3 Things You Must Know About SEO in 2021

2020 has been … one year.

I think this screenshot of a Giphy search for “2020” has sung it.

But by the year 2020, we have emerged as humans despite all the challenges.

Finally, I welcomed my youngest son into the world this year, and I think he is so great!

I have also learned a lot about our industry, SEO, and I think what we all should focus on this year and leverage that information to become better, more ready search marketers to move forward.


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So, without further introspection, here are three things to know about SEO in 2021!

1. Search intent and demand are fluid

It is important to realize that the intention and demand of the search is fluid – and more so than I previously thought.

Understanding the intent of the searcher is an important part of a successful SEO strategy because you must have a basic understanding of the intent behind the search query to create a page that fulfills that intention.

If your page is the best match for intention, Google will rank your page in their results, in simple terms (although making your page the best match is a bit more complicated).

But what happens when a global epidemic changes the search intent for a query?

Okay, you either optimize or lose ranking.

for example, Lily ray Path Interactive shared a study where it looked at the questions [Alcoholics Anonymous] And [Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings] Returning websites such as AA-Intergroup and In the Rooms that provide virtual recovery meetings and resources.


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It demonstrates how quickly Google can adjust its results to match the intent of those in need of virtual recovery support, without including “virtual” or “online” in their search queries.

And a change in finder intent is not the only way that finder behavior can change.

It is also likely that the search volume and interest in a given query may explode or disappear almost overnight.

Again, we saw this in many verticals during the early stages of the epidemic.

For this see Google Trends graph [toilet paper]:

Google Trend Graph - Toilet Paper

Or for this trend line [sourdough bread]:

Google Trends Graph - Sour Bread

We can also see how quickly interest can be discovered and also see [movie tickets]:

Google Trend Graph - Movie Tickets

Although the chances of another epidemic like COVID-19’s are (hopefully) slim, these graphs illustrate how diverse your keywords can be.

In fact, this is strong evidence that you should diversify your entire marketing strategy rather than putting all your eggs in the “Google basket”.

These graphs also emphasize the importance of flexibility and are able to capitalize on the opportunity, or pivot when the opportunity arises.

So how do you avoid changing search intent or a huge drop in search volume?

When you cannot control the finder’s behavior, you can monitor it and adjust accordingly.

To identify potential changes in the intent of the searcher, keep an eye on your target SERPs and how they are changing.

If you start to rank more and more pages that serve a different intent than your page, it’s possible that Google is testing with a different intent – you eventually have to change your page or risk losing rankings May be required.

To track search interest, you can choose from a variety of tools that measure monthly search volume, such as SEMrush, Moz or Ahrefs.

Google Trends will give you some directional information on where search interest is headed.


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In 2021, you should never rest too much.

Being flexible and having the ability to adapt is critical to online success.

2. Local business and local SEO professionals should be agile

Speaking of being able to adapt quickly, this year is far more true than local search.

One of the most difficult areas during this epidemic has been local occupation.

Lockdowns and social restrictions forced many of these business owners to be creative and find new ways to stay in touch with their customers such as contactless pick-up or virtual consulting.

However, for many businesses, just letting your customers know if they are open can make a huge difference.

To its credit, Google has done a great job providing various options within Google My Business for local businesses to communicate with their customers.

I took an impressive presentation earlier this year from GMB chief Joey Hawkins, outlining all the options available within Google’s platform. Some recently added GMB features include:


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  • An LGBTQ-friendly feature.
  • Call button in local knowledge panels.
  • An online operating hour specialty.
  • An online appointments feature.

If you want to keep up to date on all the new features that have been added to GMB and continue, I highly recommend checking out this resource on Hawkins’ site.

Although most local businesses are brick-and-mortar locations, they must be explored as a legitimate channel to communicate with customers, and the epidemic highlighted the fact that the shutdown served customers in their physical locations Had made it difficult to do.

The most agile business and local SEO professionals should be able to take advantage of the new opportunities from local search that Google and other search engines provide – and with new features being added all the time, these will continue to be agile business and SEO professionals . To do beyond the epidemic.

3. The SEO Community Continues to Become Stronger

Even in the face of such adversity, the SEO community will remain equally open, supportive and innovative.


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I am always proud to be part of this vibrant community of search professionals, but never more than this year.

In what has been one of the most challenging years in America and around the world, I have constantly seen SEO professionals stepping up to help each other.

I have seen SEO professionals sharing their resumes on Twitter and helping other professionals find new roles in the industry, supporting other professionals who were closed due to the epidemic.

I have seen many search professionals and agencies sharing free advice and information to help businesses during these difficult times.

This has always been a practice within SEO, but I have seen it ramp up especially during 2020.

In fact, I have had the privilege of being part of such an initiative in my company.

SEO professionals are leveraging their non-SEO skills to raise funds or support positive mental health for those affected by COVID.


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For example, Lily Ray is putting her DJ’ing skills to work on Twitter with Free Concert and even performing one “Later” Concert To eSummit of SEJ earlier this year!

I have always been impressed by how open and collaborative the SEO industry is, but have felt different this year as we all leaned on each other in unusual and challenging circumstances.

I am proud to be part of such an amazing community and it will be stronger in 2021!

The conclusion

2020 showed that change can happen very quickly, and you need to be agile as an SEO professional to rapidly adjust your strategy to adapt to new search behavior, consumer environments, and potential restrictions.

Fortunately, search is a channel where relocation and relocation are possible relatively quickly if you are prepared for it.

Therefore, in 2021, make sure that you are reviewing the SERP regularly to ensure that your pages or future pages still align with intent and search.

Remember, too, that you are not alone and there is a whole community ready to support you and help you grow.


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Connect on social media, leave comments on your favorite blogs, join in with SEJ’s fantastic Friday Focus series … There are many options available to you.

I know this is a difficult year for many of us, but I know that the future is brighter and better times are ahead.

So, thanks for reading, keep your chin up, and let’s keep the search industry moving forward in 2021 and beyond!

more resources:

Image credit

All screenshots by author, December 2020