In the last few months, there have been big changes to the Google Search algorithm and ranking system. Those changes can affect your SEO and lower your store’s rank in the popular search engine’s results.
The biggest SEO developments of 2019 (so far) are:
- More competition in search results
- RankBrain and content relevance
- Mobile first design
- Voice search
Learn how you can adapt your SEO strategy to ensure your online store doesn’t get buried in search page results.
More competition in search results
With Google News, Q&A, company information, and ads, there’s been a shift in the number of organic (i.e. free) clicks on search results. Why? Organic results are pushed down by the Google Search ads, which typically populate the top 2-6 search results.
A few years ago you might be satisfied being one of the first 6 to 10 search results. With the increased volume of Google Search ads, however, it’s recommended that you aim for the first 1 to 5 rankings just to be seen on the first page.
It’s a common misconception among business owners that when a product or category is optimized in their online store, they no longer need to invest in the overall SEO of their online store. However, you should always be optimizing the 20% best-performing pages. Not sure how to determine which are your top 20%? Use Google Analytics to see which pages get the highest volume of traffic.
Again, track the changes you’ve made to your pages and monitor your search position to measure the impact of your changes. You can track your search positions with an independent search tracker, for example, an app like ReloadSEO.
RankBrain and content relevance
RankBrain is an artificial intelligence tool that ranks search results according to what it determines to be most relevant for Google users. It’s one of the three most important ranking tools that Google uses to determine your search position.
How does it decide what’s relevant for users? The algorithm looks at how accurately the results answer the search query of the user. It looks at the click-through rate from the search engine to the website, or, if visitors are bouncing back to the search engine results after visiting a website, RankBrain looks at the time they spent on the website versus the bounce rate. With all of these signals, RankBrain constantly tweaks and optimizes Google’s search results to display the best pages for any given search result.
Create quality content that answers the questions your audience might have and make sure they remain on your website. In other words, don’t be quick to delete old content. Start by understanding your customers and any questions they might have.
Mobile first design
A lot has already been said about mobile first design. But now, Google will rank your online store based on the mobile experience first and only after that will they will rank it based on the desktop version.
Voice Search is the new SEO trend of 2019, and it’s only becoming more popular. In a recent study by Google, 41% of adults and 55% of teens in the United States use Voice Search on a daily basis.
Voice Search has a tremendous impact on SEO because people who search through Voice Search are doing two things differently than a regular web search:
- They use longer search phrases
- Search queries are spoken and thus conversational
This change has a direct impact on how to optimize your content for search engines.
Keep in mind that your content needs to be relevant and direct for Voice Search to pick it up. Research has shown that answers under 30 words rank better than longer answers.
A lot of changes happened in 2018/2019 in terms of search engine optimization. The way to stand out? Provide high-quality content, use the right keywords, and don’t try to trick your way up the search results.
Be sure to measure your SEO efforts and continue to optimize based on your findings. If you’re a Lightspeed eCom user, try ReloadSEO, a full SEO suite for eCommerce. This includes keyword research, position tracking, content optimization and more. It also allows you to see your efforts in real-time.