It’s that time of year again: where we review our experience from the past 12 months and give our recommendations on what will be most useful in the coming year.
As you may know, the landscape of search engine optimization changes constantly. If we don’t adapt to it, websites fall behind the pack and lose opportunities to convert. The best way to learn about these changes is from the horse’s mouth or, in our case, SEO Gurus who are at the top of their game.
To say I’ve learned a lot from people like Loren Baker (Search Engine Journal founder) and Russ Jones (Moz’s principal search scientist), amongst others this year is an understatement, but I boiled it down to six key takeaways I think every eCommerce merchant can benefit from in 2020:
1. SEOs need to do “proactive” rather than “reactive” SEO
All too often, the search guys are called in to optimize existing site content. The word ‘optimize’ is right there in their job title, after all. But this isn’t the best way to do things.
Ideally, SEOs should be involved in the marketing and content creation process from the very beginning, helping to map out content search engines want to see from day one rather than going back and cleaning up after the fact.
2. Instead of “doing SEO,” we should concentrate on SPI
Created by Stephan Bajaio of Conductor, SPI stands for Search Presence Intelligence. It means that SEO is no longer defined by just keywords and the top 10 search results on Google’s first page.
With Google’s Knowledge Graph and Answer Box creating a “search position zero,” users no longer even have to leave Google to get the answer to their question. Keywords go out the window in favor of useful, intelligent content that zeroes in on solving our customers’ pain points.
Answering highly specific, long-tail questions with our content becomes more of a priority–even more so with the rollout of Google’s BERT algorithm update this past October.
3. Prioritize the user experience
Take it straight from the horse’s mouth, or in this case, Google’s public search liaison Danny Sullivan:
Honestly, I don’t know that it’s so much our statements on ranking factors as much as SEO who dig for layers not there. Have good content. That shouldn’t make anyone cry. “Does good content mean 300 characters or 1000 characters?” That makes me want to cry….
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 11, 2019
Stop focusing so much on the “right” number of characters or hitting a certain word count. Instead, as Sullivan said, have good content.
When the user hits your page, is what they’re finding useful and engaging? Does it solve their problem? If the answer is no, it doesn’t matter if it’s 300 words or 2,300 words. It’s not going to get the results you’re looking for.
4. Pay attention to YouTube as a search engine
We’ve been hearing for years that our content marketing efforts need to focus on video, and it’s more important than ever for contemporary SEO.
YouTube ranks directly behind Google in direct search numbers, and its videos even receive prime placement at the top of Google’s search results. You’re doubling the ways users can find you.
With the rise of mobile and the drop-off in subscriptions to traditional television packages, it only makes sense to allocate more resources to creating and optimizing YouTube content.
5. Don’t neglect Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others
DuckDuckGo may only have 0.5% of the market share for search queries, but that still amounts to 48 million searches per day.
The market is simply massive, and if you’re having trouble ranking on Google–especially if you’re in a crowded and competitive market–turning your attention to other platforms can pay big dividends.
These “alternative” search engines each have their own ranking algorithms that differ from Google’s, so it’s wise to educate yourself on those. Here’s a starter guide to SEO for Bing and one for DuckDuckGo.
6. Test early and often, then test again
Luckily, this is something I think we nail at Parkfield, as we’re constantly looking for new ways to inch our client’s performance higher and higher. But it bears repeating: test one thing at a time, measure the effects with the precision of a scientist, analyze the results, then act on the data.
Get Expert SEO Help
We regularly attend conferences like Advanced Search Summit because it’s imperative to keep pace with the ever-changing search landscape. SEO is never “finished.” It’s a continuous process that we work tirelessly on to maximize revenue and market share for our clients.
Are you ready to magnify your organic search traffic in 2020? Contact us to speak with a member of my team and get started today.