If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t at the top of your 2021 marketing strategy, here’s a statistic you may want to know: SEO drives at least 1,000% more traffic than organic social media. That’s a return on investment you can take straight to the bank.
While SEO may not be as flashy as TikTok or as pretty as Instagram, it is a vital piece of any digital marketing strategy. If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of implementing SEO, it’s probably because it is always changing. As technology advances and Google gets smarter, SEO tactics must adapt in order to compete for the sacred top organic search results.
Google is rolling out several game-changing updates in 2021 that will impact how you should approach your SEO strategy. Here are the top B2B SEO trends of 2021.
It’s no secret that the majority of internet traffic comes from mobile users. That’s why Google will be moving to a mobile-first index for all websites by March of 2021. The term “mobile-first” is a bit misleading. Google will index only mobile content moving forward. Desktop-only websites will be dropped from the index, and Google will only index mobile versions of websites.
Google has already flagged a potential bug related to m-dot sites (e.g., m.example.com). In some cases, Google may not be able to send desktop users from the search engine results pages (SERPs) to the desktop version of your site. If your site is not mobile friendly, this is the year to invest in a responsive website optimized for mobile users.
Google’s E-A-T Score
Google’s E-A-T concept was first announced in 2014, and it will be a top ranking factor for 2021’s B2B SEO trends. E-A-T is a score that tells Google at what level they can trust you, your content, and your website. On a basic level, it provides a way for bots to vet websites across the internet based on three key areas: expertise, authority, and trust. The end-goal is to provide a better user experience for searchers.
- Expertise – shows your in-depth knowledge in your field’
- Authority – highlights your business credentials and experience
- Trust – shows that you are a legitimate, honest source of information
How can you improve your E-A-T score in 2021? Start by auditing your brand and existing content for E-A-T guidelines. Nix any content that doesn’t fit the bill and start linking to established sites that Google already trusts.
Page Experience Update
Starting in May 2021, Google will launch a Page Experience update that will evaluate page experience based on a set of signals: mobile friendliness, safe browsing (HTTPS), no intrusive interstitials, and Core Web Vitals. As part of the update, Google will be testing “visual indicators” in the SERPs to show searchers what quality of experience to expect from a page before clicking on it.
Core Web Vitals are a key aspect of this Page Experience update. These include loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
- Loading (Largest Contentful Paint) – the time it takes for a page’s main content to load, ideally 2.5 seconds or faster
- Interactivity (First Input Delay) – the time it takes for a page to become interactive, ideally less than 100 ms
- Visual Stability (Cumulative Layout Shift) – the amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content, ideally less than 0.1
Less than 15% of sites are optimized well enough to pass a Core Web Vitals assessment, so this will be a crucial SEO focus leading up to the May 2021 launch.
Google prefers in-depth content, and more importantly, so do your readers. In one SEMrush study of 700,000 articles, it was found that articles with 3,000+ words generate 3X the traffic and 3.5X more backlinks. As B2B buyers become more informed and savvy, they expect high-quality, in-depth information about your business before ever speaking to you. Long-form content builds trust with your prospects early in the sales cycle.
The optimal length of a blog post depends on the target keyword but is often more than 2000 words for SEO purposes. With that said, it’s important to make long-form content feel shorter to your readers by breaking it up with headings, bulleted lists, and imagery. Remember, consistency is key to outperforming your competitors. Aim for high-quality, long-form content that appeals to Google’s E-A-T guidelines and addresses the questions and concerns of your customers.
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Google’s Passages Algorithm
Among other updates, Google announced that it will be rolling out a new Passages Algorithm. Google is already good at finding answers to common searches in well-organized content that specifically addresses the question. However, the new Passages Algorithm will make it easier for Google to rank long-form content that addresses a question in a passage, within the context of a broader topic. It will also make Google smarter at ranking content that isn’t well organized.
So what does this mean for you? Google hasn’t been clear about how the new algorithm will affect SEO strategists and content creators. However, experts are making an educated guess that related keywords, semantic search, and searcher intent will be more important than ever.
Next on our list of B2B SEO trends is the continual rise in popularity of video and the ever-increasing importance of video SEO. With 2 billion monthly users on Youtube, video is set to be the most consumed content format moving forward. Already, 87% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website, and 89% reported a positive ROI. In 2021, video should be a part of your digital marketing strategy, and it’s important to optimize your videos for search engines.
When optimizing video, focus on a keyword or phrase that your customers are searching for. Optimize your channel name, title, and description for your keyword, but avoid keyword stuffing. Use an engaging, long-form script and include closed captions for hearing-impaired viewers or people who prefer to watch videos without sound. Publishing a transcript on the web page where the video is embedded also helps accessibility and is one of the most effective ways to generate more SEO value.
Featured Snippets and Structured Data
Featured snippets appear at the top of search results to quickly answer searchers’ questions with a short block of information. To create snippets, focus on question-based queries and relevant keywords. If Google understands what questions you are answering, they are more likely to display your content in a featured snippet.
Rich snippets are a type of featured snippet that include images, star ratings, and product prices to increase engagement and traffic to your page. Rich snippets are created with structured data. Structured data, in short, is the markup that helps search engines understand how to display your content. Schema.org contains a standardized list of markup that the major search engines have agreed to support. In 2021, Google is rolling out a Rich Results Test tool to replace their original Structured Data Tool, indicating that structured data will be crucial in the coming year.
Optimizing your structured data will be essential in 2021, as user-focused content like rich results and knowledge graphs will be common in the SERPs.
Tools like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Alexa have brought on a rise in voice search technology, especially in B2C markets. It’s also accessible to vision-impaired searchers, which is another reason why Google is evolving to cater to voice search. In fact, 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile, according to Global Web Index’s Voice Search Insight Report. Not only that, but smart speaker sales will surpass tablet sales in 2021.
When people use voice search, they use longer, more complete phrasing to ask questions, compared to the short-hand searches they would type into a search engine. For example, you might say, “Hey Google, what are the top B2B SEO trends for 2021?” whereas you might type, “2021 B2B SEO Trends” into a search engine. Google will continue to get smarter with long-phrase queries, so keep that in mind as you optimize your written content.
Are you ready to strengthen your SEO strategy? Contact us to learn more about Stratabeat’s Search Engine Optimization service.