Alright, folks! This is it! The final stretch to close out the year.
It’s been pretty rocky this year, in the world of search.
It hasn’t been the most rocky year we’ve seen but the pandemic did radically change the way people search, and not necessarily for the worse, by the way. Some industries performed well, this year.
Ecommerce for example, massively benefitted from people being at home.
What I thought I’d do for this episode is talk about where I think SEO is headed in 2021.
Now, let me say from the start, this is just an opinion. An opinion based on what I’ve seen over the year, in-line with what has happened through previous years.
There is no hard data on this so you can take this with a pinch of salt.
So, what do I think will happen in the world of SEO in 2021?
Well, I think the need for speed, fast performing websites, will be forefront across all industries.
We already know Google’s updating the way they consider page experience.
Their Page Experience Update launches in May 2021.
This update will have a big influence on the amount of attention businesses pay to the experience visitors have with their website, or with pages, to be specific.
The speed of pages is a part of this users’ experience.
Google is influencing businesses to ensure they have websites that perform quickly.
This will, in turn, influence people’s expectations of websites.
Sites that do not have users in mind will stand out like obstructive ads.
Just as having a great mobile experience is now the norm, after May, certain site inadequacies, as far as browsing experience is concerned, will be less tolerated by visitors.
I, for one, welcome this! I often say, SEO is for users (not search engines).
Oftentimes, it takes search engines to influence websites to focus on their users, which Google is doing!
This is all in the name of having a better web experience, and I welcome it!
Now, this update leads me to believe that 2021 will be very tech-heavy for SEO.
This leads me to theorise that in 2021, SEOs and Devs will be a lot closer.
This may be the year where SEOs have a streamlined way of working with Devs, across the industry.
Now, how will operational approaches be spread across the industry?
Well, the answer to this question leads me to another theory of what we’ll see in SEO in 2021.
The knowledge of SEO will start to shift.
You see, so far the vast majority of SEO education has been targeted to SEOs, within the SEO community.
We’re reaching a period where the awareness of SEO is growing outside of SEO.
And this is a necessary evolution.
It’s a necessary evolution because for SEO to be successful, awareness of the discipline must be known outside of SEO.
Awareness of how actions from departments outside of SEO, impact SEO, must be known within those departments.
This folks, means the engagement between SEO and other departments must be taken into consideration.
In 2021, I believe we’ll start to see a rise in education of how to streamline the way SEOs work with a variety of departments.
You may see this on places like Moz, SEL, YouTube, and yes, even podcasts.
When the world gets closer to normality (pre-pandemic), I think we’ll see this in live events – conferences.
Now, a few weeks ago, Google released their Year in Search 2020.
In it, they stated that the search for ‘why’ increased throughout the year.
So the demand for information with the word ‘why’ was the highest ever this year.
This led me thinking…
I somehow brought 2 and 2 together, to make 22, lol.
I’m making a huge leap here but I think the demand for information will be even higher in 2021.
Here’s my logic to this…
The pandemic has brought about a change in the way people make a living.
This change, in many cases, has brought about the need to make a new living.
This is quickly leading to a quest for knowledge.
A quest for knowledge that I believe will be evident in search.
Towards the latter months of 2021, expect to see a rise in keyword volume.
It may even be necessary to review the search landscape of targeted and emerging keywords.
If this year has brought about a dip in volume in your industry, you can expect there to be a rise in 2021.
Another thing you can expect in 2021 is a challenge to Google’s dominance in search.
Now, I do not think Google will lose their search dominance in 2021.
However, I do think they could face a threat.
And this threat will be in the form of keyword search on social media platforms – namely, Instagram and Facebook.
Currently, social media sites use profile names and hashtags in their search functionality.
However, in November, Instagram announced they were making it possible to search for content using keywords.
Now, right now, this is still in beta-mode.
They made the announcement of the functionality being available in 6 English speaking countries.
But just think, for a moment, how much of a threat this will be for Google – and other search engines, in fact – if this functionality is developed and released widespread towards the end of 2021.
This could be a game-changer!
Besides Amazon, this could be the biggest threat Google faces.
It could lead to a massive change in the search industry.
I believe we’ll know how big of a threat this is sometime in 2021, most likely in the 2nd half of the year.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on because it could reshape the world of search for the following year.
So there you have it, folks! My thoughts on what we’ll see in SEO in 2021.
However the year shapes out, I hope you’re able to adapt, and adapt quickly, to wield the SEO channel to benefit from it.