Search engine optimization is an effective way to attract consumers to your website and get qualified traffic. As SEO criteria is constantly evolving, it is sometimes difficult to keep up to date with the latest news. Still, the rewards are worth the effort: 70% to 80% of users focus only on organic results and ignore paid ads. Optimizing your site for natural referencing will then allow you to obtain better SEO positioning and therefore better visibility on search engines.
In this article, you will discover the four major natural referencing trends for 2021 as well as the actions to take to improve your SEO positioning on search engines.
CORE WEB VITALS: TAKING INTO ACCOUNT UX SIGNALS AS AN SEO RANKING FACTOR
User experience is a key factor in the SEO positioning of your website. Indeed, Google has announced that in 2021, new signals related to user experience will be taken into account by its algorithm responsible for classifying the search results to be displayed. This is the Core Web Vitals program that we presented to you last October. This program will take into account three UX signals, namely:
- the page load time (LCP)
- the responsiveness of the website to a user request (FID)
- visual page stability (CLS)
In summary, the smoother the user experience on your site, regardless of the medium used, the more likely you are to rank well in Google search results.
OPTIMIZE THE RESPONSIVE DESIGN OF YOUR WEBSITE ON MOBILE
Who says taking into account the user experience also says taking into account the user experience on mobile: the responsive design of your website. Indeed, Google has deployed its Index Mobile First. This means that Google’s bots primarily use the mobile version of your site to index its pages and rank them in search results. So make sure that the user experience of your site on mobile is as fluid as on desktop.
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT THAT MEETS USER NEEDS
Expertise, Authority, Trust are the key principles that your content must respect to ensure good SEO positioning.
Expertise: Google believes that you should be an expert in your field. Your content must therefore illustrate your skills in a relevant way.
Authority: Beyond expertise, Google values the authority you have in your domain. Thus, it will favor the domains with high popularity. To develop your authority, you can set up a netlinking strategy that aims to develop the number of external links that refer to your site in a relevant and credible way.
Be credible! To do this, secure your site and get your users to trust you by, for example, integrating elements of reassurance into your content, such as verified customer reviews.
USE A SEMANTIC FIELD AND LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS
This year, you will need to emphasize the richness of your semantic field by using a wide variety of keywords around the main theme rather than repeating the same keywords in your content.
Moreover, if your main keyword is particularly competitive, it will be useful to develop a long tail strategy by targeting longer queries revolving around the same semantic field. For example, if you sell hiking shoes, get optimized to position yourself on the keyword “waterproof hiking shoes for women” rather than on “hiking shoes”.
OPTIMIZE THE REFERENCING OF YOUR IMAGES
Search engine information retrieval methods have evolved and image search has grown in importance in recent years. Whether it is to improve the user experience or the natural referencing of your website, you must pay attention to the SEO optimization of your images. Good natural referencing of images guarantees better visibility in Google Images and also improves the ranking of your pages and therefore increases your site traffic. Here are some tips to improve the SEO of your images:
- Use quality images, related to your content, paying attention to their weight and size so as not to slow down the loading of your website
- Choose the image format suitable for the use you are going to make of it
- JPEG for a photo or classic image
- PNG for a logo, diagram or image with transparency
- GIF for an animation: however, pay attention to the weight of these files which can be relatively heavy
Rename your images: giving your images a name improves your natural referencing by indicating to Google the content of your images. For example, if your image is of a hiking backpack, rename it “Hiking backpack”.
This will give you a better chance of appearing in search results for a query such as “hiking backpack”.
Give your images a title by completing the Title tags: the Title tag is the title displayed when hovering over the image. If the Title tag does not directly help improve the SEO positioning of your site, it improves the user experience which is a key SEO criterion in 2021.
Complete the ALT attribute of your images: The ALT or alt text attribute is a small phrase that describes your image and allows Google to understand its content more precisely. Use your most important keywords to fill in your ALT attributes.
The user experience of sites and apps
Via several initiatives, Google has already telegraphed that user experience will take an increasingly important place in SEO evaluation. In particular via:
- Core Web Vitals
- Google Page Experience
In short, Google’s Core Web Vitals measure vital components of the user experience. Namely the loading time of the page, its interactivity as well as its visual stability. Google Page Experience will integrate these new indicators into those already in place by spring (existence of a mobile version, HTTPS, etc.). At the start of 2021, it will therefore be necessary to work on these Core Web Vitals in order to maintain or improve its SEO positioning.
AIM FOR THE ZERO POSITION WITH THE FEATURED SNIPPETS
Optimizing for voice search will also increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets. Featured snippets or “optimized snippets” are search results that appear in a box, above the natural results, offering an answer to a user’s question. When a site appears as a featured snippet, we speak of position zero.
Voice assistants typically read only one response to a user’s query, and that response often comes from the optimized snippet. So when your site appears in the zero position, your content is probably the only response the voice assistant will provide to the user query.
To appear in featured snippets, consider structuring your content while answering a user question. To do this, define a 300-character response block to the targeted user question, use a table of contents if your article is long, and include bulleted lists, tables, or any other formatting that allows Google to clearly understand your content. Appearing in zero position increases your visibility tenfold and considerably boosts your traffic.
LEVERAGE THESE TRENDS
The natural referencing criteria taken into account by the Google algorithm are complex and constantly evolving. It is essential to be aware of the latest SEO trends in order to optimize your SEO strategy and succeed in ranking well in the search results.
In 2021, the user experience will be at the heart of SEO ranking criteria. In other words, SEO strategy and user experience will become one and we will talk about Search eXperience Optimization (SXO). Need help adapting to the latest Google requirements and trends? Contact us without further delay!