2018 was a booming year for Google. The search titan released a series of algorithms that altered entire search biomes across the web, and 2019’s early Broad Core Algorithms were drastic enough to leave many websites flailing. March 2019’s unofficial tweaks were particularly brutal, attacking organic rankings and guiding the digital marketing industry towards a more strategic future. The depth of your content once carried you halfway towards your ranking goals. Things aren’t so simple anymore. The broad core update took considerable power away from SERP rankings, so while quality content remains a crucial part of SEO optimization, it must now achieve on three levels:
Google has labeled this E-A-T quality, and it’ll help you to crack the new metrics. SERP volatility is high right now, but there are strategies you can put in place to remain buoyant.
SEO Optimization through Voice Search
By 2020, half of all searches are expected to be voice-guided as virtual assistants grow in popularity. This will reinvent SEO at a fundamental level. Keywords will need to become more natural and cater to 29-word results. Conversational queries will become the norm, but geolocation signals will be just as crucial in determining user intent. Question phrases will become more common, and SEO practitioners will need to tie search queries to results more precisely. To cater towards speech-based searches, you should:
- Use a conversational voice for your content.
- Rely on context rather than semantic search tools to build your responses to queries.
- Use long tail keyword phrases and the intents they represent.
- Use schema mark-up and structured data to help search engines to crawl your site.
Today, almost 60% of all online traffic is mobile, so Google is releasing its mobile-first algorithm in stages. The Speed Update is straightforward: your site must be responsive if it’s to be fully functional on mobile, and Google judges low-loading websites as unresponsive. Your UX must reduce loading times, making site audits a key way to optimize your mobile UX. This is an element that creative marketing teams often ignore, but it must become part of their core competencies. Designers must find innovative ways to style navigation bars for mobile audiences without adding to page sizes.
In AOL days, developers found creative ways to achieve functionality despite sluggish dial-up connections, and they must return to that level of economy. Our website audits will assess poorly-placed content that requires redesign. We’ll:
- Rework your metadata.
- Redesign for touch screens.
- Create standard HTML5 tags to optimize for mobile search rank.
- Look at whether a Vary HTTP header will improve crawl rates.
- Erase coding errors that drag down your SERP rankings.
Reputation has always been one of Google’s favorite ranking factors, so it marks password-protected HTTP pages as non-secure and no longer supports them with geolocation. With the latter being one of the key ways to build rank, security has become even more integral to SEO optimization. While encryption won’t give you much of a boost, the geolocation it affords is invaluable to mobile-first algorithms.
E-Commerce as SEO Optimization
72% of shoppers use Amazon, and 56% favor the site over Google, so Forbes calls it a legitimate search engine rival. Whether or not this is true, old fashioned tools like keywords and images will push up your Amazon rank. If you’re trading through your e-commerce site, your SEO optimization strategy should include:
- Vivid product descriptions, videos, and images.
- A quick-loading shopping experience.
- Enough information to prevent your traffic from bouncing back to Google for more data.
Content-based sites drive 300% more traffic than social media, so we engage search engines, then draw in the audience they attract, amping up views, and reducing bounce rates. Content marketing remains one of the most effective SEO tools in our arsenal. Traditional SEO from the Panda era remains crucial and includes:
- Keywords in strategic locations, including subheaders, image file names, alt tags, and metadata.
- Usable site architecture that minimizes clicks between the home and product page.
- Rich Snippets.
- Social media integration.
- Paid advertising through Google AdWords.
- Exceptional content.
An elegantly optimized page uses a diverse set of SEO tools. Wield them well, and you’ll watch your rankings soar. Your content must answer your audience’s questions and send them onto a deeper part of your marketing funnel. Internal site searches reduce bounce rates and guide potential buyers towards an ultimate decision. To achieve this best, the conversion process must be short yet user-friendly. Repeat buyers need to access their favorite products in fewer clicks, with customer support options on every page. It’s tempting to focus entirely on e-commerce, but your site should also point traffic towards your brick-and-mortar outlets. A clear, visual buying process isn’t always virtual. On-page optimization doesn’t contribute to your SEO directly, but it will improve site loading times and hold onto the traffic you need to keep rank.
When Google’s Medic Algorithm was released, it punished websites with low E-A-T quality scores significantly. You can easily tweak your scores by adding author bylines. Google has also mandated sites to offer contact information for client support, an SEO tool that will take you less than a minute to achieve. It’s best to remove shoddy content entirely to avoid being taken to task. A strong brand message will help you to refine the kind of content you should be posting, but what Google doesn’t know, it cannot rank, so use Schema markup language to demonstrate your trustworthiness. Security is an essential ingredient for E-A-T scores, and HTTPS sites win out in this area.
Social Media and SEO
Twitter attracts 19 billion searches every month, and Facebook receives a billion, so social networks are search engines in their own right. Your social media presence might not contribute to your Google rank directly, but it should integrate into your campaign and draw traffic nonetheless. Social media profiles appear in Google listings, so the first social channel ranking spot is worth its weight in pixels.
Technology is racing ahead of marketing’s evolution. This rapidly-evolving landscape requires SEO optimization strategists to stay in touch with daily algorithm adjustments and how they influence their traffic. The new changes might seem complex, but at heart, their goal is to assess content in the same way people do. Appeal to a real audience, and you will appeal to Google. It’s that simple.