As long as people have been searching for content, websites have been optimizing to direct those searches for their benefit. Many basic aspects have remained the same in terms of best practices and strategy for search engine optimization, which has made SEO a part of almost every website. That said, shifts in content consumption and search options over time will always require updates in order to keep your targeted audience in scope.
No article can fully give every best practice, or magic secret to ranking top in every search. But keeping up to date on search trends and audience needs can not only help rank your site higher, it can also provide a better user experience for those interacting with your website. Here are three top things that can get overlooked when auditing your site’s SEO.
Optimizing for voice search
Who would have guessed 10 years ago that in 2021 we’d be asking Alexa to play Neil Diamond in our kitchen, or telling Siri to find us the best dim sum restaurant open right now? Most of us wouldn’t have guessed. Even five years ago the ability to speak to search was not used nearly as much as it is today.
Those updates in technology have changed the way we search, therefore changing the way sites need to be optimized. What we search for when we type, even where we are when we are searching by keyboard, can be decisively different from what we ask Siri to search for us.
Although not every website needs to optimize for voice search, it would do every company good to take a look at their user base. Determining the needs of your audience, and offerings of your company, voice search could affect your ranking on certain search terms.
Optimizing for accessibility
We discussed accessible websites earlier this year, but did not touch on how they can work together with search optimization. Similar to voice search, thinking about optimizations with accessibility in mind may lead to overall improvements with your site.
Unlike voice search though, accessibility can do more for your site than improving search terms. With tens of millions of people in the United States living with a disability, keeping accessibility in mind when writing alt tags, headers and more, can vastly help not only their searchability but their experience when they make it to your site.
Optimizing for Core Web Vitals
The final pillar in our 2021 SEO update list focuses on user experience. Google is placing more importance on UX as one of the metrics for page ranking. If your site has poor Core Web Vitals according to Google’s new algorithm, your page ranking may go down.
After all, what consumer wants to be served a website only to be frustrated by something that has slow load times, isn’t mobile friendly, or has too many ads making it hard to navigate?
To optimize your site, and achieve a good Core Web Vitals score, you’ll need to address the following:
- Load performance: the standard is loading within the first 2.5 seconds
- Visual stability: if a page jumps around the content as it’s loading
- Mobile-friendly: optimize for UX wherever they are viewing
- Safe browsing: no malicious or deceptive content
- HTTPS: providing a secure way to serve your page
- Intrusive interstitials: incorrectly used pop-ups, especially ones that that aren’t mobile-friendly to remove
Creating a site that accounts for search engine optimization and user experience will not only increase ranking, it will improve your customer’s views about your company. Even putting aside ranking, websites need a balance of both form and function. They need to be findable, and usable. With options for different types of audiences, utilizing different types of search processes.