by Robert Clough
With a 23 percent gain over 2016, Google raked in $110.9 billion in 2017. While Google has many free products including the Chrome web browser and their popular search engine, they are still bringing in major revenue.
ECommerce SEO experts know Google is the place to be when you want to draw in traffic from SEO. Google served 63.2 percent of searches performed in the U.S. and having your website at the top of the search engines is a wise move.
Even if you’ve optimized your website for search already, there are new developments taking place every day. Google spends a great deal of time and money on the development of their technology and continues to update for the best user experience.
Continue reading to learn what you need to know to have a successful eCommerce store in the upcoming year.
What eCommerce SEO Experts Know
If you aren’t learning the next wave of SEO, you are likely to find your website buried deep within the Google search results. While it would be nice to think all of our hard work would continue to be rewarded year after year, that isn’t always the case.
Getting out in front of the trends is best, but if you’re a little behind, you need to get started right away. Let’s get into the changes you need to pay attention to in 2019.
1. Voice Search Is Taking Over
SEO experts have been talking about voice search optimization for a while now, but the major hit will happen in 2019. If you were working at your optimization strategy while everyone else was running around trying to figure out what to do, you might already notice you’re reaping the benefits.
Voice search involves more natural searches like you would ask a human. For instance, instead of typing in Chinese food Brooklyn, someone would voice search what is the best Chinese food in Brooklyn?
Even going back into your old posts and adding in questions strategically can help you optimize for voice search.
2. Links Play a Lesser Role
If you started in the online world around or before 2010, you remember how important link building to your website was. It didn’t matter what kind of links you built; it just mattered that you built links. As the years progressed, the weight links carried in overall SEO began to decrease.
In 2019, links will continue to play a lesser role. While links may play a lesser role, that doesn’t mean you should discontinue your link building efforts. What this news means is you should be very strategic about how you build links.
Having the right mix of links along with other important SEO factors in place can be the perfect recipe for skyrocketing your website to the top of the search engines.
3. Relevance and Context is Key
If you are building links, you should know relevance and context is vital to your strategy. While building links from articles talking about dog food and linking to your site about financial tips may have worked in the past, it isn’t working anymore.
When you build links, you should find other websites in your niche or close to your niche. Make sure the content on the page is relevant to your topic and that the context around any link that is built to your site is right.
4. Social Signals Continue to Gain Weight
When Google sees a piece of content has a lot of shares, they pay attention. When a lot of people like content, Google knows it is providing what the people want. Google’s goal is to give the people what they want.
To encourage social shares, make sure you put easy social share buttons so people can click to share. You should also ask for shares in your content or when you promote it through your social media channels.
Don’t forget to share your own content. Many people create their content and forget to promote it on their social media. Whatever social media channels you have, it should be promoted throughout all of those channels.
5. Brands Stand Out
People trust brands or they don’t. It is one of those love or hate situations, so you want to not only create your brand, but you need to work on how people feel about your brand. If people don’t love or trust your brand, they aren’t going to buy from you, and they are not going to recommend you.
When Google sees people like your brand by giving you high ratings on review sites and raving about your brand on social media, they are more likely to give you a bump in the SERPs.
Google will also be picking up brand mentions which will carry similar weight to backlinks. For instance, if your brand is mentioned without a link on a website, Google will count that mention. They may also have ways to figure out whether the mention is positive or negative.
Making sure you are building a brand and that your audience loves you is highly important. Keep customer experience and customer support top of your list of priorities for the best results.
Building a brand isn’t only about logos, colors, and messaging but those things are important. Make sure your website and marketing materials match nicely and are sending the message you want your potential clients to take away. Interact with your followers on social media and continue to build goodwill through your communication.
6. User Experience for the Win
User experience is the holy grail of Google. Google knows when users have a great experience, they will come back. They didn’t become a verb by giving people a bad experience on their search engine.
What does a good user experience mean online?
Your eCommerce stores should be easy to navigate. If people can’t figure out how to use your website or where to go, Google can tell from how they use it. The algorithms within Google are very smart and can tell when users aren’t happy with your website.
If people come to your store, click one or two things and bounce away quickly, this isn’t a good Google signal. There is likely to be tracking to see how many people return to your site vs. those that are one-off users. Your goal should be to provide the best experience, so people want to bookmark and revisit your website.
Site speed is a huge part of offering a great user experience. When going through eCommerce web development, you need to make sure you keep speed in mind.
How your website is built has a lot to do with the speed of your website. Speak with your developer and make sure they understand the importance of speed and how to set your site up for success.
As you continue to add images, videos, pages, and other content to your site, keep a check on your site speed. Various free sites will allow you to check your site speed but Google Pagespeed is a good resource.
Optimizing images, making sure your website is cached and that you have a hosting provider that is top notch are all important parts of having a fast site.
Besides for your site speed, the way your content is structured has a lot to do with user experience. Use images, break up text and make your navigation easy so they can find what they want without hassle.
Having a mix of content types will make your site more attractive and interesting.
7. Website Security Non-Optional
If your website visitors use Google Chrome, to the left of your website URL will either be a lock showing your site is safe or there will be text there saying not secure. You need to make sure your site has a lock box there. Not only will the lockbox make your customers feel more confident when making purchases, but it will have more weight in the algorithm in 2019.
Make sure all of your plugins and add-ons are updated, so no hackers or viruses make it into your site. Keeping up regular site maintenance will make sure your site is functioning at its best which means your rankings won’t suffer.
Preparing for a Banner Year in 2019
Many people won’t bother to put the new best practices into play so when you do implement them, that means you’ll be out in front. The best time to start preparing for the changes is now and at least get a plan of action going.
There are so many different things to take away from this article, so which one is most important? All of the above steps are important, but if you want to pick one to start on, go with site security. Keeping your site safe and secure for your eCommerce customers is a must.
Increase Your Search Marketing IQ
Now that you know what the eCommerce SEO experts know about the changes happening in 2019, what else do you need to learn?
Take a look through our search marketing archives and level up your marketing skills today.
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