Whether for good or for bad, the customer has become the main agent in any digital marketing strategy nowadays due to the increase in online shopping as a consequence of COVID-19. The digital environment has evolved and the customer role has developed, so now customers have the power to influence others along the buying journey.
This upward trend has enhanced and transformed the buyer cycle by making search an indispensable aspect to consider in any marketing strategy. According to qualtrics, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.
Bearing this in mind, every marketer and company must place the customer at the center of any strategy by considering their actions as being crucial in achieving positive results. Perhaps, it is anecdotal, but the truth is that people now search before making any decision related to the purchase. In this case, the principal player here, after the customer, is Google which was ranked first amongst the most visited multi-platform web properties in the United States last October 2020.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of actions aimed at improving a website’s ranking in Google, Bing, or other search engine listing results. Taking into consideration that Google is the principal search engine used worldwide, let’s take a look at the best practices every marketer should follow this 2021.
The Best SEO practices
#1 – Core Web Vitals
Google has recently announced that the page experience update which will become a part of the ranking systems, will start rolling out by mid-June 2021. Core Web Vitals will be a new factor in deciding how your website will be ranked in Google results. The core of the initiative will play an essential role in providing an optimal user experience and focuses on these elements:
- Loading experience
- Visual stability based on the page content
#2 – Google Passages
This is another factor that will improve how websites are ranked in Google results, not only indexed websites but also passages of those websites. Think of passages as a section or part of a website that also appears in user searches. This new functionality helps users find the most accurate information when they search for any specific subject, by displaying the keywords that are more relevant based on the information a user searched for Google visually provides the specific content users are looking for by selecting the passage more appropriate for the user search. Additionally, Google marks the keywords written by the user in bold to improve speed reading.
Here is an example according to Google Passages at the Search On 2020 event:
#3 – Mobile-First Indexing
According to Google, 93% of people who use mobile to search go on to complete a purchase, making Mobile-First Indexing a key influencer on purchase decisions.
Mobile-First Indexing is designed to prioritize the mobile version of a website before the desktop version. Hence, Google’s algorithm first obtains the elements of a site in its mobile version and will prioritize them over desktop content. Therefore, it’s crucial to index your website based on Mobile-First best practices.
#4 – Search Intent
The concept of the “keyword” has evolved to give way to the concept of search intent. Search engine algorithms are becoming more optimal oriented to offer the best search results and the most relevant content to users. Consequently, depending on the user’s stage of the buying journey and their search intent, Google adapts the results page by displaying more relevant content.
For example, Google doesn’t show the same results if you search for “How to choose hiking boots” instead of “buy hiking boots”. In the first search, Google thinks that you are in the stage of consideration by providing you with information, and tips to choose the best boot. Moreover, normally on the right-side Google displays ads to enhance the purchase. This is different to the second search, which makes Google think that you’re ready to buy a product placing you at the purchase stage. Ads are placed at the first result and in the second search Google shows you the nearest stores where you can buy them.
#5 – Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are displayed above the first result in organic searches which features a snippet from any page of our website. This functionality enables a site to be ranked in a privileged position in order to achieve a higher number of clicks. Some studies show that a Featured Snippet generates up to 8-9% of CTR.
#6 – Privacy & Trust
Digital advertising enables a free and open website. Yet as digital marketing grows more powerful the regulatory environment becomes more challenging and complex, companies must take measures to protect their users’ privacy, as well as establish and preserve trust in terms of their data usability.
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