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Google Marketing search engine search engine optimization SEO Tech

What Does the Future of Online Search Look Like?

Online search has evolved so gradually that many people find it hard to track its growth. One day, voice-based search seemed like a dumb gimmick that only heard what you said half the time. The next day, it felt like voice search had been working well for years. 

But the fact is, over the 20ish years it’s been around, online search has changed dramatically. It has evolved from a clunky, barely-functional tool for finding specific webpages to being the ultimate channel for knowledge and discovery. With just a phrase, you can summon accurate information on any topic, get answers to any common question, find the exact product you’re looking for, or simply discover more about a subject. 

So where do we go from here? How does search get better? And how could it change our interactions with technology overall? 

How Search Has Evolved

Before we can look into the future, we have to look at the past. How has search evolved to date? 

The frontrunner in the search engine world is Google. It became the dominant online search competitor from the moment it entered the scene, and today, it retains share of nearly two-thirds of all online searches. Its brand is synonymous with online search, and it continues to set standards for how other search engines operate. 

It’s important to remember that Google, now owned by Alphabet, is a for-profit company. The service is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection, but ultimately, Google is interested in making money. Its main source of revenue is advertising; when people click ads, the businesses who placed those ads pay a small sum of money to Google. 

Accordingly, to serve the best ads and attract as many money-generating users as possible, Google is incentivized to give users the best possible experience. 

This amounts to achieving several sub-goals, including: 

  • Providing more relevant results. Google has long been the primary search engine choice because of its ability to conjure up relevant results—in other words, to provide users with content that matches their queries. In the old days, this amounted to finding content that contained keywords and phrases similar to what was included in the user’s query. But over time, this evolved to Google systematically understanding the intent behind user queries as well as the purpose of content throughout the web. Today, it can find much more intelligent, qualitative matches. 
  • Providing more authoritative results. Additionally, Google has evolved to provide more authoritative results. Just because something is a topical match doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy—or that it’s going to be satisfying to an end user. The web is filled with spam and low-quality content, and part of Google’s job is to filter that content out. Over the years, it has developed much higher quality standards, capable of detecting spammy links, bad writing, and other signs that a website shouldn’t be trusted. 
  • Providing a quicker, more intuitive interface. Google has also developed its search engine to provide users with a faster, more intuitive interface. You can get results almost instantaneously, even if you search a convoluted phrase—and you can search using any number of different methods, such as voice-based search. 
  • Providing direct information and answers. Google has also attempted to simplify and hasten the search process by giving users direct information—rather than merely directing them to a website that might have the answer. If you search for a relatively simple, answerable question (like “who was the first President of the United States?â€�), you’ll get an immediate answer—no clicking required. This not only makes the user experience simpler and more enjoyable, it also keeps the user on Google for a longer period of time, increasing the likelihood that they’ll click an ad. 

We can expect Google to continue evolving along these pathways. But what could further evolution along these lines look like? 

New Ways to Interact With Search Engines

First, we’ll likely see the emergence of new ways to interact with search engines. Rather than simply typing in a query or using our voices, we’ll have a variety of new modes of engagement. 

  • New devices. For starters, we’ll see search become more integrated with a wider range of devices. Already, we’re conducting searches with our laptops, smartphones, tablets, and speakers throughout the house. In the future, the internet of things may introduce us to even newer, more innovative modes of engagements. Search-capable devices may be practically everywhere. 
  • Conversations. Voice search has already represented a massive breakthrough, so what if we could search in a more interactive way—like through conversation? Having a search “agentâ€� guide us through our search could give us even more customization options—and give us more relevant results than ever. 
  • Gestures. What’s even faster and easier than searching with your voice? In the future, you may be able to search using simple gestures. With the right device and ample user prep, it could be possible to use gestures like pointing, nodding, or even blinking to search and browse results. 
  • Thoughts. Though likely reserved for the distant future, a brain-AI interface (like Neuralink) could even make it possible to search using only your thoughts. 

Personalization and Prediction 

In some ways, Google can be considered a data company. Its advertising network relies heavily on its ability to give advertisers meaningful data about their advertising targets. Additionally, search results already rely heavily on user data; your demographic group, your previous search history, and even the way you interact online can all shape your search results. 

In the future, this data-centric search model will grow to become even more powerful. Driven by big data and artificial intelligence (AI), Google and other search engines may be capable of actively predicting your searches before you execute them, providing you with results they think you need before you truly need them. At the very least, we’ll see even more personalized experiences, with search results tailored specifically for individuals based on a litany of data points. 

Alternatives to Google

While Google continues to retain ownership of the largest share of online search, there are other search competitors that are slowly rising. For example, Bing is every bit as functional as Google, with some distinct advantages, and DuckDuckGo is becoming an increasingly popular choice for users concerned about privacy. Additionally, there’s plenty of room for a new, agile, innovative startup to disrupt the industry—potentially rethinking search from the ground up. 

In the coming years, we could see a paradigm shift here. It all depends on the entrepreneurs and programmers at competing tech companies and startups. If a new player or an existing competitor finds a way to unseat Google, it would probably be because they offer a fundamentally different experience—one that’s difficult to imagine, given our immense familiarity with the current scope of online search. 

Higher Quality Standards

Though difficult to execute from a programming perspective, Google and its rival search engines could make a push to introduce even higher quality standards than before. Despite their best efforts, there’s still an abundance of badly written content and irrelevant links on the internet. Additionally, search engine optimization (SEO) makes it almost trivially easy for skilled content creators to manipulate search rankings in their favor. More advanced techniques could potentially filter content based on depth, accuracy, and possibly even intention—clearing up search results with better content than ever. 

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a major transformation of search in the next few years. For the foreseeable future, we’ll likely witness a gradual unfolding of new features and small updates to the search engines we’ve come to know and love. But beyond that, as new innovators attempt to disrupt the industry and older players strive to remain dominant, we could see a fundamental rethinking of the average search experience. By the end of the decade, online search could be practically unrecognizable. 

The post What Does the Future of Online Search Look Like? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Branding design effectivness Mobile SEO UX web design

How Does Web Design Affect Your SEO and UX

seo ux

It takes just 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about a website. Fail to make a positive impression and visitors will quickly hit the back button. It’s clear that aesthetics have a strong impact on how users judge a website. But there are two other aspects you shouldn’t overlook — SEO and UX. But how does web design affect your SEO and UX?

People turn to search engines like Google for answers, which is why optimizing for SEO is important. SEO helps your site get found for queries that are relevant to your business.

At the same time, website design goes beyond aesthetics. A site with poor UX not only makes it frustrating for users to navigate your site; it also impacts your search engine rankings.

Here we’ll look at different aspects of web design and how they affect SEO and UX.

Mobile Friendliness

Smartphone usage has become so ubiquitous that you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a mobile device. There are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users and that figure is only expected to increase.

bar-graph-smartphone-users-2016-2021-expected

(Image Source)

More people are accessing the web from their mobile devices.

In fact, Google announced mobile-first indexing for the entire web. This means that Google will use the mobile version of your site in the search results.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your rankings will likely be impacted as a result. Online users today are also less tolerant of sites that aren’t optimized for their devices.

Ensuring that your site works across all devices needs to be a priority if it isn’t already.

Site Speed

No matter how well-designed your site is, it won’t matter if it doesn’t load quickly.

Online users may have been tolerant of slow sites in the past. But expectations have changed and people today want to be able to find answers fast.

If your site doesn’t load quickly, don’t expect your visitors to stick around and wait. Most will simply click the back button and click through to another search result.

Google has even released an update called the Speed Update that makes loading times a ranking factor. All other factors being equal, a site that loads faster than yours will rank higher in the search results.

What can you do to make your site faster?

Start with the obvious. Large images that aren’t optimized are one of the biggest culprits of slow loading time.

Use photo editing software like Photoshop to compress your images before you upload them to your pages. If you use WordPress, there are also many plugins you can install that automatically do this for you.

Other ways to speed up your site include enabling compression, leveraging browsing caching, minifying CSS, JavaScript, HTML files, and using a content distribution network.

Typography

Typography is another aspect of web design that affects SEO and UX.

Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a site only to find that text is too small. You have to zoom in from your device just to read the content.

Most users will simply leave the page if they’re not able to read the text. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors aren’t finding your site useful or relevant.

There’s even some correlation between bounce rates and organic rankings:

bounce-rate-vs-organic-position-graph-for-seo-and-ux

(Image Source)

While having a professional design is important, it’s also a good idea to improve your content’s readability. Use a legible font and size to ensure that users can easily read the text.

Ensure that your content is legible across all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

Navigation

A crucial aspect of web design is navigation.

Navigation links help orient your visitors as they explore your site. If visitors cannot easily navigate your site or find what they’re looking for, they may feel confused or frustrated.

Organize your navigation menu into categories and subcategories that users can click through to find the right page. Optimize those links with keywords to improve their visibility, and keep in mind SEO and UX.

Here’s an example of how the main navigation bar looks on Hacker Noon:

hackernoon-navigation-bar-on-seo-and-ux-importance

(Image Source)

Generally, you want to put your navigation bar in a place where visitors expect to find it, such as at the top or to the side.

Use clear text for each of your navigation links to avoid any misunderstandings. There’s a reason why most websites use “Contactâ€� for the contact page and “About Usâ€� for the about page.

Color Schemes

Color schemes can affect how visitors perceive your business. For example, you can use brighter colors to convey a playful tone. On the other hand, you can use darker colors like black to convey luxury.

The color schemes you choose for your site should ideally match the services that your business offers. For example, if you were a cleaning company, you would probably use green colors to indicate freshness instead of color like brown or black.

White space is another important element of web design. It’s essentially the empty space around your content, giving them room to breathe.

4 out of 5 participants rated the design on the left more favorably over the design on the right even though both companies offer similar prices and products.

web-design-and-seo-on-two-pages

(Image Source)

Playful colors combined with white space make the design from BoxGreen more visually appealing than its competitor. In contrast, the design from Guilt-Free looks more cluttered and not as attractive.

When comparing the two options above, it’s clear that design was ultimately the deciding factor on the participants’ ratings. In many cases, it can mean the difference between a customer shopping at your site or a competitors’.

Usability

Usability refers to how easy or difficult it is for visitors to navigate your site. In other words, are visitors able to find what they’re looking for?

Poor web design doesn’t just affect SEO. It also affects your site’s usability and whether users can achieve what they set out to do.

If you want visitors to have a positive impression of your brand, it’s important to optimize for usability. Start with a clear visual hierarchy with design elements in order of importance.

You can use design elements like scale and spacing to indicate which pieces of content are important and where you want users to pay attention to.

Here’s an example of a homepage with a good visual hierarchy:

fullstory-visual-heirarchy-on-web-design-and-seo

(Image Source)

There’s a clear “flowâ€� to the page and all the elements are laid out intuitively. The copy on the page is written well, and there’s even a call to action that tells visitors exactly what to do (get a demo).

Similarly, your web design should make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for right away.

Conclusion

Web design and SEO go hand-in-hand.

Even with a professional-looking site, visitors are likely to bounce if it’s frustrating to navigate or not optimize their device. Those signals tell Google that users aren’t finding your site useful, which can impact your rankings.

On the other hand, ranking at the top of Google won’t help either if you have a poor design that doesn’t instill trust. That’s why it’s important to incorporate both SEO and UX into your web design right from the start.

Top Image Credit: bongkarn thanyaki; pexels

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digital marketing trends influencer marketing Marketing SEO Social social media Web

Exploring the Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

Exploring the Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

If there’s one niche of the business world that never stops evolving, it’s marketing. Digital marketing is highly dependent on the maturation of online technologies and is continuously pivoting and responding to new developments. Having said that, are you prepared for 2021?

The Digital Marketing Trends Set to Define 2021

Now is the time to begin planning ahead to account for the digital marketing trends of 2021. By staying current, you can develop a digital marketing strategy that takes the latest tips, trends, and frameworks into account.

“A good digital marketing strategy gives your company a cohesive plan that is consistent through your many online and offline channels,� Marcel Digital explains. “After all, you want your branding and message to be the same on your point-of-purchase advertising in your stores as it is on your social media pages and website. A cohesive message saves time and effort by not having employees recreate a marketing message for every channel.�

But our focus is not to discuss how to create a cohesive message. While important, we want to dig into the how. In other words, how do you execute once you’ve zeroed in on your message?

Though classic marketing principles and approaches will always prove effective, sometimes it’s helpful to study the latest trends to get a feel for innovative opportunities that can take marketing to the next level. And in this article, we want to focus on a few of the top trends for 2021. Take a look:

1. Live Video

Live video streaming has exploded over the past three years (and will continue to do so over the next decade). Powered by social media platforms, live streaming is available to the masses and provides an avenue for the continued democratization of content. Just consider the following data points as curated by HubSpot:

  • Internet users watched approximately 1.1 billion hours of live video in 2019.
  • By 2027, the live video streaming market is expected to hit $184.3 billion.
  • By 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic.

Those are significant numbers – too significant to ignore. And there are plenty of reasons why businesses are making the jump to live video, including:

  • There’s almost no learning curve to record live video. There’s no need for a script, props, or post production. You hit the record button and push out live content. It’s casual, relaxed, and relatable.
  • There’s no requirement for advanced technology. While you can certainly enhance quality with some tech upgrades, a smartphone is all that’s needed to get started.
  • Live video feels exclusive and commands longer average view times when compared to pre-recorded videos. (There’s a sense of urgency from the viewer that they might not be able to see the content later.)

Live streaming video is used in a variety of capacities and is highly dependent on your brand, goals, and content strategy. However, it’s ideal for things like Q&As with an audience, customer support, special announcements, interviews with influencers, live events, and backstage events.

If you’re new to live video but want to get started, the best piece of advice is to jump in and do it. Try a couple of videos and see what happens. Were you comfortable? Did you enjoy it? Did the audience engage? What can you learn?

Your first shot at live streaming won’t be perfect, but you can always optimize over time.

2. Programmatic Advertising

Another sweeping trend is the growth of programmatic advertising. If paid traffic is part of your strategy for 2021, you need to gain some understanding and proficiency in this area.

As MarTech Advisor explains, “Programmatic advertising is the process of automating the buying and selling of ad inventory in real-time through an automated bidding system. Programmatic advertising enables brands or agencies to purchase ad impressions on publisher sites or apps within milliseconds through a sophisticated ecosystem.�

Over the past couple of years, programmatic advertising has become the preferred method of running ad campaigns. It offers real-time insights, enhanced targeting capabilities, increased transparency, better budget utilization, and provides a way to combat ad fraud effectively.

Programmatic advertising can be deployed in a variety of channels and formats, including display ads, video ads, social ads, audio ads, native ads, and digital out-of-home (DOOH) ads.

Contrary to how traditional media buying works, programmatic advertising doesn’t usually involve publishers and advertising working together in a one-to-one fashion. The type of programmatic deal – such as real-time bidding, private marketplaces, preferred deals, or programmatic guaranteed – determines how they’re delivered.

3. Voice Search

Would it surprise you to learn that approximately 27 percent of the online global population uses voice search on mobile? Or that more than 1 in 3 US internet users use a voice assistant monthly (up from just 9.5 percent in 2018).

Consider that by the end of 2020, roughly 30 percent of all internet browsing sessions will include voice search. And that more than half of adults use voice search on a semi-regular basis.

The writing is on the wall. Voice search will soon become the preferred method of browsing the internet. It’s faster, hands-free, and ultimately more convenient.

So what does that mean for digital marketing? Well, it changes everything, particularly on the content strategy side of things. People speak differently than they write. Consider, for example, someone searching for a pizza restaurant. Their queries might look like this:

Typed: pizza restaurant Bronx

Spoken: What’s the best pizza restaurant in the Bronx?

Voice search is ushering in a new age of SEO and content creation where long-tail keywords are the focus. Natural, conversational language wins the day. Brands that adapt to this style will see their SEO rankings improve and search traffic scale.

In terms of blogging strategy, brands should focus on developing content that answers questions. People go to Google when they have a question and the search engine knows this. So in an effort to satisfy their users, they’re elevating content that answers very specific questions.

4. Interactive Content

Online users are growing bored with basic blog posts and static content. They want to be stimulated. They also want control over their experiences. And these desires are currently culminating in the rise of interactive content.

Research shows that interactive content gains 2X more engagement than static content. This has led 34 percent of marketers to include interactive content in at least 10 percent of their strategies.

The most popular types of interactive content include quizzes, polls, interactive infographics, AR, VR, and online calculators.

Interactive content is typically just a subsegment of the larger content strategy. But in 2021 and beyond, it’s going to become an even bigger portion. While many brands are currently developing one piece of interactive content for every nine pieces of static content, that number will likely increase to 20 percent.

5. Shifts in Influencer Marketing

In 2016, the influencer marketing industry was worth an estimated $1.7 billion. By the end of this year, it’s projected to be worth somewhere north of $9.7 billion.

People like to hate on influencers, but they’re effective. The earned media value for money spent on influencer marketing was roughly $18 for every dollar spent in 2019. And over the last three years, there’s been a 1500% increase in brands searching for “influencer marketing� on Google. In other words, it’s effective and here to stay. But as we enter into 2021, this industry will undergo significant shifts that will ultimately change the way businesses approach marketing and advertising.

One of the biggest shifts will be the rise in micro influencers. These are influencers who have small yet loyal followings (anything less than 10,000 followers). And what they lack in reach (compared to large influencers), they make up for with high engagement and affordability.

It’s also possible that we’ll see an increase in performance-based influencer marketing. In the past, it’s always been sort of a flat fee deal. Businesses pay per post and the influencer gets the same amount of money no matter what happens on the engagement front. But as the influencer arena gets more competitive, brands will gain more leverage. Soon, we could see payment based on the number of clicks, comments, or even sales.

Ultimately, the changes in this space will be dictated by consumers. Followers make it clear what they do and don’t respond to by the type of engagement they offer. As brands and influencers gather more data and analytics from these types of posts, they’ll iterate and zero in on what works best.

Hit the Refresh Button on Your Digital Marketing

No digital marketing strategy is set in stone. As you approach 2021, take the time to understand the new trends so that you can shift your strategy into a direction that aligns with the trajectory of the larger consumer marketplace. Whether it’s live video, programmatic advertising, voice search, interactive content, or shifts in influencer marketing, there’s ample opportunity for growth and expansion.

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ecommerce Entrepreneurs Marketing Platforms SEO Startups

5 Easy ECommerce SEO Hacks that are Bound to Improve Your Rankings

improve your seo ranking

What are some of the best SEO hacks for eCommerce websites out there? Remember that ECommerce sites are hard to rank. Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and other platforms make it very easy for anyone to start selling online.

But what do these hacks mean?

Of course, it means that competition is getting more and more fierce.  Not to mention that Google constantly updates its ranking algorithms.

So if you tell me you managed to rank a fresh e-commerce site on page 1 of Google after just a couple of weeks, I’d call you a liar.

With that said, there’s many small, quick, and impactful SEO fixes you can implement that are bound to improve your store’s rankings.

I’m not talking about long-term strategies like outreach for backlink opportunities, crafting an entire blog, guest posting, or anything like that.

I mean smaller actionable ideas and tips you can apply to your eCommerce store within minutes.

In fact, if you follow along, you’ll be done in half an hour tops—and you’ll close this post with a much better SEO for your store.

1. Reorder your title tags

 

🕒 Time investment: about 1 minute (with an app)
âš™ Difficulty: straightforward

 

Let’s start with one of the fastest SEO tips to implement.

Take a look at one of your category pages.

What does your page title look like?

Is it more like…

#1 – H&M | Men’s Shirts | White, Denim & Polo

Or:

#2 – Men’s Shirts | White, Denim & Polo | H&M

If your page title looks like example #1—you might be hurting your rankings.

Why?

According to Moz, keywords closer to the beginning of your title tag may have more impact on search rankings.

Considering that nearly every online shop out there uses the same format of Category | (Subcategory) | Brand

… this might be an indicator that this strategy is working well.

If you’re not using this format yet, you can use the free Avada SEO app to update all of your titles automatically:

product on search engine

2. Reduce network payload to speed up your store

 

🕒 Time investment: 5 minutes
âš™ Difficulty: easy

 

Third-party apps, oversized images, and unoptimized code contribute to a plodding page load speed, which seems to be in Shopify’s nature.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to optimize your page speed at all.

I’ve worked on quite a few Shopify page speed projects in the past.

If you’re looking to speed up your store, there are obvious changes, like compressing your images or looking for a better hosting service.

But most of the time, the trick, unfortunately, is to get rid of as much “fanciness” from your website as you can: sliders, popups, product zoom—all of these extra scripts add up to slow load time.

With that said, the one SEO hack I found to have the most impact on a store’s load speed is hidden images.

These come in many forms.

For example, if you use “secondary product images” on your collection pages, you are effectively doubling the number of images that must be loaded on that page.

how to do tags for seo

(GIF Courtesy of OutOfTheSandbox)

I know it looks cool, and for some products, you might even need this feature.

However, it has a massive impact on your store’s performance and triggers the “Avoid enormous network payloads” warning you might get when testing your page with Google Pagespeed Insights.

Disabling this feature on one of my clients’ store brought his Pagespeed score up by 20 points without hurting his conversion rates.

Consider whether you really need this in your store.

Alternatively, you can reduce the number of products (and therefore images) shown on a collection page, for example, from 2 pages with 12 products each to 4 pages with 6 products each.

3. Implement passive listeners to improve your user experience

 

🕒 Time investment: 1 minute
âš™ Difficulty: easy

 

The scroll event allows reacting to a page or element scrolling.

In layman terms, it allows you to, for example, display additional information when your user starts scrolling a page.

With that said, mobile performance often takes a big hit from these events, as the browser has to wait to redraw the page until the event listener finishes execution.

In other words, it takes time… and it can get incredibly janky.

This makes for terrible user experience—and, in turn, negatively impacts your rankings.

It has even recently been added to Google Pagespeed Insights:

scrolling performance seo

Thankfully, there’s an easy SEO fix for Shopify, and it takes just a minute to implement.

Go to your Shopify admin, and under Online Store > Themes > Actions > Edit Code, find your theme.liquid file.

In the file, find where your Jquery loads. The line you’re looking for should be similar to this:

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.3.1/jquery.min.js"></script>

Right below, add the following lines:

<script>
    jQuery.event.special.touchstart = {
    setup: function( _, ns, handle ){
    this.addEventListener("touchstart", handle, { passive: true });
    }
    };
</script>

And, you’re done. A passive listener successfully added!

4. Brainstorm subtopics for your product pages

 

🕒 Time investment: 5 minutes
âš™ Difficulty: easy

 

Subtopics is an incredibly underused SEO hack that can consistently be renewed and improved for every page and/or product in your store.

What is that?

Well, let’s assume your store sells coffee machines. For this experiment, you want to sell a Moccamaster and want your product page to rank for “buy moccamaster.”

You could have a plain product page that lists the machine’s features and why your visitor should buy it.

And sure, with a few high-quality backlinks, you could rank high for that search query.

But is that really all of that page’s potential?

Now let’s see what happens when you aim to inform your user. Let’s use Answer the Public to find out what people want to know about the Moccamaster:

  • what makes moccamaster good
  • moccamaster how much coffee to use
  • moccamaster how to clean
  • where to buy moccamaster filters
  • moccamaster how to brew
  • moccamaster how to clean
  • why is moccamaster so expensive
  • … and many more.

Now imagine if you had different subtopics, <h2> tags for each of those queries, and long, comprehensive paragraphs as answers.

These keywords are a lot easier to rank for.

Because visitors can find answers to their questions, Google will also see your page as more complete: in SEO, this is known as cornerstone content.

So this might even increase your rankings for “buy moccamaster”—that’s a win-win.

5. Get rid of your thin content

 

🕒 Time investment: 5 minutes
âš™ Difficulty: medium

 

What is thin content?

Google has defined thin content as content that has no added value (cognitive SEO dotcom).

In other words, if some page on your store adds very little value to a searcher’s query, you will not rank (well) for it.

And the rest of your website might suffer, too.

Crawling is not free, and if you’re not careful, you might be asking Google, for example, to spend resources crawling a collection page that currently has no products because you’re out of stock.

In other words, a page that adds zero value and doesn’t answer the user’s query.

Thin content can also be low word count copy, duplicate pages, or content copied from another website.

You want to be on the hunt for those pages, either de-index them or add value to the page (tip #4 might come in handy here!).

Wrapping up

I hope you enjoyed those quick SEO hacks and tips as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Give them a try and let me know if they helped!

Top Image Credit: andrew neel; pexels

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Marketing SEO SEO Strategy Small Business small business marketing

Effective SEO Strategies to Grow Your Website Traffic

seo strategies

In today’s competitive business landscape, you cannot afford to get lost in search engine results. If you don’t make an effort to stay visible in the results and get lost, — it will mean that the day is not far away when you will be out of business. Here are the effective SEO strategies to grow your website traffic.

Determine to put some sparkle into your SEO efforts and strategies.

You should direct sincere efforts towards implementing the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to rank your website higher in search engine results. It will increase your website traffic so that you will get more business.

Here are five simple yet powerful SEO strategies for you to implement and reap the benefits.

Include Structured Data Markup

Business practices are synonymous with change. Google searches today are not the same as they were 8-10 years ago. The search patterns nowadays are mostly dictated by the dynamic layout of the search engine result page.

What you get in a search engine result depends upon the query you used in the search. There are nowadays a variety of options that serve most of your search intents. There could be local results, related questions, images, videos, ads, etc.

Interestingly, only the ten blue links, one of the characteristic features of a search engine result, have not yet changed. It is also a feature that has brought in the trend of zero-click searches and marketing within the search engine results pages(SERP). Such types of markup are the best for drawing additional attention from the SERP. And schema usage makes search engines easier to understand the context of the page. And that leads to high search engine results.

Technically speaking, a rich result is an enhanced search result. If you implement structured data markup, then your page is likely to appear as a rich result. There are 30 types of rich results that Google hitherto offers. And one of the common types of rich results is the use of structured data to display reviews.

Improved Headline

If you are under the impression that headlines have nothing to do with search engine results, you are wrong. An appealing headline has a lot to do to attract visitors to your website. Arguably, the headline is one of the strongest advertising features of an article, and it is also needless to say that the headline is the first thing that a user sees in a search result.

Therefore, it will help if you make efforts to create descriptive headlines to stand out and attract more clicks. Also, you need to optimize headlines for both users and search engines.

The following are some of the tips to optimize headlines:

  • Place your keyword towards the end of the headline.
  • Do not extend your headline beyond 60 characters.
  • Use a descriptive title.
  • Use eye-catching words
  • Have numbers–it increases the chances of more clicks.

In essence, you need to focus on implementing headline strategies that generate interest and excitement in the associated topic. Simultaneously, optimize the headline for users and search engines to attract more clicks directly from the SERP.

Work on Your Meta Description

Meta descriptions have a lot to do with attracting or driving away visitors from clicking on your website. The descriptions are one of the most influential features of marketing your page in the SERP. So make sure you take adequate care in constructing your meta descriptions.

It will help if you write a tempting meta description that helps users understand what they will get from clicking on your page.

It will also help if you take lightly Google’s statement that they do not consider using keywords in the meta description as an on-page optimization factor. In fact, including keywords in meta description entails some benefits too.

When you include keywords in your meta description, it optimizes your text for the visitors. Say a visitor is searching a keyword in your description, then the visitor is likely to click on your page when he sees it.

It will help if you use keywords towards the beginning of your meta description to not cut off on smaller screen sizes. Also, make sure the description is within 150-160 characters.

Include a High-Ranking Video

Videos have become the most popular forms of content. With videos, you can connect with the users on a deeper level and leverage the advantage of additional traffic from YouTube.

Keep in mind that the search algorithm is different for ranking videos on YouTube as on-page optimization is given more weight. With the right optimization, you can easily rank a video within the top results of Google search.

The bottom line is that you can drive a lot of traffic to your website by including a video on your website.

The following are some tips for optimization.

  • Put your keyword in the title and filename.
  • Place a link to your website within the first two sentences of your description.
  • Put a transcript in the video description.
  • Place a link to other videos in your channel within your description.
  • Use timestamps within your video
  • Tag with keywords and related videos

Link From a High Traffic Website

It will help if you include a link from a high traffic website with a similar audience, which may also be interested in your website’s content. Such a link not only draws in relevant traffic to your website but also improves your page’s authority in search results.

You can ask site owners to link to your website content or ask their content manager to publish your website articles (and link to your website).

Therefore make some efforts to find websites by searching with keywords that are similar to your own. The websites that will appear will have a similar audience.

Conclusion

Driving more traffic is also not that difficult as it seems to be as there are effective ways. It will help if you formulate your SEO strategy based on the steps outlined in this article.

Image Credit: cottonbro; pexels

The post Effective SEO Strategies to Grow Your Website Traffic appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Branding Marketing SEO Visual Search

How Visual Search Impacts SEO

visual impacts seo

Every time you use your Google Lens camera to find an unknown object, you are conducting a visual search query. Whenever you upload an image and use Google’s Reverse Images to find similar content — yep, that’s visual search.

If you use a style match app to creep on fashion bloggers’ outfits, that is also a visual search. Parallel with voice search, visual search has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Here is how search works and how it may impact your SEO efforts.

Defining Visual Search

How many times has this happened to you? You know how an item looks like, but you do not know its name.

In the past, googling such items was complicated, as it involved the traditional image search. You needed to go to Google and try to describe the characteristics of the item you saw. Unsurprisingly, the results were often unsuccessful and imprecise.

Fortunately, with the rise of artificial intelligence, the way we perform visual search has changed. Unlike image searches that use text as a starting point, visual searches use real-life images. All users need to do is take a photo to identify locations, foods, animals, or clothing items to get instant results, without having to type anything.

How does Visual Search Work?

Visual search is powered by sophisticated AI technologies, such as neural networks, machine learning, and computer vision.

The mere name of the term “computer vision� is self-explanatory – those technologies help machines see images and, most importantly, understand them. Without machine learning technologies, computers would see visual content as a pile of random digits.

Types of Visual Search

There are three major visual search processes you should be familiar with.

Traditional Image Searches

Just like I have mentioned above, those are traditional image search queries. Namely, searchers use text-based queries and Google’s filters to find the right images.

Reverse Image Searches

In this case, an image is your starting point. You upload an image to find the same or similar content. This process is supported by content-based image retrieval (CBIR) that focuses on content similarity.

Using a Smartphone Camera to Search

That is one of the most innovative visual search methods. Namely, a user needs to take a photo of an item and the search engine will provide them with the desired information.

Now, once you take the photo, it goes through three phases – scanning, matching, and filtering.

The Benefits of Visual Search

The number of brands investing in visual search optimization is growing. According to some recent statistics, 35% of marketers are planning to optimize for visual search in 2020.

Now, your website may benefit visual search in multiple ways.

Appealing to Younger Generations

Statistics say that 62% of Millennials prefer visual searches over any other technologies.

To perform visual searches, users rely on social networks. Namely, 75% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Z customers use social networks to discover brands.

Moreover, almost 70% of them want to purchase products directly off the platform, without having to visit the website.

That is where Pinterest steps in. Pinterest has more than 600 million visual searches monthly, while its image-based ads drive an 8.5% conversion rate. Marketers are starting to see the potential of this social network. For example, in 2019, IKEA launched its first Pinterest-embedded catalog to improve shopping experiences.

Building Relationships with New Customers

Humans are visual beings. Quality images on your website will engage your visitors, boost brand awareness, and generate more emotional relationships. When created strategically, images can evoke customers’ emotions and inspire them to purchase faster and stay loyal to your brand.

Improving Conversions

Online users rely on apps like Pinterest Lens, StyleSnap, or Google Style Match to find outfit inspiration. Once they find the items they were looking for, they will be more likely to make a purchase faster. Your goal is to use images to build trust with customers and shorten their buyer cycle.

Keep in mind that online users cannot touch or feel your products. That is why you could use 360-degree images and 3D images to show your products.

Maximizing Revenue

Optimizing your website for visual search may also improve your bottom line. Gartner estimates that, by 2021, early adopters of voice and visual search could boost their revenue by 30%.

Optimizing a Website for Visual Searches

Now that you know what visual search is, show it works, and what benefits it brings to the table, let’s see how to optimize your website for it. Your goal is to help search engines understand your images so they can rank high for relevant search queries.

Write Clear Alt Tags

Alt tags are descriptive text pieces that show up if the image is not available to a website visitor for any reason. They play a major role in multiple scenarios. For example, if a user’s browser cannot load your image, alt text will describe it and make sure no information is lost. The same applies to visually impaired visitors that use screen readers. As screen readers do not understand images, they rely on alt tags. Above all, alt tags help Google understand what’s in the image so it can show it in related searches.

Precisely because of that, you need to keep your alt tags informative, natural, concise, and well-written. They should be optimized for both search engines and readers. Remember that Google’s algorithm updates prioritize user experiences over keyword-stuffed content. That is why you should insert keywords organically and make sure they align with the context.

Create Informative Filenames

Choosing the right filename for visuals is the foundation of image SEO. Similar to alt tags, image filenames tell Google what your image is about. Therefore, if you still use generic filenames, such as DSC5896.jpg, it is time to rethink your strategy.

Keep your filenames easily understandable, descriptive, optimized for keywords, and unique to the image. Above all, keep them as informative as possible. For example, if the photo shows a winter morning in New York, then your image filename should be something like “new-york-winter-morning.jpg.�

Use Structured Data

Structured data provide search engines with as much information as possible about images. If Google understands what an image is about, it will be more likely to show it in its rich snippets.

In its Structured Data Guidelines, Google specifies that the image needs to be related to the category you specify. “For example, if you define the image property of schema.org/NewsArticle.image, the marked-up image must directly belong to that news article,� Google reminds us.

Most importantly, to show up in rich results, all image URLs need to be crawlable and indexable.

Add a Sitemap

A sitemap helps Google find the images faster. That is particularly important to images that load via JavaScript. An XML sitemap tells Google what images to crawl and index.

If you use WordPress or Yoast, images will be added to your sitemap automatically.

Choose the Right File Types

In the world of image SEO, there is no perfect image format. They depend on a type of image and its purpose. For example, JPEG is ideal for large photos and illustrations, as it keeps them sharp and clear. PNG allows you to maintain background transparency, while SVG is a great option for logos.

Optimize Image Sizes

Large images may affect your page load speed and, therefore, harm user experiences. Remember that users will not stay on a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

That is why you should resize images. Many tools may help you reduce image sizes without compromising their quality, including TinyPNG, CompressNow, Kraken.io, and Optimizilla.

Once you optimize images using these tools, it is time to test their performance. That is where tools like WebPageTest.org, Pingdom, or Google PageSpeed Insights may help you.

Keep Images Responsive

In the mobile-first era, optimizing images for both mobile and desktop devices is critical. To ensure images can load impeccably on all devices your visitors use, you should use the srcset attribute.

Srcset is a piece of HTML code that tells the browser what version of the image to load, based on the screen resolution of a user’s device.

Over to You

By optimizing images for visual search, you may boost your organic presence and drive more traffic to your website. Above all, well-optimized and unique visual content will help you build stronger relationships with customers, engage them, and inspire their loyalty in the long-run.

How do you use visual search to boost your online presence?

Image Credit: rawpixel

The post How Visual Search Impacts SEO appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Content Marketing Marketing SEO

6 Actionable Content Marketing Tips and Tactics to Skyrocket Organic Traffic in 2020

organic content marketing

Blogging for business has become a mainstream essential. All online businesses, irrespective of the size and industry, are using blogging to increase their brand visibility and leads. Here are six actionable content marketing tips to skyrocket your organic traffic.

In marketing, we popularly call blogging strategy “content marketing.�

Even though it’s a great channel to acquire leads, most organizations are doing it wrong. While they are able to publish content regularly, the “marketing� is where most of them get stuck.

According to a SEMRush survey, 52% of content teams struggle in creating content that attracts more traffic.  ngf4e w  So what is going wrong?

While there might be multiple reasons for failure, the inability to get organic traffic to articles is the major roadblock. Getting traffic from search engines ensures you get consistent traffic to your blog, unlike social media traffic that lasts for a couple of days.

In the past, I’ve helped multiple companies with their content marketing efforts, and it has been a steep learning curve.

Here is my best content marketing tactics to help you solve this problem.

In this post, I’ve majorly focused on B2B content marketing (blog posts), but most of the tactics work equally well for the B2C industry too. Let’s dive into my favorite content marketing tips for 2020 –

1. Picking the right topic

While choosing the right topic might not directly impact your chances of ranking on Google, it’s the most crucial part. The last thing you want is to bring irrelevant visitors through your blog.

Remember, it’s not only about getting more organic visitors but attracting the right people to your blog too.

Ideally, you can divide the topics according to the different stages in the sales funnel.

1. Top of the Funnel
2. Middle of the Funnel
3. Bottom of the Funnel

Source – SingleGrain

If there’s a topic that doesn’t fit in these three stages, chances are it’s irrelevant for your company. So avoid writing about those topics.

To help you explain better, I’ve taken the example of Automate.io, a SaaS company that lets you integrate apps and automate workflows. I picked three posts from their blog from each stage to make my point clearer.

TOFU or Top of the Funnel Content

Any content that can help build awareness for your brand can be considered top of the funnel. The aim should be to attract as many relevant people as possible.

Example – 10 of the Best Email Marketing Strategies for E-Commerce Sites
Summary – If you see the above topic, it doesn’t cover automation in general but still gives an introduction to automation in one of the points.

TOFU works best for brand visibility and might not necessarily get you quality leads when compared to other stages.

MOFU or Middle of the Funnel

With this type of content, your aim should be to influence visitors in the consideration stage to sign up for a trial or a demo.

Example – The E-commerce Business Automation Guide for 2020
Summary – The above topic targets Ecommerce businesses looking for automation solutions.

Remember to show the different advantages and features of your product when writing MOFU content. This will help convert more visitors into leads.

BOFU or Bottom of the Funnel

This type of content helps users to validate their purchase decision. Content types like a comparison post, buyer’s guide, case studies (might not help get you organic traffic) are great examples.

Example – Mailchimp & Shopify Integration: How You Can Still Connect Them & Do More
Summary – The above post directly shows how Automate.io can help set up the integration.

2. Keyword Research is key

I can’t emphasize the importance of keyword research enough when it comes to SEO. If you’re looking to drive organic traffic you need to rank for terms people are searching on Google. Avoid selecting a keyword on the basis of your gut feeling.

The best way is you can do this is by using a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner or UberSuggest. Once you enter your keyword you’ll see related keywords and search volumes associated with it.

For example, to optimise this post, I entered content marketing tips and I found the search volume to be 420 per month globally. In my search, I also found similar keywords like content marketing tactics, content marketing tactics 2020 and other related keywords that I could include in my content. Don’t skip long-tail keywords.


Source- Ahrefs

But your final keywords choices shouldn’t be purely on the basis of volume. There are a lot of other factors like –

1. The difficulty of the keyword. Just do a quick google search and analyse the top ranking websites. I personally like to compare the DA of the top website with mine to see if I have a shot at ranking on the first page. If there’s a huge gap, I usually skip that topic altogether.

2. If you’re targeting a specific country or region, make sure to check region-specific volumes. Sometimes there can be a big difference between the global and country-specific search volumes.

3. If you’re writing a blog, ensure that the keyword’s intent is informational. In case you see a lot of product pages ranking for a keyword, it might not be the right keyword to target.

4. Apart from the volumes, check the keyword traffic estimation also. Read this article to know how you can calculate it.

3. Make it better than your competitors

You can only outrank a post by doing a better job than your competitors. Including more words is not enough. If you’re planning to create content that generates a ton of inbound traffic, then you need to spend a lot of time in research and crafting it.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind when writing content – 

  1. Focus on making it in-depth whilst keeping the intent of the audience
  2. Cover all the necessary information that the user might need 
  3. Make it easier to skim by structuring the article well. Use a page builder like Elementor to add content boxes, tables and more. 
  4. Add infographics, statistics, and videos to make it enjoyable and actionable
  5. Try to be as original and authentic as possible

4. Promote, Promote and Promote

Let me ask you a question: how much of your efforts are spent on writing content vs content promotion? 

For most teams, it’s 80% in writing content and 20% on promoting it. This is a huge problem. Remember, promoting content on social media and to your newsletter subscribers is not enough. You need to find other creative ways of promoting your content to reach your target audience. 

Here are some promotion techniques you should try – 

  1. Community promotion – Try to promote your content in relevant communities and groups on Facebook, Slack, and other places. You can also look at online communities (like GrowthHackers) and other promotion platforms (example – Zest.is). Just ensure to engage first before posting your article.
  2. Reddit and Quora – These are clearly one of the most underrated channels when it comes to promotion. But if you use them strategically, you can see great results. For example, Reddit can drive a ton of traffic and links to your post. You just need to be smart with your messaging.
  3. Influencer promotion – Find relevant influencers using a tool like Buzzsumo and outreach them over email or twitter with your content.
  4. Content repurposing – Even if your content is just text, it shouldn’t stop you from converting it into a video and publishing it on YouTube. You can take a similar approach to repurpose into other content formats like audio, slides, infographic, a downloadable etc.

 

Source – Zest.is

5. Creating high-quality links

Honestly, writing and promoting your content is not enough to rank it on the first page of Google. In most cases, you need to create manual backlinks to improve the SERP rankings.

While there are many techniques to generate backlinks, here are few that has worked for well for me – 

Guest Posting – Even with all the rumor saying “Guest Posts are dead,â€� it still works like a charm. Just ensure you’re reaching out to the right site and pitching them relevant content ideas.

Focus on providing value, and you’ll see great results with your efforts.

Here are some search queries that will help you to find sites that accept a guest post in your niche.
keyword intitle:�write for us�
keyword intitle:�write for me�
keyword  intitle:�contribute to�
keyword intitle:�submit� + inurl:blog
keyword “submit a guest post�

Reaching out to resource pages – Search for relevant resource pages on Google and outreach blog owners with your post. Make sure to give them a compelling reason as to why they should consider your post. A lot of times you just need to fill up a form to submit your resource. A blogger outreach strategy can be incredibly effective when done right.

Here are some search queries you can try –
Keyword +  intitle:resources
Keyword +  inurl:links
Keyword +  intitle:resources inurl:links

6. Keep updating the old articles

I know updating old posts can be a huge challenge, especially when you’re working on an article that hasn’t been written by you. But with so many changes happening in the world, at some point in time — your article will inevitably get outdated and lose rankings.

To prevent being outdated, you should make it a practice to update old posts. You can do this by adding relevant content, additional information, and internal linking it with the new pages. This work will directly help boost the authority of the article.

To identify such posts, I usually create a report every six months. You can change the timeline depending on the number of posts you publish every month. Regardless, if you see traffic for a post drop, it’s a good signal for you to work on updating it.

I understand for most of us when it comes to increasing organic traffic, our focus is on adding new posts to the blog. But one shouldn’t overlook the power of updating your existing posts to increase traffic.

Over to you

I hope the above content marketing tactics inspire you to ramp up your content efforts.  I feel it’s all about changing the mindset and following a framework. Forget about your competitors. Remember, to equally distribute your efforts between writing and promotion. 

I understand implementing these changes might seem difficult at the start. But trust me, once you start focusing on driving organic traffic to your blog you’ll see amazing results. Just align your activities with the goal of ranking on Google. 

Image Credit: austin distel; unsplash

The post 6 Actionable Content Marketing Tips and Tactics to Skyrocket Organic Traffic in 2020 appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Google Google core update Improve user experience Lead Productivity SEO Tech website traffic

How Can Publishers Grow Traffic After the Latest Google Update?

latest google update

*Mentioned products, tools in the article are non-affiliated and non-sponsored.

After Google announced its latest core update on May 4th, more and more publishers have faced a significant drop in their traffic. Having armed with key data and metrics, I would like to share with you four major tips on how to recover from this traffic crack.

1. Get your blog featured in Google News

According to SimilarWeb.com Google News currently has over 500M monthly visits. As it is the dream of most online publishers to reach an audience this big, this is the chance to distribute your content to a readership that is already well-established.

The potential of Google News is incredible and can help you to become one of the most featured blogs in your industry.

Let’s compare Ahref’s results on how organic traffic has changed from April to June for two Setupad publishers -– Publisher A and Publisher B.

Publisher’s A website is dedicated to the news category and displayed in Google News.

On the other hand, Publisher’s B website is about recipes and food and is not featured in Google News.

According to the figure below, on April 26th, organic traffic was greater for Publisher B. The Publisher B results could lead us to think that after Google’s latest update, Publisher B would see a heavier drop in organic traffic in comparison to a Publisher A, who is in Google News.

Grow your website's traffic Apr.

The figure below shows that both publishers experienced a drop in organic traffic after the latest Google Update. However, for Publisher A, organic traffic decreased only by 28K, while Publisher B experienced a drop over 51K in organic traffic.

Grow your website's traffic Jun.

What should you keep in mind?

  • Your content has to be optimized for search engines, so make sure you are running SEO.
  • Google News SEO can help you to get listed in top stories, and thus increase your website traffic.

2. Site audit for your website

A site or website audit helps you to track your page’s performance and evaluate how you are achieving traffic goals. By running a site audit, you can understand whether the website is optimized or not and whether it is friendly to search engines.

After the site audit, you can gain a clear picture of what is wrong with your site and the errors you should fix. By fixing and optimizing your website, you can attract more visitors and generate more leads.

This audit gives you a strategic plan to help you take the right action.

  • You can compare your site results with that of your competitors to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Evaluate your site’s overall SEO efforts and make corresponding improvements.
  • Fix any errors, such as broken images, non-compressed images, etc.

Remember that it’s perfectly alright if you cannot manage to improve everything at once, but these changes can be made over time.

The main difference between site and content audit is that a site audit also evaluates not only the content of your website but also its technical performance.

3. Content audit for your website

If you want to know which pages of your website are ranked lower due to the update, a content audit will help.

With a content audit, you can track how well your blog articles and landing pages are performing, as well as the quality of your engagement with your audience.

By running content audits and analysis, you can see which articles and pages have to be updated and re-written.

One of the greatest tools to help you analyze your content is Screaming Frog. This tool conducts an SEO audit of your website and checks the first 500 URLs for free. It helps you identify which pages have dropped in performance due to the update. Definitely recommended.

4. Improve user experience (UX)

After doing your site and content audit, continue with improving UX. The truth is, if your user experience is bad, you cannot hope for good results in search engines and rankings. Since search engine algorithm updates have become more advanced, user searches have become the top priority and play a considerably essential role in website ranking.

Where to start and what to check?

Make sure your content is clean and readable. Remember to emphasize your headings, so that it’s understandable for users and matches what they expect to read.

Check if you use colors that are consistent and echo your brand values. You can create a brand book or so-called style guide that includes the main elements that constitute your brand. Doing this can help you create strategic guidelines that drive all aspects of your brand.

A well-designed site or a blog will boost your engagement. But remember that the focus should be on blocks that users see first— for example, testimonials on the homepage. Testimonials can also help you gain users and create great UX experience.

Key takeaway

One of the most important things you can do for your site is observing your analytics and identifying unexpected changes in your traffic.

Remember that after running a site and content audit, you should fix any errors as soon as possible. This will help you increase your website’s traffic.

Get your blog displayed in Google News. It can take you two to four weeks to get approved, but if you undergo the approval process, rest assured that traffic will go up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t attempt to win Google over its updates. Google focuses on providing the best experience for its users, so it makes sense that websites with great UX rank higher and gain more traffic. As a publisher, your long-term goal should be to provide a better user experience, which will later result in less traffic loss due to algorithm updates.

*Mentioned products, tools in the article are non-affiliated and non-sponsored.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

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automatic seo best practice seo Dwell time in SEO Marketing SEO SEO Strategy Web

9 SEO Trends of 2020 So Far: How Businesses Go Online

seo trends 2020

With the launch of the BERT algorithm from Google and the large-scale update from Yandex, Vega, a special stage in the history of search has come. In order not to get lost on the Internet, businesses will have to think about quality content and user experience, as well as giving search engine optimization (SEO)tips. Here is how businesses go online.

1. A new stage has come in the history of search

The new stage in the history of search is due to the launch of a new algorithm from Google BERT and a large-scale update from Yandex “Vega.”

Both technologies are based on neural networks, which help to understand better and process natural language.

The Vega search update presented on the eve of 2020 brought the search to a new level of quality. It affected four areas at once:

  1. Firstly, the company announced an increase in the quality of the search – not only by keywords but also by meaning.
  2. Secondly, the search engine promised an instant result to user requests.
  3. Thirdly, Yandex began to place a special emphasis on the expertness of answers – thanks to a new ranking algorithm, for which the key signal is the assessments of assessors-experts, and the Kew service.
  4. Fourth, with the launch of Vega Yandex became hyperlocal: it helps to solve problems at the level of a micro-district or even a separate house.

And now every business wants to learn how to optimize content for BERT and Vega. Essentially, this means re-evaluating user access points to search for content. Since people have more opportunities for a smarter search and receive expert and accurate answers, companies have to take into account a lot in the architecture of sites and in the methods of delivering content.

How site content requirements are changing

  • Writing texts is necessary not just at the request, but taking into account the intentions of the user who will search for them.
  • Keyword analysis as we know it is becoming obsolete. Natural language processing and deep learning technologies continue to develop rapidly, so you should prepare for the fact that search engines will be more interested not so much as keywords, but user goals. It follows from this that efforts should be made to analyze the user’s intentions and satisfy his needs. If you give the best answers to your questions, you attract customers faster.
  • Focus on how users communicate their concerns and needs. User interaction is expanding and goes beyond just buying. Now the content that satisfies the needs after the sale is important – support, protection of interests, creation, and development of communities, etc.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

Customers still want to know that you are on their side, that they can trust you. Therefore, the changes of 2020 are associated primarily with improving the quality of information search, the development of its “human” side.

Many marketers still sell services, avoiding communication with the target audience. But if we do not talk with clients, then we do not understand why they behave in a certain way.

Talk to them, ask them to tell you about their shopping trip, how they used the search, what they think about your site. Use this data when deciding on a site.

User-oriented optimization can only be done by integrating SEO solutions into a marketing strategy. And this is the most powerful trend in 2020.

Companies need to stop perceiving SEO as a secondary task. Instead, optimization should be approached as a key component of a business plan.

2. The quality content created for the user plays the role

The “circulatory system” of SEO was and remains content. And what’s new in this, you ask? Low-quality content can negatively affect everything – both the structure of the site, and the strategy of internal links, and everything else.

In order for the site to develop well in 2020, you will have to learn how to write relevant and valuable content. Experts predict that the time will come when only the best materials will go to the top issue.

How site content requirements are changing

  • Set a goal to publish the best content that can be found on the Internet on your topic. Or at least reveal an important part of a relevant topic in order to increase interest in it.

This will allow you to effectively compete in the search for keywords with a “long tail” (it still makes up most of the search queries), it will help increase the credibility of the site and the demand for your content.

2020 is the year when you need to gradually get rid of obsession with keywords. Stop paying attention to individual keywords, chasing pages and praying for content.

  • Focus on topics. Create content that will cover a specific issue, and not just reveal the meaning of one keyword.

You can even plan a series of texts with comprehensive and understandable knowledge on a particular topic. This is especially useful for achieving specific business goals.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

The companies face many tasks on the site, which are closely related to customer service:

  • Analyze the audience, try to understand how it searches.
  • Understand the intentions that are behind the questions of users and the problems that they want to solve.
  • Give them solutions or answers in the formats they prefer using quality expert content.
  • Improve your user experience. Tomorrow someone can do it better than you.
  • Audit all content so that each page has a unique set of keywords. If your site constantly covers the same topics, albeit from different positions, then the pages will knock each other out of the search results.

In 2020, seriously evaluate the quality of content and optimize it for users, not for search engines.

In a sense, the key to success in 2020 remains the same: offer good content on all channels where you’re promoting. As search engines adapt to the natural language, the value of literate and readable texts increases.

3. The struggle for user confidence is tightening, the key to success is expertise

In May 2019, Google updated its quality assessment guide, in which the EAT principle (expertise, credibility, trust) became part of the Page quality strategy.

In 2020, the search engine will continue to study the reputation of companies and individuals who publish content on their behalf. Therefore, companies that have problems with reputation, have difficulties with customer service and while unsuccessfully fighting for the trust of users, it will be very difficult to compete. The Google algorithm also tries to figure out a user’s search intent for more personalized results.

Yandex also relies on expertise. The search has accessors specializing in certain topics. They evaluate how well web pages respond to requests for their specialty, and their ratings play a huge role in learning the algorithm. This approach has improved ranking for different queries.

How website content requirements are changing

  • Confidence problems are manifested not only in reviews and brand reviews but also in technical malfunctions on the site, as well as in issues related to site security.
  • In 2020, the principle of reliability plays a role. Particular attention should be paid to sources since fake news has been declared a war. In this regard, it is important to check the authors themselves before demonstrating their expertise on certain topics.

One of the main trends of 2020 – offline goes online. And the ability of a business to create a compelling online picture of our offline world will be its main advantage.

All offline events, conferences, awards, partnerships that are hidden from Google, suddenly become of great importance. Pull them online to meet Google’s need for credibility.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

Experts share in several ways how a business can demonstrate a competitive advantage online:

  • delivery speed (for example, delivery within 2 days (or less) with corresponding status updates);
  • customer service (for example, the ability to answer a user question as soon as possible);
  • digital charisma/branding (for example, most of your reviews are more like declarations of love);
  • user experience (can the experience be called more convenient/useful/simple);
  • price;
  • niche products.

4. User experience more than ever depends on technical SEO optimization

Another headache that will have to be treated is the user experience. It includes the general impression of a business, starting with the first interaction with your resource in the search results, and then with the landing page and even the way the user leaves your site (remember at least tools such as remarketing and personalization for regular users).

Think about how you shape the user experience of your company. What benefits do they get when they visit the site?

User experience is associated with technical SEO optimization. And first of all, you need to pay attention to the speed of the site and its pages.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

You will have to communicate more often with the developers. In some cases, get ready for an almost complete redesign of page templates.

5. Caring for the user – this is mobile SEO too

Mobile versions of sites are generally in a deplorable state. And in 2020, many companies will have to recall the practice of 2017 and, finally, put the mobile version of the site in order.

If you still do not have a site version adapted for mobile devices, you need to make this task a priority.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

You need to understand how effective your mobile site is for the user. Perhaps you are still trying to visualize a person sitting at a desktop computer. While most of the time this person is in motion, accessing your site through a mobile device.

Another business challenge is analyzing real mobile search results. This is necessary to predict traffic and understand which optimization will actually be effective.

6. Learn to give smart search tips to search engines

So, we decided that in 2020 the quality of the content will matter. However, search engine algorithms still do not fully understand the context of user queries. Therefore, the businesses will have to give them “hints�.

This means that the data needs to be structured in such a way that search engines can better understand not only what is on the page of your site, but also how each element is linked to other elements on the page and how this page is linked to other pages on the site.

If done correctly, structured data will become part of the marketing data. And this, in turn, will allow you to publish content for any search engine, voice assistant, a chatbot with the right context.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

Structured data can be used to improve analytics. They help evaluate how much of the content affects the results, and use this data in developing a content strategy, marketing strategy, creating product descriptions and much more.

7. Optimize content for Knowledge Graph and Yandex neural networks

Google uses the semantic technology and knowledge base of Knowledge Graph to improve the search engine with semantic search information collected from various sources.

This tool provides structured detailed information about a topic in addition to a list of links to other sites. This eliminates the need for users to switch to other sites and independently collect information.

Yandex with the help of neural networks pre-identifies in the database similar in meaning web documents and combines them into semantic clusters. The user makes a request, and the search engine does not search for the answer in the entire huge database, but only in clusters with documents that correspond to the request in meaning.

Since the search understands which clusters of documents are relevant to the request, for the answer he selects the best web pages from those that are obviously suitable.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

First of all, it is important for businesses to understand the unique knowledge network that it creates. After this, it is necessary to highlight certain objects and entities to which it will be possible to bind the information posted on the site.

Creating semantically close descriptions helps to better respond to user requests.

If you publish exclusive industry studies, share relevant recommendations from experts, this will allow you to remain one of the dominant sources of information on the market, and the search engine will begin to consider all these content objects as a whole.

8. The technology of working with links and with the brand is changing.

In 2020, even links will have to be user-oriented. The businesses will have to work with links that not only help in ranking the site but drive traffic.

This means that you need to focus on three aspects of working with content:

  • Planned article: topics that are covered every year at a certain moment (for example, Black Friday).
  • Planned article-reaction: materials on topics related to a seasonal event or topics for which interest grows at a certain time.
  • Article-reaction: what is written here and now in an emergency as a result of the reaction to the news feed. It is not possible to plan ahead.

What does this SEO trend mean for businesses?

Now, link building activities should be carried out under the umbrella of the brand. People are getting smarter and expect more from marketing.

The more customers trust you, the more they are ready:

  • Share your content using links (bring you traffic);
  • talk about you (demonstrate your value);
  • buy your products (bring you income).

9. What matters is real visibility, not just active links.

Issuance with zero clicks became a reality a year ago. In this regard, the business will have to adapt to the search without clicking.

Marketing activities are increasingly closed within search engines, while before this was mainly done on sites.

For example, Yandex introduced the technology of pre-rendering – pre-loading search results. She is so smart that she guesses what the full text of the search query will look like at the moment when a person is just typing the first words.

Pre-rendering pre-generates search results and shows them to the user when you click the “Find” button. For some queries, answers are given directly in the prompts under the search bar.

It is important to note the technology of Turbo pages. When users of mobile devices go to the site from the search, special versions of web pages instantly open.

What does this SEO trend mean for business?

Marketers need now to adapt to new conditions and get more information about what is displayed inside search engines. This is the optimization of text fragments, and emphasis on images, etc.

And again, do not forget about users of mobile devices. In 2019, Yandex improved the technology of Turbo pages: now they load 15 times faster than the regular mobile version of the site. This means that in 75% of cases, the user receives the necessary information in less than a second.

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