The biggest stories in SEO from 2021

by David Broderick

To close out the year, we thought we’d revisit the biggest stories and most insightful articles we shared in our weekly Rich Snippets newsletter in 2021.

Read on to catch up on any you might have missed.

1. What creators should know about Google’s product reviews update – Google Search Central Blog

Google rolled out its product reviews update at the beginning of April. 

If you own an affiliate site and missed the guidelines published on the Search Central blog, be sure to check them out now. They include a nine-point checklist you can use to find out whether you’re providing what Google considers “quality” reviews.

2. Improve your content with Search Console Insights – Google Web Creators Blog

In June, Google accidentally published the Search Console Insights Report announcement early. 

It quickly deleted the post – but not before we spotted it and shared the archive.org link with Rich Snippets subscribers.

3. The importance of understanding “entity-oriented search” for SEO: Beyond strings – inLinks

In this case study, the brilliant Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR explores how entities interconnect and can be leveraged to match content opportunities to user intent.

We loved this article so much that we reached out to Koray to create a monthly lesson on python SEO that the Traffic Think Tank community has been enjoying ever since.

4. Create good titles and snippets in Search Results – Google Search Central

Back in May, Google started rewriting title tags they didn’t think were up to scratch – for better or worse.

These best practices quickly followed on Search Central. Stick to them and your titles are more than likely to appear how you’d like them to in the SERPs (although that still won’t be guaranteed).

5. How to improve ROI by connecting organic and paid search – Think with Google

PPC vs SEO is a battle that’s raged on since the dawn of digital marketing.

In this guide, Stephen Pritchard argues the case for merging your paid and organic search strategies for a better ROI – and explains how unifying the data between paid and organic search teams creates a fuller, richer picture of consumer behavior.

6 . How to Grow a Blog (from 0 to 15k Monthly Visitors) – Samuel Schmitt

This article from Samuel Schmitt is a must-read for anyone looking to build a personal brand in the world of digital marketing.

In it, he walks you through the step-by-step process he used to grow his blog from 0 to 15,000 visits a month and build a name for himself in SEO space from scratch.

7. Importance of Context for SEO: More Text is not Better Context – Root & Branch Group


Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR’s second entry in the top ten most-clicked Rich Snippets stories of the year is a deep dive into one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO. 

Follow Koray on a deep dive into how information is categorized, associated, and catalogued by search engines. By the end of this one you might have changed the way you think about SEO.

8. SEO salary report 2021: How much SEO pros get paid – Search Engine Journal

Head into your next salary review armed with all the data you need to make a case for a pay rise, courtesy of Search Engine Journal’s latest SEO salary report.

9. Brodie Clark’s Google SERP Feature Notes

Ever tweeted a sighting of shiny new SERP feature only to get several notifications explaining that well, actually it’s not so new after all?

Bookmark Brodie’s SERP feature notes – which document all of Google’s new tests and features – so you’re never late to the party again.

10. Towards an animation smoothness metric – web.dev

In November, Google announced a new Core Web Vitals metric that’s in the works: Smoothness. This metric is set to quantify how much scrolling or animation makes a page “stutter” or “freeze”.

This accompanying web.dev article covers everything you need to know about the upcoming CWV metric to prepare for it before it goes live.

Want to be one of the first to know about the latest developments in the world of search as they happen? Sign up to our weekly Rich Snippets newsletter and join Traffic Think Tank to get real-time updates – and join in on the discussion.

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