voice Search:
- Over 200 million smart speakers have been sold globally, with over 147 million sold in 2019 alone and are increasingly used with voice commands and queries.
- 36.4% voice search results were from landing pages using Schema and 40.7% where from Featured Snippets
- 65% Americans aged between 25-49 of 1,000 surveyed, used voice assistants at least once a day (PwC, 2019)
- 52% use voice search whilst driving a vehicle
Voice search is also becoming more advanced and is now offering functions of being one’s personal virtual assistant, being able to do as much as make restaurant and hairdresser reservations, add things to the grocery list, make calendar entries and so on. The increased use of voice search through Siri, Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa make it important to not only consider short keywords but also longer and natural-sounding sentences that people use day-to-day.
2) Rising Popularity of Visual Search
Some facts about visual search
- Over 90% of the information that reaches our brains is visual MIT
- Over 59% of people think visual information is more important than textual. The Intent Lab
- For some product categories, including fashion items and furniture, the importance of visual information reaches 85%. The Intent Lab
- The visual search market is expected to be valued at $14,727m by 2023 Report Consultant
Furthermore, the rising popularity of visual search, which has been used by over 36% of Americans as of 2019 (source), makes it more necessary than ever to keep up to date with changing trends to avoid losing your competitive edge. If you want to find out more about Visual Search and how it might impact your business, then read our Visual Search blog article.
With Google Lens, for example, one can scan objects around them, and find results to their visual search in a fast and easy way. As of now, over 1 billion objects are in the database, which keeps growing. In order to appear at the top of the search results, the authority of your page plays a significant role. Other facts that might impact the ranking include the website’s mobile-friendliness, essential to ensure a good user experience, and the presence of backlinks. Renaming each photo and ensuring a clear alt text can also be a useful way of making your pictures more discoverable. Finally, you want to ensure you’re providing your clients with high-quality pictures and a wide variety of images are present on your website, to increase the possibility of matching with users who are looking for your product. To learn more about this topic, read our blog post on Google Lens image search.
Pinterest Lens has a database of over 2.5 billion and in its first year after launching its users made over 600 million visual searches every month.
3) Google Algorithm Evolution and the Importance of Long Content to Improve Ranking
In one of our recent blog posts, we covered that the latest Google algorithm update, SMITH, has outperformed its predecessor BERT that is currently in use by Google. SMITH fares better in its ability to understand long term context and text and thus is expected to likely be soon rolled out. To meet this update with success, we recommend both enriching existing and producing new, longer content.
SEO Long Content Strategy Statistics:
- Pages with content of over 3000 words get 3x more traffic and 3.5x more backlinks than pages with shorter content (SEMRush).
- SMITH outperforms BERT 4x in its processing power, increasing the maximum input text length from 512 to 2048
- 2,450 words is the average word count of top ranked searches
- Long content can triple average time on site, thus decreasing bounce rate and improving page rank (Wordstream)
- 77.2% more backlinks are made to long-form content
- 2,500 word articles experience 3x increased social sharing compared to 1,000 word articles (Buffer)
As highlighted by these statistics, it is essential to produce long content, whilst keeping into consideration the importance of writing high-quality content to keep your readers engaged. To do so, it is key to make the content visually appealing and reader-friendly, by including visuals related to the content, headings, and subheadings. Linking to authoritative sources can also contribute to increasing your website’s ranking. Make sure you don’t forget to include an appropriate number of keywords you aim to rank for, and that answer your audience’s search intent.
4) Rising Popularity of Featured Snippets and Schema Markups
Featured Snippets, short snippets of content that appear at the top of the page when conducting a Google Search, can also play a role in helping you gain a prominent position on Google and be featured on the first result page, thus outcompeting your competitors.
Some stats on Featured Snippets (source):
- On mobile, over 50% of the screen is taken up by a featured snippet
- 19% of SERPs have featured snippets.
- 99% of the time, featured snippets appear in the first organic position (source)
- The main industries that make use of Featured Snippets are:
- Computers & Electronics
- Art & Entertainment
Featured Snippets usually provide information to the reader, in the form of bullet-points, tables or paragraphs. One can also add images, reviews, or other types of content to make their Snippets more engaging and stand out. To create the best Snippets to market your product and/or service, you should focus on the main keywords your aim to rank for. According to SEMrush, most Featured Snippets are 40-60 words long blocks of text, although the Snippets can be presented in different formats, depending on their function. As can be seen below, business in the fashion industry can use it to provide customers with an overview of their sizes.
The implementation of a Schema Markup in your CMS can also be a useful way to improve your website rankings and the way search engines read your page in SERPS. Schema consists of multiple tags that get added to your HTML, helping the search engines to understand the content of your search results, for example by providing information on events, businesses, and people, amongst others.
(example of Schema Event Snippet)
If you’re interested in learning more about Featured Snippets, how they work, and how to optimize your website, make sure to read our Featured Snippets blog post.
5) Google Shopping SEO & Google Merchant Center
With Google opening its Shopping Search results to unpaid organic listings, you can now grow your organic sales and have your products appear on the first search results page. Through the implementation of SEO best practices and monitoring of Google Merchant Center, you will likely be able to see your products rank in the first page of search results and Google shopping feed! According to a research conducted by Weebly, 75% online shoppers are influenced by the product images, so make sure to provide them with high-quality pictures to boost your sales!
If you’re interested in learning more about Google Shopping SEO, check out our blog post on the topic!
6) Increased Use of Mobile Phones and Mobile SEO – Google Page Experience Update
The final SEO trend is related to Mobile SEO. According to Statista, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones. With people increasingly making use of their phones not only to communicate but also to surf the internet and make purchases, you have to ensure your website content is optimized for mobile SEO.
With Google’s May 2021 algorithm update, having a mobile-friendly website will be more important than ever to ensure good user experience. Read more about it in our latest blog article about Google’s page experience algorithm update.
To improve your website’s mobile-friendliness, you can implement the following points:
- Ensure your website has a clear and simple design on mobile
- Pay attention to whether buttons are large enough
- Make sure actions can be taken in a simple and clear way
As Google will no longer be ranking mobile and desktop content differently, implementing a mobile responsive site is of key importance.
If you want GA Agency’s help with keeping up to date with the latest SEO trends and implementing industry best practices, check out our SEO Consulting services.