In 2019 look for SEO factors of mobile loading speed and optimization to influence site design as well as Amazon, Google and GDPR. Check out these 5 trends that are quickly evolving into savvy strategies:
EMBRACE MOBILE-FIRST DESIGN OR BECOME IRRELEVANT
Your business website must be mobile-friendly or risk becoming irrelevant. Shockingly, many mid-to-small businesses have failed to upgrade their websites and continue to suffer the consequences. Understand that major search engines rank mobile-friendly versions of your website higher than non-mobile-friendly websites. In industry lingo, it’s termed ‘Mobile-first indexing’ and it is exactly what it sounds like. Mobile-First Indexing means that the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for what all major search engines now include in their ranking index – the baseline tool for determining search results.
MOBILE-FIRST ACTION PLAN:
Develop a mobile-friendly website right quick. Any platform will work however, it’s vital that your developer fully understands and embraces ‘Mobile-First’ strategies, tactics and their relation to search results. For example, it’s a common mistake to employ m-dot and responsive on the same page. Doing so confuses crawlers and negatively impacts your search ranking.
Continuously monitor and optimize your mobile site for ranking efficiency and user engagement using a mobile bot such as WebSite Auditor to understand how search engines see and users experience your mobile page.
GIVE USERS GREAT EXPERIENCES: FAST!
Most sites lose half their visitors while loading. That’s why page loading speed is a dominant search ranking factor. How fast your website loads is critical but site designers often completely ignore this vital element in favor of more robust design elements. That's a colossal design mistake that costs you customers: as of October 2018 the average mobile landing page loaded in 22 seconds. Yet, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.
Search engines used to consider speed part of optimization. Site load speed is now evaluated separately. For example, Google uses metrics taken from the Chrome (the Google browser) User Experience report measures how fast your site loads for each visitor. Other browsers (and the search engines they work with) are following suite.
This is a game-changer. What you need to know is that your site must be designed and optimized for load speed. Beyond design, your site must run on current platforms and use a fast hosting service.
If you create a great user experience – one that gives users what they want, when they want and fast – search engines will reward you with greater search results. Conversely, slow sites will fall further and further into irrelevance.
FAST UX ACTION PLAN:
First, ensure that your mobile site is designed, optimized and hosted to load fast and provide outstanding user experiences. Second, understand and manage your optimization score. Google offers a handy list of recommendations for improving user experience through optimization.
Most businesses will need an expert to ensure that their site is consistently fast and optimized. Sites are living things. They require regular maintenance to provide peak performance, high search rankings and great user experiences.
BUILD YOUR BRAND TO BOOST YOUR SEARCH RANKING
Google and most major search engines use online brand presence in their search algorithms.
Search engines use ‘Brand Authority’ learn that you exist and why you’re relevant to users. By analyzing all the online properties organically mentioning your organization, search engines develop a picture of your authority in a particular field and the extent to which people know of, believe in, and trust your organization.
That’s why it’s so important to have a professional, positive and responsive footprint across multiple platforms from industry sites to social media. A wide variety of online components are considered: reputation, advertising, complaint-solving, etc. Through context, search engines effectively learn to tell the good from the bad. For example, Google’s Search Quality Guidelines state that reputation matters for rankings. Consequently, the sentiment around brand mentions affect the site’s rankings.
BRAND BOOSTING ACTION PLAN:
Cater to and foster your online reputation. Address the customer pains through responsive brand interactions. Engage with happy clients. Turn poor customer experiences into positive story opportunities. Promote unsolicited mentions on your site. If you’d like to dig deeper, check out the monitoring tool Awario for finding such linkless mentions all across the Web.
Backlinks are still a strong ranking signal. However, building links is time-consuming and frankly, not practical for most small businesses. We recommend using linkless backlinks – it’s manageable and scalable in just a few hours each month by mentioning your brand name online as natural opportunities occur. You can even incentivize employees to help out as they search.
LEVERAGE THE POWER OF AMAZON SEARCH
More and more people shop Amazon first. A recent study revealed that 56% of consumers visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind. 51% check with Amazon after finding something elsewhere. Designing with Amazon in mind helps develop brand trust through the comfort that familiarity provides.
Understand that Amazon is not a universal search engine. It’s used for internal search within Amazon pages. What this data tell us is that Amazon is becoming the Google of e-commerce. It means that if you sell something and you’re not on Amazon, you are invisible to 56% of potential customers. Thus, if you’re a seller of books, music, electronics, etc., include optimization for Amazon into your SEO strategy.
Run keyword research regularly and use Amazon itself. Keywords tend to trend so avoid being lazy and research quarterly at a minimum. We recommend monthly for most retailers.
Provide high-quality images that provide meaningful context for the user.
Cater to “backend keywords” (or meta tags, if in Google’s terms). They tell Amazon that a specific item targets a specific keyword on your site.
Be immediately responsive to positive and negative feedback. Track customers’ reviews, address complaints and celebrate good reviews.
DATA PROTECTION GOES LOCAL: BE PREPARED AND WIN
My company and customers are US based so, why should I care? Because user-data control efforts are important to everyone. First, all major search engines operate internationally, they must comply with GDPR, which means it affects your site too. Second, because GDPR-like laws are now being passed in the United States; California was the first to enact legislation and several states have bills circulating.
GDPR ACTION PLAN:
We recommend full GDPR compliance no matter what – no if’s, and’s or but’s. Review all the sources collecting user data on your site. Ensure that private data is never sent to third-parties and that you have a process to prevent this from happening.
If you use Tag Manager, activate IP anonymization. Doing this will reduce the specificity of your traffic tracking however, you’ll mitigate the risk associated with non-compliance.
We hope you find this information helpful to build your brand and drive your online presence.
GreyPartners is a one-stop digital design agency that helps you attract, engage and convert users into customers. We are website design and lead generation experts passionate about helping you break through competitive clutter and grow.
We provide pro-level functionality with minimized costs, making mobile-first websites affordable for businesses of any size. We ensure that you are always on top search rankings. Since 2009, businesses have grown their businesses online through GreyPartners.