SEO & Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2021, According to the Experts

In this blog post, I will provide some SEO and digital marketing trends useful in 2021 and beyond.

I have also asked other renowned industry experts about their views and key digital marketing trends for 2021.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity, read this blog post in detail below on key SEO and digital marketing trends trends for 2021:

Al Sefati, President of Sefati & Company

Al Sefati: President & Enterprise SEO Strategist

Video Optimization and Marketing

Without a doubt, 2020 was the year of video. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and businesses asked their employees to work from home, many of the day-to-day transactions and meetings went over Zoom and other video conferencing. In-person appointments, conferences, and events also became virtual.

Even ordinary people created a ton of video content using social media such as TikTok, Instagram Reel, and other social media. As the result is clearly the preferred type of content that will resonate with the consumers and marketers should go all-in with video production and marketing. That means creating and optimizing video content that supports their SEO and digital marketing campaigns.

SEO, SEM & Retargeting: The New Norm

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed marketing, and marketers need to adopt an omnichannel approach to appeal to their customers in every stage of the consumer journey that includes SEO, SEM and retargeting via (web and social media) to get results.

Steve Wiideman, President of Wiideman Consulting

Steve Wiideman

2020 was a wide awaking for many brick and mortar companies who had not prioritized digital marketing. A new awareness of the importance of SEO, PPC, and social media has forced many businesses to learn how to use these mediums on a shoestring budget to reap what little business was left from jobless web users. Lower conversion rates, forced pricing reductions, and lower search demand all contributed to the need to squeeze more from less.

Rebuilding SEO Foundation

2021 may be a great year for those businesses who rebuilt their SEO foundation in 2020, as they watch those efforts culminate into record online sales, compared to those businesses who decided to close shop completely or put more budget into offline advertising. Competition for keywords will be tougher than ever with businesses who emerged online post-pandemic. More business owners will be holding their search marketing teams accountable to improvements in automated technical audits they’ll be monitoring, that include speed, accessibility, privacy, and keyword-focused landing pages

 In 2020, most business owners had no clue what their SEO specialist did, but in 2021 owners will likely have become more educated and will putting more pressure on SEO’s in the race to achieve and sustain higher keyword rankings.

Alan Edgett, CEO of The Gig Agency

Privacy & Cross Device Data

Privacy will be even more important. Europe already passed tight privacy laws and California residents approved of California Privacy Rights Act, and California being the tech hub of the nation, we can only rest of the country to follow suit. This means more companies will be really focused on first party data and also second party data and would away with third party data.

The latest acquisition of Tapad by Experian shows that the adverting industry will be focused more cross-device digital identity data, and that indicates how important it is to be able to track your customers and target audience across devices to better understand the consumer journey.

Aaron Dubois, Marketing Leader

It goes without saying that 2020 was not a normal year. Everything got flipped on its head. Those businesses that managed to stay alive, and even flourish, adhered to a single idea: Innovate or die. I’m confident that this will persist as the predominant trend for businesses as we head into 2021. Businesses need to assume that things will never truly go back to normal

Brick and Mortar, in-store experiences won’t be what they once were for a long time. Many businesses don’t have the same marketing budgets to rely as heavily on paid search to drive traffic and leads. So, you’ll be much better off assuming that this is how it’s going to be, and that evolution is critical to survival. Waiting for things to get back to normal isn’t going to work.

A Better eCommerce Experience

There needs to be a much greater emphasis on creating ecommerce experiences that feel new, fresh, and differentiate from the competition. If you haven’t been doing ecommerce, best to get on the band wagon immediately. Transform your entire business mechanism into something that can function entirely in the digital space, at every customer touch point and with everything internal baton hand-off. Content strategy needs to be focused on supplementing the answers and experience that your customers are no longer able to get from an in-store experience with customer service. SEO must be a primary focus for all businesses, especially considering that marketing budgets won’t get back to normal for a while. Pay attention to how people are looking for what you’ve got. How are they demonstrating intent? Then go create this content, and marry it with what makes you special. 

Utilizing smart ecommerce, targeted content strategy, doubling-down on SEO and implementing a process of constant iteration and testing is what will help businesses survive the continued circumstances of 2020. 

Mark Gleason, Chief Consultant at MGXO Fintech

The interesting digital marketing challenge and opportunity in 2021 I see is about marketing all the newly expanded digital services that so many businesses have had to add in 2020. The first step was to add new digital services. Businesses from doctors to hamburger joints to banks have almost instantly pivoted to digital channels just to survive.

However, at this point, only a small percentage do a good job of marketing their new digital capabilities. Instead of viewing the move to more digital as the fantastic opportunity, it is for overall growth, many traditionally brick and mortar businesses are treating online and mobile channels as sort of a temporary thing as they wait for a return to “normal.” That’s a mistake. The pandemic forced the move to digital and the way forward is to build on those capabilities, including marketing them much more aggressively than many businesses have so far.

Building Digital Capabilities

Citing a couple of examples, my family loves The Habit, the SoCal burger chain. They had some basic online ordering pre-pandemic, but now they’ve built out their digital capabilities to be one of the best in the restaurant business. And they’re marketing the heck out of it, pushing hard in mobile with lots of app-based promotions and incentives.

On the other hand, in the banking industry where I work, banks have almost reluctantly added online capabilities for new customer acquisition. But only the biggest national players are pushing hard. Most of the smaller and regional players have taken an approach that I characterize as, “If we build it, they will come”, thinking that just dropping a button or link on their home page is all they need to do. When I talk to them about aggressively using digital marketing to drive their new digital business capabilities, I get a lot of blank looks.

True Tamplin, CEO of Search & Rescue

Keep Up With Google SERPS

I think we’ll see a lot of changes made to some of the newer data added as an option for schema markup, specifically markup which is pulled into the Google SERPs. I am shocked that Google Search Results (SERPS) show up to 4 FAQs per listing on page 1. If you look at instances of 4 questions being pulled into the SERPs, it looks almost too big. My prediction is that Google will take FAQ markup out of the SERPs soon and that SEOs should take advantage of it while it lasts

AJ Wilcox, Founder

Getting More From LinkedIn Ads

In 2020, LinkedIn Ads saw the release of event retargeting, so now we get to retarget (or exclude) visitors who have engaged with our lead generation forms or consumed any amount of our videos, etc. This was a massive release and one that will allow advertisers to adequately build sequences. For 2021, I’d encourage marketers to consider getting more from their LinkedIn Ads than just leads. The targeting is so precise that you can also use it to test what your audiences like and don’t like, and it can double as market research.


Author: Al Sefati

Al Sefati is an enterprise SEO and search marketing expert and the founder of Sefati & Company. Al works with marketing agencies and enterprise level clients and he is in charge of forming and monitoring their SEO and SEM strategies. Al blogs often about latest SEO, SEM and digital marketing trends and tactics.