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Table of Contents:
- SEO predictions for 2021 – what were they?
- SEO forecasts – what is already working?
- What forecasts have not come true, and which ones can only come true?
- SEO Trends – What’s Important Now?
- The most important changes in SEO for 2021
- How to position in 2021?
Positioning is an area that is constantly developing dynamically. If we care about effective activities in this area, optimizing the website in accordance with the latest guidelines, we must follow trends and news related to SEO. Those interested in the subject certainly hear about forecasts and visions about changes that we can expect in the near future. What were the predictions for SEO 2021? Did which of them turn out to be hit?
SEO predictions for 2021 – what were they?
2021 positioning in the eyes of specialists is both new opportunities and potential threats. What did those who observe this field every day expect? Here are some predictions worth looking at.
Even more relevant search results
It is predicting, among others Barry Schwartz – CEO of RustyBrick and founder of Search Engine Roundtable. Schwartz points out that we have recently seen significant progress in understanding the content of inquiries, including due to the implementation of the BERT algorithm, i.e. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. According to him, 2021 will be still very exciting in this respect, the possibilities of precise internet research will continue to increase. Schwartz is not alone in making such predictions. Many people specializing in SEO pay attention to the key role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in an increasingly better search system.
UX more important than ever
Lily Ray – SEO specialist at Path Interactive in her comments draws attention to the special importance of user experience, including Due to the Core Web Vitals update scheduled for May, which will mean that in the assessment of a given website, its “vitality”, i.e. speed, visual stability and interactivity, will be the most important factor. According to Ray, actions in this area will be a key trend that we will observe in positioning in 2021.
The key adaptation of the website to mobile devices
Adam Rowles – founder of Inbound Marketing Agency, in turn, notes that we now owe approximately 50% of Internet traffic to mobile users, and that this percentage is constantly growing! Therefore, working on the responsive layout of the website, its speed, and full adaptation to the correct display on computers as well as smartphones or tablets becomes absolutely necessary if we want to develop a professional and effective website.
Create content with the intention of going beyond keywords
Melissa Fach – senior SEO specialist at Cox Enterprises predicts that although keywords are still important to Google, focusing on more and more precision in search results means that content usability, value and quality will be what counts above all, proper organization, etc. SEO specialists and marketers should be guided primarily by the needs of the target audience.
Google Web Stories will provide new opportunities
This year, Google has launched the so-called Web Stories. According to Julia Enthoven – founder and CEO of Kepwing, this will have an impact on SEO 2021. The new, interactive, visual story format appears in organic search results, so it has a chance to become one of the trends in the latest SEO.
Instagram will become more SEO-friendly
Vanessa Lau, founder of BOSSGRAM Academy, reminds that in November 2020 it was officially announced that Instagram will become more search engine friendly (including allowing searching not only through hashtags, but also keywords), so it is not worth it as soon as possible take advantage of new opportunities in this area and focus on possible optimizations.
SEO forecasts – what is already working?
Google update from December 2020, the so-called Core Algorithm Update proves that SEO predictions for the evaluation of content that primarily meets the expectations of users will work. The authority of the website, the precise matching of the content to the queries, the appropriate information architecture and professional knowledge are already more important. So if we are wondering how to create effective content in 2021, it is worth first of all to focus on their usability and uniqueness, follow the EAT standard (Expertise, Authority, Trust).
Voice search is gaining more and more popularity, as well as the so-called zero-click searches results (Google searches without clicking – the user deems sufficient information that is displayed in the highest position in the results), the number of users who use the Internet, primarily using mobile devices, also invariably increases, also predictions that focus on user experience and mobile usability issues certainly have a grain of truth in them. Not only changes in algorithms, but also user habits indicate the direction in which SEO is developing.
What forecasts have not come true, and which ones can only come true?
We still have a lot of time to find out which visions about positioning were the most accurate. Certainly, a lot will be explained in May, when the introduction of the new Core Web Vitals ranking factor is planned. What exactly will this change involve? The following will count for the website assessment:
• LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – time needed to load the largest page element (text / graphics / video);
• FID (First Input Delay) – first input delay, ie the reaction time to the first, finished user action;
• CSL (Cumulative Layout Shift) – visual stability of the website in relation to its unexpected shifts;
Core Web Vitals is another proof that what matters most for Google is the usefulness of the website and its quality in the eyes of users.
It is also worth following the impact of Google Web Stories – the fact that they are displayed only on mobile devices can be of key importance (after all, not every target audience uses a smartphone or tablet).
What about local positioning? Multi-channel communication and online sales? How will further SEO automation progress? There are really many questions that we can ask ourselves about future positioning. At this stage, one thing seems certain – focusing on SXO, i.e. Search Experience Optimization, seems most appropriate.
SEO Trends – What’s Important Now?
Modern SEO continues the trend from previous years and focuses more and more on comfort and meeting user needs. Analyzing search results and searcher intent is not a new concept, but it is becoming more and more important. For some time now, Google has been trying to improve algorithms, thanks to which it can submit results from trusted sites with valuable, expert content above the rest. Sites that do not meet the standards of EAT (Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness), as well as the so-called Core Web Vitals, are at a loss here. This means paying even more attention to the efficient operation of the website, increasing user safety and switching to the creation of content tailored to his satisfaction, not only for brand promotion. There is no doubt that the combination of SEO and UX strategies will become even more important this year and the future. It is not possible to enter positioning in 2021 selectively, focusing only on one of the areas of e-marketing. Changes to algorithms and guidelines necessitate a more comprehensive approach.
The most important changes in SEO for 2021
When it comes to positioning this year, you should be aware of two significant changes in Google’s algorithms that will significantly affect the websites existing on the Internet.
Page Experience Signals
The changes to Page Experience Signals planned for May 2021 will be of great importance. They consist of many indicators that affect determining the ranking position of a given page. Most of them have been known for some time and successfully implemented in SEO strategies. These included the website’s compatibility with mobile devices, the absence of viruses and harmful content, the presence of the encrypted HTTPS protocol, and the absence of intrusive pop-up ads forcing interactions with the user. The Core Web Vitals mentioned above should also be added to them. This name covers the loading speed of the main page element, the speed with which the user can interact with it, and visual stability. The latter indicator is responsible for shifts in the layout and content of the site as it loads. All these elements have already been applied before, but after the update planned for May, they will be incorporated along with the rest of the UX related indicators into the Page Experience signals. It is expected that websites that meet these guidelines will be additionally visually marked by Google in search results.
Site indexation priority in the mobile version
For years, Google has been trying to encourage the creation of websites compatible with mobile devices. Most of the traffic on the Internet has shifted to them, and the computer is no longer the basic equipment for surfing the web. The problem, however, is that often the mobile versions of the website have less content than the desktop versions and are created carelessly. This is associated with slower loading times, poor quality graphics, incompatible meta tags, and other errors. Until March 2021, page builders were able to set mobile indexing precedence as an optional option, but this will now be the default. This means that when Google bots enter the site, they will first check the existence and quality of its mobile version. It somehow requires that this element be better refined and its level harmonized with that what computer users get. In this change, as in the updates planned for May, there is also a tendency to improve UX standards.
More competition – the smaller aspects are key now
As a result of the events of 2020, many businesses began to enter the online world to a much greater extent. For this reason, the competition for high ranking positions has become much more demanding. In a modern SEO strategy, this should be borne in mind and focus on the previously neglected details of positioning. It is the difference in addressing these smaller aspects that can make your page more visible. What is worth refining?
Including structured data in your page’s code and creating so-called “rich snippets” is something worth having. They make it easier for users to find the desired content, thus increasing click-throughs and traffic, and are supported by Google.
Content without text
Due to the growing competition and the exhausting stock of key phrases, text-based positioning becomes more and more difficult. More and more websites focus on creating diverse content. Examples include very popular infographics and videos.
Search … Voice
Including voice search is certainly not the first thought of most people looking to position their site. However, as the share of mobile devices in searches increases, so does the number of people using voice assistants. It is felt today and will certainly be even more important in the future.
How to position in 2021?
SEO in 2021 is user-friendly positioning. Significant changes to the algorithms clearly show that the direction in which the industry is heading will be UX-oriented. Keep this in mind when planning each step of the strategy. In addition, due to the pandemic and the resulting increase in online competition, it is worth taking care of previously overlooked details that can be optimized. Their importance is huge today and it is worth distinguishing them!
Appropriate website structure, errors on the page, correct URL addresses – such issues significantly affect the effectiveness of positioning, therefore the skillful creation of redirects on the website should be one of the important elements of the positioning strategy. However, you should remember about moderation – the lack of redirects is a serious problem, but their excess can also weaken the website. Correctness and optimization of implementation are important in developing User Experience. The smoother, more convenient and easier a given user browses a website, the more time he or she will spend on it and the more likely to return to it. Redirects affect not only website traffic, but conversion as well. Consider online stores – each time a potential customer encounters a 404 error, the chances of it being that he will decide to continue browsing the assortment and the final transaction. It is worth regularly monitoring the operation of the website and checking if all redirects are functioning flawlessly, then we increase our chances of quickly detecting any errors and fixing them before it has a negative impact on the operation and effectiveness of the website.
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