2021 Year In Review: SEO Trends

Posted on December 14, 2021 • Written by Emily Wheeler
2021 Year In Review: SEO Trends

We know that SEO is an ever-changing industry, and 2021 was no different. To adapt to changing user behavior, Google continued to prioritize mobile responsiveness, user-friendliness, and trustworthiness. As we get closer to a cookieless world where owned data is king, a strong SEO strategy will be essential to attracting new users to your site and feeding your marketing funnel. To help you prepare for a new year of changes, updates, and new trends, we’re recapping the biggest changes to SEO this year and providing insight into what the future of SEO may look like in 2022. 

Mobile-friendliness Is A Requirement 

A mobile-friendly site has been an important aspect of any SEO strategy since 2015, when Google officially named it a ranking factor. In 2019, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, meaning the mobile site, and not the desktop version, would be used when ranking content on new websites. In 2021, Google expanded mobile-first indexing to all sites, old and new. Google emphasized mobile-friendliness even more in June’s Core Web Vitals update. This update encouraged websites to improve loading performance, responsiveness, and visual stability on mobile and desktop versions of their sites. 

What It Means For The Future of SEO 

User experience as a ranking factor isn’t going anywhere – and next year, we’ll likely see additional updates to Google’s algorithm to reward responsive sites with a mobile-first design. Investing in page speed optimization services now – and implementing updates regularly – will be key to long-term SEO success in the new year. 

EAT Is More Important Than Ever 

Google’s goal is to give users the highest-quality content possible. EAT (short for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) was rolled out in 2019 and continues to play a prominent role in Google’s ranking system. In November 2021, Google rolled out a Spam update to weed out sites the algorithm deems as spammy. This makes it even more important that sites publish authentic, useful, and unique content authored by reputable individuals. 

What It Means for the Future of SEO 

Google’s only getting smarter when it comes to detecting spammy habits, so it’s more important than ever to engage in white hat SEO techniques. To boost your EAT and improve your authority in the eyes of Google, your site will need to continue following these best practices in 2022: 

  • Is your content useful? 
  • Are the titles in your content relevant to the topic or are they misleading? 
  • Are you using too many popups or ads in your content, making it difficult for the user to read? 
  • If your site falls under the “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) category, is it being authored by someone with reputable credentials in the field? 
  • Is your content safe for the general public to consume? 

In-Depth Content Is King 

“Content is king” has been a reigning phrase in SEO for the past several years, and in 2021, comprehensive, unique, and helpful content took center stage. In February 2021’s passage ranking update, Google began using AI to expand its indexing from web pages to individual passages, paragraphs, and sentences within each page. This update was meant to help highlight more informative featured snippets, but the capabilities are also applied to how Google ranks overall pages. In May 2021’s MUM update, Google stretched its AI capabilities even further to allow users to search using more natural language. Designed to “help users when there isn’t a simple answer,” this technology uses contextual information from different sources to provide a comprehensive answer.  

What It Means For the Future Of SEO 

To take full advantage of passage ranking (and get your site higher in search engine results pages), site managers will need to target long-tail keywords; provide high-quality; in-depth content; and structure each webpage to make it easy for Google to index and increase the likelihood of appearing in complex, natural language searches. 

Whether you’re looking to improve your SEO strategy in the new year, audit your current strategy, or just make sure you’re on the right track with content, our experts can help. Contact us today to see how we can support your organic SEO efforts! 

Contact the Experts!
Emily Wheeler

Written by Emily Wheeler

As Fruition’s Lead Creative Strategist, Emily designs and executes short- and long-term content strategies for each client. Emily is passionate about storytelling and capturing the unique voice, tone, and perspective of various brands. Her time as a copywriter for a Fortune 250 company deepened her love of content creation and sharpened her skills for writing everything from advertisements and press releases to video scripts and more.

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