Statista predicts that global online retail sales will jump to $4.88 by 2021. And, in such a fast-paced e-commerce landscape, just launching a killer site and having great products is not enough.
To stay competitive and rank high in the organic SERPs, you need to optimize your site for search engines and constantly update your SEO tactics. Now, in 2018, we saw numerous changes in the SEO ecosystem, from the rise of voice search technologies to mobile-first indexing.
SEO Trends for 2019
Expert predictions are that these trends will keep transforming the way we do SEO in 2019 and beyond. So, what are the hottest SEO trends that will help your e-commerce site rank higher in 2019?
The Growth of Voice Search
Even though voice search technologies are still in their infancy, they’ve seen an immense growth in 2018. Research claims that 41% of adults perform at least one voice search daily, while this number is predicted to reach 50% by 2020.
Voice search redefines the keyword research we know of. When conducting voice searches, users feel more relaxed. They communicate with search engines just like they talk to their friends. For you as an online retailer, this means you will need to adapt to these natural searches to make your e-commerce site visible by the right people.
In 2019, e-commerce marketers shouldn’t focus on search engines. Instead, they should prioritize their customers’ needs and preferences.
In addition to traditional keyword research tools, use those sources that help you understand search intent. For example, Q&A sites, social networks, online communities, and niche-specific forums will give you broader insights into what your customers are searching for.
Use these resources to optimize your site for the right questions and conversational keywords. Add them to your content, write lists, and create a comprehensive FAQ page, as these are resources that usually appear as voice search results.
Finally, voice search will increase the importance of local SEO in 2019. According to some recent stats, 22% of searchers use voice search to find business location information. This is why you should always work with SEO agencies that also focus on local SEO services. By using local keywords, getting links from local sites, and building content around local topics will help you appear higher in local search results.
Mobile-First Indexing Dictates your Rankings
On May 2018, Google launched its Mobile-First Index. This means that it now indexes mobile versions of our site when ranking it. And, given that 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices, it’s understandable why Google prioritizes them.
As an online retailer, you cannot afford to ignore mobile searchers, too. According to Statista, the number of mobile e-commerce sales will rise from $1.80 to $2.32 trillion. In 2021, mobile will reach $3.56 trillion and make up almost 73% of total e-commerce sales.
Make your site responsive to boost user experience and ensure that the overall mobile purchase journey goes smoothly. Improve your page speed, simplify your website architecture and navigation, make your products easy to find, and simplify the checkout process. Focus on UX design elements, such as legible fonts, lots of white space, and placing key information above the fold. Finally, check all your forms, buttons, and links to see whether they work on mobile devices.
The Implementation of AI and Chatbots will Grow
Artificial intelligence is not the future of digital marketing. It’s already here and it impacts every segment of your SEO strategy, from data analysis to blogger prospecting. However, there is one area of e-commerce AI- backed technologies improve and that’s customer support.
The majority of online customers expect brands to answer their questions and help them resolve problems within 48 hours. And, this is where chatbots shine.
Now, when I say “chatbots” I don’t mean those annoying popups the majority of online retailers use today. I’m talking about AI-powered chatbots, the ones that are constantly learning more about your customers, interacting with them just like your customer service reps, and providing them with highly relevant information.
Precisely because of that, they’re expected to keep growing in 2019 and beyond. According to Gartner, that 85% of customer conversations will be handled without a human agent by 2020. Moreover, they emphasize that, by 2021, over 50% of businesses will invest more in chatbots than traditional mobile app development.
For online retailers, the implementation of chatbots is critical. They collect customer data, provide them with customized offers and encourage them to convert faster. This results in higher engagement and conversion rates and lower bounce rates, all of which are important factors telling Google how relevant you are.
Featured Snippets will be even More Important
With paid ads, Google’s Local Pack, Knowledge Graphs, Featured Snippets, YouTube video pack, “People Also Ask” boxes and similar features appearing in the SERPs, ranking high organically has never been more difficult.
Google displays featured snippets high for a simple reason- they are user-friendly. They help its searchers find the desired information instantly, directly from the SERPs. They don’t even have to open the link to the blog post.
Given that, it’s not surprising that featured snippets will remain important in 2019 and beyond. And, you know what they say- if you cannot fight them, join them.
Focus on boosting the trustworthiness of your content. Back it up with relevant data, cite and link to authoritative sources and comprehensive, long-form articles that are more likely to match your customers’ search queries.
To get a chance to appear search snippets, you should also add the abovementioned question and answer section on your site, write lists, and produce well-structured and concise answers Google can use.
Content Remains a Key Inbound Marketing Tactic
Content Marketing Institute claims that spending on content creation grew substantially in 2018. They claim that 56% of businesses invested more in content creation, while 37% of them even hired content marketing staff.
These stats tell us one thing- content marketing remains a dominant aspect of digital marketing in 2019.
However, as more businesses invest in high-quality content marketing, you also need to refine your content marketing tactics.
For example, instead of small-form articles that don’t deliver any value to your readers, start creating lengthy, highly informative content supported by up-to-date industry research and quotes. According to Backlinko, 2000-2500- word articles perform better on Google. In addition to articles, you could also write eBooks, case studies, white papers, research studies, and so on.
According to the Content Marketing Institute report mentioned above, marketers will invest more in engaging content types in 2019. In 2018, videos have been the most used form of content, followed by textual content, images and infographics, in-person content, and audio-only content.
Valuable, insightful, and educational content will improve users’ perceptions of your online business. Starting to see you as a trusted online resource, they will be more likely to become your leads and, ultimately, customers.
Over to You
Google is constantly altering the SEO sphere. And, to rise above your competition, you need to keep track of these changes and adapt to them fast. This will not only help you rank higher, but also build trust with your online customers and increase their conversions.
Text: Lauren Wiseman
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