Brittany Page – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 17 Apr 2020 15:35:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adapting your SEO strategy to soften the impact of COVID-19 on organic traffic /adapting-your-seo-strategy-to-soften-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-organic-traffic-333020 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 14:24:05 +0000 /?p=333020 Test and identify problem areas to better amplify your value proposition while staying relevant to the trends people are searching for.

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It’s no longer news that coronavirus has upended the way we live our day-to-day lives. Unprecedented unemployment rates, emptied shelves where toilet paper and Lysol wipes used to sit, an innumerable amount of people working from home – this has become our new reality.

We know the ways it has impacted our lives personally, but how has consumer behavior and the way people search changed as a byproduct? What we’ve seen across our clients at 3Q Digital and within the industry is two-fold:

  1. Search behavior drastically changed as a result of the coronavirus, and it will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months with “at home” keyword modifiers seeing a material rise; 
  2. Consumerism has also seen a large demand shift from desire-based purchases to people buying what they deem as essential for overall health and fitness.

As people are forced to stay home, how can you shift your SEO and content strategy to address your audience to maintain relevance?

Every site should have a page about COVID-19

This is especially important if your business is considered essential or is significantly impacted by COVD-19. Creating a dedicated page to capture all relevant coronavirus traffic can help sustain some traffic loss. You don’t have to update people on the ongoings of coronavirus but more so what your company is doing. For example, FootJoy created a COVID-19 page detailing how a portion of their sales will go towards relief efforts. 

Even if that’s not the case for you, having a page on what you’re doing can help instill trust in the brand. If you’re a restaurant, what precautions are you and your team taking to ensure the health and safety of the foods you are making and delivering to consumers? If you sell a product, what increases in safety measures are you taking in production? For retail, if your stores are closed, informing people of those store closures and where they can purchase your product online instead, as Nike did, can also help improve sales. 

And last, knowing that everyone is at home, what are some ways your product or service can help users navigate this pandemic?

Find new and emerging topics to create content around 

As mentioned above, finding new and emerging topics will be essential in capturing traffic for new search demand. Having the right piece of content at the right time based on what people are searching for now could be the difference between someone coming to your site or going to a competitor. But how do you flesh out and determine a content strategy when the topics people are searching are rapidly shifting?

Google Trends

For creating content, Google Trends should be the first place you look to understand the changes in search behavior. Given that there has been a seismic shift in search demand and trends in the last 30 days, some other keyword research tools like Keyword Planner may not have the latest data as those tools look at monthly search volume. Trends, which collects data in real-time, will put you at the forefront of determining trending topics to leverage for content creation.

In order to identify emerging trends, you need to first think of your business and what keywords are essential to it. With that in mind, knowing that people are at home, think of modifiers to add to keywords. For example, if your platform is online learning, modifying that search query with “at home” creates a significant spike in demand. 

Modifiers like “at home” and ”indoor,” are very popular right now, as are “homeschooling” and “unemployment.” Staying abreast of what’s going on can help with identifying relevant topics. 

If you can’t think of a topic right away, the Google Trends homepage is a good place to see what people are searching for by region and what is currently trending. 

Exploding Topics

Another great place to look is Exploding Topics. This platform aggregates data across search engines and conversations and mentions across the web to formulate emerging topics. They then curate that list into an easily digestible interface, which you can drill down by time period and industry. 

Once you have identified your topic, you can then view it on Google Search to assess the intent behind the query and see what other pieces of content are showing up in the results. This will help determine if the content you are creating will fall into an informational, transactional, or navigational content type, which will inform how you should structure your messaging.

Work on conversions

Another important thing that you can do during this time is test, test, test. With the traffic you have, you can actively work on your site’s ability to convert traffic into customers. Even if your traffic has declined to the point where A/B testing or other conversion rate optimization testing tactics are not applicable, there are still some things you can do in the meantime.

First, identify what keywords people are using to find your site and what pages you are sending that traffic to. Looking in GA and GSC identify what pages have seen the largest declines and which ones have the highest bounce rates. Does the message on that page convey to the consumer the relevancy of your site? Are people bouncing off this page? If so, you may need to adjust your SEO keyword strategy or on-page copy to better align the intent in the search with the relevance to the page. If you have heatmap tracking set up, leveraging those insights can be helpful in identifying consumer behavior and potential user experience issues especially with your information architecture. 

Secondly, identify friction points in the conversion process and work on improving them. Test the number of fields you are asking people to fill out and look to enhance the overall user experience to make it easier for your potential customers to convert.

Thirdly, amplify your value proposition. You may understand why someone should convert with you, but is that message conveyed to consumers? Look at your competitors’ messaging on-site and see why maybe someone would rather convert with them than you. How can you potentially improve and amplify your value prop over your competitors so that audiences feel like your product/service is better than the rest? 

And lastly, something that may only be relevant during this time but could be instrumental in securing conversions is to test different copy and imagery. Be cognizant of the current state in your imagery; are people holding hands? Outside in a crowd? Perhaps look to test imagery of people at home and/or practicing social distancing.

The times have already changed. We are facing a new reality. Creating content based on the trends people are searching as they navigate this new reality will help lessen the potential negative impact to your organic traffic. Staying ahead of the curve on new and upcoming searches can help place you above the rest simply by staying relevant.

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‘Hey Alexa, how do I get my product visible in Amazon search in 2019?’ /hey-alexa-how-do-i-get-my-product-visible-in-amazon-search-in-2019-309864 Wed, 02 Jan 2019 13:10:15 +0000 /?p=309864 Implementing a hybrid approach to your Amazon marketing strategy for both paid and organic optimizations will ensure visibility across results pages.

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There has been a seismic shift in consumers search behavior as an estimated 56 percent of people begin their product search on Amazon, not Google.

If 2018 was the year in which Amazon finally began to overtake Google as the predominant e-commerce search engine, then 2019 will be the year in which Amazon comes to fully dominate consumers’ product searches altogether.

If your brand is not selling on Amazon, you’re losing out on sales, and if you’re not optimizing your organic listings in Amazon, you’re already one step behind your competition.

As more and more consumers embrace Amazon search for their shopping needs how do sellers position themselves to achieve maximum visibility on the search results page? And what factors or tactics will be imperative to visibility in 2019?

Keywords will still be key

At the core of Amazon optimization is keyword research. This will not change as Amazon’s A9 algorithm is highly dependent on text match relevancy (how well your product matches the search queries of the customer) to serve the most relevant products to searchers. Your product can only be found for a specific search query if the product listing contains the keyword searched.

However, the way in which people search on other search engines compared to Amazon is very different. Searchers on Amazon are closer to the point of purchase. With that said, 70 percent of searches on Amazon are long-tail searches, so identifying what queries your target audiences are searching for within Amazon will help you determine what keywords you should be targeting.

Other Amazon specific keyword research tools like Sonar, a platform that collects keywords used by Amazon shoppers will also help identify what keywords are being searched for by target audiences.

Focusing on the factors you can optimize for will still be fundamental

While there are several things that determine a products’ rank in the algorithm, there are some factors we can optimize for (product listing title, key product features, product description, images, backend search terms, text match relevancy) and others we cannot (sales performance history, price, availability, fulfillment method, promotions).

Amazon optimization of product listing pages won’t change much from 2018 to 2019 as SEOs looking to maximize visibility should continue to focus on product listing titles, bullet points, product description and backend search terms. Continue to incorporate keywords into those four main fields. However, emphasize placing keywords in product listing titles and key feature bullets as Amazon may put less value on backend search terms or even devalue them (much like Google did with the meta keywords field).

Lastly, ensure that your product images are of high resolution and show all angles of the product. Product images play an important role in consumers decision to buy as they want to know exactly what they are buying. This will increase their purchasing likelihood and thus increase your sales performance.

Voice search will redefine the kinds of keywords targeted in optimizations

Each day more and more people are using voice-equipped devices to search. It is said that by 2020 50 percent of all searches will be from voice search. With an influx of people using voice search to search for products search queries will only continue to be more long-tail in nature as these types of searches tend to be comprised of 5 or more words.

While conversational voice search is convenient for shoppers, it creates a new challenge for optimization. How do we optimize for these types of voice searches within Amazon?

1. Optimize for Amazon’s Choice

If you’ve ever searched for anything on Amazon chances are you’ve seen the “Amazon’s Choice” badge on some products.

Amazon search results page

Not only does Amazon’s Choice get awarded a special designation within the search results page, but the famed badge also marks items that Amazon’s cloud-based voice service Alexa utilizes to determine what products to recommend to users.

While brands and sellers have been trying to crack the Amazon Choice algorithm, there are no set guidelines to follow as to how one can earn this famed badge. However, the company has revealed some of the requirements for being chosen:

  • Popularity (sales)
  • Rating and reviews
  • Price
  • Shipping speed (FBA)

TL;DR: utilize Amazon fulfillment services, increase product popularity and sales through having thoroughly optimized product listings and potentially driving traffic and conversions through paid search (which has been known to increase best seller rank for organic listings), ensure that your product is satisfying consumers (while continually monitoring reviews and answering any negative feedback), and price your product competitively.

2. Start developing Amazon Skills

Alexa Skills are much like apps you add to your phone based on your needs and preferences. You can enable Skills in the same way you install apps on your phone. Skills, however, are voice-driven capabilities you add to your Alexa account to make it smarter and bring products and services to life.

Brands (or anyone really) can build capabilities for their audience in voice form. These types of capabilities or content can come in a multitude of forms. If you’re a CPG brand think recipes, a clothing brand think fashion advice; anything to help consumers. Take Tide stain removal, for example, a brand that is currently leveraging Amazon Skills by enabling customers to ask questions about any and every stain they may encounter.

Amazon search results page

First creating compelling content to help fill a consumer need and then offering an in-skill purchase (ISP) of products can help brands monetize these skills.

As voice search grows and more and more people use smart home devices for all their needs the best way to get in front of consumers in a non-intrusive way is through Alexa Skills.

Create compelling content in product descriptions with a focus on conversions

If you aren’t currently utilizing A+ content or EBC, you should be. Amazon has said that these types of content increase conversions by 10 percent.

While recently it has been found that A+ Content and EBC are not currently indexed for Amazon search ranking, both content types offer possibilities to increase conversions. If product titles and bullet points are the ranking factors that will get you higher organic visibility in Amazon search, then product descriptions are the key to increasing purchasing likelihood and conversions once a consumer is on your product listing page.

With that said, when creating content focus less on optimizing for keywords and more on optimizing for user experience. This includes crafting content in a conversational manner focusing on unique value propositions and detailing how the product will enhance consumers lives. Lifestyle images of people using the product in some capacity will also go a long way in amplifying conversions.

Better performing products (via sales/conversions) is a ranking factor for products which equates to higher visibility.

Use both paid and organic optimization for maximum visibility

As Amazon internally places greater emphasis on sponsored brand placements, expert recommendations, video-based buying guides and Amazon’s private-label products (i.e., “Top Rated from Our Brands”), organic real estate on the search results page will continue to shrink. Implementing a hybrid approach to your Amazon marketing strategy and utilizing both paid placements and organic product listing page optimizations will ensure that you are visible across the results page.

Amazon search will be the largest movement in 2019.

Amazon has the chance to be the new Google; becoming the #1 search engine for all things e-commerce. Neglecting to first leverage Amazon, and second, optimize product listings will deprive brands of exponential revenue. As the Amazon search results pages shift and the way in which consumers search for products also changes, Amazon marketing strategies will too have to transform.

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