People say that the only constant in life is change - and the rule certainly applies to the blogging world! Each year we observe different trends that rule in the blogosphere. We asked 25 SEO experts about the hot must-haves when it comes to blogging in 2021. Dive in!
2020 is over and, oh boy, what a year it has been. With so many unexpected plot twists, a pandemic that changed the way we perceive the certainties in our lives, and the global need to quickly adjust to situations we have never yet experienced - it must have taken its toll. And it did, in almost all aspects of our lives, including the way we search the internet and consume the content. So, with the help of 25 experts from all over the world, we take a closer look and answer the question of how to run a blog in 2021.
Content has always been the lifeblood of SEO and I believe it would play an even bigger role this year. More so because of the COVID-19 health crisis. Marketers and independent content creators will have to really focus on delivering content that’s valuable to readers now and even after we’ve emerged from this pandemic. So, make it your goal to have the best content on the web for your niche. This allows you to compete effectively for long-tail searches (which still remains about 70% of all search queries). It will also help your build site authority and demand for your content and can be done in a directly ROI positive way.
Blogging very much remains the way forward in the brave new world of 2021 and my advice is to stick to long-form, thought leadership content which really engages and informs in order to get ahead with this.
A huge number of people now use their mobile phones for pretty much everything, including shopping, working and reading content. For this reason, it’s absolutely vital that you optimize your blog for mobile as, otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a massive amount of traffic that is being snapped up by your competitors.
As an SEO guru, I spend a lot of time on this subject. While there are a number of things you can do to improve the success of your blog, my top tip will always be to use your long tail keywords in the body of your blog post. Every. Single. Time.
Some time ago the content was the king, then the focus switched to context. Now the key is search intent. Blogging in 2021 will be about intent SEO - research and choosing the blog content that addresses the intent behind the keyword. Writing a blog you should divide the content into groups accordingly to users’ intention:
Evergreen content - that builds the reach and topical authority,
News content - that shows that you’re on track with the industry and gaining traffic from Google news and discover,
Informative content - that shows you as the expert and expresses knowledge of the topic,
Sales content - if the sales of products/services is the goal of the blog.
Users look for different pieces of information depending on the customer journey stage they currently are in and that’s what we should take into consideration. Often, it’ll refer to the same phrase, but the intent behind the query will change over time. For example, the intent behind “iphone 12” phrase went from being purely informative one year ago (users looking for info about the apple device being planned), to the intent of obtaining information about a premiere date, product design, technical parameters. After another 6 months, and the product premiere users wanted to check product reviews, price comparisons, info about product availability, etc. Nowadays, each product has a similar cycle and search results for one keyword are changing over time. That’s why when writing a blog it’s important to focus not only on the content length, the right context but more importantly on the search intent.
As well as focusing on creating fantastic, long form content, I have one very simple piece of advice - improve your page loading time. People are impatient and, any delays will see them spinning away to another site
7. Michał Suski, SEO Specialist, Co-Founder of Surfer SEO
Focus on featured snippets. Ahrefs' data demonstrate that websites with them get 31% more traffic in comparison to your regular first-place spot without the snippet. Most of the time, people ask countless questions associated with your main query. Figures show that featured snippets are getting more frequent, and so it's high time to make use of them. Get to know the "People Also Ask" field in the SERP and answer these questions as directly and thoroughly as possible.
8. Alexandra Tachalova, Founder of Digital Olympus. International SEO Speaker
When it comes to blogging, my biggest struggle is coming up with unique content ideas that help you set your brand apart as having real expertise in your niche. So, my workaround is following industry discussions on Twitter and LinkedIn that can be a wealth of inspiration. In fact, I've just read through our most recent Twitter chat on Digital Olympus, and it has given me fodder for three new blog posts. Another benefit of using industry discussions is that you can use them to build relationships with other industry experts.
This is something of a passion of mine so I could go on - but I won’t. If I were to offer new bloggers just one piece of advice for 2021 it would be to optimize your permalinks. In fact, looking after your links, in general, is more important than ever for great technical SEO.
Google recently incorporated frequently asked questions (FAQs) structured data into its search results. Bloggers can mark up the FAQs on their pages with structured data to give themselves a boost in search performance. Pages that have this markup will see rich results in Google Search – more specifically, a few of the FAQs will show up immediately below the primary search result.(...) not many websites have implemented FAQs yet, so in early 2021 this will be low-hanging fruit.
Guest Post + Infographics = Guestographics. This is a new trend of getting quality backlinks and this trend is going to be very useful in 2021. This is a transformed variant of conventional guest posting. In this sort of guest posting, infographics are used as blog content and that is why it is called “*Guestographics*”. In this instance, you need to find highly viewed or mass acclaimed blog content directly or indirectly related to your trade. Take any of these contents and create attractive and engaging infographics on that content. It’s going to be a great way to gain high-value backlinks next year.
(...)with advances in Google's AI technology (Source), frequent core updates, and increasing competition, content optimization is now more important than ever. Bloggers will not only have to match user intent, but also any positively correlated algorithmic ranking factors. One way to do that is to take the guesswork out of the equation and rely on factual data sourced directly from the SERPs (search engines result pages). With tools like SurferSEO, ClearScope, or Marketmuse, bloggers have the option to use data sourced from the top (10) search engine results to optimize their content for any keyword or search phrase. Optimizing the content with any or all of these tools can drastically improve their next featured post.
With the continuation of the pandemic, businesses should be capitalizing on their digital content now more than ever, as people stay online to pass the time. Blog content should therefore be extremely timely or future. A laser-focus on reader intent & satisfaction is still the number one way to create content that performs well. (...)In other words, opt to create transactional or educational content for blogging success in 2021.
For effective blogging in 2021, companies must ensure that their blog content fully matches their audience's intent, but can also do this in a way that drives them down the funnel. The importance of the latter point is that companies must find ways to engage their audiences with their blogging, but in a way that merges engagement with conviction to purchase a product or service. Websites that achieve this will out-perform their competitors.
User Experience is going to be key to success this year: Google announced this in spring 2020. (...)You need to heavily focus on bounce rates. Our success in decreasing bounce rates started with creating videos and graphics to help the user easily understand our material. What is cool about video is you can not only rank for your YouTube but if you imbed a different type of video in your site you could rank a second time on the same search terms.
The formula of blogging is simple: Copywriting is 80% research, 5% writing, 15% rewriting. You need to consume a lot of content about the topic before writing. Before creating a new piece of content, talk with an expert at least for 5 minutes and you will get unique insights about pain points. If you will just rewrite content from other websites, your audience won't become loyal. Align keyword research with expert insights.
In 2021, blogging success will rely on content that gives your blog audience something to think about, provides a concrete and actionable challenge, or is simply inspiring. Blog content is an opportunity to connect with an audience and let them know you care about what they need. Make sure that those who stumble on your blog post find something new or find answers to questions they didn't even realize they had.
Don't ignore the May Google Page Experience Update.There is one vital consideration that bloggers need to prepare for at the start of 2021. Mobile performance is about to be re-appraised by Google as part of the Google Page Experience Update scheduled for May. It will focus on three core page experience elements:
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – To what extend page elements “jump
around” during full load. This should not exceed a score of 0.1
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – The loading performance of a page. LCP
should occur within 2.5 seconds of the first load.
First Input Delay (FID) – A measure of user interaction. Articles should
have an FID of below 100 milliseconds.
(...)What makes this so crucial is the advance notice Google has given the SEO community. By giving SEOs clear and unambiguous notice about this topic you can be sure it will be considered a core aspect of website quality and ranking performance going forwards. It can't be ignored.
The key to success for companies' blogs this year will be content & schema. Over the years Google with their updates made it clear that content gets priority in the network, the schema update, knowledge graph, Rankbrain algo, everything points out to the content. So focus on quality content with rich media (images, videos, Infographic) that will be share-worthy among social media.
SEO-wise, the best way to ace a company’s blog this year is to add rich and optimized media to your content. A blog with pure text is uninviting;people stay where it's pleasing to the eyes. Drive more results and make your visitors stay longer by adding valuable images and videos to your blogs. Optimized and rich media creates a lead magnet and will result in better traffic and conversion. (...) For even better results, make sure to test your images, optimize your thumbnails, reduce your file sizes for faster loading time, choose the right dimensions, and use image sitemaps.
As the marketer in charge of our blogs, I always make sure to use optimized images and videos. In fact, our blog posts with optimized videos and images rank 89% higher in Google search than those with pure text. No matter how good you are with words, people would still want something to visualize, so adding rich and optimized media to blogs is still the best way to get those SEO juices this year.
In terms of SEO, 2021 can expect to be a continuation of 2020, which is to say Google is forcing everyone to more fully embrace E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust) and make building your brand part of improving your SEO. Link building and public relations will continue to merge. Brand reputation will become a stronger ranking factor.
Effective SEO for blogging starts with keyword research. The great thing about a blog is that you are able to target a seldom searched for long tail keyword that you may not be able to rank for with your overall website. For a long tail keyword, there is going to be less competition and, in fact, you may be one of only a few articles on the entire web that addresses the topic. Try to use an exact match keyword phrase in the title of the article. While many blogs do a good job of using proper title tags and meta tags, many neglect optimizing images properly. Don't forget to use your alt tags on our images!
While the best practices of SEO will remain consistent this year (e.g., keyword density, header tags, alt attributes, internal/external linking strategies, etc.), we believe that the user page experience will become a critical ranking factor. This is because Google will be releasing another broad core update for their search engine in May 2021 that adds a few Core Web Vitals to the list of page experience ranking factors.
Internal links are links that come from other pages on your own website. They are important to ensure every page on your site gets crawled and indexed, and to help visitors discover more content. Try and build hubs of relevant content based on the theme or subject. The goal is to not have any orphaned pages (pages without internal links) and to use an assortment of anchor texts for those internal links. Be careful to not overdo it, one or two per post is all you need.
I think E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) will dominate in 2021. With every new algorithm update, the E-A-T concept becomes more and more central in organic search. In 2020 the importance of E-A-T has risen to a whole new level and this is expected to continue in 2021. So, if you want your website to be successful in search, you must take E-A-T into account. Optimizing for search intent is also important in 2021. The ultimate goal of any search engine is to meet the user's search intent in the best possible way. By optimizing for search intent, you help search engines to achieve their main goal, and this naturally transforms into better rankings (and search traffic) for your website.
How To Run a Blog In 2021 - Experts’ Insights Summary
Seems like we started quite an exciting year! With the long-planned Google’s Web Core Vitals update and the massive switch to the online world by the majority of the population web publishers need to double the efforts and prepare for competition and new algorithms. Luckily for you, there is tons of useful advice from our experts above.
Looking back at the most frequent tips, it’s good to start your blogging in 2021 by preparing content well-suited to your audience's needs and the search intent behind their queries. 2020 showed us the value of proven and relevant information among the mud of fake news, so make sure your blog provides real value to the reader. Then, keep in mind the SEO core elements like choosing appropriate keywords, according to the experts the long tail phrases will rule throughout the year. Think of coming up with some video content as well - rumor and more importantly data have it that it can work wonders for your Google ranking and audience engagement.
Another quite popular voice applies to schema markups and the use of FAQs on your blog. Experts point out that marking your most frequently asked questions in the schema at the beginning of the year can contribute to better online visibility in search engines further on in 2021.
Last but definitely not least, preparing your website for Core Web Vitals to roll out will be crucial in 2021. Factors such as general user experience on site, website loading time, interactivity, or visual stability along with well-known elements like mobile-friendliness will play a huge role in evaluating blogs. Adjusting the website to those new rules will become a priority during the first couple of months of 2021 for sure!
Let us know what’s your plan on effective blogging in 2021 in the comments!
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