What"s 2021 going to lớn be like for SEO professionals? Cheông chồng out 10 important trends you need to know from 42 top experts in the field.

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It’s time to lớn take our annual look at what’s ahead for SEO professionals in 2021.

If you want the TLDR, here it is via Lily Ray, SEO Director, Path Interactive:

“Above all, a great SEO strategy should start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes & asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, the br& is trustworthy, and the trang web is easy lớn use (especially on mobile).”

So true!

But there’s much more lớn dig inlớn when we’re talking SEO in 2021.

So what SEO strategies và tactics will work và help you dominate in the SERPs and earn more revenue in 2021?

This is the question we ask every year here at Search Engine Journal.

This year, I asked 42 of today’s top SEO professionals for their thoughts.

Here are the page đầu trends you need to know in 2021, according khổng lồ the experts.

Want all the SEO trends now? Download our new ebook: SEO Trends 2021.

Trend #1: Focus on User + Search Intent

In 2021, it’s time to lớn focus user và tìm kiếm intent.

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For real.

While this is hardly a new trend or concept, every year it’s important khổng lồ refocus because searcher intent & behavior is changing all the time. Especially after the year that was 2020 when so much rapidly changed.

“At the core, Google (& other tìm kiếm engines) is a place to lớn go when people want to answer a question or khổng lồ learn more about something,” said Jenn Mathews, SEO Manager, GitHub. “When we underst& the nature of why people tìm kiếm và help them with nội dung that provides the answers they are looking for then our business benefits from it.”

So what does this mean for your SEO efforts in 2021?

According khổng lồ Britney Muller, SEO Consultant và Data Science Student, Britney Muller LLC, it means SEO pros will need to lớn transition away from traditional best practices that will hold less value as the algorithms get stronger (e.g., trying lớn write meta descriptions for every single page) & focus more on better understanding what’s happening within the SERPs/searcher intent.


“Google houses the world’s information & they know what the majority of people searching ‘x’ seek,” Muller said. “Paying closer attention lớn search results will give sầu SEO pros a leg up in creating competitive content in the way that searchers desire lớn consume it.”

And many other of our SEO experts agree with Muller. This includes Andrew Dennis, Content Marketing Speciacác mục, Page One nguồn.

“Google is already showing you which results it thinks serve users’ intent, use this data for your own strategy,” Dennis said. “For me, SERPhường. analysis will be an important practice not just in 2021, but moving forward as tìm kiếm intents change & Google continues khổng lồ become more sophisticated to lớn keep up.”

It’s clear khổng lồ Marie Haynes, CEO, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc., that if you want to lớn win at SEO in 2021, you’ll need to lớn bởi vì a stellar job of providing information to lớn users.

“Google will get even better at recognizing when a searcher is looking for expert advice and will rank those posts above articles written by content writers who are lacking E-A-T,” Haynes said. “The SEO pros who will be successful in 2021 will be those who can truly understvà how khổng lồ meet a searchers’ needs.”


Here’s advice from Adam Riemer, President at Adam Riemer Marketing:

“Brands are going to lớn need lớn forget about themselves and cater khổng lồ their visitors.

This includes:

Copy that addresses the visitor’s needs & concerns and not copy that talks about your products, your company, or why your product is good.A quiông chồng trang web that renders và stabilizes fast.Not making people work to lớn find your nội dung or lớn spkết thúc money with you. No forced pop-ups, registrations, etc.”

With Google focusing more on satisfying user intent, Steven van Vessum, VPhường of Community, ContentKing, said it’s more important than ever to focus on learning what a user is looking for.

“In terms of the actual answer – but also their preferred content type (e.g., video, podcasts, or PDF),” van Vessum said. “Because figuring out queries’ user intent by hvà is very time-consuming, từ khóa research tools that let us quickly bởi vì this at scale will overtake those that vì not.”

Alexander Kesler, CEO, INFUSEmedia, offers some additional advice on understanding the search intent of your ideal buyer và driving meaningful revenue for your organization.


“Analyze the tìm kiếm data & on-site journey of any organically acquired leads – not just the tìm kiếm terms that they used to find your nội dung, but also on-site tìm kiếm & highlighted từ khoá for all pages that they visited,” Kesler said. “Aggregate that data and map it khổng lồ a nội dung journey.”

Trkết thúc #2: Customer Analytics, Retention và Lifetime Value

SEO used to be (mostly) about driving traffic. But SEO has evolved inlớn much more.

As Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Head of SEO, Erudite, noted, in 2021 you will be pushed more and more lớn make the traffic you have to work harder in order to lớn cchiến bại the gaps in revenue và demonstrate ROI.

So, in 2021, data on behavioral analytics will become the hottest commodity.

“With Google evolving faster và faster to lớn give sầu instant satisfaction, taking responsibility beyond visits, as well as marrying up UX, conversion, & revenue have sầu become even more important,” Inameti-Archibong said. “Keyword volume will take a baông xã seat & it will be more behavioral analytics – what your customer is doing, how they are doing it, và how we can get them lớn do more of it quicker – and reverse engineering that to lớn the content you produce.”


John McAlpin, SEO Director, Cardinal Digital Marketing, agreed. He pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that keywords research isn’t always helpful when the world is in constant flux.

“In order to differentiate ourselves, we’ll see SEO pros dialing back keyword retìm kiếm and elevate first-party user research,” McAlpin said. “ This research unlocks hidden opportunities with service offerings & nội dung ideas that keyword retìm kiếm may not tell us.”

With fewer dollars to lớn go around, businesses will need to lớn focus far more on customer retention và increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) than ever before, said Stephan Bajaio, Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder, Conductor.

“Your post-acquisition content must answer the questions, concerns, và needs your customers are expressing in search và you need to show up for those terms. If not, you will risk others influencing them away from your br&,” Bajaio said. “It will be about understanding your customer best & providing them with valuable content, or risk losing them to someone who understands them better… introduced khổng lồ them by their trusted frikết thúc Google.”


Izzi Smith, Technical SEO Analyst, Ryte, expanded on this idea. She encourages companies to provide stronger customer và self-tư vấn services online.

“First of all, establish a process with sales and support staff to ensure that you are aware of important và incoming questions or requests that can be resolved with help articles,” Smith said.

“Dig into lớn your Google Search Console từ khoá data with common question modifiers lớn find relevant, existing topics that should be catered to lớn. Make sure these are answered concisely and factually and published to a related FAQ topic page,” she added.

Bottom line, according to Smith: “Help centers và FAQ sections should be created with UX at the very forefront, and should not be a single, unmaneuverable page of questions.”

One of the keys to attracting & retaining customers comes down to a single word: value.

That’s why Julia McCoy, CEO, Express Writers / Educator, Content Hacker, said you should make value a heavy focus in 2021.

And a big part of that comes from your nội dung.


“it’s easier than ever to thua kém grasp on the real reason we retain the trust và attention of our audience: by giving them value,” McCoy said. “We retain interest and build trust with our readers when our nội dung is the most comprehensive, practical, and useful piece they’ve sầu interacted with when searching Google. That kind of content requires focus, time, commitment, investment, to create.”

Trover #3: Br& SERP. Optimization, Knowledge Graphs & Entities

In 2021, tracking brvà SERPs and knowledge panels will become the norm, according to lớn Jason Barnard, The Brvà SERPhường Guy, Kalicube.pro.

“In 2021, the reality that entity-based tìm kiếm starts with Google’s confident understanding of who you are, what you offer, and what audience you serve will gain enormous traction,” Barnard said. “Savvy marketers will truly get lớn grips with looking at their brvà as an entity & start khổng lồ work in earnest on Google’s understanding of the ‘who you are’ part of that trio by creating or improving their presence in the Knowledge Graph.


In fact, Nik Ranger, SEO Speciadanh mục, thinks we may start to see personalized knowledge graphs starting in 2021.

“Google has access to so much information about you, your tìm kiếm history, emails, social truyền thông, & other types of user information that they have sầu the ability & means to scale personalized knowledge graphs,” Ranger said. “Qualifying the relationships between the legitimacy of author credentials khổng lồ content, in addition lớn the way Google perceives value from nội dung, will be ever more important.”

What does this all mean for SEO In 2021?

It means optimizing your brand’s entire digital presence (e.g., your YouTube channel, images) and how Google features them, said Patrick Reinhart, VP. for Digital Strategies, Conductor.

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“These days it’s not just about your trang web, it’s about all of your owned properties and how they interact with one another on the SERP.,” Reinhart said. “If they all come together through various snippets, does it tell a good story about your brand?”


John Shehata, VPhường, Global Audience Development Strategy, Condé Nast / Founder, NewzDash.com, goes further, adding that SEO pros must underst& the complex concepts behind topics (entities, subtopics) and natural language processing (NLP) and how entities play a role in Google rankings.

“Forget about TF*IDF, từ khóa frequency, & start focusing on entities, topics & start utilizing Google Natural Language (and/or other similar SEO tools that provide NLPhường. analysis),” Shehata said.

“Search engines are getting smarter by the day & they have sầu a good understanding of queries khổng lồ an extent beyond từ khoá used in such queries,” Shehata added. “Don’t get me wrong, good keywords research is still needed but it comes secondary to understanding the topics/entities related lớn the query and the intent behind the query.”

One place where there are no keyword at play is Google Discover.

So the only way to optimize for Google Discover visibility is by establishing your entity in the knowledge graph và honing how it is connected within the topic layer, according lớn Jes Scholz, International Digital Director, Ringier,


“The first step every SEO pro should take is to trachồng their brand’s result score in the knowledge graph API,” Scholz said. “Then, work on activities outside of having great nội dung khổng lồ drive sầu their presence in the knowledge graph.

Some of those activities to focus on in 2021, Scholz said, will include:

Ensuring a complete and correct organization markup.Establishing a presence in relevant knowledge bases such as Wikidata.Claiming your knowledge panel to use the posts by Google feature.For physical businesses, setting up your Google My Business protệp tin.

Trkết thúc #4: Core Web Vitals & Page Experience Optimization

With Google introducing Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor in 2021, page experience metrics can no longer be ignored, according lớn Areej AbuAli, SEO Manager, Zoopla.

“Websites and businesses need to prioritize for them khổng lồ ensure they don’t fall behind their competitors,” AbuAli said. “Make the most out of insights provided via tools such as Lighthouse và Crux API. Everything from page tốc độ, mobile-friendliness, rendering, image optimization, & security protocols need khổng lồ be optimized for.”


In addition, Rachel Costello, Technical SEO Consultant, Builtvisible, said we should be looking at how a page makes a user feel, not just whether the page is accessible và comprehensible khổng lồ a tìm kiếm engine crawler.

“This will involve sầu us taking a user-centric approach with our optimization efforts, including a keen focus on:

How quickly và smoothly pages load.How soon pages become responsive sầu khổng lồ user interactions.How easy a website is khổng lồ use and navigate on thiết bị di động devices.The safety và security of a site’s connection as users are browsing through it.

“Incorporating page experience inlớn your SEO workflow will not only help to lớn future-proof your website’s performance & rankings ahead of the upcoming algorithm update, but it can also help lớn improve UX và conversions now,” Costello said.

You also need to lớn make sure that Google can access the best nội dung on your site from everywhere – và make sure your site has a measurably better user interface than your competitors, noted Jess Peck, Senior Analytics Consultant, CVS.

“Measure, demo, & use machine learning khổng lồ look at your content – this will give you a huge leg up,” Peông chồng said. “Google’s focus on Vi xử lý Core Web Vitals shows that they’re starting khổng lồ measure how annoying sites can be, so give your users a pleasant experience & Google will vì chưng the same for you.”


Trover #5: All SEO Is thiết bị di động SEO

Ensuring your content/website performs well from a Smartphone perspective should also continue lớn be a focal point as this is where the majority of searches are being conducted, said Jeff Riddall, VP Product và Customer Success, Mintent.

“What type of experience vị your users have when accessing your nội dung & trying lớn find answers on their thiết bị di động devices?” he said.

That’s why Broông chồng Murray, Co-founder, seoplus+, said a big SEO focus in 2021 must be Smartphone device user experience (UX)

“The best thing you can vì chưng when it comes to lớn di động UX is lớn think about the user first,” Murray said. “Simplithành phố in your thiết kế is the key. Also, be sure lớn personalize the website content và elements based on your user.”

But there are many more reasons all SEO is now mobile SEO, as explained by Shelly Fagin, SEO Director and Founder, Highly Searched, Inc.

“Google will essentially be ignoring your desktop site. Your thiết bị di động site will determine your rankings,” Fagin said.


So if you’ve been focusing on meeting the bare minimum requirements khổng lồ be considered mobile-first, 2021 is the year khổng lồ shift your focus khổng lồ improving that experience for your users.

“Don’t just settle with getting passing scores & consider it a job well done,” Fagin said. “It’s time to lớn closely nhận xét your pages và make sure they are intuitive for your users, are easy to lớn navigate, & you aren’t hiding valuable content and images on Mobile devices.

“It’s OK to have a different experience between desktop & mobile, but It’s important lớn know that Google will no longer be ranking your desktop và sản phẩm điện thoại experiences differently,” she added. “If you still have a separate điện thoại site, now might be the time lớn reconsider migrating lớn a di động responsive sầu site instead.”

Trkết thúc #6: Assess, Adopt và Execute

In 2021, prepared to lớn work harder than ever before to assess, adopt, and exexinh đẹp, according to lớn Motoko Hunt, President & International Search Marketing Consultant, AJPR.


While the basic skills và knowledge are still important, your brain needs lớn be flexible to lớn adapt to the rapid changes.

“Thinking outside the box will be more important than ever. The business opportunities are still out there. If it’s not where you normally look, you just need lớn find where they went,” Hunt said.

It will also be important khổng lồ be proactive sầu in 2021, said Corey Morris, Chief Strategy Officer, Voltage.

“Maybe this is more of a theme or mindphối than a trover – but seeing it as a recognized need & something many are arriving at makes it a trover for me,” Morris said. “Now is the time to lớn get organized, build a plan, develop a process, & get ahead.”

A shift to lớn more strategic SEO will be critical khổng lồ stay relevant and stay top of mind for consumers’ attention in 2021, said Andy Betts, Search and Digital Advisor & Consultant. He recommends pivoting your approach from a singular focus on just consumer behavior lớn a dual process that involves understanding the market in which these consumers operate first.


“Take a more strategic & blended approach to lớn underst& what’s happening in the market, where demvà has shifted historically, and where it is changing in real-time,” Betts said. “Take a consultative sầu approach to understand how economic, sociological, & psychological factors impact search dem& & then look at understanding consumer behavior and intent at a granular level. Utilize all tools, platforms, & sources of business intelligence at your disposal.”

Trend #7: More Automation

If we look bachồng at the increasing number of SEO tasks that we are able khổng lồ automate in 2020 (structured data generation, unique content, etc.), the possibilities for 2021 will be mind-bending, said Hamlet Batista, CEO, RankSense

“Expect the chất lượng & quantity of the AI-generated content to lớn increase dramatically. It will definitely create a bigger challenge for search engines to keep spam out of the index,” Batista said. “Human-in-the-loop automation to lớn make sure the value is high for search users will be the main focus lớn avoid penalties and remain competitive.”


Jesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist | Optimization Lead, IBM, believes one of the biggest trends in SEO for 2021, especially within in-house roles, is the continued focus on creating more scalable solutions for optimization utilizing automation.

“Over the last couple of years, more và more of the industry-leading tools that many SEO practitioners use in their day-to-day work have sầu been releasing automated functionalities to lớn roll out site changes. It’s almost lượt thích adding another thành viên of the execution portion of the team,” McDonald said.

“The implications of this are particularly interesting for in-house roles because it can help implement low-hanging fruit elements without having khổng lồ justify the importance of the change to lớn move to lớn the top of the sprint schedule,” he added. “Thus, freeing up the SEO khổng lồ focus on additional strategic elements for improving site performance.”

Trkết thúc #8: SERP Layout & Functionality Changes

Dave sầu Davies, Duke of URL, Beanstalk Internet Marketing, expects lớn see a big change khổng lồ the entire way content is viewed và laid out on websites change – thanks khổng lồ Google Passage Ranking.


“Why have sầu a page on a general topic, và sub-pages on specifics, when you can have sầu one long page for it all and know that Google will drive sầu the user where they need to lớn go? Isn’t that the best of both worlds? And they’re doing similar in đoạn phim.

Cindy Krum, CEO và Founder, MobileMoxie, has been talking about this – what she refers to as Fraggle optimization – for a good while now. And she said doing things khổng lồ help Google identify and rank passages will be a big new SEO trend in 2021.

“Fraggles (or passages) are important because they really improve sầu Google’s ability to lớn find và lift exactly the information that users are looking for,” Krum said. “Strong page và schema structure help with Fraggle/passage optimization, but it will likely also be important to have sầu text that is easy for natural language processing to evaluate và has a high readability score.”

Trkết thúc #9: Long-Form Content

Ron Lieback, CEO/Founder, ContentMender, said one trend khổng lồ help you outrank your competitors will be consistently publishing longer-size content that appeals to Google’s E-A-T guidelines, as well as emotion.


“Throughout 20đôi mươi, I consistently witnessed blogs over 2,000 words dramatically outperform blogs of 1,000 words or less,” Liebachồng said. “Expect this long-form content trend to continue in 2021, and as more and more websites follow this trover, the length will get larger – maybe even toward that 2,500-3,000 mark for a blog lớn rank well over others.”

Trkết thúc #10: SEO Scalability

2021 should be your year lớn build scalability into your SEO if you’re going lớn get ahead of your competition, according to Mark Trapharen, Vice President of Product Marketing and Training, seoClarity.


Traphagene shared these three tips:

List all the tasks, processes, and workflows you vày on a regular basis. Determine which steps in those could be automated or better handled by use of a tool.Set up an alert system that monitors significant changes khổng lồ things like rankings of your important keywords, flip-flopping URLs ranking for the same từ khóa (URL cannibalization), page nội dung changes, URL changes, etc.Establish SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for any regular tasks you can’t automate so your team isn’t wasting time reinventing how to bởi them each time they need lớn be performed.

Get More SEO Trends và Insights for 2021

This only scratches the surface of what you’ll find in our new ebook, SEO Trends 2021.

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Clichồng here khổng lồ download SEO Trends 2021.

You’ll get more uncensored & unfiltered insights and tips straight from these SEO experts on how lớn succeed at SEO in 2021: