What to expect from SEO in 2021: the updates we know about and the trends we are expecting.

What To Expect From SEO In 2021

Search Engine Optimisation is an ever-changing and evolving marketing platform, and 2021 will be no different. We’ll see plenty of updates from search engines such as Google that can bring about changes to how a website should be optimised. But, specifically, what should we expect from SEO in the next year? We’ll never know what the future holds, but like any Q1 blog we’ll have a good go at guessing anyway!

Page Experience

One thing that we know for sure is that Google will be releasing their Page Experience update by May 2021. For those that don’t know, Page Experience is Google’s latest addition for incorporating user experience into ranking signals and is widely seen as a consolidation of their already existing ranking signals. Page Experience is set to be determined by a range of vectors such as the website’s HTTPS certificate, mobile-friendliness and the Core Web Vitals which are a set of metrics to measure a webpage’s speed, interactivity and visual stability.

To explain Core Web Vitals correctly would take a whole different blog. Lucky for you, we already have one written! You can find out more about the Core Web Vitals and how they will impact SEO by reading our blog here.

Mobile-Only Indexing

Mobile-first indexing is where GoogleBot will primarily crawl and index your website based on how a mobile user would be able to view and access the website. This is nothing new and has been on-going since it was originally announced back in March 2018. By July 2019, mobile-first indexing was enabled by default for all new domains and was originally set to be default for every single website within Google by September 2020, however due to the global pandemic Google has decided to extend that deadline to March 2021.

This means that by March 2021, every single website discovered by the GoogleBot will only be crawled by the mobile bot – so if your website isn’t responsive for mobile users yet, you’ve not got long left to update your website before mobile-first turns into mobile-only!

Other Trends

Yeah, that’s it – we only know two things that are definitely going to happen to SEO in 2021. Now we’re onto the trends, the somewhat researched predictions we can make based on available data and how we think that data is going to changed in the next year. So let’s see what SEO trends you should expect in 2021!

Voice Search

Yes, for the 5th year in a row voice search is going to be one of the biggest trends in SEO again!

Joking aside, with the growing usage of products such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search is going to continue to surge and this is something the SEO industry can’t ignore. With voice search, it’s all about high-quality, relevant (not keyword spammed) content that is readable and can flow well.

Structured Data

We can expect to see more structured data and rich result types added to the search results in 2021. Last year, Google finally moved their Rich Results Test and (attempted to) shut down their old Structured Data Testing Tool. 

Structured Data allows for webmasters to give search engines additional information about the page, such as the author, reading-time, a relevant image, type of business, business information such as office hours and point of contact, recipe ingredients, reviews.. The list is almost endless. By including this additional information, some search engines can reward you by giving the page a rich snippet – these rich snippets will depend on the type of information you include and can have a big impact on your click through rate, even if your rankings don’t increase (which they won’t: structured data isn’t a ranking signal.) For example: by including information about your reviews, Google can choose to show your snippet with a star rating out of five based on the information you provide with the structured data.

SEO For User Experience

With the Page Experience update and the removal of desktop crawling, we can see there is going to be a big push by search engines to promote and reward user experience in 2021. With the rise of mobile searches over the last few years, search engines such as Google have been doing what they can to push user experience as some sort of ranking signal in order to force webmasters to optimise their website for users. This came in the form of making website speed a ranking signal, the release of the infamous Mobilegeddon update, the move to mobile-first (or mobile-only?) indexing and now the upcoming Page Experience update, which will be the first time Google will actually measure user experience by concise and public metrics: the Core Web Vitals.

We can reasonably estimate that in 2021 search engine optimisation will take greater strides in its evolution: no longer can you just stuff your keyword a couple of times within your content and build a few links to your website. Now you actually have to think about your users: do they find the content engaging? Can they access and navigate the website? Are we displaying different content to desktop & mobile users, therefore creating a vastly different experience? 2021 will cement the idea that user experience is a core part of optimising your website for better rankings in the search engines.