A few major upgrades have been made to search engine optimization (SEO) in recent times.
Some of the developments include:
- Planning for the future and implementing existing techniques in the present: It is very important to implement existing search engine optimization techniques during the present times; which have already been tried and tested. Planning for the future involves
- Google has become stringent on its indexing of content: It is imperative to develop high quality content that has been well-researched in order to satisfy the user intent. The content needs to be factually correct and authenticated by authoritative sources. It is a good practice to include references at the end of any piece of content. Building internal and external links ensures that the content reaches the audience through social media as well as through websites other than the one which contains the content.
- Featured snippets and ranking pages have made Google better: Featured snippets have enabled Google to extract content easily.
- Google search console and Analytics data give a clear picture of rankings: Google Analytics data helps in keeping track of the positioning as well as the performance of websites within the search engine results pages (SERPs).
It is highly imperative to send the correct crawling, indexing and ranking signals to Google: Sending the correct crawling, indexing and ranking signals to Google (or any other search engine) is highly imperative. It is also essential to keep in mind sitemaps and internal link structure of the websites.
Search engine optimization is integral for boosting the growth of any brand/business. It is now more important than ever; in light of social distancing and self-isolation caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With people spending more time on screens and their increased consumption of digital content, search engines are inundated with user queries.
There are several insights and tactics for undertaking search engine optimization in the current scenario; a few of which are as mentioned below:
- Using Google Analytics and Search Console: Brands and businesses need to assess their website’s current presence on Google as compared to that of the previous year. It enables the brands and businesses to formulate new SEO (search engine optimization) strategies based on the trends that are currently running. This also helps in analysing user intent and the shifts in consumer behaviour.
- Conducting extensive keyword research: Brands and businesses need to conduct an extensive research on the keywords which they want their website to trigger for within the search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of the most common examples include: mobile-friendly, user-friendly, best in class, etc.; regardless of which market/industry the brand/business operates in.
- Developing compelling content for your webpages: Having premium quality content is imperative for any website. Brands and businesses need to have their content team develop compelling content that can attract the visitors to their website.
Content is a prerequisite for every brand and/or business website. It is imperative to create high quality content that is also readable, relevant and useful to the people who visit the website. Let us look at a few tried, tested and true techniques that enable writing incredible content that can be retained in the minds of the viewers long after they have left the website.
These techniques are listed below:
- Scouting for topic ideas for the content: It is imperative to thoroughly research topic ideas for the content.
- Maintaining focus: It is highly essential to maintain focus while writing content. Turning off all notifications on mobile phones, laptops, tablets or ipads; informing family members about the writing (so that they don’t disturb during that time) are some of the ways of maintaining focus.
- Organizing the content: It is an excellent practice to organize the content in the form of developing an outline first (from introduction to conclusion of the content piece) and then filling in the body text (using titles, subtitles, infographics, etc.).
- Using Active Voice: It is a good practice to use active voice while writing the content as it resonates more with the audience.
- Choosing the POV (point of view) wisely: It is a good practice to use first and second person perspective (point of view) in any content. It is important to maintain that point of view throughout the entire content.
- Using short sentences and short paragraphs: Using short sentences and short paragraphs vastly improves the readability of the content. The website users can easily understand the content when the text is in the form of short phrases.
- Reading out loud: After finishing all the edits, it is better to read the content out loud so as to avoid further errors and correct them (if any occur).
Conducting keyword research: It is imperative to conduct keyword research prior to starting to work on any piece of content since it provides additional insights and ideas to improve the content.
Breadcrumbs are the navigational features of a website that enable users to track where they are on that website and how far they are from the homepage. They also enable the users to backtrack to a web page that they had visited previously.
Breadcrumbs are used to develop an enhanced UX (user experience) and boost the website’s crawlability. They are generally positioned at the top of the website or just below the navigation bar (in some cases). Breadcrumbs can be easily implemented and they impact search engine optimization (SEO). Google is now displaying breadcrumbs in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and it is making use of these breadcrumbs to classify information in the search results.
Let us look at the different types of breadcrumbs based on the purpose they serve:
- Location-based breadcrumbs (Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs): These are the most commonly used among the types of breadcrumbs. They let the user know where he/she is within the site structure as well as how to return to the homepage.
- Attribute-based breadcrumbs: These are the type of breadcrumbs mainly used by the ecommerce sites to indicate what attributes the user has clicked.
- History-based breadcrumbs: This type of breadcrumbs indicate to the users what all pages in the site they have visited.
Now let us consider some of the benefits of using breadcrumbs:
- Breadcrumbs enhance the user experience (UX): Breadcrumbs enable the users to navigate the website easily and also prompt them to visit other sections of the website.
Breadcrumbs boost the site ranking: Google uses breadcrumbs to classify and review the content. This enables the websites using breadcrumbs to rank among the top 10 results in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Voice search optimization (VSO) is an integral aspect of search engine optimization. It needs to be a part of every SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. The appeal of voice search lies in the fact that it is hands-free, faster and it enables people to multitask.
It is now more important than ever to focus on voice search amid the current crisis situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; since the hands-free technology minimises the chances of contact as well as of contamination. With the steady advancement in technology, voice chat is becoming more and more reliable. The users of mobile phones, smart speakers and connected devices consider voice chat as a necessity. Voice search is progressively evolving from voice recognition to voice understanding. People using voice search for their queries generally need instant results and swift responses.
Listed below are a few tactics which the marketers can use for succeeding in their business website’s voice search optimization:
- Understanding the type of customer along with the device behaviour: The voice search algorithms make use of location, searcher intent and several other data points in order to understand context. Similarly, marketers need to conduct real-time research and gather data on how people are using voice search and on which voice-enabled device; so as to gain insights into the consumers and their behaviour.
- Concentrating on conversational keywords: The marketers need to concentrate on conversational long-tail keywords to decide on the questions they need for giving the answer.
- Creating incredible content that is persona-based: Context, its relevance, and brevity are the essential aspects to be considered while optimizing for voice search. It is highly imperative to create incredible content that resolves the users’ pain points by answering their questions in a clear and concise manner.
- Providing context by using Schema Markup: The marketers need to use schema to mark up their content and notify the search engine what their website is all about. This HTML add-on enables the search engines to understand the context of the content and in turn helps the content become more relevant in specific queries made by using voice search.
- Building pages in the website that answer FAQs (frequently asked questions): The users of voice search generally begin their queries with the adverbs: ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘where.’ Marketers need to develop FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages in their websites in order to answer these queries. They also need to ensure that the navigation and informational structure can be found easily in the website.
Thinking mobile and thinking local: It is important to remember that when it comes to voice search, mobile and local are interlinked. Mobile devices enable users to conduct on-the-go local queries; and in turn, voice search enables these users to ask hyper-local questions. The marketers need to ensure the readability of XML sitemaps and directions to brick-and-mortar locations on their website for the visitors and search engines.
Recent analysis has proved that creating shorter content is the way to earn the most backlinks. However, it is prudent to note that generally the length of the content varies depending on the topic as well as on the type of content being created.
The analysis focused on the linkability and shareability of the blogs/articles which had a length of less than 700 words. The share count and backlink count of the blogs/articles were taken into consideration so that the marketers could gain relevant insights into what type of content needs to be created. This also enabled the marketers as well as the SEO (search engine optimization) professionals to pinpoint the ways in which the content can be optimized for link building.
The analysis then focused on the significance of evergreen content when compared with timely content. Any piece of content that can maintain its relevance over a long duration is considered to be ‘evergreen’ content. The content piece was assessed over a period of 30 days after it has been published to note how many backlinks and social engagements it has received. This has also proved that timely content is likely to generate many links if it is original, relevant as well as interesting. DIY (Do it Yourself) and how-to blogs were found to be the most evergreen among all the blog types.
The analysis also took into consideration the most shared content based on the share count per type of content and the vertical that it is related to. Based on the number of shares received, the top five content types are as listed below:
- How-to blogs/articles
- Bulleted or numbered lists, and videos
- How-to blogs/articles with videos
Based on the number of backlinks received, the top five content types are as listed below:
- How-to blogs/articles
- General blogs/articles
- Lists or general blogs/articles
Google Analytics is a wonderful mechanism for SEO (search engine optimization) professionals and marketers to reach and engage with customers. It enables them to look and think beyond the basics such as: the number of sessions, time spent on the page, as well as the total number of conversions.
It is imperative to optimize the use of Google Analytics in order to understand the customers better. It is a good practice to follow certain rules while developing a digital marketing strategy that will focus mainly on data. These rules are: taking only valuable insights into consideration (which result in savings on spend and which can boost conversions), taking simplified steps (no need to have advanced knowledge of analytics), and having no requirement for additional code (since all the reports can be easily accessed through Google Analytics).
A few pointers for making the most of Google Analytics are listed below:
- Using multi-channel paths for conversion: Google Analytics makes use of last click attribution to enable reporting on the conversions. A user’s path to conversion includes multiple touchpoints; which can be visualized in the Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) Top Conversion Paths report. Marketers need to select the desired conversion, filter it to a particular medium, edit the primary dimension, and add a secondary dimension; in the MCF report.
- Making comparisons among the various traffic sources and conversions based on the market: In case their business has ac presence in multiple markets, the marketers need to compare the various traffic sources and the conversions based on the market: per city (if the business is at the national level), and per country (if the business is at the international level).
- Re-engaging users for retention along with the acquisition of new users: Marketers need to check at what point they should re-engage the users for retention (by advertising new products or by running email campaigns) for enhancing the performance. The brand or business also needs to acquire new users for this purpose.
- Measuring the flash sale success: Marketers need to grasp the buying behaviour of new customers during specific seasons (festival seasons or other holiday seasons) and comparing the metrics such as: “transactions per user” and “revenue per user.” This is done by conducting flash sales during these seasons and measuring their success.
- Using machine learning to calculate the probability of conversions: Marketers can make use of the machine learning aspect of Google Analytics to calculate the probability of the customers to convert. Previous audience interactions provide insights that enable the marketers to create website content and develop advertisements which are highly relevant.
Making use of the Custom Google Analytics Dashboard: While Google Analytics comprises a standard default dashboard that provides basic insights into the number of web visits, the number of pages visited, as well as the total number of accumulative conversions; it is imperative that marketers invest in a customized Analytics dashboard that will display only those metrics that they need. They can also simplify the process of reporting by sharing this customized dashboard with others in the company so that they can replicate it.
Enterprise SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial in order to ensure that any business venture can succeed. In turn, there are several factors contributing to the success of enterprise SEO. Let us have a look at some of the integral aspects that need to be balanced in order for the search engine optimization to succeed.
- Error management and technical search engine optimization as part of the SEO mitigation: Geneally, an SEO manager spends time in identifying any issues related to the project that may arise after the project has been initiated. But, it is the responsibility of the SEO manager to collaborate with the various teams that are working together on the project, identify underlying issues (if any) beforehand, and then try to mitigate them prior to initiating the launch of the project.
- Evaluating all the assumptions and reporting on all the successes as part of the SEO analysis: Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic and revenue rely heavily on search engine optimization. Every enterprise company needs to be aware of this irrefutable fact. Analytics experts use the data from Google Search Console for tracking the number of clicks for particular keywords and then evaluating the percentage of all the clicks so as to obtain the estimated revenue for those keywords. This enables the companies to gain insight into: the performance of their SEO, the successful efforts, and the scope for opportunities.
- Managing the projects for search engine optimization and determining the growth as part of SEO project management: It is imperative for the SEO team to identify the upward trends in the searches as well as the gaps that need to be filled in the current or previous efforts for search engine optimization. Large scale initiatives are identified that impact major sections of a website. A project manager is then tasked with implementing these initiatives, which include: realigning the design and content on a set of pages, and prompting the initiatives for an internal linking plan which influences several aspects of the website.
- Endorsing search engine optimization to the stakeholders as well as to the other teams as part of relationship building: Every enterprise SEO needs to have certain core strengths, such as:
- Communicating across the different channels as well as the teams effectively
- Promoting search engine optimization through documentation and education
- Collaborating with various teams for prioritizing the SEO initiatives
- Identifying opportunities while reporting on the SEO to the key stakeholders
- Managing the vendors, including the consultants, agencies, tools, etc.
- Keeping themselves apprised of the latest SEO trends
Structured data is the data that is organized in a coherent order. It is an integral aspect to be considered in search engine optimization (SEO). It is simple to understand even by the layman. Structured data helps in gaining and boosting traffic for any website.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the computing language that is used for marking up the structured data by creating the code for it as well as systematizes the content in the web pages. It makes navigating the web pages easier for the visitors of the website. In addition, the HTML organizes the code which enables the browser to display the web page. This code is not visible to the visitors. The HTML also encompasses informative content that is intended for the search engines. This content is known as MetaData.
Structured data is also a markup language. It collects the content (data) and then conveys it to the search engines, which in turn, display that information in a compelling manner in the search results. The names of products, along with the images, ratings and review content related to those products; are a few of the examples of the types of data that is organized by structured data. Structured data enables the publishers to label the names, images, ratings and review content of the products for the search engines.
Google publishes support pages and developer pages that explain about structured data. These pages comprise precise instructions detailing which structured data needs to be used by the publishers in order for them to qualify for Google’s rich results in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Google elucidates which structured data it uses for the purpose of displaying various types of rich results. Websites that make use of structured data are eligible and far more likely to obtain search results that include images, stars and top placement in the featured snippet that is placed at the beginning of the search results. This can result in increased traffic to the website.
Every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy needs to include identifying and answering searchers’ queries among its main components. The Q & A (Question and Answer) section is an integral aspect for any website. The implementation of an effective Q & A strategy depends on a number of different mechanisms.
Let us first learn about the advantages of refining a website for accommodating the questions based on the targeted keywords as well as the answers to these questions. Some of them are listed below:
- Meeting the user intent on the web page and providing the required context for boosting the organic rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Revealing the depth of expertise on any given topic, to the search engines.
- Having a chance to earn Featured Snippets, People Also Ask, and other such fraggles within Google search results
- Having a chance to earn Rich Results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) after making use of structured data.
- Offering opportunities to boost user-generated content (UGC) in the website
- Revamping the local search engine optimization (SEO) experience within Google MyBusiness
- Enhancing the potential for Scroll to Text highlighting within the Google Featured Snippets
- Effective utilization of the Q & A section in the website can enhance the user experience in the site and also boost the conversion rates
Some of the mechanisms involved in the Q & A strategy are: Google Search Console (when the website is already receiving traffic and impressions for the questions available in it), People Also Ask (an interactive widget that appears within Google Search Results which lets the users scroll through questions that are related to their own queries), People Also Search For (displayed on few Knowledge Panels), Google Trends (a resourceful mechanism which the searchers can use to develop questions/queries), as well as user generated content (UGC) sites (such as: Quora, Reddit and such others).