Good rankings will also be the result of hard work in 2021. In order to increase your chances in the ranking, 7 trends in your own search engine optimization should be considered.
1. Google Core Web Vitals as part of the Page Experience Update
All SEOs should mark May 2021 in their calendar because Google has announced that from May, the Google Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor as part of the Page Experience.
The Core Web Vitals are key figures for the metrics Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): The Largest Contentful Paint metric indicates the loading time in milliseconds of the main content in the user’s vision.
- First Input Delay (FID): The input delay measures the time in milliseconds until the user’s first possible interaction with the page (e.g., clicking on a link or entering data in a form).
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The Cumulative Layout Shift specifies a value for layout changes of the visible page content during the loading process. This value takes into account whether and to what extent the content changes after the page has been loaded.
Together with other well-known indicators for the page experience, such as HTTPS and the optimization for the mobile view, the Core Web Vitals form the foundation of technical SEO.
So webmasters have until May to make the changes. In any case, a thorough analysis of the rankings should be carried out in May in order to react to possible negative changes and, at best, to understand positive changes.
2. Video content as a strategic SEO tool
Video content is an effective means both on your own website and on YouTube to achieve added value for the user and thus also positive rankings.
A video can also serve the purpose of solving potential problems customers face before they arise. If companies don’t solve the need of (potential) customers for video information, others will. Millions of unboxing, tutorial, or review videos on Youtube are proof of this.
Companies can publish videos on their own website as well as on their own YouTube channel as “snackable content” that addresses the problems and questions of the visitors. The target groups’ search intention can be served differently with videos and should be taken into account in SEO campaigns.
Speaking of YouTube: The video platform is the most visible website on Google – ahead of Facebook and Wikipedia. YouTube videos are increasingly being displayed in Google search results for a wide variety of search queries.
3. Consideration of search intention and EAT
Taking into account the search intent of users has always been a central topic and will remain a central topic in 2021 because there is no point in providing users with content that does not match their search intent.
Google basically differentiates between three types of search intentions: Know, Do, Go.
- Know: With a Know search query, the user would like to receive information on a topic.
- Do: Do searches always indicate some intention to do something. This also includes search queries aimed at buying a product.
- Go: With a Go search query, the user wants to navigate to a specific website (or location), so the goal is known.
In order to optimize the rankings, it is therefore important to identify which search intents users have for certain keywords that are to be ranked. If the search intent is missed, there will be too few clicks from your own web site’s search results – despite the possibly temporary high visibility.
When optimizing for all search intentions, EAT should always be considered.
EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Although these three terms are not an official algorithmic ranking factor, they are manually checked by Google Search Quality Raters, and the results are incorporated into the search algorithm. Webmasters must therefore ensure that the website broadcasts EAT and can also prove it.
EAT is particularly important for websites that Google thematically classifies as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). YMYL websites are websites whose content can potentially have a major impact on users’ health, joy of life, financial situation, or safety. This includes, in particular, pages from the areas of news, law, government, finance, and health.
4. Data-driven content optimization for SEO
Trust is good; control is better. This also applies to content creation and content optimization. Only through a data-supported analysis of a text, for example, can it be seen whether the text often contains the keyword to which it is to be ranked or whether (unconsciously) plagiarism has occurred.
That is why it is important to use your own judgment and experience when creating new content and optimizing existing content to make data-driven improvements.
Termlabs.io is very suitable for checking your own texts and those of the competition. Other recommended tools for identifying abnormalities in websites and their content, for keyword research and for competitive analysis are SEMrush, Searchmetrics, Ryte, and the Google Search Console.
5. Recognize hidden patterns through AI and machine learning
With the available SEO and analytics tools; data acquisition is no longer a hurdle for SEOs. The identification of recurring patterns or hidden connections is much more difficult. This is mainly due to the fact that large data sets from different tools have to be considered.
The availability of data is also an important issue in this context. Since data can only be viewed retrospectively for a limited time in some tools such as Google Search Console, the data should always be exported from the respective tool.
In this way, long-term developments can be recorded and identified. Software such as DAWIS can be used to store the data sets. With business intelligence software, which, depending on the provider, contains functionalities for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the functional scope, the data sets can then be processed and analyzed to a greater and more profound extent. Humans can’t identify correlations and recurring patterns, taking into account a large number of influencing factors.
In order to use ML or AI methods, it is advisable to set up a thesis and then to prove this thesis using the data. It is also possible that the data analysis could identify correlations or events that were both undetected and difficult to explain.
In these cases, it is important to find out whether there is a reason for the correlations. Correlations and causalities are to be established, and spurious correlations to be excluded.
6. User signals as a strong indication of the user experience
The user experience is of essential importance for both Google and users when evaluating the website. So-called user signals, which visitors to a website send through their behavior, are very relevant metrics. These are indicators for evaluating the user experience and thus, the evaluation of the website with all content and the technology and the entire appearance.
3 user signals that an SEO should keep an eye on:
- Time on page: The time that the user spends on a page should always be as long as possible but must always be considered relative to the function and length of the content of the page.
- Bounce rate: The bounce rate indicates in percent how many visitors left the page without further interaction. The higher the bounce rate, the more likely the site did not meet user expectations.
- CTR: The click-through rate (clicks on a search result/impressions of a search result * 100) is a clear signal for how relevant and interesting a search result is for the user. If the CTR is low, the SEO title and meta description should be revised.
The return to SERP rate is also relevant for search engines, as it also indicates satisfaction with the search results. Search engines can recognize whether the original search is changed after returning to the search results and whether the user is progressing within the customer journey, or whether further hits are clicked in the SERPs.
With the Google Core Web Vitals (see above), we have already mentioned other factors that are also part of the user signals. These and other user signals can easily be checked in the Google Search Console and in Google Analytics for your own website, and action points can be worked out.
7. Longtail SEO as the answer to a zero-click search
The increasing number of zero-click searches is becoming more and more of a problem for webmasters and SEOs.
Zero click searches are short search queries in which the answer is already displayed in the search results, and the user no longer has to click on another link. This means that valuable traffic is lost for the website operator.
So far, however, zero-click searches have only occurred for simple and/or frequent search queries. This is why longtail SEO is gaining in importance since longtail focuses on complex search queries with a low search volume, and these usually cannot be answered in the SERP due to their complexity.
Since Google improved the understanding of complex search queries in the BERT update, the number of zero-click search queries has increased noticeably.
By working towards ranking for more complex keywords, especially in the longtail, they can avoid the risk of a possible zero-click search.