We finally made it. Somehow. Against all odds.
It’s no exaggeration to say that for many of us, 2020 felt more like an entire millennium than a single year. Nor would it be inaccurate to suggest that many of us are still exhausted from the ordeal, and likely will be for some months to come. Just as it had a marked impact on us, it also changed the course of multiple industries.
Search engine optimization (SEO) was no exception. There is not a single industry that was not disrupted or in some way impacted by the novel coronavirus. Like it or not, SEO felt the aftershocks of that disruption.
We’re now a few weeks into 2021. As is the tradition in January, let’s take a look forward. Here are a few of the major trends that will define the SEO space this year.
- COVID-19 is still here. It’s not as if someone flipped a switch on New Year’s Eve and eradicated the coronavirus pandemic. Although a vaccine has been developed, the virus is still very much present. That means all the shifts and disruptions it created in 2020 still exist, and your marketing and SEO need to take that into account.
- The importance of intent. We’ve known for a while that Google is very interested in helping its algorithms understand user intent. We’ll see that trend continue in the New Year, meaning you’ll need to pay attention to it as well. You need to not only know who your audience is, but what they want, why they want it, and how to give that to them.
- User experience takes center stage. As of November 2020, user experience metrics are officially ranking factors in Google’s algorithms. Load time and general performance were already metrics you’d needed to consider, but add interactivity and visual stability to the pot. Expect to see ranking penalties applied to websites that can’t quite get it right.
- The power of artificial intelligence. Google has made great strides by applying AI to its algorithms. It stands to reason, then, that SEO professionals can do the same thing. Through machine learning and automation, you can glean insights that allow you to create more compelling content and fully optimize your customer relationship management.
- Voice search and conversational queries. As with previous years, 2020 saw voice search continue its steady climb to prominence. Focusing on conversational queries with your research.
- Schema supreme. With Google’s intense focus on context, understanding, and user intent, it stands to reason that 2021 will see structured data become immensely more valuable from an SEO standpoint. Best familiarize yourself with it now, so you can prepare for that trend.
The above represents only what we believe is likely to happen. If the last year taught us anything, it’s that we live in an era where it’s next to impossible to predict the future with any degree of accuracy. We’d still advise readying yourself with the above in mind, but above all, the best advice we can give you is to expect the unexpected.