It’s that time of year where we’re all starting to think about what we can do in 2014 to increase organic keyword rankings, search traffic and ultimately, how to increase lead generation, data capture and eCommerce SEO revenue.
So, I’ve put together what I predict are going to be the 3 most important factors for SEO success in 2014…
1. I will optimise my site for mobile
It’s been predicted to be the year of the mobile for as long as I’ve been doing digital marketing (which is about 15 years now!). But I do actually think that 2014 will surpass 2013 in the importance of designing for mobile and actually what most of the stats fail to explicitly mention, is tablets – which tend to make up the large majority of the actual numbers.
From looking at a quick snapshot of the trends of several of our eCommerce clients, their sites get around 40-50% of their traffic from mobiles and tablets and around a third (30% on average) of their eCommerce revenue from mobiles and tablets. When you break the data down further, 90% of the “mobile” sales are from tablets.
This makes tablets absolutely imperative for testing, as well as a top opportunity for online sales growth in 2014 if your site is not yet tablet-friendly. Also, the fact that 3% of all online sales are now coming from mobiles is showing that people are buying through their mobiles and depending on whether your annual turnover is £500k or £500 million that could make up a significant slice of sales.
So go now and look at your site on a range of tablets and phones especially:
- Samsung Galaxy S III
- Samsung Galaxy S IV
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
- Google Nexus 7
- Kindle Fire
If you can’t justify purchasing all the above not even for very important business reasons like this, then try this free mobile and tablet emulator: http://mite.keynote.com/ (it’s not as good as having the real devices but it might help you win a business case!).
As for how to optimise for mobile SEO, seriously making sure your site works on these devices and your navigation isn’t breaking and the links can be clicked by big fingers, needs to be at the top of your list. Then, when you’re sure your site works, make it super-fast – ideally below 1 second is what to aim for.
This free tool, https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ is a great place to start (any score below 80/100 is unlikely to get you found on page 1 for competitive keywords). So make images smaller, minify code and test removing plugins that you don’t need – they are usually a likely culprit.
2. I will get more reviews on my site
If you don’t have reviews on your site and your search competitors do (the sites next to you in the search results), they will sell more than you. You know yourself, that when you’re shopping around, reviews sway your decision making. They don’t all have to be 5 stars, you know there’s always one who might appear to be a bit odd anyway and you choose to ignore or, the honest feedback helps you decide what’s important and may prompt a question to customer services.
If you don’t have reviews, it raises questions like:
- How long has this company been established?
- Are ALL their customers really unhappy?
- How can I trust what they’re saying is going happen?
The benefits of having reviews for SEO is that you can optimise those onsite reviews for Rich Snippets.
Rich Snippets are ways of structuring micro-data such as reviews and ratings on your site as well as through third parties like Feefo, so that search engines like Google can understand them.
When your onsite reviews are coded in the correct HTML markup format, Google can choose to return your Rich Snippet data in search results which has a myriad of SEO benefits:
- Your average ratings appear in the search result to show customers just how good your product is
- The number of reviews is collated to demonstrate how many people agree with this
- You get gold stars under your brand name, helping your listing to stand out and attract more clicks
- You will likely get more traffic than a result listed higher in the results because your listing stands out
- You will likely convert more of the traffic you do get because you have reviews and demonstrate trust which helps to persuade people to buy
- Your natural ranking will likely increase as Google sees more people engaging with your listing so they’ll move it up in the search results as a better source
- You will get even more of ALL the above as your result climbs up the rankings
For more on how to use structured data see: http://www.thoughtshift.co.uk/how-to-use-rich-snippets-and-structured-data-for-ecommerce-sites/
3. I will create the best content on the planet
SEO has always been about content but now with everyone churning out swathes of content, a quickly-thrown-together article just won’t cut it. When you’re planning your content strategy for 2014 start by thinking about what you expect to find at the top of Google for the keywords you want to be found for.
For your site to be found at the coveted position of #1 in search engines your content has to be nothing short of the most awesome, bad-ass piece of content on the planet.
It has to provide every bit of information your audience wants in nano seconds, be laid out beautifully with fantastic photography from multiple angles or gorgeous editorial shots conveying your brand, all downloading at lightning speed and with a crystal clear call to action of what you want your audience to do next.
The major advantage of creating brilliant content for SEO in 2014 is that since the Google Panda Update, Google is now obsessing over user experience so if your content is highly engaging (people stay on the page for a while and go on to read other pages), it gets social shares and even better it has a high conversion rate, then all these factors are now being considered by the Google bots in determining where to rank your site.
If video is right for your products, then I would definitely make video your top priority for your content strategy 2014. Not only does it help people really see how a product works and moves in reality – helping them to buy it, but there are still major opportunities to rank with a video snippet in the universal search results.
Just like the reviews snippet, this can dramatically impact click throughs, traffic, conversions and subsequent rankings. Plus, your audience is likely to share videos through social networks, further increasing the links to your site and your brand citations. All helping to naturally improve your website authority, increase your rankings, drive more SEO sales and avoid those pesky Google Penguin link building penalties.
To find out more about optimising for Video SEO: http://www.thoughtshift.co.uk/optimising-your-video-content-strategy/
I hope these resolutions stand you in good stead for the fastest ways to improve your SEO rankings, traffic and sales in 2014.
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