2021 Google SEO Trends to Rank High and Win this Long Game

Here are the top SEO trends to watch out in 2021

#1. Artificial Intelligence’s role is becoming increasingly important in SEO

Artificial Intelligence in seo
This revolutionises how people churn online content. Google’s AI algorithm carries much weightage, also newly termed as ‘RankBrain’ which contributes as a ranking factor for search engine results pages (SERPs) results. Its developers have showcased the unique autonomous machine learning capabilities, as it ages with time.

It’s thought that user journey & experiences are primary influencers of RankBrain. Whether it’s click-through rates (CTRs) to page browsing duration, congruent content engages and retains visitors. On-page SEO checkers augment analysing page robustness, accessibility, backlinks, etc.

#2. Voice search will influence search query criteria

Voice search seo ranking factor
Innovations like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have pioneered voice search technology’s advancement and popularity. It’s projected that over the next year, over half of all homeowners will have a smart speaker. Hence using query phrases such as ‘what, when, how, where and why?’ will make information menus more accessible.

In order to optimise voice searches, review your keywords by opting for longer phrases that searchers use more often. Voice searches work with greater precision, using such phrasing which also sounds more realistic. Typing inputs are usually truncated owing to convenience, instead of writing a whole sentence or question. This is yet another benefit of voice search vs. conventional methods.

#3. Mobile ergonomics impact search rankings

mobile search ranking factor
Google has recently released mobile-first indexing, focusing on mobile versions of a site, taking precedence over the desktop version. Given that it’s expected almost 80% of internet users will be using their smartphones to access sites over the next 5 years, this makes complete sense. Google’s free mobile-friendly test allows you to measure how efficient your site truly is. You can sample the environment with the ‘mobile usability’ report in the Google Search Console.

Your page should be user ergonomic via Google crawling your URLs, preventing disallow directives appearing. Be mindful that Googlebot can’t load content requiring user interactions, including clicking or swiping. Google should be able to view such apathetically loaded material and rectify with identical meta robots tags on both desktop and mobile version sites.

#4. Mobile-first indexing will be mandated on all site

This has been under process through Google for the past few years now, meaning that sites are now ranked according to their mobile versions (instead of desktop). Although somewhat sluggish, this ‘indexing’ has been underway for every site to verify its mobile worthiness. Subject to clearing this ‘assessment’ and fulfilling such criteria, the site is approved. Furthermore, all newly launched sites and domain registrations are now firstly screened mobile-first as a norm.

Now, this has virtually finalised, making the archaic sites stick out like a sore thumb. Their lack of optimization leads to incompatibility with mobile devices. This absence of support is frowned upon by Google and will be gauged according to the new guidelines, regardless of being prepared or not. The proposed migration of this SEO Trends framework is set to happen this spring (2021).

#5. Content satisfying Google’s EAT principle has better rankings

Google says that E-A-T is very important

Google demands quality for better ranking but what’s exactly needed? The EAT principle explains this (consisting of): Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These determinants connect to business subjects termed as ‘your money, your life’ (YMYL) label, such as health care and finance. Ways to achieve this include:

Remember to apply this logic by backing any claims with data. Include reputable sources, like “.edu” and “.gov” URLs. Such authoritative sites’ return linking also satisfies this criteria.

#6. Long-Form content enriches SERPs

Studies suggest that long text consisting of 3K + words attracts triple the traffic and quadruple distribution. Moreover, backlinks increase by around 3.5 times compared to the average length of about a thousand words. By focusing on long-form content, you can achieve greater search rankings. Nonetheless, maintaining quality is essential, as shareable & appealing resources are the ultimate aim here.

Merely consolidate your material into parts with H2 and H3 subheadings, to make it more palatable. Subheadings are specifically important for mobile sites and you should relate to relevant and highly scoring authoritative sources. Finally, the material needs to be easily distributable. Include identifiable sharing links in the headline and even in the summary for easy user access.

SEO material template tools can optimise your content for search purposes. Enter the ranking criteria and look for suggestions on length plus semantically linked keywords for inclusion as well as intricate analysis of top-ranking pages.

#7. Featured snippets have become prominent

Designing long-term material isn’t the only aspect to improve Google rankings. Featured snippets (released a few years ago) are a prompt and concise strategy to shine. When inputting search criteria into Google, the box preceding the SERPs is known as a snippet,
A featured snippet is the ideal way to hit the first results page. This also reroutes most traffic away from competitors. Moreover, these uncover categorised details, typically as Q&A or a condensed manual. Rich snippets consist of images, star-ratings, product costs and so on. To write snippets, analyse query focused and relevant keywords. Google’s search feature ‘people also ask’ can help to generate further ideas.

#8. Predictive search is refining

How search predictions work on Google

Sporting nearly a billion active users, this independent page indexing ranks according to algorithms which evaluate content quality and user appeal. Although there’s no particular criteria, demographics, search history, app usage and schedules all contribute to this.

9. Effective SEO strategies need videos

Videos is here to stay, with over a billion YouTube subscribers and is projected to grow even further. Polish the video channel name and description to focus on themes.

Keywords remain important with the auto-complete feature, upon subject wise inputs and see what predictions appear in the search field. These are an array of suggested keywords, updating you precisely what are people searching for on YouTube.

#10. Image optimisation is now even more important in searches

Image searches have revolutionised purchasing products via ecommerce, sourcing information, etc. Structure alt tag annotation and optimisation ensures longevity as Google develops this functionality.

Good resolution and suitable images plus file name personalisation (as well as labeling) helps to identify respective content. Apply alt tags, for crawling to organise and add images.

11. Semantic related keywords are gaining more importance

SEO experts always focused on primary keywords but now the significance of secondary keywords has been established. Ascertaining semantic search and intent optimisation is an increasingly crucial factor. Instead of merely focussing on query strings, Google also analyses context now. Interpreting user search intent extracts further information via linked primary and secondary keywords.

Such tools and creating material for answering audience questions is vital. Aim to optimise material for subject groups instead of solely focusing on keywords. Deploy structured data when needed and keep it personalised.

#12. Sequence data and analytics for improved rankings

data and analytics ranking trend
Data science augments understanding buyers, visualising campaigns and creating targeted messages. Analytics verify the URLs being crawled, identify referral sources, measure page loading times, index pages, manage redirects, handle response errors, bounce rates, etc. This also excludes pages from crawling to index and (pointlessly) flag unique traffic sources, such as suspect spam sites (affecting your EAT worthiness).

SEO analytics can collect this data, including SEMrush’s SEO Toolkit which empowers you with the pertinent tools ranging from rank monitoring to competitive research, on-page and technical SEO, link building, etc. Keeping up with suchlike guides your strategy. This enables you to address problems and continuously enrich your online presence.

#13. Local search listings are important for SEO strategies

The internet is often seen as a global resource – which it is. Nevertheless, most people actually use search engines for local goods and services . Hence, local SEO is both developing and imperative too, as the frequency of zero-click searches rises as an accepted marketing practice.
A zero-click search means that the user question is intrinsically answered via a SERP. Therefore such users needn’t click on any ranked results. This increasing trend is courtesy of rising featured snippets. Most of these searches are local based, presenting the results on the SERP. How do you add your business into that local pack? Register a Google My Business page and establish a robust backlink profile. Check what kind of backlinks your competitors have for a better targeted understanding of everything.

#14. Local SEO become progressively complex

Just until recently, Google would have local business suggestions based on proximity to the searcher and demographics. However, this is now changing and focusing more on fidelity and pertinence. Now businesses have greater control on influencing their local rankings. What’s more is that Google supplies the provision to do so with their Google My Business (GMB) which continuously incorporates new tools within its listings. Posts can now be published, answer queries, add products and services, create bookings and even establish messaging pathways. This can all be achieved merely from the listings (applying the zero click search principle). These advancements have done away with the need to even access the intended site itself. Wow, right?! Well these are some other SEO strategies to try out…

Moreover, as the pandemic began, Google promptly ensured to add a greater variety of options to the GMB listings. For instance, you can adjust your operating status or hours, raise funds, promote gift cards and even apply settings to emphasise safety features. To exemplify further, Google permitted remote health based listings here (despite forbidding it before). SEO experts perceive this to be the inception of a potential overhaul of guidelines. You can optimise this by considering it as an extension of your original site (or a functional preview). Be sure to monitor reviews, posts, Q&As, etc.

By targeting local communities and following the SERP local pack principle, people can find answers to their questions easily. It also can promote local goods and services, reducing competition by offering better quality.

#15. Brand SERP Optimisation, Knowledge Graphs & Entities

Monitored brand SERPs and knowledge panels will become the accepted norm. Such detailed identity analysis, services offered and target audience will guide your future. Savvy marketers will familiarise themselves with this customised ‘knowledge graph’. Having access to details ranging from your search history, communication and social media forges a platform to do so. Google’s analysis of this process is essential.

Optimising your online presence (i.e. YouTube channel plus images) and Google’s listing of them is ideal. Currently your assets and how they function together on the SERP (along with your site) through multiple snippets is important. Understanding the intricacies within topics (entities and subtopics) and natural language processing (NLP) all boost Google’s rankings. This is needed to maintain pace with smart query analysis (now dominating conventional keyword research).

Google Discover is keyword agnostic, redefining optimisation via the knowledge graph API and its integration with subject layers. Initially tracking your brand’s ranking result, and subsequently producing quality content, means that you’ve nearly accomplished everything needed, as:

#16. Main Web Vitals & Page Experience Optimisation

Google is soon to introduce Core Web Vitals as a ranking criteria, later this year, hence page experience scores are now important. Without this, businesses do run the risk of competition. Insights by tools such as Lighthouse and Crux API that pertain to page load speed, mobile ergonomics, rendering, image optimisation and security frameworks require attention. Moreover, a page’s impact on the user experience is imperative (irrespective of site accessibility and analysis, as per search engine crawlers). Consider:

This will facilitate strengthening your anticipated frameworks with coding revisions as well as current interface plus conversion rates. Universal site accessibility with measurable UX performance vs competitors are also significant. Check and apply machine learning to access your material and eradicate any blips during such trials. Now you’re prepared to shine and get noticed by Google with a great site and entice all visitors too!

#17. Google’s BERT seeks corresponding intent

SEO Tips for maximising Google search rankings include observing trends and then following them. Information should be both meaningful and practical to users. Google has continually honed its algorithms to better interpret every user’s search intent for best results. Hence they released the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, (AKA BERT). This enables them to read a user’s motive and furnish site listings which address these issues. Hence try to cater for particular questions, rather than general ones which may lower your ranking.

#18. Google will go to greater lengths to satisfy the intent

BERT will localise the precise information you require, be it via rich snippets or otherwise. Create a featured one instead and optimise accordingly. Use FAQ schema and search access to maximise the potential of crawling. Knowledge graph panels, lists and tabular information formats all add to this. You can even skip to the precise written section or part of a video for the best outlook.

#19. Keyword research will be more significant

Now over half of traffic is zero-click searches, meaning that the actual sites are never visited! Owing to thorough results in the SERP (business listings with menus and contact details, featured Snippets with answers, linked questions with respective answers), people can find the information they need even without fully typing their question! Don’t forget though that this is subject to your site, ads, business profile and blog material containing such keywords as per search intent. With SERP advancements and rivalry, it’s essential to spend time in this to identify keywords which can drive traffic and sales for your business.

SEO Guidelines involve the following process. Simply discover the long-tail and targeted keywords for your enterprise. Be creative to source these and Google’s Search Console will help to find such distinctive phrases. It’s paramount to analyse SERPs for any specific keyword prior to selection. This specificity will form a robust tool for the same (albeit low volume). The key is perseverance and obtaining keywords which rank well to produce ROI by driving revenue streams, channelising money.

20. SEO influencers

Influencers have many followers who can become your customers upon presenting your ideas to them. They effectively endorse or advocate your products/services by entrusting their audiences over a long period of time. Their support can majorly drive your ROI, so much so that almost 90% of marketers are convinced that this strategy is equally effective if not superior to others. This is a smart SEO trend to follow.

The problem is selectively finding who or what you need from them, as not all influencers will actually be that helpful or even useful. You need to find those who add value to your brand by targeting specific audiences, justifying their need.

This is how influencer marketing works along with SEO:

Building links

Backlinks remain an imperative ranking factor, however not everyone works, as they need to be fidelity ones. This is where and when an influencer can assist, as they promote the likelihood of acquiring suchlike for your site.

Brand presence & engagement

Influencers have the market knowledge about audience preferences, hence their material creation will be linked to your brand and audience. This content is not only distinctive but also meaningful as well as helpful. Content that goes viral also inspires search engines to rank the specific post or page at a higher SERP position. This must be worth distributing though, otherwise it’s pointless.

Social media traffic

This forms an integral part of sharing viral content, generating plenty of engagement and referred traffic.

#21. Site security

With the advent of mobile devices and as technology continually evolves, site security is of increasing paramount importance. Even Google factors this during their ranking process. Such SEO trends are progressively imperative this year in 2021, as users become more savvy about associated risks in insecure environments. If visitors feel unsafe when visiting your page, they’ll cease revisiting and you won’t be able to retain them or even gain others. Consequently, your SERP rankings will also slip. Hence, you need to install an SSL certificate to safeguard your site and customer data exchanged/transferred over there. Even the plugins you use should augment this.

#22. Mobile SEO is everything!

Mobile user experiences are profoundly important nowadays, especially since Google has uplifted mobile versions as being the primary ranking factor (over the past few years). Hence, the ‘mobile-first’ approach takes full precedence for SEO strategies.

Research has revealed that mobile web access user volumes are increasing. Therefore, your site’s prosperity is directly related to and dependent on how well you optimise this according to mobile devices (as this is the mainstay of viewing or visiting your site). Promoting a great user experience and journey is the way forward, without which you’re bound to run into trouble!

#23. Automate further!

Considering the amount of SEO guideline related tasks which have now been automated since last year, there’s much scope now. Be it structured data generation, fidelity material or even traffic generation, the permutations are innumerable!

The sheer volume and quality of AI formulated content is set to drastically rise. This will impact search engines as they filter spam from the indexing process. Nevertheless, human intervention to ensure greater value for searchers will remain the aim to avoid any sanctions being imposed and maintain competitiveness. From an optimisation perspective, designing scalable tools by deploying automation will offer further choice for businesses. This practice is already underway and being applied with various features to update or revise sites. It’s akin to implementing another element whilst actioning your site functionality. This is certainly unwell.

The results are intriguing (especially for established experts within teams), as efficiency is driven and no need to deliberate over scheduling priorities. This allows users to concentrate on ancillary areas to enrich site functionality.

#24. Scalability for SEO

These SEO tips are imperative to stay ahead of the competition and fairly simple to follow:

1) Enumerate every task, process, and workflow which is frequently undertaken and decide which ones can be automated or managed by a tool. A notification protocol which tracks major modifications such as keyword rankings, URL cannibalisation, page content or URL edits and so on.

2) Establish SoPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for any remaining tasks which cannot be automated, to save time (instead of repeatedly revising the methodology).

#25. Engage customers with a brilliant user experience (UX)

Quality content isn’t the only aspect of creating memorable and engaging journeys for visitors – oh no. Site accessibility (convenient navigation) has become an SEO nightmare, especially with the advent and increased usage of mobile devices. It’s now essential to optimise all sites for mobiles (sorry webmasters!) Google pays much more attention to this now, compared to just a few years ago. If you consider Google’s position, it becomes apparent that they wish to encourage visitors to utilise their services as much as they can. Hence by improving your site ergonomics, you can establish a wonderful end-to-end trip.

Just imagine when visitors quickly abandon your site – Google then labels it as being immaterial. Consequently, your site’s SERP ranking would drop. Concentrate on ensuring that your site is ergonomic to use by paying heed to:

#26. Evaluate, adapt and apply

Businesses need to mould according to quickly evolving trends in order to remain afloat. Innovation is now more than ever key for success, as is identifying chances to improve (which may not be explicit). You need to take initiative and think critically about planning, development and being methodical to succeed. SEO strategies are essential to remain relevant and involve interpreting your target audience (instead of solely consumer activity). Analyse past trends by reviewing archives and then try to extrapolate on a live basis. Consider the financial, demographic and emotional aspects involved in search demand and link this to customer preferences. Deploy all resources available to really drive this (including tools and frameworks for an intelligence based approach).


The digital world is continually fluxing and so creativity is required. Designing stellar content is just one part of the success journey. Applying advanced SEO methods to fulfill the SERP criteria and persuade Google that your content is engaging for audiences is imperative. This will inevitably lead to a sustainable development cycle to grow your business.

About the author

Hi, I am Deepak Chauhan, a Digital Marketing Strategist. I’m the CEO & Co-Founder of VOCSO Technologies, a creative web design, development, marketing agency based out of India & USA. I love to blog about my experiences and strategies to help new startups. When I’m not working, I’m either traveling, playing foosball, cricket or learning photography.

Deepak Chauhan

Translate »