Search engine optimisation (SEO) is consistently evolving, and keeping up with it can be exhausting! Ensuring that you’re following SEO best practises is a sure-fire way to attract customers to your platform.
Monitoring the best SEO trends will allow you to keep your site ranking highly and will make sure that your website is getting the attention that it deserves.
How will artificial intelligence affect SEO in 2021?
The term artificial intelligence (AI) might evoke images of sentient robots in your head, but really lots of things in our daily lives are governed using AI.
Take the widely popular AI, Alexa, for example. Alexa uses AI to listen to your commands and make intelligent predictions to execute what it thinks you want. Alexa ‘learns’ from every interaction in order to improve its accuracy. Between July 2018 and August 2019 Alexa improved its answering accuracy to 80%, up from 61% – a 19% increase!
So, how can AI be used in SEO?
Search engines use sophisticated AI that have a big effect on how your content ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs). Devices that utilise voice search are everywhere – at home, work, in our cars and on our phones.
Voice search SEO focuses on using natural language to ensure that AI devices find your website. Consider what kinds of things you ask Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, and how you phrase these questions. Oftentimes, queries made through these platforms are more conversational in nature, versus a more formal text search.
As more people use voice search, SEO marketers will need to consider what spoken keywords are likely, and determine whether they differ from their text-based keywords.
Google’s AI algorithm, RankBrain, uses machine learning to ‘teach’ itself to produce useful search results.
This AI is theorised to attempt to work out intent. Its purpose is to determine exactly what the searcher is looking for, even if the searcher isn’t entirely sure! When working on an actionable SEO strategy in 2021, the most successful SEOs will ensure that their website’s reputation is strong and their content is engaging, natural and keyword-rich to accommodate AI machine learning.
Have a mobile friendly website
Most users access Google Search with a mobile device. This might not come as a surprise to you, as many of us will whip out our phones for a quick-and-easy search.
As a result of this, Googlebot has prioritised mobile suitability when indexing pages since 2019. This trend is only looking to continue through 2021, with more people than ever preferring to use search engines on their mobile devices.
Google have given a variety of pointers about mobile-first indexing best practises.
Some highlights from these best practises are:
- Use the same meta robots tags on the mobile and desktop site.
- Make sure that your mobile site contains the same content as your desktop site.
- Use the same clear and meaningful headings.
- Provide high quality images.
- Don’t use URLs that change every time the page loads for your videos.
- Check your videos to ensure they use a supported format for mobile.
It’s more important than ever that you make the necessary website improvements to ensure that your website functions well on mobile, if it doesn’t, you could be losing out on valuable customers!
Google’s vision for the future of their platform is a transition to visual search.
Take the above example – images are taking up valuable space on SERPs, with the user having to actively scroll to reach the majority of organic search.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that imagery will be important in 2021 SEO. Imagery should be chosen with care and should accompany quality written content. Make sure that you place your images next to relevant writing, too; and don’t forget your alt tags and alt text to improve accessibility & SEO! The basics will always be important.
Using video for SEO
YouTube has two billion users! Two billion users that you can have access to, too, it’s worth the time and effort.
Video content goes hand-in-hand with SEO and is a wonderful way to engage customers and to provide useful insights for potential customers in 2021.
Optimising your YouTube channel is a fine balance between user experience and keyword placement. You want your content to be accessible, but also need to ensure that your keywords are doing their job.
If you ever need inspiration for what to make YouTube content about, use the YouTube search bar:
Here you’ll find a whole host of perfect keywords that people are actively searching for, it’s a great way to find inspiration for your next video SEO project!
How does user & search intent affect SEO?
While user and search intent is one of the oldest tricks in the SEO book, it’s always a critical part of any SEO strategy to refocus your efforts based on your customers’ changing search behaviours.
Many users use Google to find answers, and it’s important for any SEO marketer to acknowledge this moving into 2021. People want informed, expert opinions when they use a search engine; it’s time to move away from showing off products, and to move towards showing off expertise.
If you provide sound answers that people are looking for, your organic search success will improve, and people will return to you as a trusted source.
Google wants to satisfy their users. If your site is doing that, your site’s going to do well; you need to cater to your visitors first and follow with the product second.
Will SEO change in 2021?
SEO changes constantly. The savvy marketers who keep evolving their methods will be the ones to succeed in 2021.
Between AI, visual search and video SEO, we’ve all got a lot to be cracking on with!