The future of SEO - what does it look like?

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When an SEO Agency was asked to justify the poor rankings a site was having for important keyword terms and phrases, the "SEO Strategist's" primary excuse was the retailer had fewer products than its competitors resulting in lower keyword term density.

This strategist then goes on to say with fewer products results in lower engagement.

My response to these comments are below....

There are a few reasons as to why these statements are incorrect...

Number of products:

There are no direct correlations to product volume to organic rankings. While it's a factor, Google places other aspects of the site ahead of this.

Consumer Engagement:

Just because a competitor has more products does not mean a consumer will be more engaged. This notion is incorrect.

Why is this incorrect? Because today's consumer is actually being put off with too much choice. Google has seen significant increases in search terms where "best" is included. For example, people are not searching for "headphones" they are now searching for "the best headphones".

Google knows quantity of product and quality of experiences are not correlated.

To drive organic rankings requires heavy effort into driving engagement. Some examples...

  1. Pageload speed. A retailer must work with its eCommerce and hosting vendors to ensure this is to a high standard.
  2. Product naming (product title structure). The product naming formula requires product descriptors.
  3. Product content. The majority of engagement for consumers comes at the product detail page level, so if the product content is rich, consumers will engage more and buy more.
  4. Product Reviews. This is still a big Google ranking factor. Driving user generated content is still a conversion rate driver.
  5. Improve Engagement. Making the site more "sticky" is key.
  6. Mobile Engagement. Google has called this out as a strong and separate ranking factor.

The Future of SEO:

The future of SEO comes in two parts....

  1. Technical hygiene, where the site must follow best practice (title tags, clean URL's, fast pageload speeds etc...)
  2. Deliver amazing online experiences (with a focus on mobile)

The days of "SEO agencies" are over. This means activities like having paragraphs of content at the top of category pages adds no value and in fact harms experiences.

If a retailer has an eCommerce technology which follows Google's best practices and a team of people working hard to deliver amazing online experiences, "SEO" is taken care of.

SEO agencies have no influence over things like pageload speeds and mobile experiences. The vast majority of what Google ranks is now out of their control.

Retailers don't need SEO Agencies to drive SEO, they need a customer experience design specialist.

This article was as tagged as Customer Experience Design , Digital Strategy , SEO

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