As a B2B marketer, SEO must be one of the top focus items on your list. With the changing SEO landscape and upcoming updates by Google, it is important to keep up with the latest SEO trends to stay ahead of your competitors in the search engine space.
2021 is an exciting year for SEO, with some important upcoming updates related to page experience, BERT, and AI-search. In turn, failing to prepare your B2B website for these trends may result in a drop in your traffic.
In this guide, we have come up with a list of the top SEO trends that you should anticipate and prepare for in 2021.
1. Page Experience Update
Page experience is one of the most talked-about and significant updates that Google will roll out by June 2021. This update comes as a result of Google’s increasing focus on user experience while ranking search results.
Currently, Google is using a set of page experience signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitials to rank web pages. As a part of the latest update, Google will also add three core web vitals to the list.
Google’s core web vitals include the following:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP is used to measure the loading performance of a page. Specifically, it measures the page load speed as perceived by users.
- First Input Delay (FDP): FDP is used to measure the interactivity of a webpage. It represents the time taken by a user to interact with a page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS is used to measure the visual stability of a webpage. It measures how stable the visual layout of a page looks until it loads.
These core web vitals are important indicators of user experience offered by different websites. Google is adding these signals to their set of primary ranking factors, and other web vitals may also be added to the list in the future. Hence, as a part of your B2B SEO strategy in 2021, it is important to focus on your core web vitals to ensure the optimal user experience.
2. Greater Focus on User Search Intent
While Google’s emphasis on user search intent is nothing new, you can expect more focus in this area in 2021. As a part of Google’s AI search update, Google is planning to employ BERT for every single search query.
Essentially, BERT helps Google with Natural Language Processing (NLP) of the search queries to understand their context. Accordingly, Google uses BERT to understand the intent behind a search query better.
Hence, user search intent will have more importance in 2021. You can prepare for this by implementing intent categorization for keyword research. This can be done by analyzing SERP results to understand the user intent for each keyword. Then, you can then use keyword mapping to match the appropriate content with the right keywords.
3. Changes Due to Passages Ranking Update
As a part of the AI-search update, Google will also be rolling out the passages ranking update. This is an important update and may have a significant impact on SERPs. As a part of this update, Google will index passages around the web and not just web page content.
This will be done for very specific searches where users may find it difficult to get answers to their queries. As such, Google will evaluate the relevancy and context of a passage apart from the relevancy of the overall page. In turn, this will help users find needle-in-the-haystack information.
SEO experts predict that optimizing your content for semantic search, LSI keywords, and user intent might help you rank your passages higher than SERPs. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you create content that provides in-depth information and matches the right intent to the correct keywords.
4. Mobile-First Approach for All Websites
Google has been rolling out mobile-first indexing for the past few years. As of 2021, Google has announced that it would be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites. So, what does this mean for your B2B website?
The idea is the same – it is important to focus on improving the mobile version of your website. This means that you should always have a mobile-first approach while creating content or implementing any SEO strategies on your B2B site. Here are some steps suggested by Google that you should pay attention to:
- Use the same robot meta tags for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site.
- Ensure that you practice lazy loading best practices by Google for your mobile site.
- Make sure that the primary content on the mobile and desktop versions of your site are the same.
- Use mobile-friendly image and video formats.
- Make your site responsive to all screen sizes.
5. More Emphasis on E-A-T
Spammy content and misleading information have been a nuisance for users, especially in 2020 after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In times like these, when there is a lot of misinformation around us, Google’s E-A-T has more significance.
E-A-T stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. Google has been using these three factors for ranking websites for a while now, and the trend will continue to grow in 2021 as well.
There are many ways to improve the E-A-T score for your B2B site. They include publishing content written by expert authors, providing completely accurate information, and ensuring the security of your customers. In addition, improving your E-A-T score also involves building trust with your audience, promoting thought leadership on various platforms, and the list goes on.
The main focus of E-A-T is to go beyond the usual SEO protocols of on-page optimization and link building and focusing more on building authority through content. The more authoritativeness and expertise you showcase in your niche, the better your site’s rankings will be.
6. Trust-Building Through Influencer Marketing
As mentioned in the previous point, trust-building will be a crucial factor in SEO in 2021. If your audience doesn’t trust your content and offering, then your chances of ranking higher up on SERPs are bleak. For building trust with audiences, increasing numbers of B2B business owners are turning to influencers for help.
Influencers are individuals who have worked hard to gain a loyal following of people who trust and value their opinions. You can use this to your advantage by collaborating with relevant influencers who truly resonate with your offering and genuinely want to collaborate with your brand.
Moreover, features such as affiliate links, sponsored posts, and brand mentions by influencers can significantly enhance your SEO strategy in 2021. As a part of the E-A-T guidelines, Google has highlighted the importance of incorporating brand mentions and the trustworthiness of your brand. In turn, this can be achieved through influencer marketing.
7. Focus on Off-Page Brand Awareness and Authority
2021 is the year to look beyond the usual SEO practices and take a step further to build your authority in your niche. As a part of your B2B marketing strategy, it is important to focus on improving your thought leadership and building off-page brand awareness.
Instead of building low-quality irrelevant backlinks, 2021 will be the year when Google will rank B2B websites that showcase better brand authority through strong social signals and an authoritative online presence.
Creating off-page brand awareness and authority can be achieved through podcast mentions, and posting authoritative content on social media platforms. Moreover, this can also be accomplished by using influencer marketing, guest blogging on high DA sites, guest interviews, and user-generated content.
8. More SEO Experts Focusing on Video SEO
The popularity of video content has been on the rise for a while and is continuing to grow in 2021. This is why more SEO experts are leaning towards creating video content with a focus on SEO. In fact, a video marketing survey conducted in 2020 revealed that 92% of marketers agree that video marketing is an important part of their strategy.
Therefore, in 2021, you can expect growing numbers of B2B websites competing for video SEO. You can also hop on the bandwagon now to get great results in the near future. However, it is important to ensure that you create engaging, compelling videos that are mainly focused on adding value for your target audience.
You can take further steps to create engaging scripts, adding video transcripts to your web pages, and ensuring accessibility for your video content. Promoting your videos on social media channels such as YouTube and LinkedIn can give you the added benefit of improved rankings for your videos and brand awareness.
9. Increased Use of Structured Data
In 2021, you can expect structured data to be more crucial than ever. This is because user-focused content formats such as featured snippets, rich results, FAQs, and knowledge graphs will become more common.
Moreover, SEO experts will focus more on occupying more real estate on Google SERPs, rather than simply focusing on ranking number one. Using structured data the right way can help you claim more space on Google SERPs.
10. Voice Search Optimization for B2B
Smart assistants such as Alexa and Google Home are being increasingly used, resulting in the need for voice SEO. Currently, voice search queries are mostly used for B2C. However, B2B voice searches are also on the rise.
Hence, as a B2B marketer, it is crucial to incorporate voice search optimization in your strategy. Adding structured data, optimizing for long-tail keywords, and featured snippet optimization will help you rank for more voice searches relevant to your business.
11. More Websites Leaning Towards High-Quality, Long-Form Content
Another B2B SEO trend to watch out for in 2021 is more B2B marketers putting out high-quality content that mainly focuses on adding value for the users. This comes as no surprise since the last few years have demonstrated that Google indeed values well-researched, long-form content that covers a topic in depth.
A recent study of 1,200,000+ articles by SEMrush offers some interesting revelations about the length of top-ranking content. According to the study, articles with 7000+ words drive 4X more traffic and get 43% more shares!
This study makes it evident that to rank on top of SERPs in 2021, it is crucial to create content that covers a topic in-depth. Specifically, the goal is to create articles that will serve as a one-stop destination for all the information the user needs so that they will not need to hop from one SERP result to another.
This, of course, also implies that simply creating lengthy content by added fluff or inaccurate information would not be of much help to improve your website’s ranking. Such articles won’t offer a good user experience; they also won’t be shared as many times and would not generate high-quality backlinks.
12. Importance of Scalable SEO
2021 will be the year when the scalability of SEO will be given more importance. There will be new updates, strategies, and trends emerging in the SEO space. Accordingly, it is important to make sure that you make your B2B SEO strategy scalable with the help of the right tools, automation, and SOPs.
Preplanning the SEO tasks and workflows and using automation to implement them can be a great way to improve your SEO scalability. In addition, monitoring top pages and keywords, conducting frequent SEO audits, and fixing errors on time will help you maintain your search engine rankings even in case of unforeseen circumstances. Finally, having set SOPs in place and automating redundant tasks can also be useful to ensure SEO scalability.
13. SEO and CRO Becoming More Closely Knit
In 2021, you can expect SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to be more closely associated – meaning that working on one will help you achieve good results in the other. Google is turning SEO into a more holistic approach with more focus on adding value to the users.
Therefore, working on user experience, core offering, and building trust with the users will help you achieve good results in both SEO and CRO. Ultimately, Google wants what is best for its users, and thus, having a user-first approach to your marketing strategies will help you achieve success.
2020 was a year of unexpected changes for most B2B businesses, with many realizing that SEO can be a game-changer for the growth of their business. In addition, 2021 has many new trends and updates in store for B2B marketers. The trends discussed in this article will help you improve your search engine game and get higher up on SERPs in 2021.