: 25th Mar 2021 : Lovetto Nazareth
A Definitive Guide to SEO in 2021: 12 Trends and Best Practices to Follow
A collection of the latest SEO Trends and Best Practices proposed by the best SEO Agency in Dubai
This blog underlines the top SEO trends and best practices used by the SEO Experts and, if implemented the right way, can drastically increase the ranking of your website in 2021. It also discusses key strategies to follow in order to tackle the ever-evolving algorithms.
Table of Content
- What is the importance of SEO?
- What is BERT?
- How can I prepare my webpage for the BERT update?
- How to focus on technical aspects of SEO and UI/UX factors?
- How to create SEO friendly UI/UX
- Why is it important to focus on the audience’s needs?
- What is mobile-first indexing?
- Is the loading speed of web pages important?
- How can I optimize the loading speed of my webpages?
- How to operate PageSpeed Insight?
- How can we improve the page speed?
- How to use video content for better engagement
- Is voice search important?
- How to create content for featured snippets?
- How to use link building for better ranking?
- What are the types of link building?
- How to tackle ever-evolving SERPs?
- What is social listening?
- Can guest posts help to increase the ranking of a website?
If you are new to the concept of SEO, you must be wondering if it is important for every business or only a few of them need it? you might also ask if it is really worth investing in Search Engine Optimization or if there is a way to get by without it?
Well, if you have these questions in your mind, this particular portion of the blog is worth your time and after reading it, you will have a better understanding of the importance of SEO. It is actually a way through which Google determines which sites deserve to be ranked higher on the search engine result pages.
Importance of SEO
SEO keeps the search results fair and square otherwise it would be really easy to manipulate the results in such a way that the site with the most links would be ranked number 1 when searched for particular content. Search engines have evolved and become sophisticated enough to monitor and rank content according to the value it delivers to the users.
The fact is that if your website doesn't show up somewhere on the first page, ideally in the first five results, you won't be getting a lot of traffic and you won't be able to achieve your goals. There is a reason why some websites rank higher in the search results and some don't. You have to optimize your site for readers.
Yes, your end goal is to optimize your site for readers and the first step for that is valuable content. Moreover, in addition to the readers, you must optimize your site for search engines as well so that it can be interpreted well by them.
This is where SEO comes in. The art of optimizing a website for search engines by focusing on a different aspect, for example, the website's authority, backlinking, keywords, and much more, is basically what SEO is.
Now that you have understood the importance of Search Engine Optimization, let's dive deep into the concept and find out what you need to do in order to rank higher in search results.
This blog will highlight some of the latest SEO trends and best practices that can skyrocket your ranking if being followed the right way. Another key reason to be aware of these trends is that Google algorithms are ever-changing and evolving and so do ways of getting ranked.
What worked five years ago doesn't work anymore. So, if you are stuck with old SEO techniques, you won't be able to get the best results that's for sure. You must evolve with the search engines and follow what is working currently. That is the only way to survive in a highly competitive market.
Here are top SEO trends and best practices followed by the SEO agencies in Dubai and around the world that can drastically increase your ranking in 2021.
1. BERT update by Google
What is BERT?
BERT stands for "Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers". This update was rolled out by Google in December 2019. With the launch of this update, Google has actually elevated the content game. Now Google focuses on the quality of the content way more than it used to.
It works by predicting missing words in the text. It is labeled 'bidirectional' because, unlike other models, it can read a text or a sequence of words at once without any direction or specification. Not only this, due to its bidirectionality, it can also predict and understand the meaning of each word based on its context hence representing a clear advantage in the field of context learning.
So, to sum it all up, BERT overall focuses on content quality, content relevancy, and user intent. Hence, is a better option than the previous models.
How to optimize a web page for BERT Update?Now that you know BERT update basically ranks the high-quality content with more meaningful context to it, here are a few pointers that will help you prepare and choose content for your webpage in order to level up your SEO ranking:
➣ Try to provide as relevant content to the query as possible. If your content is highlighted as 'the remedy to the sore throat', it should actually contain the remedy to a sore throat. Provide your target audience the information they are asking for and you'll definitely see the positive results.
➣ After the introduction of BERT, keyword density does not hold as much importance as it used to before. Only stuffing keywords will not level up your rankings. Now you will have to focus on your content more than ever. The context of your writings matters a lot now.
Moreover, irrelevant keyword stuffing can actually lower your rank because sophisticated algorithms of today will understand what you are trying to do.
➣ Now that the BERT update focuses on the phrases and sentences, it is really important that you back your site with relevant content to the questions asked by the searcher. Try to answer specific queries and tailor your content according to that.
2. Technical SEO and UI/UX factors
The technical aspects of SEO are as much important as the content in the website but a lot of people forget this fact and only focus on the written content which ultimately harms your website's health.
The overall experience of the user and the visual appeal of your website is one of the deciding factors. Not only this, it should be made sure that the design compliments the website structure. The ultimate goal should be to provide visitors with the best possible experience and keeping that in check.
3. Making SEO friendly UI/UX
Now that technology is advancing, you should too. Make sure that the content you are providing is user-friendly. The ranking is not only based on the type of content that you are providing but the technicalities and the user-friendliness are also considered.
The web page which is user-friendly and also provides quality content will be ranked higher than the web page providing quality content only but is structured poorly. So, be sure to cover all these aspects to deliver what search engines require.
Here are a few tips to make sure that your website has an SEO friendly UI/UX:
Check your bounce rate regularly and if you have a high bounce rate, try to figure the reasons for it. The reasons might include poor loading speed, unrelated keywords or it might be due to web page errors.
➣ According to The Rocket Blog Study, the perfect bounce rate for a site ranges from 26% to 40%.
Keep a check on the session duration of your pages. It will give you information about how long visitors stay on your page to get an idea about the activity of your page so that you can plan accordingly.
➣ Be creative with your headings. Come up with phrases and sentences in headings that create curiosity in the reader's mind.
➣ Keep your webpage organized. Invest time and effort in your site's navigation. Avoid complexity and confusion by placing a clear and descriptive navigation bar and by adding a search bar for easy access to content on your website.
4. Relevancy to the audience's demands and needs
With every upcoming update, Google is focusing more and more on the context of the content and the user's interest rather than stuffing the content with keywords. It does not work well with SEO ranking as well as driving conversions to your page. Now, people focus more on content quality and relevancy.
Here are a few tips to help you figure out relevant content for your website:
➣ Before coming up with any kind of content, identify your audience and their interests. Once you have figured it out, it will become easy for you to come up with quality content that is best suited to the interests of your visitors.
➣ Be very technical with your keywords. Place them in prime places and of course 'relevant places'. You can place them at meta descriptions, alt tags, and meta descriptions, etc.
➣ Use long-tail keywords too. Good content has a balanced ratio of long-tail and short-tailed keywords.
5. Mobile-first indexing for small screen users
What is mobile-first indexing?
In this Google update, Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your webpage for the ranking and indexing procedure. Before the introduction of this update, Google used the desktop version but ever since mobile internet has been introduced, most of the searches and browsing started taking place through the mobile sets.
So, it made sense that the WebPages be indexed and ranked according to their mobile versions. When mobile-first indexing was introduced in 2018, the AMP version compatibility was made compulsory in addition to having rich and high-quality content for a better SEO ranking than its competitors.
These few steps will help you step up your mobile SEO game in 2021:
➣ Page optimization is important to amp up your mobile page speed score. This can be done by implementing minified codes and leveraging reduced redirects.
➣ By using HTML 5, add special effects to your mobile page.
➣ Try to design responsive pages which are suitable for all kinds of devices. This will make for a good UI/UX of your webpage on mobile devices.
6. The loading speed of the pages
What do you do when a page is taking longer to load than the normal time of 1-2 seconds? You get irritated and close the webpage, right? Well, this is the kind of problem that we need to take care of to attract more users to our webpage.
Your first impression is what sets the groundwork for your future dealings with your client or buyer and if your page is slow then it sure won't display a good image of your business or brand. Therefore, you must optimize the loading speed of your WebPages.
How to optimize the loading speed of webpages?
You can optimize the loading speed of your webpages with the help of PageSpeed Insights introduced by Google developers to analyze your page speed so that you can work on it to make improvements.
How to operate PageSpeed Insight?
There are a few factors involved in this system that help you have a better understanding of your mobile page speed. They are:
➣ First Contentful Page
FCP is responsible for measuring the time taken by the browser to display the initial information of the Data Object Model (DOM) when a visitor navigates your page. It can be images, SVGs, etc.
➣ First Meaningful Paint
FMP measures the time which it takes for the system to display the primary content of the page to the visitor. It measures the time which it takes for the content to be displayed within the iFrame.
➣ Speed Index
It records the time taken by the content to be visually displayed to your user while the page is loading.
➣ First CPU Idle
It is regarded as the taken by the page to become interactive for the user. Wondering how we can tell if a page is minimally interactive? A page can be called minimally interactive when all the UI elements are displayed on the screen and the page starts responding to the user input in a short time. That's when we will know that a page is minimally interactive.
➣ Time to Interactive
TTI is the time taken by the page to become fully interactive. Now one might ask, what is a fully interactive page? A page displaying FCP measured content, responding to a user action in less than 50 milliseconds, and having event handlers registered for most of the page elements is regarded as a fully interactive page.
➣ First Input Delay
FID is the time calculated from the point when the user performs his first action to the time when the browser actually responds to that action.
Tips for increasing page speed
Now that you have a basic know-how of the above-listed metrics, you can understand these tips to improve your page speed better:
➣ Reduce the waiting time of the HTTP-response cycle by reducing redirects to your page.
➣ Find out your weak areas, for example, the slow routing and database query to improve your server response time.
➣ By using Content Delivery Network, distribute your content delivery load.
➣ Optimize your visuals to make sure that they are in the right formal and placed in the right places.
7. Video content for better engagement
As technology is progressing, people are switching more towards video content as it is a more convenient, explaining, and time-saving form of content. Therefore, it is a prime factor of marketing strategy. It is important to have good video content on your website that has a good storyline as well as the power to keep your audience engaged. It is a versatile form of content open to any kind of innovation to drive attraction towards your site.
Video content is considered an overall good option as it not only attracts conversion but also helps you show your product in action. Video content has a high ROI. According to a survey, 83% of businesses believe that video is a better option for driving good ROI.
This fact was backed by a survey that showed that there are 228.8 million video viewers in the U.S and this number is expected to grow up to 248.9 million by 2022.
8. The Era of Voice Search
With the advancements in the world and the introduction of artificial intelligence, several changes have been observed in the trends. For example, the introduction of voice search to the masses. Alexa, Amazon, Siri, Cortana, and Google are some of the real-life examples of this trend.
Even on daily basis, voice search has been introduced by many online platforms like youtube, etc. this number has only increased as the number of mobile users has increased. These facts were backed up by a survey conducted in 2019, according to which, 42% of the online population has used the voice search feature on their devices.
Here are a few tips to guide you through the process:
➣ Use natural language in your content, the one that we use in our daily life. It will make voice search easier for the user.
➣ Start introducing long-tail keywords to your content. Also, try to write long-form content as it has been observed that voice search questions are usually longer than the typed ones.
➣ Try to include correct addresses and locations on your webpage for the "near me" searches. In situations like these, you must have the correct structured data to avoid any kind of inconvenience to the user or searcher.
9. Get creative for the snippets
Snippets are an important part of SEO. If you want your content to be ranked as number one, you have to make sure that all the aspects to being perfect. You have to make sure your content reflects your consideration and hard work towards it.
To make sure your content is ranked at the top, you have to set a definitive pattern for the search engine to follow. For example:
➣ Make sure your content does not contradict its headings and titles. Relevancy of the headings and titles to the content is really important.
➣ Keep informed of the latest Google update
➣ Use proper and relevant keywords
➣ Good meta description
➣ Brand inclusion with SEO title
➣ Follow the search engine guidelines
By following these tips, you will be following the standards and structured markup recommended by Google for a better SEO ranking.
10. Link building for cracking the first page
No matter the year, link building has always been one of the most effective techniques to crack the first page. If you don't have strong backlinks, all other efforts to level up your SEO ranking will go wasted. According to a study, link building has been the top marketing technique since 2016 and SEO Companies in Dubai especially and around the world have been focusing on link building for better ranking.
Links are used by the search engines for two main purposes: to introduce and uncover new webpages or to determine the SERP ranking of the page. Through the link-building process, the search engine crawlers reach other webpages and from there they extract information and add them to their indexes. Then Google decides if the pages are informational enough to be ranked for relevant keywords.
➣ External link building
When other websites link to your website, it is called external link building. It is not as easy as it seems. It requires very good content along with patience and time as there are no shortcuts to scouring external backlinking.
If you are thinking about going the wrong way by buying your way to the top then let me stop you right there! With every new Google algorithm update, it is becoming harder to buy your way up there. There are certain rules to link building and they have only become stricter every year.
Internal link building
Internal link building is a quick and free way of getting backlinks, unlike external link building. The best thing about internal link building is that you have complete control over it. A few pointers to keep in mind while creating a backlink are:
➣ The most important factor taken into account by the search engines is whether or not, the links are correct and relevant.
➣ You must link your webpage to quality pages. Your internal links should have useful and meaningful information because the search engines check where you are sending their users. Hence, a very important factor in generating internal links.
11. Be prepared for the evolving SERPs
SERPs keep changing with every passing year. The SERPs introduced this year are different from what was introduced in the previous year. Some of the few changes include:
➣ Increase in the percentage of ad share.
➣ The increased importance of FAQs by Google.
➣ The increased importance of snippets and answer boxes in the SERPs.
In addition to all these changes, Google has also added carousels for video results and "top stories" and "Q/A in Google" snippet.
As newer features are being introduced on daily basis, it is becoming harder and harder to gain traffic through organic clicks. The new phenomenon of zero-click searches is going to prevail in the coming years. Zero-click search implies that the information is displayed in the snippet and the user will not have to click on the link to get an answer to his query.
So, new changes must be made to provide information to users on the SERPs themselves. Another evolving trend is of long-tail keywords. They are really important as voice searches are in trend these days. If you are planning on getting ranked in 2021, it would be intelligent to invest in conversational search queries.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that your strategies are flexible and can bear changes. To make sure that you are well informed of the latest trends, you can take the help of tools like Google trends.
12. Social listening and SEO
What is social listening?
Through the process of social listening, digital conversations and interactions are monitored with the sole purpose of brand perception evaluation and customer feedback. It also keeps a check on the direct mentions of your brand.
Not only this, it traces any kind of discussion relevant to your work. It can be as minor as a specific keyword or as major as a full-fledged discussion related to your work.
Now that we are clear on what social listening is, the main challenge here is to use it as an SEO strategy. There are a few ways we can use it for this purpose. They are:
➣ Hunt down all the unlinked brand mentions
As explained earlier in the blog, backlinks are here to stay. They will always remain one of the most effective SEO strategies.
If your brand is popular and has been in the market for quite some time, there is a huge possibility that it has been discussed or mentioned on different forums many times. All you have to do is hunt down all the link-less mentions of your brand and simply request them to redirect it to your website or mention your website with it. This is one of the most efficient and economical ways of gaining quality backlinks.
To make your hunt easier, there are many software and tools that can be used to find all your business mentions on the internet. Some examples include Awario, Brandwatch, and Talkwalker. These tools use Boolean Search Mode which efficiently locates all the linkless mentions of your brand.
➣ Search for guest post opportunities
According to the SEO experts, a guest post is also a very effective link-building strategy. It helps to build a solid brand reputation.
Social listening is great for finding link-building opportunities. By using social listening tools and by entering a few keywords on the tools, it will give you all the blogs with the mention of your brand and all the social media influencers related to your field and work line.
➣ Learn from your competitors
You can always learn a lot from your competitors. By keeping a check on where your competitors are getting backlinks from and which influencers they are associated with, you can build your SEO blueprint for the coming year.
These were all the latest trends being followed by SEO experts and best practices that can take up your SEO game by miles. Hopefully, this blog will prove helpful in your quest for ranking on search engines. If it all seems too technical to you and you want to focus on other aspects.
Many SEO agencies are working all around the world operating with the sole purpose of providing services to their clients so that it helps level up their SEO rankings. There are many SEO services agencies in Dubai providing remarkable marketing advice and strategies to businesses all around the world.
This is it for today's blog. I hope that it answered some of your burning questions and gave some strategies to work on. Do share your feedback and if you require assistance in ranking your website, write to me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you and Goodbye.