Tech giants like Google and Facebook continue to invest time, money and energy into the development of their algorithms. As a result, search engine optimization (SEO) trends and marketing tactics are constantly changing.
Meanwhile, e-commerce businesses that already have SEO marketing strategies in place need to also adapt to these changes if they want to remain relevant and dominate their respective markets. Make one SEO mistake, and you could set your business back significantly.
That’s why it’s important to maintain a firm grasp on the latest e-commerce SEO trends as they emerge and leverage them so you can start 2019 at the top.
1. Voice Search
While most people were still sleeping on voice technology, trailblazers like Gary VaynerchU.K., owner of VaynerMedia and author of Crushing It! (highly recommend), were already advising business owners to hop on these platforms.
If you’re one of the lucky few who listened and became an early adopter, then you’re probably starting to reap the benefits. Alexa, Siri and Cortana are fast becoming an indelible part of our daily experience, as you can now interact with them on your phone, in your car and at home.
You can apply the 24/7 access this technology gives you to your customers by using smart SEO tactics. Start by working on optimizing your questions. When you use voice search, most searches are in the form of questions, not disconnected phrases. For instance, rather than saying “winter jackets Toronto,” most users will search “Where can I find a winter wear store in Toronto?” Therefore, it is essential to structure your website content in such a way that it answers your potential customers’ questions, incorporates trigger words (e.g., how, what, best, etc.) and avoids flatly feeding in keywords.
In a voice-search-dominated world, one of the most important things will be obtaining the featured snippet spot (or position zero). For Google, the snippet is the zero-result, and it places it higher than any other search result in a query. To further optimize your content for featured snippets, remember to include the most relevant keywords in the page URL, title and H1 tag. When using voice search, people tend to place a query in the way they speak in their day-to-day life. Google shows that about 70% of voice searches are in a natural language, unlike the keywords people usually type in.
2. Brand-Building And Conversions
For a business-oriented e-commerce site owner, I believe conversions trump rankings every time. That’s because while rankings are great at attracting traffic, conversions are what put money on the table.
Link-building has always been an essential aspect of any e-commerce store owner’s SEO marketing arsenal — and it still is. The only difference is that, moving forward, it will focus more on creating brand-building relationships with website owners and bloggers that are in your niche. Link-building should be done not only for SEO purposes but also to get referral traffic, which increases the overall traffic of the website.
As author and entrepreneur Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships,” and in this case, we can substitute the word “business” for “life” By forming strategic partnerships with similar entities, you can boost your brand profile and generate even more links. You may also want to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology to run your link-building campaigns.
3. User Experience
Google has always emphasized the value of user experience (UX). The ranking algorithm allots precedence to websites that are speedy, coherent and simple to operate. Research shows that websites with more than three seconds of loading time lose out on 40% of their website visitors.
Even if it isn’t a matter of internet speed, a fast-loading website with a confusing layout or user interface will end up losing visitors. They will simply bounce without wasting their time. This is why the readability of your website is so important. Content that is difficult to understand and mechanically filled with keywords is less likely to see returning visitors. But a good user experience extends the time a user spends on the website.
The focus should be on the user at all times. Therefore, it is pivotal to provide a consistent and flawless user experience for desktop and mobile. The number of searches on mobile devices has become significantly high and will only keep on growing. So, websites need to be optimized for use across all devices.
4. Website Security
These days, users aren’t likely to waste their time visiting a website that doesn’t have an HTTPS, or a green “secure” sign before the address. To most consumers on the web, HTTPS means that the website is safe enough to enter and share sensitive information, like banking details, at the checkout page.
Plus, Google rewards safe websites with good rankings and better visibility on the search engine results page, which gives e-commerce site owners a better chance of reaping rewards from their SEO strategies. Fortunately, there are many detailed guides available on how to migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS to provide a safe browsing experience for your visitors.
The year 2018 bought us quite a few developments on the SEO front, and e-commerce business owners will do well to follow these trends if they want to finish strong this year. These trends can also give companies an added edge by the time 2019 arrives, which is right around the corner.
This article was originally published in: https://www.forbes.com