Whether it’s a finding out where to eat for lunch, trying to get birthday present ideas, or looking up random musings like “why is the sky blue?” the usual go-to platform for the answer to almost any question under the sun is Google.
In fact, the search engine’s influence has been so pervasive that it was dubbed the “most useful word of 2002,” before being officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in July 2006.
With Google becoming such an ubiquitous part of everyday life, it has undoubtedly become a major player in the e-commerce arena as well—commanding 86% of search engine market share and receiving over 3.5 billion searches per day.
What does this all means for search engine optimization (SEO)?
Well, your potential customer could be looking up information related to your business, and your brand needs to be there at the top of the results page.
So how do you get your enterprise’s website to rank number 1 on Google?
Read on below for eight surefire tactics you can add to your SEO arsenal—guaranteeing your spot on page one of the search engine results page (SERP) in no time.
1. Make your website mobile-friendly
Mobile device browsing now accounts for up to 70% of web traffic since overtaking desktop usage in 2016. With Google reporting that over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new business or product through a mobile search, they have started rolling out a ‘mobile-first indexing’ strategy to further encourage web developers and managers to prioritize mobile-responsive design. Simply put, if your website is mobile-friendly, you have better chances of ranking higher when Google’s algorithm assesses your website.
Take for example e-commerce platform Etsy’s, mobile site. Keeping in mind the limited display size of smart devices, the homepage has been divided into only two major sections. This demonstrates its understanding of the general behavior of its users—either they know specifically what they’re looking for (search bar) or they want to shop by category (browsing menu).
A minimalist approach that puts a premium on functionality and accessibility is key in providing a top-notch user-focused mobile experience.
2. Don’t fall behind on voice search optimization
By 2020, it is anticipated that half of all online queries will be done through a voice search. And in case you needed any more convincing, voice-powered queries have already accounted for 20% of all mobile searches on Google. So if your content isn’t optimized for voice searches, you’re definitely missing out.
Remember to keep your content at a 9th grade level of comprehension as most voice search results are analyzed at this degree. As well, leverage on localizing content. 50% of local mobile searches lead to a store visit within the same day so make sure you have keywords that incorporate answers to the “near me” query.
3. Push your content into the ‘featured snippet’ box
With competition very steep, it’s not just about ranking first anymore. On Google, there’s such a thing as ranking zero. This can be achieved by showing up on the search engine’s ‘featured snippet’ section—the boxed answer that appears at the very top of the SERP as shown below.
So how do you get yourself up on that coveted box that can potentially increase your revenue from organic visitors by 67%? Well for starters, your website should already rank in the top 10 of the SERP. Focus on creating content that answers the basic who, what, when, where, why and how questions that can figure into either of the three types of a featured snippet—paragraph, table or list. Lastly, incorporate any of the most used words search words recipe, best, vs. And if your business can produce content on DIY, health, or finance, then the likelihood of your brand getting into that answer box has increased.
4. Up your game with RankBrain and user signal optimization
Aside from your website’s content and backlinking, Google uses another determining ranking factor—RankBrain. This machine learning algorithm analyzes searches as one coherent thought, as opposed to simply using the words you typed and showing pages with exactly the same keywords.
RankBrain attempts to understand the user’s search intent and context, and then adjusts results based on aggregated past user search behavior or user signals such as click through rate (how many times a user has clicked on your page) and bounce rate (how long a user stayed on your page) to optimize the results it has listed.
For example, users type in “pulled back muscle” and interact the most with the third listed page that provides a detailed self-care routine. RankBrain will then learn that when this query is made, user intent is generally to look for treatment. Hence, it boosts the third page’s ranking and moves down the pages that the user deemed irrelevant.
Creating well-written content that takes into consideration user search intent and is optimized for medium tail keywords (usually two to three-word phrases) is vital in getting RankBrain on your side.
5. Invest in video marketing
If you haven’t used videos for your business, then you are missing out on growing your revenue by up to 49% quicker than your competitors who do. The highly visual nature of video content marketing enables it to be a potent strategy for whatever your goal is—whether it be awareness or conversion.
What’s more, Google loves videos (and they own YouTube too). Having videos embedded into your website increases the time spent by users on your page. Thus, the likelihood of your website landing on page one of the SERP increases by up to 53x.
Aside from ensuring your page is pertinent to the video and the content is SEO-optimized, you can further optimize your video to improve your SERP ranking by having strong descriptive thumbnails (as shown in the example below), utilizing medium to longtail keywords in the title and description section, and going the extra mile to transcribe the audio so Google can easily index the text.
6. Keep up with the new way to deliver content: keyword clustering
With the evolution of search engines comes the need to change the way we deliver content. Gone are the days when you simply had to incorporate (and repeat) high-ranking keywords into your page, and expect to automatically show up as part of the top results. As Google gets smarter and analyzes overall content based on its database of “words frequently occurring together,” keyword clustering has become the new go-to strategy for SEO.
Keyword or topic clustering entails grouping content into themes and creating a pillar page for the chosen core subject (“workout routines”) as depicted in the example below. Pillar pages are usually long-form articles that can be categorized as evergreen content—those that remain “fresh” and relevant for an extensive amount of time. These usually come in the form of listicles, guides, tips, or how-to content. Branching out of the core topic are various backlinked pages that further expound on a related subject matter.
How do you know which keywords to put together? Well, aside from using third-party tools such as LSI graph to identify what your long semantic indexing (LSI) keywords are, you can utilize the goldmine that Google already is by using the “searches related to” box found at the bottom of the results page or by checking related terms when you conduct a Google Image search as shown below.
7. Build links like a boss
Links play a crucial role in SERP ranking as your website’s credibility is strengthened by the quality and quantity of inbound links to your pages. Once you have your website’s technicalities (such as loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and internal linking) nailed, there is no better way to go about getting back links than by asking for them as seen in the email exchange below.
As well, cultivate relationships and participate in discussion forums that are related to your website’s content. Lastly, start a blog section, post frequently and submit guest articles on relevant websites that you can embed inbound links to. Keep in mind that link building is not a one-time strategy. Your links are only as good as the quality and relevance of the content in your pages and therefore must be regularly updated.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is your ally
While many predict that AI will render many humans jobless, this actually isn’t the case, especially for online enterprises. AI for e-commerce means being able to personalize customer experience and providing real-time customer support that can ultimately lead to conversion.
For SEO, AI takes credit for the constant improvement of algorithms (such as Google’s RankBrain technology) that help optimize results. But the real power of artificial intelligence lies in its ability to process Big Data, large amounts of information and analytics—making it an ally that can help create a potent marketing plan.
While it may be your enterprise’s dream to become a household brand name such as Google, for now, you can aim for the next best thing—ranking first in search engine results.
With 2019’s e-commerce trends in mind, incorporate any (or a blend) of these tactics to your SEO strategy and before you know it, your website will be teeming with traffic. Happy optimizing!