For online businesses, knowing how to make search engine optimization (SEO) work for you can be the difference between success and shuttering your virtual doors. Since the advent of the internet, e-Commerce, and Google in the late 1990s, search engines have helped shoppers find the products and services they were interested in. The higher a business ranks on a search engine result page (SERP), the more traffic they saw from those referrals.
As the three facets of online shopping have changed since then, so has SEO. Google’s numerous changes to its ranking algorithm have forced marketers to adapt and change as well. Keeping track of these changes and how they affect a business’ ranking has become a full-time job; in many cases, requiring the assistance of professional SEO services.
In recent years, a technological change has forced a huge shift in the standard SEO paradigm. Mobile devices, from phones to tablets, changed the way people shop. While a large number of shoppers do still use a desktop environment to shop, a growing segment is using mobile connectivity to seek out the latest and greatest local products, and connecting with businesses in bite-sized segments.
Google embraced this shift in 2016, announcing that they were moving their focus to mobile search. A series of case studies also led them to focus on what they dubbed, “micro-moments” and how these small but continuous interactions affected the traditional customer cycle. Because of this, a new focus on “near me” and “relevant to me” searches has emerged. For the small to medium business owner, this opens up a huge opportunity to attract a huge segment, provided their SEO practices have evolved to take advantage of this.
Here are three quick glances at the changes that mobile has made to traditional desktop search and how your business can benefit from them.
1. Modern Shoppers Want the How – Traditionally, the customer cycle has focused on attracting the customer and delivering them goods, relying on ad campaigns and brand loyalty to keep them entering into the customer cycle. However, modern mobile shoppers are savvier. They literally have the shopping world at their fingertips; they can post and read reviews and are quick to find the next bargain. For SMB owners, brand loyalty isn’t the powerhouse it once was.
Ranking high on an SERP for a given product is challenging and requires almost continuous effort. Instead, focus on helping a customer with the “how” of the product. How does it benefit them? How can they use it more effectively? How can they get it from you cheaper and faster?
By positioning yourself as an expert, your SMB is going to rank higher on more relevant search terms, which will translate into higher conversions. Everyone can sell a product. Stand out by being the company that provides the expertise on the “hows” of that product.
2. Content Is Still King, But Not the Traditional Kind – Mobile users devour content. In the prime shopping demographic of 18 to 24-year-olds, nearly 90 minutes of online content is viewed on a mobile device every week, with users watching multiple times per day. Establishing a library of video content for your SMB is a terrific way to take advantage of the YouTube search engine. It also increases your reputation as an expert in a given field, increasing the likelihood that your content will be shared and viewed.
It is important to remember that these videos should be quick and above all, relevant. They also need to be encoded correctly so that your viewers don’t suffer from lag or stuttering on your end. Additionally, remember that video is a powerful marketing tool, but nothing will drive your video content into obscurity faster than misleading your viewers about what your content is.
3. Social Media As an SEO Tool – Social media is here to stay. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or even Facebook, millions of people shop and browse goods online using their social media feeds. Using social media to leverage your brand and content is a great way to increase your exposure to new audiences.
Just like in real life, social media has its fair share of trendsetters. These social media stars have millions of followers. Whether it’s Cookie Swirl C on YouTube and her more than 7 million subscribers, or Cameron Dallas’ 10.2 million followers on Instagram, social media embraces celebrities of an entirely different variety. A retweet or a product placement from a social media influencer can generate a huge ROI for an SMB or even a B2B company.