A new year brings with it new advances in Google, Bing, and other search engine’s SEO prioritize. It must also bring with it new advances in your personal SEO strategy. What are you going to do differently in 2021?
Each year we provide a shortlist of changes you can expect from Search Engines and 2021 is no different. However, this list doesn’t offer drastic changes in expectations like some of our previous lists have. Instead, this list reiterates the changes we advised you to expect in 2020 and why they are an even greater priority in 2021.
AI, Artificial Intelligence, is the foundation of search engines. There is no man behind a digital curtain, quickly linking you to the most relevant website. There is, however, a highly advanced computer program that processes thousands (even millions) of results and connects you with what it quantifies as the most relevant. Google’s algorithm is always being tweaked, changed, and made more advanced. This is great for the searcher, who is likelier to find exactly what they need but can make it difficult for those trying to rank on Google’s top page. Make sure that you are keeping up to date with what Google’s algorithm is looking for by utilizing SEO plugins that monitor the algorithm and how well you fit its criteria.
Voice Search is Still On the Rise
Last year we talked about how a voice search lead to an AI service calling a barbershop and setting up an appointment. Though this level of advanced artificial intelligence isn’t being utilized by every Alexa and Google Home in the country yet, voice search is still a rising priority. As more people become accustomed to voice search on both phones and smart home devices, how well you can match your search terms to people’s natural speech will make a huge difference in the success of your search engine rankings. Make sure to choose organic keywords that would come up in real human conversation.
Are you still prioritizing desktop?
Desktops are a thing of the past. The majority of users are searching through their phones, iPads, and smart home hubs. If you are focusing all of your attention on the desktop version of your site but not paying any mind to the mobile versions, you are setting yourself up for failure. Make sure that your website is not only mobile-friendly but prioritized for mobile access. Wonky layouts, slow load times, and design ills will set your website behind and quickly knock you off the main search page.
Adhering to Higher Ranking Standards
Google’s algorithm is smart, search engine users are smart. If you can perform quality SEO but cannot back it up with quality content, both parties will quickly catch on. If you are not creating and publishing content that adheres to Google’s quality standards, then it won’t matter how strong your search engine optimization game is. You must be creating authoritative content that offers unique, expert opinions, as well as facts and figures that can be verified externally. If every other authoritative website can easily contradict what you have to say, your page will likely be docked for it.
Snippets, Snippets, Snippets
How much thought do you put into your text snippets? Are you just pulling a few sentences from the overall article? Are you creating a new summary to appeal to search engine keywords?
The quality of your snippet matters. It is the first textual representation of your website that users will read. If you cannot hook them in within sixty to a hundred characters, you will likely be unable to hook them in with the two-thousand-word article you put hard work into creating. You need to give your snippets their due attention and make sure to sell your overall article from the search engine rankings page.
Retooling Predictive Text
Predictive text is Google’s way of shortening the search time and linking users to popular searches with similar wording or context. However, it is not always seen as the most accurate. Google is looking to change that with Google Discover. This service, launched a few years back, looks to know your questions before you do. By analyzing users’ behavioral patterns and trends, Google Discover hopes to know your query before you do. This takes predictive text to an entirely new level and means that you need to be doing thorough research on your target demographics. The best way to get ahead of this predictive development is to target those behaviors and demographics now so that Google Discover’s algorithm can associate your website with those users today.
What kinds of content do you regularly upload to your website? Is it just articles and blog posts? Do you ever post any images, photos, or videos? What about audio files?
Google is prioritizing multifaceted websites now more than ever. If your website is just a plain background covered with text, you are not utilizing the tools available to you. In an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket, there is no excuse not to be taking advantage of every digital medium. Photos, videos, and text make up the complete package that algorithms are searching for.
Never underestimate the market in your area. It may seem like your best bet is to target as generally as possible, but this is never the case. The less specifically you target a user on either social media or through Google ads, the less likely you are to encounter the customers who would really fit your products. Make sure to target local trends, local users, and those who already share common ground with what your business has to offer. Strategize locally both within your market and geographically to find your best results.
Search Engine Optimization is never going to be a one and done process. The algorithms and their standards are in a state of constant flux. Your best bet for success is to take the time to research these trends and to tool your website to fit new technologies and updated standards. Keep an ear to the ground and a finger on your mouse so that you can keep your website’s cutting edge and hold your place on Google’s front page.