As we near the end of a year filled with unique and unexpected challenges, it’s time to take a look at current and emerging online marketing trends for 2021 to help you prepare for the upcoming year. Here are our top 5 online marketing trends to watch in 2021:
Artificial Intelligence Will Play a Larger Role in Both SEO and Paid Advertising
Industry leaders like Google have long since been leveraging AI and machine learning to deliver better and more relevant content to users, and there’s no sign of this stopping any time soon. In fact, it’s safe to say that AI will continue to play a key role in online search and advertising for years to come. But what does this mean for marketers?
Search engines like Google use AI to determine a website’s relevancy largely based on user engagement metrics like click-through rates, average time spent on-page, and average page views per session. In other words, the more engaging your site is and the more compelled users feel to browse it, the more importance search engines will give it. And the same goes for ads. The higher your ad’s click-through rate and the longer users spend browsing your site after clicking on your ad, the more likely search engines will be to show it above competing ads.
In addition to user engagement, search engine AI is becoming better at determining the quality of the content on your site. The famous 2019 Google E-A-T algorithm update proved just this, essentially announcing that anyone wanting to rank well in search engines needs to focus on high-quality content and creating positive user experiences.
Voice Search Will Be More Important
As technology becomes more intuitive and innovations like the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri continue gaining traction, the use of voice search and, more importantly, natural language search has skyrocketed. With mobile searches for “do I need,” “should I,” and “can I” growing by as much as 85% over the past few years, it’s time you started giving serious thought to optimizing your website for voice search. (Source: ThinkwithGoogle).
Optimizing for voice search is all about sounding natural. So, if you intend to keep up with current trends, it’s important that you optimize your website content and blog posts for natural language searches. Consider your keywords and identify phrases and questions likely to come up in everyday conversation, rather than simply optimizing for shorter keywords. Focus on answering the “what,” “who,” “why,” “when,” and “how” questions your users would ask. For instance, users are more likely to voice search “How old do I have to be to drive?” than “driving age.”
Users Want Fast, Frictionless Browsing Experiences
Consumers nowadays are more informed, demanding, and impatient than ever before, expecting things instantly and effortlessly. Whether it’s to book a table, find a plumber, or buy a gift, 87% of smartphone users turn to online search engines first in a moment of need (source: ThinkwithGoogle). In other words, consumers use their phones to fulfill their immediate needs. As a result, the number of searches for “same-day shipping,” “open now,” and “travel next day” has increased substantially and businesses are expected to keep up.
Long load times, shopping cart problems, or content that’s hard to find is the online shopping equivalent of waiting in a long store line or spending ages browsing through shelves looking for what you need. Businesses need to focus on optimizing their websites or apps to provide a fast, frictionless online customer experience. Every second added between a customer landing on your site and finding what they want leads to a 20% reduction in conversion and, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online shoppers can effortlessly click off your site and onto a competitor’s.
Structured Data Is Still a Top Priority
Structured data or markup refers to the specific code on your site that lets search engines know how to interpret its content and display it in search engine results pages. This code helps search engines, particularly Google, create rich snippets for your pages that will enhance your visibility and comes in a variety of formats including reviews, product prices, events, recipes.
Although structured data is not and has never been confirmed by Google to be a search engine ranking signal, implementing structured data may very well increase traffic to your site. Rich snippets alone can increase your site’s CTR by as much as 30% (source: Search Engine Land). In turn, the more clicks and traffic your site receives, the more important it looks in Google’s eyes and, as a result, your search engine rankings will increase. With more and more businesses competing against each other for higher search engine rankings, you need to seize any opportunity to stand out — and implementing structured data on your site is yet another way to gain an edge on the competition.
Online Search Is Becoming Increasingly Visual
With the rise of blogging and social media, the internet has become more focused on visuals. Blog or Social Media posts featuring relevant images or videos tend to be viewed and shared a lot more than those without. This means that brands and businesses need to increase their focus on visual media. This can be done by investing in professional-quality photos and videos related to your business. In turn, these can be used on your website, Social Media channels, YouTube, and even digital maps to help set you apart from your competition.
Listings with photos and virtual tours on Google Maps alone are twice as likely to generate interest among potential customers than those without. A high-quality, 360-degree interactive visual tour showcasing your business can really bring your business to life and creates a lasting first impression on your future customers, bringing them one step closer to visiting your location. This works particularly well for retail shops, restaurants, pubs, gyms, yoga/dance studios, salons, dentists, and more. Moreover, Being the largest search engine behind its parent company Google, YouTube can offer you an affordable way to visually promote your business. The best video content is that which tells stories that connect with the viewer. The better you express your business through stories, the more likely your viewers will understand your company and what you can do for them.
Now that you have a better understanding of the top online marketing trends to watch in 2021, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the new year head-on. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how the Three Marketers can help you keep up with emerging online marketing trends in 2021 and beyond.