Search engine optimisation (SEO) has become the most widely adopted and reliable marketing strategy for businesses right across the UK.
These statistics show that 92.96% of global web traffic came from Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps. That 28% of Google searches for local businesses resulted in sales. Therefore it’s easy to see that SEO is a worthwhile investment.
But what’s making waves at the moment in this industry? What are the trends shaping how we optimise sites in 2021 and beyond?
If you remember, in the late summer of last year, we made some predictions about the SEO trends to watch out for as we approached 2021.
Now that we are actually in 2021, we can review what we got right, what we got wrong, and discuss a few surprises we’ve had along the way. Here’s an updated list of the top SEO trends for your Wirral business this year.
1. AI Heavily Influences SEO
As we correctly predicted, making your site AI-friendly should be one of your top priorities concerning SEO.
A good few years ago now, Google introduced its own AI algorithm, RankBrain, to deal with search queries it had never dealt with before. But by 2016, Google expanded it to deal with all search queries. It uses machine learning to continually learn more about the context and intent of a user.
So you need to ensure that you continue to optimise your site and content for Google’s AI elements by clearly providing what the user is looking for when they enter a particular search phrase.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords in the content will help, too, as it helps frame your content in a context Google machine learning algorithms can understand.
2. Voice Searches Continue to Increase
Another one we got right was voice search. More and more people rely on Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to search for products and knowledge online, speaking their searches instead of typing. To keep your Wirral business ranking high on Google (and other search engines), you will need to optimise content based on voice search as opposed to a catchy blog or article title.
For instance, rather than entitling a blog post “The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Power Drill For Beginner DIY Enthusiasts,” a subtle tweak to “Which Is the Best Power Drill to Buy As a Beginner?” could yield a lot more results.
Remember, most of the time, people using voice will be asking a question.
3. Implementation of Mobile-First Indexing for the Entire Web
Ok, so we cheated a little with this prediction as it was announced a few days before most of the world entered into regional and national lockdowns. But that meant its rollout was delayed somewhat, and Google pushed back the target of indexing the whole web based on mobile-first criteria beyond the initial target date of September 2020.
What this means for you is that having a mobile-friendly website is no longer optional or just “nice to have”. And this isn’t just merely adding a responsive theme to your website. It’s about genuinely designing your website with a mobile user in mind, rather than designing a desktop-friendly theme and trying to make it display correctly on a mobile device.
It marks a step-change in website design, and those without a mobile-first ethos will be out-ranked by websites centred on providing the mobile browsing experience possible.
But enough about the ones we got right, let’s take a look at a few of the surprises and trends that we didn’t mention in our predictions made last year.
4. Page Experience Update Arriving in May 2021
One that escaped our attention was a large scale rollout that wasn’t announced until the late embers of 2020. After focusing so much on user intent for so long, Google’s next target is user experience. Those with easy-to-use and enjoyable websites will soon receive a boost in their ranking efforts.
The Google Page Experience update will arrive in May 2021, and those websites with an excellent page experience will even have a label displayed in search results. Make sure you focus on removing anything on your website that could annoy your visitors or deliver a poor experience.
For instance, it’s time to throw out any annoying pop-ups that take up the screen and stop a visitor from heading where they want to on your site. Navigation menus also need to be straightforward to understand and easy to use. An excellent way to get feedback on page experience is to have someone use your website and report any annoying features or functionality that they wished your site had.
5. Image and Video Optimisation Increasing in Importance
So-called “visual search” is taking on an ever-increasing role in SEO performance. E-commerce websites, in particular, need to factor this aspect in their optimisation efforts.
Product carousels are taking up more and more search results. If you don’t have the schema in place for Google to pick up your images and videos, then you’ll lose sales to those sites that have fully embraced the Google shopping feed.
But informational websites can benefit too. For example, how-to articles with plenty of photos are much more likely to win the snippet at the top of search results, increasing the number of visitors coming through to your website.
Get Help from the Wirral SEO Experts with Ctrl Alt Create
Here at Ctrl Alt Create, we are continually keeping abreast of the SEO industry’s latest developments. We use that knowledge to implement the latest and greatest techniques to improve your website’s search positions.
We don’t make your head burst with jargon. Instead, we explain the work we carry out in simple terms to keep SEO accessible to you and your business. We then keep ourselves accountable by delivering regular reports of your SEO performance.
So if you want to increase the number of visitors to your website, contact us today to find out how we can help your Wirral business to benefit from the latest SEO trends.