With COVID-19 restrictions rushing businesses to channel their resources online, 2020 marked an unprecedented turn in building an efficient marketing strategy with great emphasis on premium website content.
The shift towards e-commerce was amplified by:
- An increased demand for both essential and non-essential online shopping
- Online sales expected to grow by 14.3% in 2021
- UX metrics becoming a key-point in determining search rankings
Some businesses are crushed by technological advancements, while others are becoming industry leaders. So, what differentiates the two and how can you get ahead of your rivals to meet users demands? SEO Expert at UENI, Jos Davies, outlines 7 essential ways to create your best SEO content to emerge in a saturated digital world.
1. Improve User Engagement
Although not a ranking factor, dwell time (the timeframe between a user clicking on a link and returning to the search results) is worth analyzing. The online landscape is a distracting environment that diminishes the reader’s attention span. Even so, users still search and consume content with a goal in mind. So how do you capture visitor’s attention from the first 8 seconds to keep them engaged?
Begin by providing in-depth content, so users will find everything they need on your page and not bounce off to your competitors. Then thoroughly address your topic to cover all relevant points that your users look for, and give detailed information about your expertise, services, and products in an original and captivating manner. Highly important but equally overlooked, readability is strongly connected to content performance and engagement metrics.
Improve your readability score by:
- Writing simple and straightforward copy
- Keeping your text concise
- Organizing your content in a logical manner
- Emphasize and highlight important keywords
- Use active voice and transitional expressions
- Include stories and emotions that readers can relate to
2. Hasten Page Loading
Page speed is one of the key metrics Google introduced as Core Web Vitals to measure UX, and there is a sound reason for it. 1 in 4 visitors bounces off a page that takes more than 4 seconds to load. Nowadays, people don’t have the patience to wait and your competitors will make sure they don’t need to! To make your website fast, interactive, and stable, installing a responsive web design is the best choice, especially with Google’s mobile-first indexing update taking effect this March. Alternatively, you can reduce HTTP requests, optimize images, minify and combine files, use asynchronous loading, etc. Whatever option you choose, make your mobile website fast loading a priority.
3. Invest in Visuals
It is instinctive for people to pay attention to the visual elements. While words have only 10% power to retain readers’ attention, visual elements jump to 65%. Plus, adding videos and infographics makes your content look more professional and authoritative.
How can adding visuals improve your rankings?
First, think of the image captions, the alt text, the size of the images, and the text surrounding them. They all count for ranking on a group of keywords provided that you have optimized these elements properly. Second, suggestive visual elements deter pogo-sticking by keeping people’s interest active, preventing them from going back to SERP, and making their journey interactive and fun.
4. Be the Expert
Google looks at content authority as a measurement for quality and reliability alongside expertise and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Since people prefer accurate sources, Google would crawl the web for reputation signals (reviews, recommendations, references, articles) to determine the authority of a piece of content. Google favors the content created and published by experts in both YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) and non-YMYL related topics, where the everyday expertise would weigh-in more than random advice.
Upgrade your authority by:
- Publishing accurate and original content on your area of expertise
- Getting backlinks, shares on social media, interviews on trusted websites
- Making public your biography, expertise, qualifications, and experience
Google would then see you as a reliable source of information and prioritize your content in SERP. The more referring domains a website has, the more authority it gains, and the better it performs.
5. Do Your Original Research
The first organic result averages close to four times more backlinks than the rest. Incoming links help boost your SEO because they represent an endorsement from another source, especially if it is coming from a trustworthy website. Getting as many backlinks as possible will signal Google that your page is worthy of being referenced. It will then get a better position in Google’s real estate and better search visibility. Plus, your website gets a boost of credibility if you include graphics and outbound hypertext links.
6. Optimize Content for Keyword Intent
Keyword research has always been a fundamental step in writing and optimizing your content. But does it suffice? Optimizing for keyword intent means much more than just selecting the right keywords:
- Understanding your audience (who they are, what needs they have, what keywords they use in search)
- Running a topic research and creating content on the latest trends
- Analyzing competitors to fill in the industry gaps and take the opportunities your rivals missed
- Carrying out a keyword research to find the right balance between the keywords that best describe your services and your audience’s search intent
7. Redesign Your Website
The online world is all about upgrading, adapting, revamping and being open to change. But what urges a website redesign? Bounce rates are firing up, performance is not improving despite your SEO efforts, and page load returns a bad diagnostic? Sound like the right time to get a redesign. Sometimes is better to start anew than to fix outdated technologies. It will give your business a boost of confidence, too.
It is a great opportunity to rethink your site navigation from users’ perspective by making sure that:
- The webpages are running smoothly
- User journey unfolds naturally
- Dwell time and engagement get a push
- People easily find the information they need
With over 15 years of experience in web development and search marketing, Jos Davies now works with UENI as a search marketing specialist. During 2014 he was part of the Confused.com digital marketing team that won the Best European Search Team Award and was nominated #39 Most Influential in Search by Drum magazine.