Connect with us

SEO

Top 10 Essential Website Optimization Strategies

Published

on

Top 10 Essential Website Optimization Strategies

Google officially launched 24 years ago in 1998.

A lot has changed since then, but one thing remains the same. If you simply focus on the basics, you can still be highly successful online.

Of course, the basics in 2022 are much different from the basics in 1998. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and distracted. It has never been more important to be disciplined in one’s approach to SEO.

So, the obvious question is this: What are the factors to concentrate on? How can one boost rankings? How can anyone build traffic in such a competitive environment?

This post will delve into which factors carry the most weight and how to optimize for each.

1. Search Intent

As machine learning, artificial intelligence, and deep learning continue to evolve, each will carry more weight in the Google Core Algorithm.

The end goal for Google is to understand the context of a given search query and to serve results consistent with the user intent. This makes advanced-level keyword research and keyword selection more important than ever.

Before spending time and resources trying to rank for a phrase, you will need to look at the websites that are currently at the top of the SERPs for that phrase.

A keyword’s contextual relevance must align with a search query. There will be some keywords and queries that will be impossible to rank for.

For example, if Google has determined that people searching for “Personal Injury Attorney [insert city]” want a list of lawyers to choose from, then a series of trusted law directories will appear at the top of the SERPs.

An individual or single firm will not supplant those directories. In those cases, you will need to refine your strategy.

2. Technical SEO

The foundation for technical SEO is having a solid website architecture.

One cannot simply publish a random collection of pages and posts. An SEO-friendly site architecture will guide users throughout your site and make it easy for Google to crawl and index your pages.

Once you have the right architecture in place, it’s time to perform a technical or SEO audit.

Thanks to the many SEO tools available, an SEO audit is no longer a daunting task. That said, the key is to know how to interpret the data provided and what to do with it.

For starters, you should check the following and fix any issues that are uncovered:

  • Check for status code errors and correct them.
  • Check the robot.txt for errors. Optimize if needed.
  • Check your site indexing via Google Search Console. Examine and fix any issues discovered.
  • Fix duplicate title tags and duplicate meta descriptions.
  • Audit your website content. Check the traffic stats in Google Analytics. Consider improving or pruning underperforming content.
  • Fix broken links. These are an enemy of the user experience – and potentially rankings.
  • Submit your XML sitemap to Google via Google Search Console.

3. User Experience

User experience (UX) is centered on gaining insight into users, their needs, their values, their abilities, and their limitations.

UX also takes into consideration business goals and objectives. The best UX practices focus on improving the quality of the user experience.

According to Peter Morville, factors that influence UX include:

  • Useful: Your content needs to be unique and satisfy a need.
  • Usable: Your website needs to be easy to use and navigate.
  • Desirable: Your design elements and brand should evoke emotion and appreciation.
  • Findable: Integrate design and navigation elements to make it easy for users to find what they need.
  • Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to everyone – including the 12.7% of the population with disabilities.
  • Credible: Your site needs to be trustworthy for users to believe you.
  • Valuable: Your site needs to provide value to the user in terms of experience and to the company in terms of positive ROI.

Multivariate and A/B testing is the best way to measure and create a better experience for website users. Multivariate testing is best when considering complex changes.

One can incorporate many different elements and test how they all work together. A/B testing, on the other hand, will compare two different elements on your site to determine which performs the best.

4. Mobile-First

Google officially began rolling out the mobile-first index in March 2018. Smart marketers were taking a mobile-first approach long before the official rollout.

According to Google Search Central:

“Neither mobile-friendliness nor a mobile-responsive layout are requirements for mobile-first indexing. Pages without mobile versions still work on mobile and are usable for indexing. That said, it’s about time to move from desktop-only and embrace mobile :)”

Here are some basics for making your site mobile-friendly:

  • Make your site adaptive to any device – be it desktop, mobile, or tablet.
  • Always scale your images when using a responsive design, especially for mobile users.
  • Use short meta titles. They are easier to read on mobile devices.
  • Avoid pop-ups that cover your content and prevent visitors from getting a glimpse of what your content is all about.
  • Less can be more on mobile. In a mobile-first world, long-form content doesn’t necessarily equate to more traffic and better rankings.
  • Don’t use mobile as an excuse for cloaking. Users and search engines need to see the same content.

5. Core Web Vitals

In July of 2021, the Page Experience Update rolled out and is now incorporated into Google’s core algorithm, as a ranking factor.

As the name implies, the core web vitals initiative was designed to quantify the essential metrics for a healthy website. This syncs up with Google’s commitment to delivering the best user experience.

According to Google, “loading experience, interactivity, and visual stability of page content, and combined are the foundation of Core Web Vitals.”

Each one of these metrics:

  • Focuses on a unique aspect of the user experience.
  • Is measurable and quantifiable for an objective determination of the outcome.

Tools To Measure Core Web Vitals:

  • PageSpeed Insights: Measures both mobile and desktop performance and provides recommendations for improvement.
  • Lighthouse: An open-source, automated tool developed by Google to help developers improve web page quality. It has several features not available in PageSpeed Insights, including some SEO checks.
  • Search Console: A Core Web Vitals report is now included in GSC, showing URL performance as grouped by status, metric type, and URL group.

6. Schema

Schema markup, once added to a webpage, creates a rich snippet – an enhanced description that appears in the search results.

All leading search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, support the use of microdata. The real value of schema is that it can provide context to a webpage and improve the search experience.

There is no evidence that adding schema has any influence on SERPs.

Following, you will find some of the most popular uses for schema

If you find the thought of adding schema to a page intimidating, you shouldn’t. Schema is quite simple to implement. If you have a WordPress site, there are several plugins that will do this for you.

7. Content Marketing

It is projected that 97 zettabytes of data will be created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide this year.

To put this in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 18.7 trillion songs or 3,168 years of HD video every day.

The challenge of breaking through the clutter will become exponentially more difficult as time passes.

To do so:

  • Create a content hub in the form of a resource center.
  • Fill your resource hub with a combination of useful, informative, and entertaining content.
  • Write “spoke” pieces related to your resource hub and interlink.
  • Write news articles related to your resource and interlink.
  • Spread the word. Promote your news articles on social channels.
  • Hijack trending topics related to your content. Promote on social media.
  • Use your smartphone camera. Images and videos typically convert better than text alone.
  • Update stale and low-trafficked content.

8. Link Building

Links continue to be one of the most important ranking factors.

Over the years, Google has become more adept at identifying and devaluing spammy links, especially so after the launch of Penguin 4.0. That being the case, quality will continue to trump quantity.

The best link-building strategies for 2022 include:

9. Test And Document Changes

You manage what you measure.

One recent study showed that less than 50% of pages “optimized” result in more clicks. Worse yet, 34% of changes led to a decrease in clicks!

Basic steps for SEO testing:

  • Determine what you are testing and why.
  • Form a hypothesis. What do you expect will happen because of your changes?
  • Document your testing. Make sure it can be reliably replicated.
  • Publish your changes and then submit the URLs for inspection via Google Search Console.
  • Run the test for a long enough period to confirm if your hypothesis is correct or not. Document your findings and any other observations, such as changes made by competitors that may influence the outcome.
  • Take appropriate actions based on the results of your tests.

This process can be easily executed and documented by using a spreadsheet.

10. Track And Analyze KPIs

According to Roger Monti, the following are the 9 Most Important SEO KPIs to consider:

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
  • Content Efficiency.
  • Average Engagement Time.
  • Conversion Goals by Percent-Based Metrics.
  • Accurate Search Visibility.
  • Brand Visibility in Search.
  • New And Returning Users.
  • Average Time on Site.
  • Revenue Per Thousand (RPM) And Average Position.

The thing to remember about these KPIs is they are dependent upon your goals and objectives. Some may apply to your situation whereas others may not.

Think of this as a good starting point for determining how to best measure the success of a campaign.

Conclusion

Because the internet has no expiration date, mounds of information and disinformation are served up daily in various search queries.

If you aren’t careful, implementing bad or outdated advice can lead to disastrous results.

Do yourself a favor and just focus on these 10 essentials. By doing so, you will be setting yourself up for long-term success.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Google’s AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

Published

on

By

Google's AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

An analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries by Bartosz Góralewicz, founder of Onely, reveals the impact of Google’s AI overviews on search visibility for online retailers.

The study found that 16% of eCommerce queries now return an AI overview in search results, accounting for 13% of total search volume in this sector.

Notably, 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.

“Ranking #1-3 gives you only an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews,” Góralewicz stated.

Shift Toward “Accelerated” Product Experiences

International SEO consultant Aleyda Solis analyzed the disconnect between traditional organic ranking and inclusion in AI overviews.

According to Solis, for product-related queries, Google is prioritizing an “accelerated” approach over summarizing currently ranking pages.

She commented Góralewicz’ findings, stating:

“… rather than providing high level summaries of what’s already ranked organically below, what Google does with e-commerce is “accelerate” the experience by already showcasing what the user would get next.”

Solis explains that for queries where Google previously ranked category pages, reviews, and buying guides, it’s now bypassing this level of results with AI overviews.

Assessing AI Overview Traffic Impact

To help retailers evaluate their exposure, Solis has shared a spreadsheet that analyzes the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.

As Góralewicz notes, this could be an initial rollout, speculating that “Google will expand AI overviews for high-cost queries when enabling ads” based on data showing they are currently excluded for high cost-per-click keywords.

An in-depth report across ecommerce and publishing is expected soon from Góralewicz and Onely, with additional insights into this search trend.

Why SEJ Cares

AI overviews represent a shift in how search visibility is achieved for ecommerce websites.

With most overviews currently pulling product data from non-ranking sources, the traditional connection between organic rankings and search traffic is being disrupted.

Retailers may need to adapt their SEO strategies for this new search environment.

How This Can Benefit You

While unsettling for established brands, AI overviews create new opportunities for retailers to gain visibility without competing for the most commercially valuable keywords.

Ecommerce sites can potentially circumvent traditional ranking barriers by optimizing product data and detail pages for Google’s “accelerated” product displays.

The detailed assessment framework provided by Solis enables merchants to audit their exposure and prioritize optimization needs accordingly.


FAQ

What are the key findings from the analysis of AI overviews & ecommerce queries?

Góralewicz’s analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries found:

  • 16% of ecommerce queries now return an AI overview in the search results.
  • 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.
  • Ranking positions #1-3 only provides an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews.

These insights reveal significant shifts in how ecommerce sites need to approach search visibility.

Why are AI overviews pulling product data from non-ranking sources, and what does this mean for retailers?

Google’s AI overviews prioritize “accelerated” experiences over summarizing currently ranked pages for product-related queries.

This shift focuses on showcasing directly what users seek instead of traditional organic results.

For retailers, this means:

  • A need to optimize product pages beyond traditional SEO practices, catering to the data requirements of AI overviews.
  • Opportunities to gain visibility without necessarily holding top organic rankings.
  • Potential to bypass traditional ranking barriers by focusing on enhanced product data integration.

Retailers must adapt quickly to remain competitive in this evolving search environment.

What practical steps can retailers take to evaluate and improve their search visibility in light of AI overview disruptions?

Retailers can take several practical steps to evaluate and improve their search visibility:

  • Utilize the spreadsheet provided by Aleyda Solis to assess the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.
  • Optimize product and detail pages to align with the data and presentation style preferred by AI overviews.
  • Continuously monitor changes and updates to AI overviews, adapting strategies based on new data and trends.

These steps can help retailers navigate the impact of AI overviews and maintain or improve their search visibility.


Featured Image: Marco Lazzarini/Shutterstock



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Published

on

By

Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Published

on

By

New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending