1. Introduction

In the year 2021 SEO becomes a topic that is gaining more and more notoriety. With so many businesses moving online, there’s a need for a method to help you increase your organic traffic and sales.

Optimisation (SEO) is and will remain an essential component of any e-marketing plan..

In 2021, for online businesses, SEO is no longer an option, but a necessity. If we want visibility and sales, then carrying out SEO actions must be an important part of our overall marketing plan.

And because optimization is an extremely complex process, FivePlus Solutions’ team of SEO experts felt the need for systematization. A guide in which to gather the most important information about the factors we need to focus on this year.

The guide is useful for those who have a website and want to understand more about on and off site optimization.

We, the FivePlus experts, are dedicated to discovering and testing new, valid and interesting SEO methods to share with you.

In the hope that this guide is useful to you, the FivePlus Solutions team wishes you a 2021 with organic visibility and sales growth.

2. “What is an optimised website?”?

An optimised website meets the criteria:

 It is ranked in the first results of search engines for as many keywords as possible specific to the field of activity of the site

 It has continuously increasing organic traffic, new (unique) and repeat visitors

 Get quality, targeted traffic for FREE compared to other promotion methods

“Why is SEO important in 2021?”

 A site that follows the rules of optimization is an SEO Oriented site

 A site that has quality content for users and search engines = A site that has a chance to draw more traffic

 A site with quality linking = A site well seen by Google and users

3. Core Web Vitals (Core Web Functionalities)

According to Google, Core Web Vitals will be a ranking factor in 2021.

In this chapter we will show you how to optimise your website for this factor.

3.1 What you need to know about Core Web Vitals

As mentioned in the title, the equivalent of Core Web Vitals in English would be core web functionality.

These functionalities are, in fact, a set of three specific experience values for a web page that Google considers very important:

 LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – measuring the time it takes for a page’s main content to load and be ready for interaction.

 FID (First Input Delay) – a measure of the time it takes for the user to interact with a page for the first time (e.g. click on a link).

 CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – measuring the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for each unexpected layout shift that occurs over the lifetime of the page.

functionalitati web de baza core web vitals

According to Google, core web vitals will not have a direct impact on rankings.

ce declara google despre core web vitals

Therefore, sites that currently have visibility and a good ranking position could still enjoy them.

What Google says: “we will prioritize pages with the best overall information, even if some aspects of the on-page experience fall short.”

However, it’s only a matter of time before your competitors will take notice – which can put them one step ahead of you.

So, our recommendation is to give importance to these elements and to call upon specialists to help you optimize these indexes and ensure the best possible experience for the users who access your site.

3.2 How to improve Core Web Vitals?

First of all, you should know that the steps to follow to improve core web vitals scores for your site differ from the underlying platform of the site.

For example, a website built through Magento is different from one built through WordPress.

That said, here’s the process you should follow to find out specifically what you should fix.

Start by opening Google Search Console and click on Core Web Vitals.

localiare core web vitals in search console

Then take a look at your URLs.

scoruri core web vitals

We’ll be looking mainly at mobile scores, because Google’s mobile-first index came out in 2020, which means mobile scores are the ones that really matter.

You will need to see specifically which URLs are weak.

url cu scor core web vitals slab

It is likely that in 2021, Google will consider weak URLs more than good URLs – in other words, those with weak URLs will suffer more than those with URLs marked as good will gain.

Therefore, URLs marked as weak are given priority.

It’s very important the problem your pages face.

In the example above, the 10 pages face a poor CLS score.

For such a problem, it is necessary to check the loading speed of the site.

You can use the Page Speed Insights tool provided by Google.

tool google pentru a verifica viteza de incarcare

Google will tell you if you have a poor speed score:

scor de incarcare slab

And it will come with recommendations for optimisation:

recomandari optimizare viteza de incarcare

Through these opportunities found by Google, your site’s load speed score can be improved, thus eliminating weak URLs from core web vitals.

4. Google Passage ranking

In October, Google announced a new search method called “Passages”.

This feature allows Google to rank certain sections of a page (passages, in other words) independently.

pasaje pentru clasarea google passages

sursa: https://www.seroundtable.com/

This feature will influence 7% of searches, which is quite a lot.

Why do we say it is a lot? Because the Google Penguin update only affected 3.1% of all searches.

Now, let’s see what we should do to optimize our site for this new Google ranking factor.

4.1 How does Google Passage ranking work?

Passages allows Google to rank certain relevant passages on a particular page. Not just the page itself. Essentially, it’s a featured snippet version.

At the moment this factor applies mainly to English searches, but will gradually be adopted for Romanian searches.

relevant to that search, instead of considering the relevance of the entire page.

However, Google said that pages will still be evaluated in their entirety.

So backlinks, On-Page SEO, UX signals and other ranking factors from previous years will still apply.

The only difference in 2021 is that a single page is now more likely to rank. That is, assuming the page is optimized and well structured.

Next, we’ll talk about organisation and structure – things that can increase your chances of a page ranking in Google Passage.

4.2 Organise your content into discrete sections!

As mentioned, for a relevant search, Google will rank a relevant passage independently of the page.

But that doesn’t mean that Google will pick an unoptimised and poorly structured page just because the passage is relevant to a particular search.


Google can now view each section of the page as a mini-page.

Which means your content should be divided into dedicated sections. And each section should cover a specific subtopic.

You may have already done so. But if you haven’t, our advice is to rework your content and optimise and structure it into very clear sections.

For example, in our article What is SEO article, we tried to structure the information in sections and, moreover, we even added a FAQ section as a summary, to make the information as clear as possible for both users and Google.

4.3 About long content

The disadvantage of long-form content was that you could sometimes be overtaken by a page of more focused and pointed content.

We can even take this guide as an example. We talked in the previous chapter about core web vitals. But the guide will contain several sections dedicated to different ranking factors.

A competitor that talks about core web vitals on time might have positioned itself higher than us.

This is because the competitor’s page is 100% about this topic, and for Google, that page might present a better experience for the user who wants to learn about core web vitals and not all the SEO changes in 2021.

This is about to change.
This year, Google can analyze one long piece of content.

So in 2021, long-form content has an advantage in Google results.

And… now that Google can parse a single piece of long-form content into distinct passages, we should expect long-form content to be a ranking factor in 2021.

5. Optimizations for featured snippets

According to SEMrush, 6.83% of all search results have a featured snippet.

And yes, featured snippets often get more clicks than the page that ranks first in Google.

Now, the question is, “How do you make your content appear as a featured snippet?”

5.1 Find opportunities for featured snippets

As I’ve mentioned in other articles, almost everything in SEO is about keywords.

And in the case of featured snippets, the first step is keyword research.

You need to see which keywords you already rank for and which keywords have recommended snippets.

Why is it important to focus on the keywords you already rank on?

Because 99.58% of all featured snippets come from pages that rank in the top 10 results for that keyword.

So if you don’t already rank in the top 10, you have 0 chance of ranking in the featured snippet.

How do you find featured snippet opportunities?

Use the “Organic keywords” report from Ahrefs. It will show you keywords that already have featured snippets.

raport cuvinte cheie organice ahrefs

5.2 Add “Snippet Bait” to your pages

“Snippet Bait” is a 40-60 word block of content specifically designed to be filed under Featured Snippet.

SEMrush has analysed nearly 7 million submitted snippets. And they found that most of the featured snippets are 40-60 words long.

Why 40-60?

Well, SEMrush analyzed nearly 7 million featured snippets and found that most of the snippets are 40-60 words long.

HubSpot, for example, takes Snippet Bait to another level. They add boxes to their posts that look like featured snippets:

strategie de continut seo huspot

5.3 Create content for other types of Reach Snippets

Snippet Bait works best for text and paragraph snippets:

featured snippets pentru facebook description

Even though, according to Backlinko, paragraph snippets account for 81.9% of all featured snippets, they are not the only snippets Google uses.

If you want to rank with list snippets, use H2 and H3 headings for each item in your lists.

You can manually check the HTML code to see if this is configured correctly.

Google will extract these headings from your listings and if it finds them relevant, it will include them in the recommended snippet.

tabel featured snippets

It is extracted from a well-structured page:

lista de preturi texas bbq featured snippet

Which leads to the next topic we will talk about in the next chapter.

6. Increasing visual searches (image search)

Has Visual Search changed aspects of SEO optimization?

Not yet. However, based on search trends and user behaviour, visual search is poised to become a major focus in 2021.

Here’s what you need to know:

6.1 The beginnings of visual search

People are now doing more visual searches than ever before.

Google Lens has already been used 1 billion times, according to Google blog.

statistici google lens

On Pinterest, an average of 600 visual searches are executed.

statistici cautari pinterest

6.2 Why are cvisual changes?

Although visual search is still in its infancy, it is working very well – as evidenced by the increase in visual searches performed in recent years.

If you don’t believe us, open the Google Lens app and scan things around you.

You’ll find that the app can identify almost anything.

Why is it important to optimize our online business for visual search?

Google Lens will allow you to point your phone at something, such as a plant, and then ask Google Assitant what the object you’ve pointed your phone’s camera at is.

Not only will you be given an answer, but you will also receive suggestions based on the scanned object, such as nearby florists in the case of the plant.

Google Lens will also recognise restaurants, clubs, cafes and bars, showing you a pop-up window with reviews, address details and opening hours.

The app’s ability to recognise objects is impressive.

In addition to the scenarios described above, Google Lens offers the following functionality:

  • Translations – You can point your phone at a text and, with the Google Translate connection, translate the text on the spot. Magic.
  • Smart text selection – you can point your phone’s camera at the text, then you can point that text in Google Lens and copy it for use on your phone. For example, imagine pointing your phone at a Wi-Fi password and copying/paste it into a Wi-Fi login screen.
  • Smart text search – When you highlight a piece of text in Google Lens, you can search for that piece of text with Google Assistant. This is handy if, for example, you need to search for the definition of a word.
  • Shopping – if you see a dress you like while shopping, Google Lens can identify that dress and similar items of clothing. This also works for interior design items and more through relevant reviews and shopping options.

These are just a few things businesses should consider optimizing their website for visual search. Google Lens is a magical element and will be very important for Local SEO.

According to Backlinko, 62% of young consumers want more visual search technology – so if you own an online business, you should take these stats into consideration, stop thinking about it and optimize your content visually. Or, if you don’t, start considering it.

6.3 How sow to optimize your website for visual search?

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to optimise your website and visual content for search.

Now you’re probably wondering how you’re going to do this.

Well, first of all, we need to talk about visual search factors.

Studies by SEO specialists show that:

 Mobile-friendly site pages are a big plus for visual search. 9 out of 10 Google Lens results come from sites that have passed Google’s mobile-friendly test. Given that virtually 100% of Google Lens searches are done from mobile devices, it makes sense that Google prefers mobile-optimised sites.

 Traditional SEO techniques such as image title optimization, ALT optimization are still applied. These things also seem to help Google Lens rankings. Firstly, it helps from an SEO point of view and it is quite likely that a well SEO optimised site that has authority and is well seen by Google will also rank well in Google Lens.

 Google Lens results tend to come from pages with lots of relevant content. Google tends to provide results in Google Lens from pages with around 1600 words on average. Google says that pages optimised for visual searches should be optimised for users first – so it makes sense why a page with in-depth information would rank better than one that is weaker in terms of content, where the user doesn’t find what they are interested in.

7. Domain authority of the site (DA)

Domain authority used to refer to the number of backlinks referring to that site.

Today, things are a little different.

Today, Google evaluates the authority of a domain based on several factors.

In SEO terms, these factors are referred to as EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which would mean expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

For many of you, EAT is probably not new anymore, because these factors were also talked about in 2020 (as they were ranking factors in 2020).

However, for those of you who haven’t heard it yet, we’ll give you a brief introduction.

7.1 About EAT

People started talking about E-AT in August 2018 and since then it has been mentioned in hundreds of SEO articles.

As mentioned earlier, E-AT is about expertise, authority and trust.

Comes from Google Guide (nofollow) for evaluating the quality of a website.

Google published this document online in 2013 to “help webmasters understand what Google is looking for in a web page”.

EAT is important for all queries, but for some it is more important than for others.

If we’re talking about a “cute cats” search, E-AT probably doesn’t matter so much.

On the other hand, if you’re doing a search for the correct dose of aspirin a pregnant woman can take, EAT is undoubtedly important.

If Google were to return a page with content written by an author who is not a specialist in the field, published on a site with no authority and which by default does not appear to be trustworthy, the likelihood of that content being inaccurate or misleading is high.

The question now is: How do you optimize your website for EAT?

Let’s see:

7.2 How to optimise your website for EAT

Step #1: Despite there being no mention of backlinks in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, Gary Illyes, Google Trends analyst for webmasters, said EAT relies heavily on links and mentions from authoritative sites.

informatii despre eat de la specialisti

According to Marie, Gary also mentioned that Google is very good at analyzing backlinks, so make sure you’re taking care to build your link building campaigns regularly. In addition, make sure you get backlinks from authoritative sites.

We have talked more about link building campaigns in the articles Link building campaign for beginners and Link building guide for advanced.

Step #2: If your online business belongs to the medical, financial, etc. field then updating content is crucial to the EAT factor.

Medical, financial, legal content should come from trusted sources and be updated regularly.

Medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed and updated regularly.

If we are talking about businesses that are part of a different sphere – the quality guidelines provided by Google do not specifically talk about this. However, we think it is important.

After all, how can a page be reliable if it misleads readers with outdated information?

Step #3: Always make sure that the information you provide in your content is factual and well-researched. Google has specifically mentioned news sites. News articles need to be real and accurate to have a high EAT.

Exactly the same goes for scientific content – it should be concrete, real and aligned with the consensus of the scientific community

But then again, what happens when it comes to other topics? Like this SEO guide, for example.

Although the QRGs (guidelines provided by Google about checking the quality of a site) no longer talk about accuracy in the context of EAT, we can assume that it is important because the document mentions it 50 more times.

So our advice is to take and use information from trusted sources.

Also, when you take information as such from a source, make sure you mention the source.

Step #4: Make sure you provide enough contact information. Companies that don’t provide visitors with enough contact information and customer support may be perceived as untrustworthy.

This is particularly important for YMYL sites (such as sites of medical institutions, sites allowing users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills etc. online, sites of other financial institutions etc.).

Our opinion is that legitimate businesses should at least disclose their address, phone number, email address and location.

What if you are a blogger or content writer working from home?

Don’t worry, Google’s quality reviewers won’t penalize you for not displaying your home address or providing 24/7 customer support. That would be unreasonable. QRGs say that the level of transparency expected depends on the site.

Step #5: Another way you can raise your EAT level is by getting a page or mention on Wikipedia.

cautare fiveplus pe wikipedia

Wikipedia has been mentioned several times in Google’s guidelines for evaluating the quality of a website. Quality raters are told to look specifically at the encyclopedia to help assess reputation.

However, getting a page on Wikipedia is quite difficult.

However, if you feel that your business has gained enough authority to warrant a Wikipedia page and you don’t already have one, it’s certainly worth trying to get one.

For the rest of us, the next best thing is the citation on an existing Wikipedia page.

Unfortunately, this is not so easy either. Although it is possible to edit Wikipedia pages, self-promotional suggestions are usually removed.

That said, it’s worth a try if you have a really useful resource that would add value to a particular Wikipedia article.
The Wikipedia site has been mentioned a few times in Google’s guidelines for evaluating the quality of a site. Quality assessors are told to look specifically at the encyclopedia to help assess reputation.

However, getting a page on Wikipedia is quite difficult.

However, if you feel that your business has gained enough authority to warrant a Wikipedia page and you don’t already have one, it’s certainly worth trying to get one.

For the rest of us, the next best thing is the citation on an existing Wikipedia page.

Unfortunately, this is not so easy either. Although it is possible to edit Wikipedia pages, self-promotional suggestions are usually removed.

That said, it’s worth a try if you have a really useful resource that would add value to a particular Wikipedia article.

8. The importance of video content

Video content has become extremely important in recent years.

According to Cisco, online videos will account for 82% of online traffic by 2022.

And the actual videos may not even be enough for users.

According to a study by HubSpot, 50% of consumers want to see video content on brand websites.

tipuri de continut solicitat

In other words, if you haven’t already considered video content for promoting your online business in 2021, you should.

8.1 Recommended video content

You’ve probably already noticed that more and more searches have video featured snippets.

video featured snippets cautare omleta

We can expect to see more and more video featured snippets in 2021.

Here are the 3 most important things to do to get your videos into the recommended snippet:

 As with text content, video content needs to be very well structured so that Google understands what the video is about.

 As with website pages, where we recommend optimising the meta title and meta description, we also recommend optimising the title, description and tags for video content so that Google understands what the video is about. As well as publishing videos with clear sections, you need to make sure your videos are SEO optimised. HubSpot conducted a study on 165 video featured snippets and found that 80% of these Google-recommended video snippets contained a keyword in the title.

 Try to have subtitles for your videos. YouTube-generated subtitles for videos are really good and useful, but not 100% accurate. So for Google to understand 100% what your video is about, you should have your own subtitles that convey the information exactly as you would have wanted it to be conveyed from the creation of the material.

8.2 Grow your YouTube channel

After Google, YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world.

And, given the increased demand for video, it will certainly maintain its position. What’s more, YouTube is continuing its upward trend, as users search for more and more things on YouTube and content creators continue to flesh out new video ideas.

So, if you want to get more traffic through SEO in 2021, we recommend you also focus on creating and optimizing videos specifically for YouTube.

YouTube has become far too important a search engine to ignore and not take advantage of the promotional opportunities it offers.

Making a video requires quite a lot of resources and work, which is why many marketers prefer not to get complacent.

This is where your opportunity comes in. With less competing video material, you are more likely to “sell” your material.

When you regularly create videos for YouTube (assuming they are relevant and well-structured) Google sees and takes notice.

According to an older study by experts in the field, 55% of all Google results contain at least one video, and most of them come from YouTube.

statistici despre materiale video google

Given that Google owns YouTube, it is expected that in 2021 Google will offer even more video results.

As a final tip about YouTube, make sure you also include relevant video material in your blog content.

If that’s what people are asking for – more video content, why not give them what they’re asking for?

In addition, more and more SEO agencies are offering SEO services for YouTube to meet the demand for video content in the marketplace, so in 2021, all the elements are in your favor.

9. Search intent

Search intent has become a very important topic in SEO in recent years.

Content that does not match the search intent will simply not rank.

And as Google evolves and provides users with accurate results for their searches, creating content that has 1-to-1 search intent matching will be a must for SEO in 2021.

9.1 Identify search intent for your keywords

Behind every keyword there is an intention.

It may be the intention to buy a particular product. Or it may be the intention to compare 2 products.

You need to write content that matches the search intent. The better you can do this, the more people you’ll reach and the higher your site will rank for that keyword.

First, you need to find out what the search intent of the targeted keyword is.

Sometimes the search intent is even in the keyword.

cautare pe google ruj rosu

But it is usually not so obvious. So for most keywords, search results will tell you all about the search intent.

For example, if we take a keyword such as “magnesium”, the search intent will not be so obvious.

Perhaps the user running this search intends to buy administrable magnesium. Or perhaps they are interested in learning more about the chemical.

cautare pe google magneziu

According to the picture above, most people who search for magnesium are looking for more information about this chemical element/product.

9.2 Produce content that has a 1 to 1 match with search intent

Now that you’ve identified search intent, it’s time to publish something that gives users exactly what they’re looking for.

For example, for the search “how to get likes” you will see that the first 2 results in the top are list articles:

cautare pe google cum obtii like-uri

So, a person who would like to write ways in which Facebook pages of businesses (and not only) can get more likes, should write a well-researched article about various methods (For example: 20 ways to get more likes on Facebook).

9.3 Update old content

Optimising content for search intent should not only be considered in terms of new content.

You can browse and re-browse old content, update and optimise it to better match search intent.

Most likely, by the time you made content, the trends for search intent were different.

It even checks the content on your site that at one time ranked well and gradually after various changes Google has dropped. It is very likely that search intent has changed and that content is no longer sufficient for users.

10. How to combat CTR decline

As Google is in a continuous process of evolution, the CTR has started to decline.

For example, featured snippets and Ads. get people to click before they reach the top site.

A result has to be very good to attract attention. It basically has to scream , “Click on me, what you’re looking for is here!”.

Of course, now the question arises, “How can I do that?”.

This is where we come in and help you with a few suggestions:

 Don’t forget to include the keyword in the URL. According to a study by Backlinko, URLs with the target keyword in the URL are more than 45% more likely to get clicks.

 Don’t turn your headline into click bait. According to the same study by Backlinko, headlines that contain too many strong words decrease click-through rates by 14%. Users need to find a compelling headline, but not so compelling that it gives the impression of click bait.

 Every page on your website should have relevant and original meta descriptions. And don’t forget to include the keyword in the meta description. It takes on average only 2 minutes to write a meta description, and the chances of users clicking on your result increase by 60%.

11. Quick SEO tips for 2021

Let’s look at some tactics you could use to do quality SEO in 2021.

11.1 Make research content a priority

People who make content, i.e. bloggers and journalists value data.

And if you can connect the data with graphs, statistics, surveys, they will provide you as a source.

If you do a cross-site case study and come to a conclusion, e.g. you have an online shop and write an article like “x% of shoppers prefer not to pay online by card” – it’s a topical, interesting topic and increases your chances of other sites using these statistics and giving you a backlink.

It is indeed a lot of work to do such a study, but when you do it right, the extra effort is worth it.

11.2 Create visual content

I don’t think we can mention it enough times: Visual content has become more important than ever.

It might interest you that 65% of people learn visually and, according to HubSpot, 70% of companies invest in marketing content they can use in visual marketing strategies.

80% of marketers use visuals in their social media marketing, and thanks to social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, visual content should continue to grow in 2021.

Want more reasons to focus on visual content?

11.3 Publish hub content

In case you’ve never heard this term used in such a context, let’s find out what a hub is.

Hubs are landing pages that cover a specific topic, through which you can link to other articles.

In other words, instead of linking to random articles in your blog, you link to several related articles as reinforcements in a hub.

A good example is the following page from Backlinko:

pagina de tip hub backlinko

These hubs have a dual role in SEO.

First of all, they have this wow effect, which attracts users by being complex articles where users can find answers to questions they didn’t even know they had about the topic.

Very few people are willing to put in the effort required to create hub content. So when you do, you’ll instantly stand out.

Second, hub pages are strategically designed to rank for a lot of definition keywords.

Now it’s your turn!

That’s how we prepared for 2021.

Now it’s your turn to choose your strategy.

And, of course, if you need advice in choosing your strategy or don’t know where to start with SEO and what it might need for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us or request a SEO audit to lay the foundations of your SEO strategy for 2021 together.

 If you want to keep this 2021 SEO optimization guide and re-read it from time to time to refresh your information, you can download it in PDF format.