Growing markets and severe competition force business owners to struggle for customer attention if they want to stay afloat. However, with more than 3,200 algorithm changes per year, it is hard to keep up with modern SEO practices. Staying on top of the latest SEO trends will help online entrepreneurs build an effective strategy, meet the requirements that Google uses to rank websites, and consequently, make more sales.
In this post, we will tell you about the SEO trends that will help your business dominate in the SERP in 2021 and beyond. Don’t miss out!
Top 9 eCommerce SEO Trends In 2021
Trend #1: Voice Search & Featured Snippets: From Typing to Talking
Some masterminds believe that we are on the threshold of a “Voice Search Revolution”. Look at some recent stats by Google: 55% of teens and 41% of adults use this feature more than once a day. Besides, 20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches. People love voice commands as this method is faster than typing and it’s time-efficient.
Hence, this trend is already affecting SEO by changing the way people search, as well as how they get the results. First of all, voice search keywords are significantly longer than common text-based queries. Besides, they are more “conversational” as people use natural language patterns to create a query. Let’s assume that you are looking for a place to shop for men’s clothing. While you might type a query like “men’s clothing Chicago”, if you are using voice search, you may state the same question like “where can I find men’s clothes near me”. Feel the difference?
Optimizing your content for voice search is crucial. As such, you have to think about your audience and how they would pose a question about your product/services, instead of targeting general keywords.
And one more thing… The rise of voice-driven search has led to the appearance of featured snippets, an answer box topping search results before any other page, and displays an immediate and the most relevant answer to a question. Take a look at the screenshot below to get a better idea of what this is.
As far as SEO is concerned, position zero is the new priority. Apart from boosting traffic and sales, being ranked on a featured snippet is huge for establishing brand expertise. When your business provides the ultimate answer to a question, that is a robust statement about the brand.
Trend #2: Adding Video to Product Pages
A video is a powerful form of content that makes a significant contribution to the overall SEO strategy. Video is considered to be evidence of quality content, helps to build links, generates social shares, and above all, sends signals to search engines that a page contains rich media. Besides, when it comes to Google ranking, the search engine always takes into account dwell time and bounce rate when choosing where to position a site.
In 2021, hundreds of online retailers are implementing product videos to increase the conversion rate. According to research, 52% of shoppers confess that watching product videos makes them feel more courageous about making a purchase.
Just place the product videos on the individual product pages as if you would place other forms of visual content. Look how this works for Net-A-Porter, a famous fashion retailer. They use video on all their product pages, located within the same window as the product images gallery.
Bear in mind that your video should be optimized for search. This means adding relevant meta tags, keywords, uploading transcripts, and so on.
Trend #3: Artificial Intelligence & SEO: A Match Made In Heaven
Artificial Intelligence is widely used in various spheres: from science to tech and medical industries to provide consumers with quality products they want, need, and expect. Now AI has the power and ability to do the same for SEO.
With RankBrain, Google leverages the capabilities of artificial intelligence and natural language processing to analyze not only the content but the context of web pages to provide more accurate organic search results. In other words, AI assists search engines to match the users’ needs. It is getting so smart that even Bing and Google themselves have problems with ranking their own products first.
Look at the screenshot below. This is the search results for “web analytics” where Google Analytics, a tool developed by this company itself, ranks near the middle of the page.
Yes, artificial intelligence affects much on how search engines rank sites but… what does this mean for eCommerce business owners?
Less black-hat methods
With the power of AI, Google has streamlined its ability to identify and catch bad behavior amongst link builders and webmasters. Since it can learn the patterns, it is able to determine black link schemes such as blog networks and apply penalties to websites correspondingly.
More importance on visual content for SEO optimization
Artificial intelligence made search engines smart enough to analyze video, animation, and other forms of visual content.
Consider content is the king
Since RankBrain has remarkable content analysis capabilities, keyword density has become a thing of the past. In the 2020s, keyword relevance, contextual coherence and value should be your prime focus.
Trend #4: Augmented Reality
With the help of AR, your online business can engage the customers better, make the products stand out in search results, which leads to more traffic, social shares, and sales. Augmented reality creates a perfect user experience by combining computer-generated 3D objects with a real-world environment.
Have you ever used beautification masks from Instagram that have won over the hearts of millions of people? This is a perfect example of augmented reality on the go. But why does this technology matter to eCommerce SEO?
It enhances the UX
With more than 80% of consumers researching products online, AR can give them the best UX ever. Providing customers with the possibility to virtually try on the items by using their device’s camera and upgrading their product listings has been taking many eCommerce fields by storm. This feature can help visitors see your items in-action and consider them in all their bearings which leads to the increased time spent by users on your product/website.
As such, Ikea, a famous Swedish company selling ready-to-assemble furniture, was one of the early adopters. It has created an AR-powered application that allows users to test IKEA’s products in real-time through Apple iOS 11’s ARKit technology.
Furthermore, virtual makeovers have become very popular in the cosmetics industry. For example, such companies as L`Oreal and Sephora make it possible for users to see how, say, lipstick or eyeshadow looks on them. Below you can see the AR-powered virtual makeup feature which applies the products to users’ faces through a phone’s front-facing camera.
It upgrades organic search listings
Google announced that AR would be a prominent feature E-A of the search engine, contributing to the rising significance of multimedia content. As such, on Google, your site will feature a “View in 3D” button which expands your assets in search results and helps your website stand out.
With this in mind, it is high time to rethink the major elements of your SEO strategy, starting from website design to content organization to win in the era of AR. Here are some things you need to consider:
1. Start preparing for AR-powered SEO
Since augmented reality in Google gains more traction, we expect protocols and policies to be clearly defined. However, implementing AR-ready product mock-ups to a website can be challenging and hurt its ranking. That is why it is recommended to reach out to eCommerce consulting services to make this process seamless.
2. Apply for Google’s Early Adopters Program
This helps if you want to highlight this feature in search results.
3. Keep an eye out for AR video advertisements
This is an outstanding opportunity to let people interact with your product or brand.
Trend #5: Leveraging Influences to Boost SEO
According to the latest stats, 17% of eCommerce businesses spend over half of their entire marketing budget on influencers. Since consumers are overwhelmed with ads, they are starting to look for authoritative information from the people they can trust, this is where influencers come in.
All in all, there is a strong correlation between influencer marketing and SEO. Opting for this strategy will help business owners generate traffic, increase brand awareness, as well as amplify their content reach.
However, many companies don’t see the return on their investment in this strategy. More likely this is due to improper execution of their sponsored content. Your marketing may fail if it doesn’t align with the needs of your audience.
To get the most of influencer marketing, partner with those in your niche who already engage with your target audience. The high-quality links you will gain will increase your authority rate and enhance your SEO efforts.
Trend #6: Writing Long reads to Rank Higher
Content quality is still the major factor that determines search rankings. But in 2021 and far beyond, business owners and marketers should consider quantity alongside quality. There are lots of disputes related to the ideal length of posts for SEO.
According to HubSpot data, your content should be at least 2,000 words as web pages with long-form content enjoy more visibility.
Besides, since Google takes dwell time into account, lengthy articles flagged to this search engine that the visitors enjoy your content. As your authority grows, Google increases your ranking.
Trend #7: Mobile Search Will Continue to Take Over
According to the latest research, 58% of all searches occur from smartphones and this trend is growing exponentially. As such, there are over 27 billion more queries that occurred on mobile than desktop.
The time has long passed since Google shifted to mobile-first indexing, meaning that the search engine predominantly crawls, indexes, and uses the mobile version of the content for ranking.
This means that in the 2020s, you can’t get far on search engine results if your website hasn’t been optimized for mobile. We find these practices helpful for those who want to make their website mobile-friendly.
Trend #8: Using the E-A-T Formula to Create Content That Google Wants
You have probably heard the buzzword “E-A-T” that is floating around. This acronym is short for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness and means a new metric that Google bases on to evaluate websites. In other words, E-A-T is DA 2.0 and it goes far beyond gaining links.
With Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, the search engine emphasizes the role of the E-A-T formula and considers it among the most important factors to take into account when evaluating an overall Page Quality rating.
So, here are some practices you can apply to bump up your eCommerce website’s E-A-T:
1. Become an expert in your field
Hiring random freelancers to generate content for your site doesn’t work anymore. With the new benchmark, Google prefers to feature content written by legit experts who know their stuff.
2. Don’t be anonymous
Google focuses on off-site signals to determine your E-A-T. According to the above-mentioned guidelines, Google expects some important and adequate information about the website to be transparent for users and the bots.
3. Get cited
The fact is that most of Google’s evaluations happens off your site. Apart from creating awesome content, you need to convince other people to mention you as an expert. This means that you have to be cited on lots of authoritative websites. SEO in the 2020s is still mostly about the quality of content and links that are the foundation for every strategy. Without these two important factors, you will never crack the first page.
Trend #9: Website Load Speed Importance
In the highly-competitive eCommerce world, the first impression is the one for the win. So, rather than hampering your customers’ mood with slow loading web pages, try to optimize your loading speed. Bear in mind that every second of downtime may cost you a customer and revenue. Besides, pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page.
With the Google Speed Updates, the search engine ramped up the importance of this factor.
Make use of help provided by Google PageSpeed Insights to know your current page speed score and make some improvements.
Just when you start to believe that you fully understand SEO, the Google algorithm updates occur. SEO in 2021 is a complex and comprehensive process that requires actions on all fronts from generating high-quality content to strong link building with an eye on the current trends.
About the Author
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento migration and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.