Rosemary Merz, Managing Director Archetype, Hong Kong

Brands and retailers today understand that SEO has the power to make or break a business.

But the challenge is complex. Not only are Google’s algorithms changing constantly, but consumer behavior is too – potential customers are searching in new ways and on increasingly diverse platforms.

Add to that a business’ strategy is always evolving too, and it becomes clear that an SEO strategy is something that demands to be regularly refreshed.

Here are our top tips to help brands and retailers move up the search league tables and improve sales.

Prioritize mobile

2020 is the first year that mobile eCommerce revenue has overtaken desktop. And since 2018, Google has taken a ‘mobile-first indexing’ approach, meaning that the mobile website user experience is what impacts a website’s ranking, trumping the user experience of a desktop.

One of the first steps retailers can take is to use Google’s mobile test site to check whether their webpage is mobile-friendly or not.

Hey Alexa!

The rise of voice activation means that voice search SEO has become increasingly important. In fact, 1 in 5 queries on Android devices and Google’s mobile app are via voice search

Interestingly, the data shows that consumers naturally adapt their language when using voice – rather than the disconnected typed phrases, when using voice, searches tend to be more conversational and structured as fully-formed questions.

Our advice is that it’s key to understand how your customers speak about your products. One tool, Answer The Public, gives insights into how people are asking questions based on specific keywords. You can help increase high-quality click-throughs to directly answer these queries by adapting copy so that it includes these common question words and phrases.

Be in lockstep with Google

Google features are ever-changing to accommodate changing buyer needs and behaviors.

If we take the recent expansion of Google’s online shopping search appearance, potential buyers can now also see the price, ratings, reviews and whether an item is in stock or not in their search results. Companies that don’t update their code to reflect these changes are likely to see their click-through rate drop.

The sheer speed of change means that businesses can struggle to keep pace, so it is important to work with a dedicated in-house expert or trusted partner. And remember to set the bar high by measuring your success through sales, rather than solely looking at improved ranking or click-throughs. This will ensure that you remain focused on the complete sales journey and on driving conversions that impact your bottom line.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

Who are your customers and how they are searching for your products online? Is it by color, size, product name or a distinguishing feature? This insight will help you to reassess your key words and ensure they are fit-for-purpose.

The next step is to look into how these terms can help your site ranking. These insights should be used as a guide to what content you should produce – whether it be optimizing your product descriptions or giving you guidance on how to shape your company blog – to help your site rank higher than competitors.

Get your house in order

It is not uncommon that over time a website can become untidy. At Archetype we recommend annual audits to check in on the status of your site:

  • Ensure there is no web page duplication, as this creates internal competition. This is a particular problem for large corporations that often have global pages that duplicate local pages.
  • Look at whole site structure to make sure you are highlighting your most important products and including these on the dropdown menu.
  • Optimize the structure of your URLs. These should include key words and be as concise as possible. E.g. yourdomain/whitesneakers.

As businesses, consumers and the search environment shifts and changes, it is essential that brands regularly refresh their SEO strategy to stay ahead of competitors and increase sales.