SEO is constantly changing, as the algorithms that search engines use to serve results to users are constantly changing to better tend to their needs. In the past, SEO used to be as simple as keyword stuffing — just jamming as many relevant keywords as you could into your site.
However, times have changed, and these days, getting your blog post, landing page, or product listing to the top of a SERP (that’s search engine results page) requires a few more clever tricks.
We’re breaking it down for you in this article. Here’s what you need to know about SEO marketing in 2021 — what’s important as well as what’s irrelevant.
What’s relevant in 2021 in SEO
This shift from keyword manipulation to advanced computer intelligence has evolved gradually, and with Google’s recent insert of the 2019 core search algorithm, the downfall of keyword SEO is slowly encroaching. Even though organic keywords are less helpful today than in years past, they still offer tremendous help to site owners looking to gain more interest. Rather than starting from scratch, the goal is to alter the way we think about SEO keywords so that we are accommodating the core changes in the algorithm.
To do this, content marketers need to help computers better process Natural Language, the term used to describe the ways that people speak and how computers understand what they’ve said.
It sounds complicated, but it’s actually extremely simple once we start giving computers more credit. In the early days of the internet, you would have to search for queries in very specific ways to get the results you wanted. You’d say, “Chinese buffet in x city” to find nearby results. Now, you just say, “top-rated Chinese buffet” and local results pop up for you anyway.
Essentially, how we search has changed, and with those changes, results have changed, causing the system to effectively process intention and qualitative subjects in ways that were not possible before.
Latest Trend: NLP
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the new norm when it comes to SEO-optimization. Companies are diligently studying English to profit better from their understanding of how we speak and how language is used to create search queries.
We already knew this shift from specific to general queries was happening. Siri, Alexa, Portal, Google Home… these products help people get what they want without feeling like they’re talking to a machine. Creating NLP systems is one of the tech companies’ greatest investments because of how productive they are for consumers and businesses.
The same need for artificial intelligence within search engine results has caused Google to rethink its process as well. The company’s biggest inventions on this journey have been RankBrain, (which makes it possible for Google to link pages to their concepts), and Neural Matching, which allows Google to link up words to related searches.
Why Does This Matter?
Other than the convenience that searching generally provides, writing with less specification means you’re more likely to rank with results that aren’t directly related to your content. In this way, you get the same boost as manipulating the metatag — without keyword stuffing. The process works because neural matching matches words to relevant searches.
Here’s an example. This background screening site lists its prices in ways that emulate how people actually talk. If you are someone searching for a background checking platform, what do you look for? Straightforward pricing. No strings attached. No subscription. These words are included for a very good reason: to benefit the search query results. Think smarter not harder.
So, what’s out?
Long-term content. Prior to 2017, those who wanted to climb the Google charts relied heavily on long-term content. Now, featured snippets provide a faster route to reaching the top. Snippets are located above the results, at the top of the SERPs. Snippets are featured first, which means traffic is stolen from competitors.
Focus on creating question-based searches while still being mindful of keyword placement. Google’s search feature, “people also ask” is a great way to find ideas for top-ranking queries in question form.
Video-free Blog Posts
YouTube has been around for a while, but the value of social media influencers has only grown in recent years. Video content is expected to surpass all other forms of content consumption, indicating that video is the way forward.
What’s no longer suitable for relevant search results is writing without additional forms of content. People are not nearly as interested in reading post after post as they are in watching a quick video or browsing images about the main ideas that you would have written about in an elongated blog post.
None of this should really come to much of a surprise, though. We live in a fast-paced world because of technology. Taking the extra time to read is not something that today’s younger consumers are willing to do.
Inconsistency in Content Reach
I know we just mentioned the importance of adding video content, but you still need to be aware of your audience. If you cater to older folks, an increased video may be unappealing. There are people out there who like to read, so decreasing your article content could be a mistake. You need to find a balance across audiences, so you produce content that everyone wants.
When it comes to search queries, think like a human, not a robot. Use these general terms to anchor your keyword inserts and allow the algorithms to work for you. The NLP designs are already working in your favour, as neural processing bridges your content with less relevant information.
Since you’re naturally going to be popping up in search results that you might not expect, focus your energies on other aspects of content marketing. Utilize videos, images, and quality article content to gain organic traction and relevancy. If anything, SEO application has only gotten easier in 2021. Take advantage of this ease and get to work.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, travelling and music.