SEO, SEM & Social Media Updates and Trends for 2021 from the Industry Experts

One thing we learned in 2020 is that change can happen without warning. Of course, every change has its pros and cons, and we have to adapt to changes when they happen. Online marketing in 2021 is no exception. While many trends from last year still apply, there are some changes which marketing experts and business owners need to know about. 

In this article, we’ll look at the online marketing trends for the rest of the year with our experts in the industry. Let’s take a look at their predictions for this year: 

1. The Upcoming SEO Trends for 2021

What to Focus on when Conducting SEO

By Khun Pailin – Team Lead, SEO

In 2021, Core Web Vitals, Google’s User Experience (UX) performance measurement, will play a larger role in SEO as Google places more importance on the user experience. Core Web Vitals will be used officially in measurements from May 2021 onwards. 

The sub-factors that contribute to the Core Web Vitals score include Pagespeed, security, mobile friendliness, and mobile responsiveness. Intrusive pop-ups should not be excessive. For this reason, in addition to creating good content, SEOs and web developers should pay more attention to the UX design, because if ignored and their design is not responsive to mobile, it may result in their website not ranking on Google at all. 

New Techniques that SEOs and Developers Should Focus On

By Khun Chet – Technical Director

First things first, the quality of content is always our priority. The elements you need to pay special attention to are referred to as the E-A-T Checklist. 

E = Expertise; be an expert in what you write

A = Authoritativeness; be the original owner of the content (no plagiarising from other sources) 

T = Trustworthiness; the credibility of the content

The next thing that cannot be overlooked is BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformer) which is Google’s (AI) Algorithm. Without this, Google cannot understand synonyms and natural language without using specific keywords. So, now content creators can make practical and natural word choices which also help increase the efficiency of their SEO efforts.

The last thing to consider is Core Web Vitals which consists of these 3 elements: 

1. Largest Contentful Paint (Loading)

The download speed of the content on a website (writing, photos, videos etc.), calculated from the biggest file on each page. Content should not take longer than 2.5 seconds to download, to be deemed good. 

2. First Input Delay (Interactivity) 

The duration of the response between the commands. For website users filling out forms and clicking on buttons, a well-placed score cannot exceed 0.1 seconds.

3. Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS (Visual Stability) 

The stability of the website, such as the layout of forms or buttons, and whether there are any glitches when scrolling through the website. A good CLS value should not exceed 0.1-0.25 seconds. 

Outreach SEO Implementation

By Khun Sai – Outreach Manager

People generally think that Dofollow Links are more important than Nofollow Links because they think that Nofollow Links are worthless to a website. Nofollow Links are links that prevent internet bots like Search Engine Crawlers from accessing the link to collect data from the destination website, and can affect your website ranking. 

In 2021, however, Googlebot will start tracking the destinations from Nofollow links as they deem them worth considering. Whilst having Nofollow Links now may not influence your ranking directly, it will still be different from before, when there was no destination tracking at all.

In conclusion, receiving Nofollow Links when conducting Backlink is not rare nowadays, and if your website has both Dofollow and Nofollow links from the big, popular websites with good stats, it will naturally persuade Google to acknowledge your website, which could help your website climb up the rankings.  

P.S. In addition to Nofollow Links, there are also links that are featured as “sponsored”, i.e. links, paid articles or advertisements and UGC (User Generated Content) or earned links. These must be properly separated for Google to understand and take the information into consideration, which may affect your website ranking as well. Learn more about SEO vocabulary for those who want to enhance your SEO knowledge.

2. Upcoming SEM Trends for 2021

Facebook Marketing Guidelines

By Khun Jip Jup – Ad Operations Specialist

With influencers being of high importance these days, it’s imperative to learn how to create Branded Content. Influencers need to create quality, authentic content for their social media platforms, such as their Facebook or Instagram pages. The brand can then use this content as advertisements created specifically for their target customers. 

Facebook defines ‘Branded Content’ as “any post that features content about products or services sponsored by brands or media companies, posted by well-known creators e.g. bloggers or influencers”. 

Creating Branded Content helps new brands build brand awareness, and established brands introduce new products to customers. 

If a brand chooses an influencer with an audience aligned with their target market it will increase its chances of selling its products. Branded Content is very popular internationally and notable brands in Thailand are starting to adopt it as well. It is one of the top online marketing trends for 2021 and if you have a chance, you should give it a go for your brand. 

Guidelines for Google Advertising

By Khun Milk – Ad Operations Specialist 

From the statistics, the keywords people use to search increases by 20% a year and they get shorter and shorter each year, too. Consequently, the Exact Match type keywords, or specific keywords, no longer need to be as specific as before. 

After Google updated the Keyword Matching, it added something called “Close Variants”. Before this, an exact match was needed for results to show up, but with Close Variants, the search keywords do not have to be specific. For example, we programmed our ad to be found with the keywords ‘Ekkamai condominium’, but now there is a chance for people who search ‘condo ekkamai’ to see our ads too.  

This is because Google wants to increase the chances of your advertisement reaching search engine users, even when they search with typos, synonyms, abbreviations or new terms with the same meaning.

While this may seem like a good deed from Google, we need to look more closely. Despite the fact that this system makes it easier for advertisers, there are cautions that should be noted, as there is a limit in Google’s system when it comes to translating Thai language. For that reason, it is essential to monitor search terms and negative keywords regularly to produce the best results for your marketing campaign. 

3. Upcoming Social Media Trends for 2021

Social Media Marketing Guidelines

By Account Management Team

Studying the different content types for social media is something every marketing expert should do. There are no concrete rules for creating content but understanding the different types of content and their pros and cons will help you create quality content. 

Aside from understanding the different types of content, you should learn to plan and categorise content in groups with clear objectives, such as:

Branding = building brand awareness (Awareness)

Lifestyle/Education = persuading people to make decision (Consideration)

Product/Promotion = attracting customers (Conversion)

Another goal to set in 2021 is to focus on the quality of your content. It is not enough to just create content, you must also monitor the results and consider whether the content you’re producing is on a par with the standard, or higher. This includes all aspects of your content, from the photoshoot, video editing and presentation, to the captions, storytelling, etc. All of this cannot be achieved to a high level without extensive knowledge of the different content types. 

Other than building brand awareness, you should consider the channels for customers to be able to purchase your products. You should include a link in your caption redirecting customers to e-commerce platforms, or other channels such as LINE, Inbox Messenger etc. This will help increase sales opportunities.

Guidelines for Choosing Social Media Marketing Channels

By Khun Nat – Senior Social Media Strategist 

The credibility of influencers is even more important in 2021, with brands able to build credibility and awareness by choosing influencers with principles similar to their own. That’s why it’s important to consider the identity and stance of each influencer and see if they match with your brand.

Selecting one or two long-term influencers, rather than many, will add credibility to their words and allow them to essentially act as brand ambassadors. 

As for content channels in 2021, video still takes the gold medal. During the pandemic, we saw the rise of the short-video trend on platforms like TikTok. This is the reason Facebook launched the Reels feature on Instagram. Reels is quite similar to TikTok and there seems to be good feedback from international influencers. However, this feature is not yet available in Thailand.

2021 Online Marketing Trend Update

By Khun Ben – Head of Strategy

Due to the deterioration of the potential use of cookies (files that websites create when you visit them, collecting data to make your next visit faster and more convenient) and data usage from third parties, many agencies have had to make big changes to their online marketing strategies. 

Combining internal data and hyper-personalised marketing, or marketing that uses real-time data warehousing, companies can forecast the consumer’s needs, for increased accuracy and greater consumer engagement. 

In the past, we relied extensively on cookies and third parties which has now created a huge challenge for marketing planners. They now have to think outside the box to develop and adjust the basic structure of their digital marketing data and find ways to process this data for future marketing campaigns. 

In a way it is like we are going back to the beginning by using the basic methods of searching and testing strategies, instead of using data supplied by third parties.

An Overview of Online Marketing in 2021

By Khun Mark – CEO

Last year’s online marketing strategies and trends will still apply in 2021, but there are many new marketing methods which are still up for discussion e.g. AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, etc. We must however admit that in Asia, these methods are quite new and in some ways, unwanted. The main reason is that we are used to using data from third parties. Nevertheless, these methods are growing gradually and we will definitely get to see them in the future, although it may take some time. 

COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on our world, as evidenced by the digital transformation which stimulated the desire for technological efficiency. Right now might be the time for us to separate online and old marketing from one another, as personalised marketing is at the core of marketing in 2021.

In Asia we have to admit that we are still pursuing the West in terms of making the most of available resources, especially when it comes to brands managing information to attract consumers.

All of the information in this article has been provided by agency professionals who meet clients and get to work with the platforms discussed every day. You might have noticed that the online marketing trends for the second half of 2021 are not very different from the start of the year in terms of content formats, techniques, and platform features.

However, one thing that has definitely changed is that you must focus on every single detail and learn to adapt. You may have to look for different ways to present content on old platforms, or use different tools to reach your target audience. However, the important thing to remember is that every business, product or service has its own set of customers, you just have to find them!