How SEO and online marketing has changed in 2021

Oct 1, 2021 by
How SEO and online marketing has changed in 2021

2020 was arguably a year that catalysed more change than any other year in recent memory for all the wrong reasons. This year, however, has very much been a year of course correction for many, even in the world of online marketing, which has arguably seen its station rise as a result of COVID.

So, now that we’re comfortably into the autumnal waning period of the year that is and was 2021, can we honestly say that much has changed? Let’s put a few key trends under the spotlight and explore them further.

Mobile SEO

While a focus on mobile SEO might have been a consideration a couple of years ago, today it’s actually more important than desktop SEO. In fact, if you’re not optimising for mobile-first then you’re essentially living in the past.

Zero-click searching

A zero-click search refers to any query that doesn’t send you to a third-party site from an organic search. This will often come in the form of a simple snippet that answers a question at the top of the search engine that doesn’t require any further inspection. There has been not only a rise in zero-click searches this year but a rise in local SEO too, which makes sense given that most zero-click searches are local.

Voice search

We haven’t quite reached that point yet where voice search becomes the rule rather than the exception but that day could be close at hand. Conversation sampling is happening every day and AI is helping us march towards a world where answers are ready for us before we even start asking them. Voice search is the thing that’ll get us there and if you are one of the millions with an Amazon Echo or Google Home installed in your living room then you’re already doing your part.

More show and less tell

SEO this year has been more about context than content. Keywords and word count are simply not enough anymore – it’s got to be compelling and it’s got to not only focus attention but nurture it as well. SEO in 2021 is about more than just attracting attention and that means supplementing written content with contextually relevant video, graphics and even audio.

Pleasing agent SMITH

Google’s SMITH (Siamese Multi-depth Transformer-based Hierarchical, in case you were wondering) algorithm has been engineered to help the search engine better understand and rank longer and deeper content. It can also read multiple topics being featured on single pages, which means you no longer have to create different landing pages for different topics, if you don’t want to, of course.

Content with intent

Content needs to be curated with the user in mind, now more than ever before. Write about the things people are searching for and make your content more buyer-friendly. Conventional sales copy is going to get you nowhere in 2021. Be useful, be relevant and address specifics, where possible. SEO used to be about trying to outsmart the search engine but that’s not the case anymore. SEO in 2021 is all about focusing on the user. If you can do that then you’ll not only rank better but you might find you enjoy your job a little more too. Because nobody enjoys writing “guff.”