Did you know Google has over 3000 algorithm changes that they release each and every single year? That’s a lot of algorithm changes. You already know SEO changes so frequently because of the number of algorithm changes that Google releases. Now sure, most of them are small but these large ones can have a massive shift in your rankings. So how do you prepare for it in 2021? What else is going to change in 2021? When I first started doing SEO, it was literally just as simple as adding keywords to your title tag or within the text of your content and you could rank on page one. Seriously. That’s how easy it was. And it was that way for a few years. And then eventually you would need to do things like On-page SEO, and then eventually you would need to do things like building links, but it was really simple. These days, there really isn’t a Holy grail of SEO and although some people are claiming SEO is dead. It isn’t.
And there are a few things that you need to know and be prepared for in 2021. The first thing you need to get used to and this is the first trend is that your rankings are going to Seesaw. Even though Google releases a lot of ranking changes each and every single year, the thing you need to know is when they release the major changes, your rankings will either go up or down. Sometimes they stay the same, but a lot of times you’re just seeing them go up or down. If you do the right things, it doesn’t mean that your rankings are always going to go up into the right. Sometimes they still go down. But if you do the right things and you continually put the user first and you’re doing all the right SEO stuff, typically, if you fast forward a year from that day, your rankings will be up. Your traffic should be up as well, but you need to get used to them seesawing and be okay with that.
That is going to be the new normal. Trend number two, the positioning will be more important than ever and that first spot is going to be the Holy Grail in which that’s what you need to shoot for and aim for. It’s going to be really hard to get there. It’s not going to be that if you build more links than your competitor that it’s going to shoot you up to number one. Things like user metrics are going to matter. But the reason I say position one will be more valuable than ever and this is what we all are trying to aim for is because, with Google constantly making new changes, such as being able to get mortgage rates whenever you search or the weather, all these types of changes or even potentially being able to purchase tickets when you search, right, for travel, all these things can affect your revenue.
So if you rank lower and lower on page one, what you’ll find is you’ll get fewer clicks. And most people say, “Hey, I want to be in the top 10 spots because if I’m in the top 10 spots, I’m on page one.” For a lot of queries out there, there are not 10 spots on page one. There’s no such thing as every page one listing of Google has 10 organic listings. That has changed. For some queries we’re seeing it, only seven or eight or nine queries or listings, right? So you want to take that top spot because they’re putting in other stuff that decreases traffic. Now it doesn’t mean SEO is dead. There are still more and more people coming online, more people using Google, more people searching, so you can still do well if you’re in position two or three or even on page one. But number one has a massive, huge difference from being on number two or number three or number four even if it’s still on page one.
Trend number three, user experience is now SEO. Google has something called pay to have experience which you know, they’re rolling out on mobile devices and more people are using these mobile devices that a cartoon hand is holding up than desktop computers. So if you want to do really well, you need to optimize for mobile. And I’m not just talking about page speed or your links or can people read your site on mobile or is it loading fast? I’m talking about the overall experience.
How’s your mobile experience compared to other users? Are they finding what they’re looking for right away versus the competition? Are they able to scroll quickly and understand the product that you’re selling or consume your blog content on a mobile device versus having to go to a desktop computer to consume your content? Heck, I don’t even care if you’re in B2B, your content needs to be consumable on a mobile device. And that’s super, super important. If you don’t optimize for experience, you’re going to lose in the long run.
Trend number four, the riches are going to be in the niches more than ever, especially with SEO. And here’s why. If you look at about.com, big company big brand, but yet that business was floundering. They weren’t doing well. And then eventually they ended up breaking into a handful of sites and then they even broke it into more sites. The reason they broke it into a handful of sites is they started focusing on niches. They deleted the majority of their content. I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pages of content. When they focus on niche-related sites, not only did their traffic go up, their revenue also went up. You need to focus on building niche sites. It’s not about building a Wikipedia-type site. If you want to do that, that’s great but because there are over a billion blogs and a ton of sites and a ton of competition, they want to rank authority sites more than ever and it typically, from what we’re seeing is people who focus on one niche tend to be better, well versed around that niche, not always the case, but in many cases.
And they tend to be more of a quote-unquote authority. So in the long run, they end up ranking better because they go more in-depth on each and every single one of those topics. Trend number five, content length won’t matter as much. I’ve given in this example so many times. If you see the chart below, you’ll see that everyone talks about it, if you want to rank, you need over 2000 words and I get that.
Yes, content can help you and for any queries, the pages that rank at the top have over 2000 words, but it doesn’t mean you need to create 2000 word articles. If you want to rank for how to tie a tie, do you really think someone wants to read a 2000 word article versus seeing an animated gif teaching them how to tie a tie or a video? Get to the point with your content. And when Google started releasing things around user experience within their algorithm, things like content length became less important because they know if a user just bounces away, even if you have 2,500 words, they know it’s not that valuable and your rankings are going to go down. So don’t obsess about word count or keyword density, obsess about the quality of your content and are you getting the user what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Trend number six, you won’t have to build as many backlinks. With things like user metrics that are really kicking into high gear, we’re seeing is that if you build too many links too fast, it actually takes you longer to rank and can hurt your rankings. So it’s better off just releasing your content, not building links and letting it happen organically.
And then over time, sure do the manual outreach, but let your content sit there for three to four months before you even start that manual outreach. And when you do that, we’re seeing that the rankings are climbing up faster and higher than if you were building tons and tons of links from day one. It’s just not as organic. And I’m not saying you’re buying links. You should never buy links. You should never try to break their policies or at least Google’s policies. More so, what you need to do is just be slow and patient. Taking that slow and patient route, funny enough, is getting people rankings faster than if they’re taking an impatient quick route of building links right away. Trend number seven, branding won’t be enough.
Remember about.com? Everyone knows about about.com, a popular site, but yet when they had that big brand, they weren’t ranking for everything. Why? Because Google really wants people to be an authority within the space. So building a brand and following the rule of seven where people interact and see your brand seven times, yes that can help boost your rankings, but it’s not enough. You need to be an authority within your niche. So make sure you go and focus on being the end-all, be-all expert within whatever niche you’re in. Now here’s a bonus trend for you. We’re seeing that businesses are going to have to start thinking about global SEO from day one. SEO is no longer a hey I’m in the United States or I’m in the UK or I’m in Brazil or Australia and I’m doing business.
It’s hey, I’m doing business and I want anyone in the world to purchase from me. So from day one, you need to start thinking about global SEO as your strategy instead of just SEO within your region. And you’re going to have to look at things like translations and especially updating and repurposing your content in all of these regions as well. And as you can see from the survey data that we did with all our customers, translations are causing the biggest boost in traffic.