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Habefast | Blog
18 December 2020 - Reading time: 12 minutes

Natural Search Engine Optimization: what SEO trends for 2021?

Habefast Blog Article Trends Seo 2021

In this article, we are going to approach the various good actions to set up in order to optimize in the right way the natural referencing of your websites. Then, we will study the trends for 2021, in addition to the old trends that must be taken into account. We will also talk about the consequent update of Google’s algorithm of May 2020.

May 2020 Core Update, what is it?

The May 2020 Core Update was deployed on May 4th in the specific context of Covid-19. It is an update made at the heart of Google’s algorithm about how to use websites and how to search on search engines that has greatly evolved for Internet users. It therefore affects the ranking of pages in search engines, including Google. The update has taken place in order to make the search results as relevant as possible to individuals’ searches. This means that this update is very much focused on updating search results.

The effects of this update are diverse. It can indeed have an impact on everyone’s websites. It is a very impactful update.

With the May 2020 Core Update and in order to counteract the changes in the positioning of your website in search results, the idea is to improve its content and feed it on different criteria.

How to measure the extent of the update and how to verify the proper optimization of natural referencing?

First and foremost, you may have seen an increase or decrease in organic traffic compared to the previous period with Google Analytics as well as in the Search Console. Under no circumstances should you panic about the results you might see. You should analyze the positioning of keywords to see if performance has been directly impacted. Also, do not hesitate to use SEO monitoring tools to help you inspect the different indicators.     

Once the analysis is done, the objective is to focus on the pages of the impacted sites. Under no circumstances should you modify the pages already referenced in a hurry, but rather plan long-term actions to be put in place to reverse the trend.

How to improve your natural referencing on Google? What are the SEO 2021 trends?

Currently, for a successful SEO optimization, it is necessary to set up, in its marketing campaign, a SEO plan based on best practices and trends related to natural referencing. The success of a company today can be very strongly correlated with the visibility of a company online.

Google, as well as other search engines have announced major changes in the way websites are ranked during the year 2021.

Why is SEO optimization essential?

Some 70-80% of users focus exclusively on organic results and ignore paid ads. In addition, some 28% of these searches are converted and result in a purchase (source: Semrush).

Even if SEO techniques are not exactly the same as they were 10 years ago, it is still possible to rank well in Google. The mechanics is much more oriented towards the human aspect rather than the purely theoretical. The user experience (UX) is the quality of the user’s experience in a digital environment, it can be measured during the course of a web page or an article by a user.

How does Google work in the ranking of websites?

More than 200 factors play a role in Google’s website ranking. PageRank is the algorithm used by Google to quantitatively measure the degree of popularity of a web page. It is therefore necessary to obtain a good score of the algorithm: the higher this score is, the more traffic to the website concerned will be important.

To measure the PageRank of your site, Google analyzes the content and compares it to other sites. When your site seems to satisfy Internet users the best, your site will be pushed up and will be able to get a better place in search results compared to your competitors. The PageRank is therefore the determining element whose main function is the relevance of the site’s content, hence the importance of the content of your website. SEO indicators in 2021 will consider how many sites redirect to yours. The more quality sites point to yours, the more you will be considered as a reference. It will therefore be essential to set up an ambitious netlinking strategy if you want to maximize your chances of improving your SEO.

Not all information related to the operation of the PageRank algorithm since 2016 has been formally published. This is why it is important to contact an agency that is an expert in natural referencing in order to best optimize the actions that will optimize the indexing of your site. At the same time, you will maximize your chances of developing the quality of your site on different SEO levers which will allow you to target ambitious positions in SERP (=Search Engine Results Page).

How to get a good SEO score in 2021?

Google takes pride in the quality of the user experience on its platform, so you need to have the best possible quality content. Loading time will also be a very important factor in SEO, as it is one of the pillars of a positive or negative user experience depending on its duration. There are also many trends to follow regarding the optimization of natural referencing in 2021, we will discover them.

SEO trends 2021

  • Local referencing

    When people think about the internet, they often think about its global nature. The fact is that most people use search engines to find localized goods and services. For example, they may search for a neighborhood restaurant. Local SEO is important – and it is evolving. This evolution is partly due to the rise of “zero click” searches – which some SEO marketers call the “new standard”.

    In a “zero click” search, the response to the user’s query is provided by SERP itself. The user therefore does not click on any of the ranking results. One of the reasons for the increase of “zero click” searches is the increase of snippets. Many “zero click” searches are local searches that display the SERP results in what has been called a “local pack”.

    The local search helps entice potential customers to search for a local product or service. Local searches account for over 65% of online searches. You should therefore optimize your website for local searches. Google will give priority to local businesses in 2021.

    To optimize its website for local searches, it is necessary to :

    • Update its Google My Business page
    • Create local landing pages for local areas
  • Google My Business

    You need to update your profile on Google My Business since the listing plays a key role when Internet users search for offers locally.


  • Mobile optimization

    The mobile is the preferred device for searches. More than 85% of people use their phone to perform searches.

    In 2019, Google introduced Mobile-first indexing, which means that the search engine mainly looks at the mobile version of a website, considering it as the “primary” version instead of the desktop version. This change is logical, given that nearly 73% of Internet users will access the Internet only via mobile devices by 2025 (Source: Seoquantum). Check the efficiency of your mobile site thanks to Google’s free test on cell phones. Then take a look at the report on “mobile usability” in the Google search console.

    To make sure your page is user-friendly, you need to make sure that Google can crawl your URLs, so make sure there are no “banning guidelines” in place.

    Also, make sure Googlebot doesn’t load content that requires user interaction, such as clicking or dragging. Finally, make sure you use the same meta-boot tags on both desktop and mobile sites.

    Google has announced that by 2021, all sites will be indexed on mobile first. If your website is not optimized for mobile, the ranking of the website in search results will suffer.

    In + :

    The website must load quickly on mobile. Internet users hate waiting and want results as quickly as possible.

  • Artificial intelligence

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way people interact with online content. Google’s AI algorithm is particularly noteworthy. Unveiled a few years ago, this algorithm – called Rank Brain – plays an important role in Google’s ranking factors for search engine results (SERPs).

    So the big question is how to optimize your search engine optimization for Rank Brain?

    Although the search engine giant does not share the details, experts believe that user experience signals are the main determinant. These can be factors ranging from the click rate to the time spent on the page. You need to captivate and engage readers with useful and well-organized content. A page SEO checker can help you assess the page’s strength based on such things as readability, backlinks, and more.

  • The content

    Google has reiterated that the quality of the content is critical to the success of the ranking. Refer to the EAT principle: expertise, authority and reliability. These factors determine whether a web page has quality content that provides real added value.

    You can perform analyses on search intentions, which helps you trace the consumer’s path. Use this information to create content that matches the format your users prefer.

    According to SemRush’s State of Content Marketing report, long reads of more than 3,000 words get three times more traffic and four times more shares than pages with less content. They also get 3.5 times more backlinks than articles averaging 901 to 1,200 words in length. Start focusing on long content to get better search engine rankings. That said, your content must remain quality and fluid for users. The goal is to provide users with shareable information that keeps them engaged.

    How do you achieve this? First of all, divide your content into sections with H2 and H3 subtitles to make it more readable. Subtitles are especially important for mobile sites. Next, make sure you link to relevant and authoritative sources with a solid score. Finally, make sure your content is easy to share. Include obvious sharing links in the title and at the end of the article so readers can share with a single click.

  • Predictive Search or Google Discover

    Google Discover was launched in 2017, triggering a new type of search. Discover is another Google tool based on artificial intelligence. The content recommendation tool identifies user behavior patterns over time and gradually learns their habits. With this information, Discover can identify the most accurate content that is most likely to be of interest to the user.

    Google Discover already boasts more than 800 million active users. If Google indexes your page, it will be included on Discover. The content is ranked according to algorithms that inspect the quality of the content and the interest of the user. While Google has not reported specific factors, it appears that location history, browsing history, application usage, calendars, search history, and places of residence and work are all relevant.

  • Image optimization

    Google has long insisted on image tagging and optimization, so it makes sense that this is part of their long-term plan. Use high quality and relevant images, and make sure you customize the file name, tagging the photo file so that it is relevant to the content of the corresponding page. Use alt tags, which crawlers use to classify images. Finally, add images to your sitemap to make them even easier to explore. You can also check out the other articles where we discuss image SEO for more tips.

  • Keywords related to semantics

    Semantic search and intention optimization will become even more important in the future. Google is no longer just looking at strings of words. It analyzes the context of the query and tries to discern a user’s search intent, which means that the more relevant the information provided (via logically related primary and secondary keywords) the better.

    To truly answer semantic search, create content designed to answer a question your target audience would ask. Optimize content for groups of topics instead of focusing only on keywords. Finally, use structured data where it makes sense. Most importantly, don’t write for robots, write for people.

  • Essential web signals and user experience (UX)

    In 2021, Google will apply new ranking signals called core web vitals that will focus on the user experience (UX). Optimizing the quality of the user experience is the key to long-term success. Web signals help quantify the site experience and identify opportunities for improvement.

    Core Web Vitals are metrics that apply to all web pages: each of the criteria represents a distinct facet of the user experience. They are measurable in the field and reflect the real-world experience of a user-centric result.

    The metrics that make up the core web signals will evolve over time: the current set for 2020, which will apply in 2021, focuses on three aspects of user experience: page load time, interactivity, and visual stability.

    In 2021, the SEO ranking factors will focus on the user experience. It will therefore be necessary to analyze the traffic of its visitors in order to readjust if necessary. Ideally, it is necessary to analyze the visitor’s behavior in order to understand how he or she reacts by evaluating the bounce rate and by observing the time spent on each page. This is a criterion that will be crucial in 2021. That being said, content marketing and link building will also play a dominant role.

    When optimizing your website for users, it is necessary to implement A / B tests which consist of fine-tuning the landing pages throughout the site based on the analysis data.

    It is also important to create a good netlinking. Indeed the links from a site A to a site B facilitate the fluidity of traffic and user experience: it is necessary to put more emphasis on this external networking of sites. In addition, it is interesting to have a network of sites that will relay your content or point to your site, because this will improve the number of incoming links to your site and therefore your netlinking. These backlinks or outgoing links of your site must redirect to sites with a good positioning. And it will also be important to, set up an internal network to enhance the pages of your website between them.

  • Data and analysis should be your priority

    Data science allows you to understand buyers, visualize campaigns, and create targeted messages. Analysis can help you verify which URLs are being crawled, identify your traffic sources, check page load times, indexing, redirects, response errors, bounce rates, etc. You can also use data science to identify pages you do not want indexed by crawlers and spot unusual traffic sources, such as potential spam sites.

  • Voice search

    Thanks to innovations like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search technology has come a long way. As the technology has improved, it has also become more popular. The percentage of households expected to have an intelligent speaker by 2022 is 55% (Source: Google CEO announcement).

    To optimize voice search, think about your keywords. Identify long phrases or questions that individuals use in their daily conversations. Voice searches tend to give better results with longer, more natural-sounding phrases. When people type, they tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might do a voice search “What are the new SEO trends for 2021” but type the words “new SEO trends for 2021”.

    The number of people doing voice searches is steadily increasing. Voice searches account for more than 25% of all searches, and the trend is showing signs of increasing.

    Ideally, your website should be optimized for voice search as this should be a key prerequisite for ranking for 2021.

  • Video content

    Online video is no longer a trend but an affirmed reality. YouTube has more than a billion users. If you don’t create video content, it’s time to get started.

    Make sure to optimize the name and description of your video channel and videos. The description should not only be filled with keywords, but also provide a user-friendly overview of what your channel is about.

    Start typing the subject of your video and see what appears in the search box, which is essentially a list of suggested phrases, telling you exactly what people on YouTube are looking for.

    In order to best appear in Google search results in 2021, you are strongly advised to include video content on your website.

    Video content has the potential to multiply the conversion rate by six compared to non-video content. This increases the engagement rate since watching videos is enjoyable for site visitors.

    User experience (UX) remains one of the most important SEO trends in 2021. We will therefore have to put ourselves in the user’s shoes in order to best respond to their searches.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information or if you have any specific requests related to the optimization of your natural referencing. Our specialized team composed of SEO experts and google referrers, will be happy to help you.