To say 2020 was pretty turbulent would be an understatement. From canonical bugs and algorithm updates to COVID-19, this past year has brought many challenges for SEOs worldwide.
Now that 2020 is (finally) drawing to a close, the Fibre team have been thinking about the year ahead and what could possibly lie in store. To kick off our 2021 predictions, our Head of Strategy Adam Adlkish shares what he’s expecting to see next year.
Adam Adlkish – Head of Strategy
Prediction: “As already stated by Google, UX will become more of a ranking factor in 2021, two areas that need special attention is First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). Over the years, Google have commented on these metrics, so their importance has always existed, their announcement in May 2020 signifies that their importance is now greater than ever before.”
Tell us more: In May 2021, Google’s Page Experience Update will launch worldwide. A combination of different ranking factors, this update will place a great emphasis on UX, of which page speed plays a significant role. Largest Contentful Paint and First Contentful Paint both measure aspects of page load time – the time it takes to load the largest asset on a page, and the loading time for the first asset, respectively.
Users can start preparing for the Page Experience Update now – take a look at our blog to find out how.
Edward Ziubrzynski – On-Site SEO Manager
Prediction: “I think that enhanced SERP features are going to become more important than ever when competing organically, and with ads on the results pages. Ensuring your key pages are effectively set up with additional Schema data will be a necessity to compete in 2021.”
Tell us more: The pressure for good organic rankings is mounting each year, as Google seemingly tries to draw people to paid search. Furthermore, the pandemic has left many businesses fighting for customers more than ever, and so they need to do what they can to stand out from the crowd – or the crowded SERPs, we should say.
SERP features and Schema implementation can be great ways to draw in organic traffic. Featured snippets, for example, give you a chance to show users what you know, presenting you as a leader within your industry. Schema on the other hand helps create more eye-catching search listings, making sure that your website shines. Optimising content for these SERP features would be an ideal way to kick off the new year.
Chloe Price – Head of Content Marketing
Prediction: “Plain, written content is no longer enough to keep a user engaged. When someone searches online, they expect to see valuable content that not only provides answers, but is also fun, interesting, and memorable. Incorporating visual elements is a great opportunity to show off your brand and capture your customers’ attention.”
Tell us more: There’s plenty of evidence which indicates that adding visuals to your content keeps readers engaged for longer, but with the amount of published content increasing rapidly, the need for them is larger than ever.
According to Ricky Wang, 84% of infographic users find them effective, while 53% of people said that video was the most useful form of content. So when crafting content campaigns, consider mixing up your blogs and creating multiple forms of media which can be easily shared – and keeps your customers reading.
Jamie Smith – Senior Search Specialist
Prediction: “We’ll see a much higher level of businesses shifting to an online presence. Due to COVID, businesses have had to adapt and learn to market in new ways. Many local businesses, who didn’t have an online presence pre-COVID, are going to continue to shift their focus online and really see the value in online marketing. GMBs will continue to grow in importance, and many national searches will become more localised.”
Tell us more: Many local businesses have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, and need to do what they can to survive. Google My Business offers a great opportunity for business owners, yet many are missing out on the effects of a great GMB listing.
Ensuring that all information is up to date, regularly posting photos and posts, and encouraging customers to leave reviews are just some of the ways you can show off your local business. But there is so much available to users – Google roll out new features often; in 2020 there were multiple additions, and we can expect to see the same in 2021.
Alice Wilks – Content Marketing Executive
Prediction: “With consumers becoming more aware and conscious of issues such as climate change, and social injustices (such as those which resulted in the #BlackLivesMatter movement) – more and more brands will want to tell stories about their core values and sense of social responsibility. They will want to show their audience that there’s more to them than earning a profit.”
Tell us more: In today’s digital-driven world, people no longer want to deal with faceless businesses. They want to know who they’re buying from, what contribution they’re making, and how they can make their customers feel good about themselves. To attract your ideal customer, you need to share your story.
The aftermath of 2020 will leave us all looking for moments of kindness and opportunities to do good, and this is where small, local businesses need to come forward and make their values loud and clear.
Laura Nicklin – SEM Executive
Prediction: “In 2021, I can see sites focussing more of their time on updating their current content, instead of trying to pump out new articles every day. By repurposing old content and making sure it is up to date and fitted with relevant keywords, sites can republish their most successful content and boost their organic traffic.”
Tell us more: Each month, 70 million new posts appear on WordPress alone. But how many of these topics are new content? It’s incredibly hard to come up with something ‘original’ these days, suggesting that people are putting more effort into what they’re pushing out. But, more so in 2020, businesses are busy. How can they find the time to create valuable content that is both fresh and engaging?
Repurposing content is a solution. If you have an article that brings in good amounts of traffic and is still relevant today, it’s worth giving it an upgrade. Maybe turn it into a video or infographic? Update the statistics and share them with industry-related publications? The possibilities are endless, and if it goes well, you’ll certainly see results.
To keep up to date with the latest SEO and content marketing trends, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you’re looking to boost your organic traffic and rankings in 2021, then get in touch to see how we can help.