On Wednesday the 20th of November, we hosted the twelfth edition of #LEARNbyVERB discussing the Top SEO Trends Impacting Luxury in 2020. Faith Skinner and Liam White led the workshop at Shoreditch House, an exclusive members club in East London.
Brands such as Dorchester Collection, Mason Rose, Malone Souliers and Fox PR attended the masterclass this November. For those who sadly couldn’t attend, we’ve gathered the key learnings from the day in this short summary and we will also share the content on our YouTube channel
Google Algorithm Updates Over The Last 5-10 Years
Businesses have had to become savvier in how they push their brands forward due to Google’s constant algorithm changes. Below are some of the most relevant Google updates that affected how businesses ranked organically and they all moved towards displaying more relevant information to the user.
Google’ most recent and biggest update is BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). The BERT algorithm update is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It helps a machine to understand what words in a sentence mean but with all the nuances of context.
How Will Bert Affect Your Search Campaign In 2020?
For Google users, this means that they will have better search results that are much more relevant to what they’re looking for. What is very exciting for luxury brands is that its features make search more human, conversational and also personalised, serving what they’re looking for faster and better than ever before. From an SEO perspective, you cannot rely just on keyword research tools, a human approach thinking process is needed to succeed with this update.
1 . Segmenting your audience by keyword intent
When we talk about search intent, it is important to differentiate between two main concepts:
- User intent; which refers to the intent of the searcher in the long run – what is the user looking for based on how they search. An example could be looking for the best restaurants in Mayfair. The SERPs will be dominated by publishers and comparison sites.
- Query intent; which is particular to what the user is looking for at that exact moment in time. An example would be to search for ‘Fish restaurants in Mayfair’; the search is much more transactional and direct.
2. Learning your audience’s insights from other channels
Understanding your user intent is all about understanding your online audience. To do so, it is important to leverage other digital channels such as paid where you can find out the location, demographics, interests and lookalike audiences.
If doing A/B testing on paid search, the results can serve you to carry learnings across your SEO meta descriptions.
Additionally, using Google My Business or TripAdvisor reviews can help you understand what exactly your target audience is interested in and what are the queries that they may have.
Offline data can also serve as a great value to better target your online audience. In the hospitality sector, the traditional concierge service would be a great example to do so. Understanding what consumers demand, what do they want to visit, where do they want to eat, all this information can be utilised at a later stage to create compelling content that will attract future customers.
3. Serving the right content at the right time
But how can brands find out what kind of content they need to appeal to their consumers at each stage of the funnel? Search intent can be broken down into three different types:
- Informational Searches – “Know” – (“Where to go on Christmas?”) These play a huge role at ‘Awareness’ stage. An example could be a blog post about fashion trends, written by a fashion brand
- Transactional Searches – “Do” – (“Buy tickets for winter market”) These type of searches play a huge role in a consideration/purchase stage. The content must have a clear call to actions such as ‘buy now’, ‘order’ or ‘purchase’.
- Navigational Searches – “Go” – (Verb Brands website”). Navigational searches are usually linked to directions or direct website results.
A common misconception when creating content and targeting keywords is that you are only targeting one keyword. In reality, you can create a webpage that targets a variety of related keywords and covers the entire topic.
There are often a huge number of long-tail keywords revolving around key question phrases. The question is: Do I create a separate page around that topic? The best way is to think if your topic targets a distinct keyword set.
As a brand, you should execute your SEO strategy at the foundation. The way your website is structured, if done correctly, can help users easily and quickly find information aiding to increase conversions.
The example of good site architecture see below:
4. Leveraging the growing SERP ecosystem
The organic landscape has become more diversified. 18% of searches bring up a local search pack and 12% of travel searches bring up a featured snippet which helps users find information faster. Currently, over 25% of searches bring up video content.
- Zero click searches
Recently there’s been a rise in zero-click searches. This means that consumers are receiving their requested just by looking on the first page of Google search results, without needing to click on any pages.
For example, a star rating, price or video markup will display on the search page that doesn’t require another click or an additional site visit. To do so, you can use tools such as schema.org to highlight the information that will add more value to your customer.
- Leveraging video and image
Images have been increasingly important with users using images to search directly the product or service they are looking for. Therefore, optimising images by adding ALT descriptions and names can help further strengthen your search strategy. The Verb SEO team shared that 26% of all searches bring up images in the SERP results. Image carousel can greatly increase organic revenue and organic visibility.
As SERP diversification continues, video is becoming an ever-growing component. Today it’s being present on a quarter of all searches. A video is a very powerful and engaging form of content. Just as with all SEO led content, the video must align with the audience’s query intent.
- Strategies for voice search
Even though Voice engine optimisation is having a slower adoption than expected, it also entails optimising your content to increase the likelihood to be discoverable by your potential customers. Our advice is to think of a long-tail keyword strategy that answers questions such as ‘People also ask’ for your search result to be at the forefront of the competition.
- The relevance of local search
In the last few years, local search has become a very powerful tool for businesses’ discoverability. Google my Business, online reviews and business citations are just a few examples that a brand can utilise to further strengthen their rankings online.
5. Measuring Search Intent Through Micro Conversions
A micro conversion is a single action taken by a visitor toward completion of a primary conversion goal (referred to as a macro conversion). Micro conversions are typically things like newsletter signups, adding products to a cart, or downloading lead magnets.
Why do they help us to understand if the user intent is fulfilled? Visitors rarely make a purchase on their first visit to your site. Instead, conversion builds through a lot of smaller activities and this combination of micro-conversions leads to a sale.
You can set-up the checkout process to reflect micro conversions in Google Analytics. As well as build map stages for email submission form to understand assisted conversions and identify where the user drop off is. You can do this by adding mini goals through key buttons on your homepage on analysing the results month on month.
In addition, by using A/B testing you can identify what the creative assets are that drive more conversions to your brand.
Today SEO is no longer a separate channel, but a fundamental element of the overall’s marketing strategy. In this ever-changing, fast-paced digital world, brands can no longer ignore this development. It is more important now than ever for a business to invest in both and organic and paid search strategy. If you need advice on how to prepare your brand for these major SEO changes, get in touch with us.
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