2021 SEO: 3 Effective SEO Trends to Look Out for

Lauren Stark
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SEO is an amazing strategy for increasing organic traffic to your website, but it is not a set it and forget it situation. In order to succeed in 2021 SEO, you must constantly be aware of the updates to search engines and the latest areas of online growth and interest. In this post, we will discuss 3 of the major trends that will help you dominate SEO in 2021. These three major trends are:

  • Optimizing for the Google Core Web Vitals
  • Optimizing for Google Passages
  • Optimizing for Voice Search

These three areas are the latest and least competitive SEO topics and will definitely be trending in 2021, so get ahead by learning all about them here. 2021 SEO, let’s go!

2021 SEO: Optimizing for the Google Core Web Vitals

2021 SEO Trends

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. Core Web Vitals are made up of three specific page speed and user interaction measurements: largest contentful paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift.

In short, Core Web Vitals are a subset of factors that will be part of Google’s “page experience” score (basically, Google’s way of sizing up your page’s overall UX).

You can find your site’s Core Web Vitals data in the “enhancements” section of your Google Search Console account.

Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?

Core vitals are essential for 2021 SEO. Google plans to make page experience an official Google ranking factor.

Page experience will be a mishmash of factors that Google considers important for user experience, including:

Core Web Vitals will be a very important part of the page experience score and thus of a website’s overall ranking. Let’s go over the main three elements of Core Web Vitals and how to improve them for 2021.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is how long it takes a page to load from the point of view of an actual user.

Basically: it is the time from clicking on a link to seeing most of the on-page content.

LCP is different from other page speed measurements because it is the most relevant to the actual user experience, and shows how fast a user is actually able to see and interact with your page.

You can check your LCP score using Google PageSpeed Insights or using Google search console. Google search console provides more details including a three-level scale for LCP.

Google's largest contentful paint guidelines
Graph from Backlinko

These tips will help you speed up your LCP:

  • Remove any unnecessarily third-party scripts
  • Upgrade your web host
  • Compress Large Images
  • Remove large page elements that are slowing you down
  • Minify your CSS

First Input Delay (FID)

Now let’s dive into the second major core web vital: First Input Delay.

FID measures: the time it takes for a user to actually interact with your page.

Examples of interactions include:

  • Choosing an option from a menu
  • Clicking on a link in the site’s navigation
  • Entering your email into a field
  • Opening up “accordion text” on mobile devices

Google considers FID important because it takes into account how real-life users interact with websites.

FID technically measures how long it takes something to happen on a page, which makes it similar to a page speed score, but it measures how long it takes for a user to actually click something.

These are the best tips to improve your FID score:

  • Minimize JavaScript
  • Remove any non-critical third-party scripts
  • Use a browser cache: This helps load content on your page faster.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is how stable a page is as it loads (aka “visual stability”).

Basically: if elements on your page move around as the page loads, then you’ve got a high CLS. In this case you want a low CLS, because the more stable the screen is during loading the better the user experience is.

Here are some simple things you can do to minimize CLS.

  • Use set size attribute dimensions for any media (video, images, GIFs, infographics etc.)
  • Make sure ad elements have specific space on the website.
  • Add new UI elements lower on the website

2021 SEO: Optimizing for Google Passages

In October Google announced a new search technology called “Passages”.

This feature allows Google to rank specific sections of a page (“a passage”) independently.

This feature is going to affect 7% of all searches, which is huge!

Let’s see how to optimize for this new Google ranking factor.

How Google Passage Ranking Works

Passages allow Google to rank specific, relevant passages from a specific page, not just the page itself.

They’ll now also size up the relevancy of a specific section of that page.

That said, Google has made it clear that they will still evaluate entire pages.

Twitter – Google on evaluating whole pages

So backlinks, on-page SEO, UX signals, and Google’s other page-level ranking factors will still apply.

The only difference is that a single page now has more chances to rank. That is, assuming the page is optimized and organized.

Organize Your Content Into Discrete Sections

Yes, Google will rank passages of your page semi-independently. However, Google can’t do this if your content is just one long block of text.

This means your content needs to be divided up into dedicated sections so that crawlers can rank the passages based on the specific topics and subtopics.

Increase Long-Form Content

The downside of long-form content USED to be that you could sometimes get beat by a more focused page.

For example, let’s say you had a section on your page about writing blog post intros.

And someone else had an entire page dedicated to writing post intros.

Well, in some cases Google would rank the entire page about post intros over you.

That’s because your competitor’s page was 100% about that topic. And to Google, that page could be a better UX for someone looking to write better introductions.

But that’s about to change.

Today, Google can parse a single piece of long-form content into 5, 10, or even 100 unique passages.

And each one has a good shot of ranking in Google.

So yeah, long-form content already had a rankings edge in the SERPs.

And for generating backlinks and social shares.

Now that Google can divide up a single page into distinct passages, you can expect long-form content to work even better for SEO in 2021.

2021 SEO: Optimizing for Voice Search

2021 SEO

Why Optimizing for Voice Search in 2021 is a Good Idea
There are tons of people out there doing voice searches, on their smartphones and smart home devices, and this way of searching is trending upward because of its ease and the increase in devices made for it.  

Here are the two main reasons Voice Search is so useful

People Use Voice Search to Ask for Directions:
40% of adults use voice search to ask for directions. This means that you can generate a lot of traffic to a physical store from strong local SEO that is optimized for voice search.

Voice Search Leads People to Discover Your Brand:
Voice can help you increase your list of followers and increase your leads. For instance, let’s say people address their voice assistant with questions like, “How to write a blog.”If you’re the featured rich snippet for that keyword, the assistant will read them your content, and if they like it, they’ll follow you and you’ll grow your leads. 

2021 SEO: How to Optimize for Voice Search: 3 Top Tips to Implement

Register for Google My Business Registering for Google My Business allows Google to confirm the authenticity of your business. This means it’ll more likely bring up your name in a voice search. The great news? Google My Business is free and super easy to use. 

Optimize Your Site for Mobile Chances are, you won’t be doing a voice search on your desktop so people who find your website through voice search will likely be on their mobile devices. To make sure they love your site, optimize it for mobile. This is as easy as: Making sure your buttons aren’t too small to be seen comfortably on a mobile device. Going for mobile-friendly plugins. Optimizing your site so it loads in under 3 seconds.

Get into Google’s Featured Snippets
This isn’t an easy task, but it’s the #1 reason you’ll be featured in a voice search. To get a bigger chance of getting into Google’s featured snippets, work on answering relevant question keywords briefly and directly. 

Voice search is the fastest-growing change in search trends and it is important to your SEO strategy in 2021, especially as it gets more popular. Implement these tips to help you bring in more leads through voice search optimization.

2021 SEO Take-Aways:

These three topics will help you prepare for an amazing year of SEO in 2021. Make sure you make a plan to address each of the new issues so that your website is updated with the latest best practices for 2021. 2021 SEO success is coming!

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Lauren Stark
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