The biggest SEO trends of the past 3 years

SEO is an important factor in the success of any website or online business. Search engine optimization is not a one-time project, but a dynamic journey with which you are actually never finished. After all, SEO is subject to trends and developments. SEO trends stem from the goal of search engines to best serve their users. They do this by displaying the most relevant websites and pursuing the best possible user experience.

The changes in search engine algorithms, often in rapid succession, make it necessary to stay abreast of the latest SEO trends and techniques. Only then can you continue to optimize your website sustainably. In this article, I’ll tell you about some of the most important SEO trends of the past few years, including mobile-first indexing, E-E-A-T, featured snippets, and video content.

I also offer you some practical tips and advice to leverage these trends and improve your website’s SEO performance. Read on below to discover how to use SEO trends to your advantage and strengthen your online presence.

What were the biggest trends in search engine optimization?

In my opinion, the five trends below have been the most important for search engine optimization in recent years. I list them briefly, then proceed to discuss each trend and its implications for SEO strategies in more detail.

Optimization for voice-activated search: more and more people are using smart speakers and voice-activated assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant to search. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize your website for this type of search.

Mobile-first indexing: Google has begun mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of your website is indexed and ranked first in search results. This change makes it necessary to optimize your website for mobile devices.

Mobile first indexing

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness play an increasing role for Google in ranking search results. Therefore, provide quality content and demonstrate that you are an authority within your field.

Featured snippets: using featured snippets can bring you more traffic to your website. Therefore, optimizing your content to appear as featured snippets has become important.

Video content: videos are becoming increasingly popular and can help increase engagement with your website visitors. Therefore, to improve your visibility in search results, optimize your videos for searches and use video rich snippets.

The rise of voice commands

Optimization for voice search is a major SEO trend of recent years. More and more people are using smart speakers and voice-activated assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant to search. This has implications for keywords and content on your website, among other things. If you want to optimize your website for voice commands, you can take the following steps:

  1. Long-tail keywords: when someone performs a voice search, they typically use longer phrases. That makes it more important to focus on long-tail keywords rather than short keywords.
  2. Conversational content: when using voice-activated assistants, search engine users ask natural questions. They also expect natural answers in return. This is also called conversational content. Therefore, be sure to create this type of content to answer questions that people often ask in search engines.
  3. Using schema markup: If you use schema markup, it can help make the context of your content more understandable to search engines and voice-activated assistants. It can also help to show your content as an answer to a question in search results.
  4. Fast load time: short load times are essential for voice search because people expect quick answers. Therefore, also focus on minimizing your website load time as much as possible.

By following these steps, you can optimize your website for voice search. This is how you make sure your website stays relevant in an ever-changing search landscape(1).

Mobile first indexing: the mobile version of your website as the primary version

Mobile-first indexing is something that was initiated by Google. The search engine was the first to prioritize mobile content when indexing and ranking search results. As a result, the mobile version of your website is now the primary version that Google indexes and analyzes(2). If you want to optimize your website for mobile-first indexing, take the following steps:

  1. Ensure responsive design: today it is important that your website is designed in such a way that it looks and functions well on mobile devices. Responsive design, or design that automatically adapts to the size of the screen, is crucial for this.
  2. Use mobile-friendly technologies: make sure your website uses mobile-friendly technologies such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and PWA (Progressive Web Apps). These technologies contribute to improved speed and performance of your website on mobile devices.
AMP
  1. Make your content mobile-friendly: not only your website itself, but also the content you post on it should be suitable for mobile devices. This means your texts should be short and to the point, and you should optimize images and videos for mobile devices.
  2. Avoid pop-ups and interstitials: Avoid using pop-ups and interstitials on your website. The latter involve full-screen ads that often load between two different pages. Both reduce user convenience on mobile devices.

The biggest SEO trends at a glance

No time for a long article? No problem. Then watch the video below for a summary of this article.

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authority and Reliability

E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) is a major SEO trend of recent years(3). By the way, don’t be confused by the abbreviation, because the T stands for English “Trustworthiness. Google has indicated these four factors are becoming increasingly important in ranking search results. Below I have described some steps you can take to improve E-E-A-T on your website:

  1. Offer quality content: make sure your website offers quality content. This is content that offers value to your visitors and is well-supported because you have the right knowledge or have done enough research. Provide quality content in the form of in-depth articles, white papers, reports and other content related to your field.
  2. Use links that have authority: link in your own content to quality resources on other websites and, conversely, try to get links from other websites that have authority in your field. Both actions increase your website’s authority within your niche.
  3. Demonstrate authors’ expertise: the authors of the content on your website, whether yourself or someone else, should be able to demonstrate their expertise within a particular field. A simple and effective way, for example, is to mention their professional experience or share their academic background.
  4. Provide clear expertise and authority: on your website, it should be clear who the content authors are, the company behind the website, and the knowledge and experience of those involved within the field. You do this, for example, by using an “About Us” page and listing professional memberships and certifications.
  5. Show reliability: make sure your website appears trustworthy. One way you do this is by making it clear how you handle personal data and what measures you take to ensure the security of visitors.

Featured snippets are another important SEO trend of recent years(4). They are snippets of website content displayed in a highlighted block at the top of search results. They become visible when users submit a query to Google. To increase your chances of being shown as a featured snippet, one of the things you can do is the following:

  1. Identify frequently asked questions: research what are the most frequently asked questions within your niche and field and then answer them on your website. You can respond to questions about particular products or services, as well as general questions about the field.
  2. Structure your content: the content of your website should be structured in a clear, uncluttered way. This way, Google can easily read and understand your content. One way to structure your content is to use subheads, lists and paragraphs.
  3. Use structured data: you can also use structured data such as schema markup to highlight and structure the content of your website. You can thus help Google better understand your content and increase the likelihood that the search engine will show it as a featured snippet.
  4. Provide quality content: the content on your website should be clear and of high quality. Use concrete and clear examples and avoid jargon. This ensures that the content is easy for Google and its users to understand.
  5. Make use of question-and-answer format: finally, you can also use the question-and-answer format for content on your website to meet users’ information needs.

Video content

The fifth and final SEO trend of recent years that I want to discuss with you is that of video content. Using videos on your website can help increase user engagement and improve search engine rankings(5). Want to optimize your video content for SEO? Then you can take the following steps to that end:

  1. Provide quality videos: your videos should be high quality and relevant to your target audience. Careful planning, scripting and editing is important to ensure quality. Also, this method of working ensures that the videos are optimally aligned with your brand.
  2. Use keywords: keywords make your video easier to find for search engines. You use these words in the title, description and tags of your video. That way, you can rank higher in organic search results.
Video content
  1. Transcribe your videos: when you transcribe your videos, search engines can better understand their content. This can also help index your video for specific keywords.
  2. Optimize metadata: Optimize your video’s metadata by adding a good description. This is a description that summarizes the content of the video and includes the most important keywords. Also, use relevant tags to categorize your video and make it easier to find.
  3. Make use of video-rich snippets: with video-rich snippets, you can improve the visibility of your video in search results. For example, you do this by showing a thumbnail image of the video, the duration of the video and other information.

Conclusion

Are you striving to have your website rank higher in the organic search results of search engines like Google? Then it is crucial to consider the latest SEO trends and techniques. Mobile-first indexing, voice commands, E-E-A-T, featured snippets and video content are, in my opinion, the most important SEO trends of the past few years. My practical tips and advice will hopefully help you take your SEO performance to the next level.

Remain aware at all times that SEO is never a one-time project, but an ongoing effort. If you want to keep your website relevant to search engines and your target audience, sitting still and sitting back is not one of them. So stay on top of the latest SEO trends and techniques, constantly test and optimize your website, and offer your visitors only valuable content. With this approach, you can strengthen your online presence and improve your website’s SEO performance.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.