It is 2020 and by now, most business owners and marketers have realized the importance of a website. It is a crucial tool that helps you build brand awareness and reputation. A well-designed website also helps you convert visitors into paying customers and generates increased revenue. However, having a visually appealing website is of no use if your target audience can’t find it.
Website owners and SEO companies have been developing various strategies to increase website traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) continues to play an important part in this. Even though there are various ways of getting more website visitors, SEO has some noteworthy benefits. It is extremely cost-effective and helps your website in the long run.
Moreover, a powerful SEO strategy increases your brand’s online visibility and strengthens its reputation. When your website is at the top of relevant search engine results, your target audience perceives it as a sign of authority and trust. Additionally, SEO drives more qualified visitors to your online business, thus increasing the possibility of a conversion.
Even if you have successfully implemented an SEO strategy, this might be a good time to review it. It is because the rules of SEO keep getting tweaked and updated. Search engines continuously introduce new algorithms or change the existing ones. That is why it is crucial to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in SEO.
Here are a few latest SEO tips to help you upgrade your current strategy:
1. Understand E-A-T
Domain authority has always played a crucial role in deciding a website’s search engine ranking. Search engines look at your website’s domain authority (DA) score to determine whether you are a reliable source of information. Traditionally, most SEO experts would focus on building a strong inbound link profile to reinforce domain authority.
However, Google now uses a set of different parameters to determine your website’s DA score. Abbreviated as E-A-T, it stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness”. Take a look at the following snippet from Google Quality Rater Guidelines:
It is, therefore, essential to understand and focus on establishing the E-A-T for key web pages. The first step is to establish your expertise by consistently high-quality and insightful content. Search engines can go a long way to research the background of the person who has created a piece of content. Your content should position you as an expert in your industry.
Even if you don’t have top-notch writing skills, you can hire a writer. Make sure your content focuses on a specific niche and includes fresh, useful, and accurate information. It will also help if your writers are experienced professionals in their fields. For instance, if your blog deals with finance, it might be a good idea to hire an experienced financial advisor as your writer.
It is also recommended that you include the author’s byline in every blog post. It can go a long way to help search engines understand the background of the author. This, in turn, helps establish expertise and authoritativeness.
It is equally crucial to establish that your website is perceived by others as a trusted source of information. An effective technique is to attract a plethora of authentic and high-quality backlinks. You can contribute as a guest author on popular and authoritative blogs in your niche. Make sure you include a link to your blog/website in the author byline section.
Publishing whitepapers and case studies is another useful way of getting cited by various credible sources. When your content includes insightful statistics, data, and examples, other bloggers in your niche will likely use it as a reference. In addition to backlinks, you should focus on getting cited on other channels. Even a simple shoutout/mention on social media can go a long way to prove your credibility and trustworthiness.
2. Prioritize Search Intent
Search engine algorithms have come a long way from using exact keyword matches to determine search results. Today, search engines strive to deliver the best search experience. Therefore, they prefer content that satisfies the intent behind a search query. Google released its BERT update in October 2019 to further emphasize the role of search intent.
It is no longer a good idea to simply stuff your content with a bunch of keywords. You have to delve deeper and understand why a user would enter a specific search query. Are they looking to buy something? Or do they want to learn more about a specific product? This requires you to have a deep understanding of your target audience and your product.
Additionally, you can take a look at the content of the top search results for your target keyword. For instance, when you enter the term “embroidery techniques” on Google, the top three results include listicles. It implies that most people using this search query want to learn different types of embroidery.
It is, therefore, essential to publish content that matches the search intent behind a keyword. Make sure to carefully select your keywords and identify the search intent. Thereafter, craft your content in such a way that it meets the expectation of the user. It is also recommended that you optimize your content for long-tail keywords that highlight the search intent.
It is also worth mentioning that when your content matches the search intent, visitors will likely spend more time on your website. This, in turn, improves parameters such as bounce rate and time-on-site. It tells search engines your content has captured the interest and attention of users. Consequently, your website’s search engine ranking improves even further.
3. Optimize for Voice Search
The popularity of virtual assistants and smart speakers continues to grow. This, in turn, is changing the way people use search engines. According to Google, 27% of the global online population uses voice search on mobile devices. It has, therefore, become crucial to focus on voice search optimization.
What distinguishes voice search from conventional text-based search is how users formulate their search queries. Voice search queries are longer and tend to include questions. It is, therefore, essential to renew your keyword research and include relevant voice search queries.
Make sure you incorporate these keywords organically into your content. Moreover, you should write your content in such a way that it provides direct answers to users’ queries. It is also recommended that you include a comprehensive FAQ page and knowledgebase section on your website.
It is also worth considering the type of information people usually look for when using voice search. For instance, many people use voice search to learn about the weather while traveling to a new city. Likewise, they may want the details of popular eateries on their route. This means you should also optimize your content for localized search queries.
An effective way of ranking for local search queries on Google is to create your Google My Business page. Make sure you complete your listing by providing a thorough business description, contact details, business address, etc. This is particularly useful when you run a local business such as a restaurant, grocery store, boutique, etc.
4. Leverage Visual Search
Did you know that 36% of consumers in the U.S. have already used visual search? Moreover, Google Lens has already been used more than a billion times. This goes to show that visual search is here to stay. Even though the concept is still in the nascent stage, the ease and convenience of visual search make it all the more popular.
If you haven’t paid attention to visual searches in the past, this might be a good time to bite the dust. The first thing you need to understand is the type of information that people usually look for when using visual search. For instance, it is extensively used to identify landmarks, shop new products, learn new recipes, and get directions.
Once you have identified the type of content you wish to create, it is time to intersperse the content with relevant and high-quality images. Make sure each image has a descriptive filename and alt text. Try to include the focus keyword in the alt text. Additionally, you should regularly update the content to keep it fresh. Placing the images towards the top of your web page also helps.
5. Video is Still Important
Video is one of the most effective marketing tools that help you communicate crucial information in a fun and light-hearted format. It is highly engaging and has the potential to become viral when it strikes the right chord with your audience. Moreover, you can leverage videos to boost your website’s search engine ranking and make it to the featured snippets section of relevant search results.
The first step is to create a YouTube channel (if you don’t have one already). Google has been increasingly featuring relevant YouTube videos in its search results. Therefore, if you publish interesting, engaging, and useful videos on your YouTube channel, you can claim more real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs).
It is recommended that you divide your video into crisp sections and upload a lucid transcript. This helps search engine spiders understand what the video is all about. Additionally, you should optimize the video title, description, and tags by including relevant keywords. Apart from the YouTube channel, you can also include videos in your blog posts to improve engagement and bounce rates.
6. Utilize Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are turning out to be the most sought-after real estate on Google search results. It increases your website’s online visibility and lets you bypass the traditional techniques of SEO. This is because your website can make it to the featured snippets even if it isn’t among the top search results. It is, however, worth mentioning that your website still has to appear on the first page of search engine results.
While there isn’t a guaranteed way of getting included in featured snippets, you can use a few techniques to increase your chances. For instance, adding structured data to key web pages helps search engines understand what it is all about. This, in turn, increases its likelihood of making it to the featured snippets section.
Likewise, formatting your content with clear title tags and subheadings is also helpful. It is equally crucial to optimize your content for the right keywords. The key is to identify keywords that already have a featured snippet and incorporate them into your content.
7. Don’t Ignore Your Existing Content
The freshness of your content is one of the most critical ranking signals. Search engines will always prefer new and up-to-date web pages over outdated ones. While you focus on creating new content, it is also essential to revise your existing content and prevent it from becoming obsolete.
Something as simple as including the date of publishing is an indication of page freshness. Additionally, you should remove all outdated statistics and examples and replace them with the latest ones. You can even play with the structure and format of the content to optimize it for visual and voice search.
SEO continues to be one of the most critical aspects of digital marketing. The rise of new trends such as visual search and virtual assistants are changing the way search experience for today’s users. Additionally, Google’s latest algorithm update also highlights the importance of search intent.
It is, therefore, crucial for marketers and website owners to overhaul their existing SEO strategies. Renew your keyword research and focus on satisfying the search intent behind a particular keyword. Likewise, revamp your existing content to ensure that it remains fresh and relevant.
SEO Is a long-term game that’s why you should plan it for the long term. But if you don’t know what to do then you can hire a professional SEO company because cheap SEO services and strategies can penalize your site.