Written by Matt Birch on July 3, 2021

Five SEO trends for digital marketers to follow in 2021

SEO has changed so much over the years, and it can sometimes feel like a full-time job to keep up with the latest tips and trends.

It's always been a cat-and-mouse game between marketers and Google, with the most popular search engine in the world continually rolling out algorithm updates, while also adjusting their ranking signals, deciding which ones carry the most weight. In fact, it's still unknown exactly what the breakdown looks like, as Google attempts to do whatever it can to prevent black-hat SEOs from reverse engineering content. And while it can be frustrating for marketers to be left in the dark, it's easy to understand where Google is coming from.

And while NFTs and meme stocks are all the rage these days, their demand simply is not sustainable. The bubble will eventually burst, and it'll be on to the next trend.

SEO, on the other hand, will always be desirable. Getting listed and coming up on search is essentially the modern age's Yellow Pages. Gone is the phone book, and in is returning information in response to search queries. It's why SEO is such big business, as it has such a big impact on lead generation, and, if a website and its copy are optimized for conversion: sales.

But what are the hottest SEO trends to follow this year?

Five hot 2021 SEO trends

  1. Backlinks still have value, as long as they're from a website that features relevant content -- preferably with high authority.

    There are a number of metrics that can impact ranking–user experience, trust factor and number of backlinks among them. Focusing on optimizing for these metrics will help your site rank better.

  2. Search intent has become more important than keywords.

    SEO in the past was fairly simple, and was centered around keywords. Nowadays, however, Google wants to keep its users happy and provide them value on their search query. Matching search intent is extremely important, and if you can focus on this area, search engines will likely reward you.

  3. Google is now showing many different types of data and markup to impact Search Engine Rankings Position (SERP), with more features being added each year.

    “Instant Answers” is a major one that is impacting what content is displayed on search results pages. Gone are the days when all that was displayed on search results pages was content, with 10 blue links, and not much else. We now have the Knowledge Graph, Instant Answers and more.

    Google has also been known to display snippets from articles, so keep that in mind when creating content.

  4. Voice search continues to trend upwards, with Siri and Alexa leading the charge.

    Marketers, SEOs and business owners are beginning to pay attention to this area, for keyword searches, links, etc., due to machine learning. Optimize content with voice search in mind as well. To do this, make sure the copy in your blog posts and web pages answers related questions that users may be looking for in their search query. If you can provide answers to their questions, you'll have a better chance of ranking for voice search results.

  5. User experience still reigns supreme

    Especially with Google's rollout of the Core Web Vitals ranking signal, and the Page Experience algorithm update.Backlinks matter, as well as on and off-page SEO. And as we discussed above, search intent is also important. But nothing is more impactful in terms of how a page ranks than delivering on user experience.

    Make sure you're providing an enjoyable, frictionless experience for users browsing your page, first and foremost.

Summary: Why digital marketers should follow these 2021 SEO trends

SEO is far more complicated than it used to be, but is even more important nowadays. Any business looking to improve brand awareness, generate leads and increase sales should optimize content for it.

And while the technical components, which fall into the on-page SEO bucket, are difficult for many to grasp, they can be optimized with the right audit, as well as the help of "martech" software. Automation has come a long way, and is beneficial for anyone looking to improve their SEO.

Modern SEO is centered around delivering the best user experience possible, and satisfying search intent. Achieve those goals and everything else will fall into place.

Article written by Matt Birch

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