2021 SEO Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore

by Ash Horton
November 17, 2021

2021 SEO Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore

In the highly dynamic world of search engine optimisation, things can change in the blink of an eye. If you want to be a step ahead of the competition, you need to know more than the latest SEO techniques. You also need to be aware of the latest SEO trends.

Google makes several changes to its search algorithms periodically. While most changes are minor, they can still impact how you approach and implement your online campaigns. Keeping abreast of the most recent (and relevant) SEO trends can help ensure you can adapt well to the changes.

Below are some of the SEO trends to look out for this year:


Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to evolve.

Over the years, artificial intelligence is considered a pioneering force in the evolution of SEO. In 2015, RankBrain was introduced. RankBrain is a machine-based search algorithm that helps the search engine giant push more relevant results. While only in its fifth year, we see indications of how AI will dominate SEO in the coming years.

The latest step in artificial learning progression is the introduction of Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding or BERT, which Google announced in October 2020.

For the uninitiated, BERT is Google’s network-based technique for natural language processing. It is crucial since it deals with the very basics of how people search for information online.

BERT affects one in ten searches and gives Google a better insight into how language is used. It also helps the search engine gain a better understanding of the context of particular words within searches.

While BERT (and RankBrain) cannot be optimised, it is considered a clear signal of how Google understands the language. This means that webmasters need to focus more on creating natural, useful, and high-quality content. Simply put, write content for users.


Google will focus more on using entities.

Entities are not something people talk about every day, but they are something Google is investing a lot of resources in. For Google, entities are “a concept or thing that is unique, singular, distinguishable, and well-defined.”

Entities don’t have to be physical. It can be something as vague as a colour or an idea. As long as it is unique, distinguishable, singular, and well-defined, it is an entity. The description of entity is sourced from a patent Google submitted in 2015 named “Ranking Search Results Based on Entity Metrics.”

While only a few patents get people excited, this one caused quite a stir in the technical SEO scene since it takes machine learning to a new level. It also allows Google to calculate the probability of intent more accurately, giving it an understanding of both tone and user language.

Entities also place less reliance on links as a ranking factor. This can result in the need for significant campaign changes, depending on what your SEO strategy is. If anything, the most crucial aspect you need to consider is how Google understands your website’s entities.

For instance, if you are selling shoes on your site, you need to consider the different colours, sizes, types, and brands. Each shoe represents a distinct entity. This means you need to think about how each product is framed, so it meets the expectations of users as well as Google’s learning capabilities.


Queryless proactive predictive search will get better.

In June of 2017, Google released Google Discover, which prompted a new kind of search—one that is query less. Discover is a content recommendation tool that is AI-driven. It has 80 million active users. By understanding the different topics the user is interested in, it identifies the most accurate content to deliver.

There are two ways to boost the performance of content within Discover, according to Google.

  • Post interesting content
  • Use images of high-quality

You also need to ensure content is unique and creates an excellent experience for users. If you publish clickbait articles, the probability of your articles appearing in Discover is very minimal.

Another way to increase your chance of appearing in Discover is to arrange your content semantically so Google can understand your work and ensure that your site is proficient technically.


E-A-T won’t apply to every site (but it still matters).

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is something people should know well. However, it also pays to remember that:

  • E-A-T is not a ranking factor
  • E-A-T is crucial for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages and topics

While the two statements can appear contradictory, they make sense when you consider what Google defines as YMYL. YMYL, according to Google’s Rater Guidelines, is a topic or page that “could potentially impact a person’s future health, happiness, safety, or financial stability.”

In other words, if the information found on the page has the potential to change an individual’s life, it is considered YMYL and offering E-A-T is crucial. On the other hand, if your site is filled with your collection of dog and cat pictures, then showcasing expertise or authority is not required.

The problem is that most websites (including ones heavily invested in SEO) often have YMYL topics or pages. Nowadays, Google is taking massive steps to ensure questionable or low-quality YMYL content is weeded out.

As mentioned earlier, websites can’t optimise for E-A-T since it’s not an algorithm. However, it is recommended that you implement changes to ensure your site gives the right kind of quality signals to Google.

Semantics and topics over keywords.

Google is brilliant when it comes to understanding what a user is searching based on just a few essential keywords. In part, this can be attributed to topic modelling. This algorithm has a thorough and deep understanding of semantics and aims to provide users with troves of information.

This means the importance of creating in-depth, high quality, and useful content for users has never been more critical. However, you also need to take into consideration the information structure. Some studies indicate that Google’s crawlers prefer pages with semantic sites and groupings designed around topic modelling.


Conclusion

The world of SEO is exciting and promising. Nowadays, it has become increasingly evident that traditional search results and links are no longer the only essentials of any organic campaign. While both still carry weight, ignoring the latest trends can hinder your SEO campaign from reaching its full potential.

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