Going into 2010, Rand Fishkin at MOZ pre­dict­ed that over the course of the decade, Google queries would dri­ve less and less traf­fic. Sure enough, Google intro­duced fea­tured snip­pets around the mid­dle of the decade. Fea­tured snip­pets have ush­ered the rise of “zero-click” search­es, which is what hap­pens when Google answers your ques­tion and you nev­er click through to any oth­er web­site. Google fol­lowed that up with more of the same, like answer box­es and pre­dic­tive answers in the drop-down bar (if you Google the weath­er, you don’t even have to push enter to get your answer). As of June 2019, the major­i­ty of Google search­es are now zero clicks.

We’re mov­ing into a new decade of SEO, and one of the things we’re going to see is Google’s under­stand­ing of lan­guage sky­rock­et,” says Guy Sheetrit, CEO of con­sul­tan­cy Over the Top SEO. “From an e‑commerce point of view, this is a crit­i­cal time to regroup and make sure your SEO strat­e­gy is lined up for the com­ing era.” Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re pre­pared for the new decade of SEO.

Understand SEO’s Place In Your Overall Goals

SEO isn’t an end unto itself,” Sheetrit empha­sizes. “Nei­ther is mar­ket­ing of any kind. Your com­pa­ny has goals that should be attain­able, mea­sur­able, and time-bound. Mar­ket­ing goals should sup­port these over­all goals. SEO should sup­port these mar­ket­ing goals.”

This takes some care­ful plan­ning. Hap­haz­ard­ly load­ing up your blog with key­words isn’t going to pro­duce results. It will, how­ev­er, take up your time to pub­lish con­tent that may or may not pro­duce traf­fic and results. So play the long game for the new decade. Incor­po­rate your SEO work coher­ent­ly into your greater mar­ket­ing goals and your com­pa­ny goals over­all. This will result in the work being har­mo­nious and strate­gic across depart­ments.

Structure Your Site For Easy Navigation With Breadcrumbs

 

If you’re using an e‑commerce plat­form like Shopi­fy, your site archi­tec­ture is already built-in and even opti­mized to give you the high­est pos­si­ble vis­i­bil­i­ty. Of course, the same is true for all your com­peti­tors using that plat­form as well.

If by con­trast, you’ve built out your web­site on a dif­fer­ent plat­form, there’s anoth­er ele­ment you can include: bread­crumbs. This is the trail that lets users find their way back through your site, one-click at a time. It imme­di­ate­ly out­lines the cas­cad­ing hier­ar­chy of your web­site struc­ture for Google as well. If you make it easy for Google to under­stand your site struc­ture, they will favor your site and it’ll appear high­er in customer’s Google search­es.

Like all good SEO ele­ments, bread­crumbs have the dual func­tion of mak­ing your site eas­i­er for cus­tomers and for search engines alike,” says Sheetrit. “Are you doing it for the cus­tomer? Are you doing it for Google? The real­i­ty is both because they sup­port each oth­er.”

Structure Your Site For Easy Navigation With Breadcrumbs

Shift To Long Tail Keywords Instead Of Competing For The Most Popular Ones

If you’ve been strug­gling with key­word bat­tles you can’t win, give your­self a break and try a dif­fer­ent approach. If you sell sweaters, of course, you want to rank for the search “sweaters.” But that might not be real­is­tic, and it might not mat­ter. It’s very pos­si­ble that the amount of mon­ey and effort it will take to rank for that one pop­u­lar key­word would serve your busi­ness bet­ter if spent else­where.

Long-tail key­words are less com­pet­i­tive, so go for them instead. For exam­ple, in some instances being the sin­gle e‑commerce site that ranks for a long-tail key­word such as “soft­est cardi­gan with neapoli­tan stripes” could be more lucra­tive than try­ing to rank for “sweaters” or even “women’s cloth­ing”.

If you’re not sure how to come up with long-tail key­words, look­ing through Amazon’s pre­dic­tive text is a great place to start. Just start typ­ing in the Ama­zon search bar: “soft­est sweaters” and see what it auto-fills: “soft­est sweaters for women,” “soft­est sweaters for women pullover,” “soft­est sweaters for women open front.” These may turn out to be more valu­able than short key­words.

As Google gets smarter and voice search becomes more com­mon­place, search queries are becom­ing more con­ver­sa­tion­al, which means long-tail key­words are on the rise. Cus­tomers who type in long-tail, descrip­tive key­words are gen­er­al­ly high­ly moti­vat­ed cus­tomers who are ready to make a pur­chase. Think about it, these cus­tomers are look­ing for some­thing very spe­cif­ic, which is typ­i­cal because they need it for a spe­cif­ic pur­pose. “As a result, the con­ver­sion rates are high­er for long-tail key­words, as com­pared to head key­words.” Rank­ing for key­words like these is more attain­able, and you’ll end up with a high­er con­ver­sion rate because long-tail key­word searchers are typ­i­cal­ly ready to buy.

But here’s the kick­er. “Long-tail key­words don’t turn up zero-click search­es,” says Sheetrit, “because peo­ple who search descrip­tive key­words about your prod­uct aren’t look­ing for a quick answer. They’re look­ing for your prod­uct.”

What mis­chief Google will get up to in the new decade is anybody’s guess. But hav­ing a sol­id SEO foun­da­tion with good site struc­ture, nav­i­ga­ble bread­crumbs, and con­tent that con­tains impor­tant long-tail key­words, all nest­ed in a greater con­text of mar­ket­ing and com­pa­ny goals, will posi­tion you for suc­cess when it comes to new algo­rithm updates and tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ments. What­ev­er they might be. And mean­while, you won’t be wast­ing your time com­pet­ing for zero-click search­es.

SOURCE: Forbes