2021 has been a year of massive disruptions, stress, confusion, and major change. In this article, we are going to cover important trends that are very important to your website. Specifically, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trends that ALL business need to acknowledge. From big shifts in search engine algorithms to voice search ( now controlling roughly 50%) of the searches in the United States according to comScore, and more. I can say what I have observed and tracked so I’m going to breakdown the major trends happening now in digital marketing.
1 Digital Marketing is Saturated
2. Page Speed is Becoming Even More Important
Page speed is going to be more important than ever. Yes, there’s 5G out there right now, but it’s more of an aspiration and marketing tactic than reality. Two critical points need to be addressed here: 1. Go around and look at how many areas that there may be 5G, 4G, or whatever “high-speed” connection is there and check your website to see if it loads fast from a device that hasn’t cached your website or clear your cache (see speed tests). Just because your connection is fast. It doesn’t mean the website loads fast and almost all modern websites are cached locally meaning that it’s always going to appear fast on your devices because you are looking at a saved copy of your site.
Basic Steps to improve page load speed. – link to separate article
Fact: Expect about a 7% improvement after optimizing and you may see a conversion increase higher than that.
3. Content Length Won’t Matter as Much
The second trend that we are seeing is content length won’t matter as much, and I’m talking about text-based content that was the rule of law in digital marketing up to this point. Before, it was not unreasonable to need to have 2000 plus words in an article no matter what. Something as simple as “how to tie a tie”. Do you think Google wants to show you 2000 words on how to tie tie? Let us face it. They do not. Why? Because you, as a user, do not want to see 2000 words on how to tie a tie! It’s proven that our attention spans dwindle by the day and we want the bullet points with images, animated Gif or a video that breaks down how to tie a tie and as quick as possible so you can get on with your life and that’s what’s happening with a lot of text articles. Everyone used to create content based on the length because that is what showed results for improving your ranking with Google.
Remember, the idea that if we want to rank high, we needed to have comprehensive articles with relevant keywords HAS NOT CHANGED. Specific structured schemas, images, and targeted keywords is still very important but the 2,000 word dissertations are becoming less important. The logical question is what signals are Google looking for to rank your content higher (aside from paid advertising and being in some inner circle of Big Tech collusion)? Let us talk about a few big ones next.
4. In 2021 audio and video content that is longer will perform better
5. Voice search accounting for close to 50% of searches on mobile (Neilpatel.com, 2021)
6. Backlinks won't matter as much
Does it really matter for 7 million backlinks or 2 million backlinks? Not really, what really matters to users is if the site is more relevant? And that’s what search engines are optimizing for, and that’s what you need to aim for. Major content models make the user experience better. It’s not about links, it’s about experience.
There are a lot of unknowns heading into 2021 but classic on-page SEO, link building, and the classic methods that worked before will not be as effective. Google has made over 3,000 algorithm changes and like many businesses did in 2020, the ability to pivot and try new tactics will be critical. As mentioned, there is no Holy Grail of digital marketing because it’s super competitive. That means one thing. One hack will not get you that Silver bullet that just helps you beat your competition. It is about getting those little marginal gains and putting your audience first. All these little things add up and there’s not “beating the system.” It’s about creating content for your audience, not you, and taking a multi-channel approach. Rely on one platform alone, and you are setting yourself up for failure.