MSoft has boosted the revenue of many retailers through digital transformation. However, in our experience the technology works best when combined with solid marketing practices, especially in retail.
That’s why we’ve asked our digital marketing partner, Rampiq, to write a guest article about 5 key SEO trends for retail companies to follow this year. You will learn what EE-A-T is and how to use voice search optimization, local SEO, Google Shopping, video and expert content to improve it.
Trend 1: EE-A-T and Brand Authority
EE-A-T (Experience-Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trust) is a set of critical parameters that Google uses for ranking websites. High values of these parameters mean that the search engine recognizes a website as valuable and trustworthy and places it higher in search results.
According to the VP of Search at Google, Hyung-Jin Kim: “EE-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”
Retail companies can improve EE-A-T by creating specialist content about the goods you sell. In Google’s latest update (Dec 2022), more value has been assigned to highly original and valuable texts that provide unique expert insights. Extra focus has been placed on such things as the content author’s name, photo and bio. In view of that, the following would be a good practice:
The update also opened up good opportunities for rapid organic growth – see for yourself: our team has had great client cases in the recent months.
And don’t limit yourself to texts only: comparison tables, 360 imagery and product videos will also boost your EE-A-T. In the below example from Specsavers, the optics retailer provides a good visual comparison between different types of products:
The parameters are also influenced by technical factors such as a clean UX, absence of broken links, absence of low quality indexed pages, and usage of HTTPS over HTTP.
Trend 2: Voice Search Optimization
Voice search optimization is part of SEO that is aimed at making your website pages rank higher in voice search results. As of 2020, 44.2% of US Internet users utilized voice search at least once a month. This number has only been growing since and it’s estimated that in 2023 sales through voice search queries will reach $60 billion worldwide. These numbers alone make this trend impossible to ignore.
Voice search is very different to type search with regards to how users formulate their queries. When typing, people tend to be very concise: “buy a bike chicago”; whereas in voice search, queries tend to be more conversational: “Where can I buy a bike in Chicago?”. This means that your SEO needs to be more semantics-focused than keyword-focused.
Optimize your product and blog pages to answer conversational questions directly and precisely. Mind the local linguistic nuances such as one item having different names in different parts of the country (“sneakers”/”tennis shoes”).
Trend 3: Local SEO
Local SEO is a subset of marketing activities designed to improve your website ranking in local search results. Retailers with brick and mortar stores rely on attracting customers from the local area (i.e. town or district). Local SEO helps their outlets to be noticed when someone is looking to shop for a specific item.
For instance, if someone searches for bike stores in Chicago, they will be shown a map of their local area with selected outlets highlighted. When doing so, Google prioritizes well-optimized Google My Business profiles as well as the sponsored ones.
To have a good Google My Business profile, provide as much basic info about the outlet as you can (name, address, business category, phone number, opening hours). Upload photos of your outlet and regularly post fresh content with imagery (special offers, events).
Another good practice is amassing local citations. These are company profiles created on local directory websites and review platforms such as Yelp. They provide your business with greater visibility when someone is searching for “top bike stores”, for example.
Make sure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across all citations you create.
Resources like Google My Business and Yelp, among others, are also good for collecting reviews, thus gaining brand authority. Follow up with regular customers and ask them if they could leave a review in exchange for a small incentive. Make sure you’re replying to all reviews the customers are leaving on your profiles, positive or negative.
Trend 4: Online Shopping
Online shopping has been steadily growing in popularity for many years, and through the COVID-19 outbreak, it gained an even more massive boost. It’s projected that in 2024 the global E-commerce sales will likely surpass $7 trillion in value.
You can make your E-commerce more discoverable with the help of Google Merchant Center and Shopping Graph. Google Merchant Center is a service that integrates with an E-commerce website and allows Google to better recognize your product feed and promote it. Shopping Graph is a machine learning based technology used by GMC that crawls billions of products available on the Internet and chooses which product is best suited for a specific query.
Goods on your website integrated with GMC can be displayed separately on search results pages:
The catalog of goods is expanded upon in the shopping selection, also coming with filtering capabilities:
To provide the best online shopping experience for users, choose the images and titles that best describe the product, highlighting its special features. Make sure your product data feed contains correct information on the prices and other product features such as color, size and others. This will eliminate any errors when someone tries filtering out your products. Also provide additional information on shipping costs and refund policies.
Trend 5: Video SEO
Creating valuable video content also benefits EE-A-T and builds brand authority. Google integrates videos posted on Youtube into the search results page making them stand out.
Creating brand new product reviews and how-to’s will help your store provide value to customers and gain their trust:
Your video titles will need to contain keywords with high search volumes, make a user curious and be concise (under 60 characters). Your thumbnails will also need to be polished and visually appealing. A good practice is to have little text, a human face and an image of an object that is relevant to the topic.
The first, immediately visible line of your video description (157 characters) must explain what the video is about and why a user must click on it. Include timestamps in your video description for a better viewing experience. Make use of relevant tags (“change a bike tire”, “service a bike”) when uploading to increase video visibility.
At the very end of 2022, Google introduced a number of big changes to how it ranks retail businesses in their search results. EE-A-T underwent alterations encouraging original high quality content with an emphasis on the author’s unique expertise. Voice searches are also becoming more and more common with each year, making voice search optimization a must.
Local SEO remains vital for retail as stores receive most of their customers from around the area. Likewise, making online shopping a comfortable experience for customers is very important. And finally, creating engaging video content featuring the products is one more way to be more noticeable on the Internet.