No matter your industry, adopting digital practices is vital for the future success of your business. Although the shift to online was already well underway, the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer habits have only catalysed the need for businesses to provide a digital offering that remains relevant and profitable.
Whilst many businesses have already recognised the need for an online shop or a company website to generate leads, in the new digital age of greater competition and a growing list of consumer demands, a valuable online presence requires much more than the bare minimum.
If we think about our own internet usage, for example, most of us begin our search for information on Google. After hitting search, we contemplate the top few results and rarely ever look beyond the first page for an answer to our query. We must remember that our customers are largely the same, so securing a place on that all-important first page is all down to search engine optimisation (SEO).
What is search engine optimisation?
SEO refers to techniques used to improve the ranking position of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs). Ultimately, the higher the position of your website ranking, the more visible you are to potential customers and the more likely they are to choose you over a competitor who is ranked below you.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to SEO as the needs and functions of every business and website are different and search engines, like Google, don’t make it easy either. To keep up with changing consumer habits and to keep a level playing field for businesses, they constantly update the techniques and elements of websites that they take into account and prioritise. This is known as the algorithm.
There are many factors that make up the Google algorithm, some of which include:
Keywords – the words used on the website must be relevant to the search query
Website loading speed
Secure and accessible website
How visitors interact with your website after clicking through to it from a Google search – do they go straight back to the results page or do they spend time reading and then click on to another page of your website?
Whilst these factors have become some of the fundamental elements of a basic SEO strategy, incorporating additional techniques will help with future-proofing the business for increasingly digitally savvy customers. And, whilst it’s difficult to know exactly what Google’s next round of changes might be, our SEO experts have explained some of the most recent updates and trends to be taking into consideration.
Voice search is a topic that has been circulating around the digital marketing industry for some time now. Although, when it first began to be discussed, many dismissed it as simply just a trend. But again, if we think about our own searches, how many of us have become accustomed to vocalising a search, beginning the query with “Hey Siri”, “Alexa” or “Ok Google”?
Even if we aren’t ourselves, many of our customers will be. Over 50% of teenagers are using voice search on a daily basis, which only emphasises its prominence.
The functionality has grown in popularity due to its convenience as anyone with a suitable device can search for things on the go or whilst doing other tasks, without even having to interact with a website.
Although great from a user perspective, businesses are faced with a challenge, if their website doesn’t hold the first position on the SERP, it won’t be presented and, ultimately, they will lose out on potential business. Therefore, there are several techniques to add into your SEO strategy to help increase your ranking for voice search results.
Use long-tail keywords – People searching by voice are more likely to search for a longer query than those who type out a search. Therefore, these longer queries should be incorporated into the copy of your website to increase the chances of it appearing for these searches.
Speed up website loading times – This is important for all searches as users are becoming increasingly impatient when waiting for pages to load. They know that there are hundreds of other websites they can get the information from, so why should they wait for yours to load? Those using voice search are more likely to be in need of information quickly, which is why this factor is particularly important for ranking in these instances.
Think local – As 22% of voice searches are location-based, for instance, users searching for restaurants or shops “near me”, ensuring your SEO strategy focuses on ranking for local traffic is another crucial factor for reaching the top position.
Be mobile friendly – There’s no doubt that most voice searches will be carried out on a mobile device, so you must ensure your website is optimised for this format.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another futuristic concept that is becoming more common in all types of industries and places of work and, unsurprisingly, digital marketing is no different. Although Google is yet to announce how they will integrate AI into their services, there are some likely predictions.
Ultimately, AI can be used to greatly improve user experiences. Put simply, Google wants to help users find answers to questions as quickly and easily as possible, whilst ensuring they still receive valuable and relevant content. Therefore, AI can be used to streamline how it evaluates website content in order to be able to present only the most appropriate results to users.
For businesses creating a future-proof SEO strategy, ensuring websites include the most relevant information and clever use of keywords is the best way forward.
Whilst SEO does require a level of technical knowhow, content is perhaps a much simpler concept to get to grips with, if you are just starting off with SEO. Content on a website is used to demonstrate to a search engine what a page is about. Therefore, the more relevant the information, the better the chances of it ranking well.
But when creating content, you shouldn’t just be thinking about search engines. Instead, think about how useful it is for customers or potential leads. There are various types of content that can be optimised for search engines, including:
All of these have different purposes and uses but making sure they provide value and enhance customer experience is vital for SEO, as the more people engage and interact with it, the better it will be viewed by the search engine and, therefore, the page will rank higher.
Optimise your digital presence
Keeping up with SEO developments alongside running a business can prove challenging, which is why many enlist the help of an expert to ensure the digital experience they offer to new and existing customers is the best it can be.
With years of experience in all things digital marketing and with a dedicated team of SEO specialists, we can help businesses of all shapes and sizes and from every industry sector. For help with formulating your digital strategy, get in touch with us today.