Search engine optimization is still the go-to for companies, digital marketers and consumers when it comes to online business because search engines are where most people start shopping for products and services. This means that embracing the newest SEO tips, tricks and tools is the best way to gain visibility and market share. While the algorithms used by search engines are constantly evolving, some of the newest insights employ the oldest tricks in the SEO toolbox, content and user experience.
SERP Changes Mean More Opportunities
Search engine results pages, SERPs, are changing to better enhance user experience, UX, by highlighting the information believed to be the most valuable to each search above advertisements with content snippets, pictures, graphs and answer boxes. This can reduce the amount of time each user spends on your page versus the SERP and can throw off your analytics in terms of dwell time. While this can seem like a problem, many digital marketing companies will use this as an opportunity to gather more conversions. For example if your business is in Georgia, the help of an Atlanta SEO company can improve the quality of content displayed and entice more users to click on the information displayed on the SERP. These improvements can mean better graphics, bullet lists and text boxes highlighting key information.
Mobile Page Speed Complaints
A big part of UX is how quickly your website loads on their device. Since more users are on mobile devices, search engines are putting more weight on how quickly your mobile page loads in their algorithms to address past complaints. This means that your ranking will go up when you optimize your site for mobile, and the tracking data for this is included in your SEO tools. Investing in mobile page optimization will continue to pay off as the search engines push developers for more speed and better content each cycle. Focusing on developing faster load times, better layouts and more streamlined content can help boost your rankings for mobile pages.
Related to page speed is another reason why users click away before purchase, how your page is designed. Busy pages with clashing colors or flashing graphics can overwhelm users browsing for products or services and hiding information away from landing pages or deep within long articles can frustrate those looking for a quick answer. This can especially be seen in product descriptions. If you use bullet lists for item specifications, you can quickly and easily bring the user’s eye to the features from the SERP as well as on the page.
How BERT and Content Affect Each Other
BERT, or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a new way that Google is using machine learning to understand user intent and train the search algorithm to answer questions. This means that the better your SEO practices are in providing rich and detailed product descriptions and page schema, the more likely your site is to catch a search algorithm’s attention and display your answer to users. This change is trending to permanence, so knowing how to use it to your advantage can put you at the top of ranking lists. You cannot actually optimize for BERT, but to optimize for this use of machine learning, you need to better understand customer intent and tailor your content to answer their queries. The content users interact with will then further train search engines for better results, so be prepared to refine your site and content more each cycle.
E-A-T Your SEO
E-A-T is the core tenant of digital marketing and SEO these days as it directs how to optimize your content, page schema and brand for search algorithms. The acronym stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness and is one of the ways that search engines rank websites for various keywords. You need to look at your on-page and off-line branding as well as links, content and mentions to optimize these things. It is especially important to ensure that links to your site are from trustworthy and related sources. If any links are not, you can ask for them to be removed. You can also contact journalists and offer your expertise as a source for their stories to generate quality links to your website and partner with relevant influencers for backlinks and to show authority to search engine algorithms.
Choosing the right partners for your links, promotional articles and advertisements can go a long way towards increasing your rankings and improving your brand image. This means finding influencers whose area of expertise overlaps with your brand’s, working with journalists who routinely cover your industry and sponsoring local events which will draw crowds interested in your products and services. These things will increase your E-A-T with algorithms and create quality links and backlinks for your brand as well as drive traffic on their own.
Customer Experience Is Evolving
People search online how they speak, especially as voice searches become more accessible and relevant to the average user. In the early days of search engines, queries had to be specifically worded to match the algorithm categories, but with machine learning adapting results lists to human speech patterns and intent, the wording is more natural and fluid. This means that your keywords need to match these patterns and the content you publish more fully reflect how users form queries. Those who are researching general information tend to use shorter queries than those looking for specific products and services, so optimizing your content for local traffic and increase your conversion rate. The key to keeping ahead of the game with SEO is to understand what users are looking for and how they search for it most often.
The key takeaway for SEO in 2020 is still that content is king, but how you shape and present that content is always evolving. Search engines are focusing more on how to improve user experiences through faster loading times, displaying more relevant information on SERPs and understanding the intent behind queries. When you focus on optimizing these things for your site, you can improve your rankings and your conversion rates while staying ahead of the pack.