Smart Search is Changing the Way We Rank
What it Means to ‘Rank’ with Smart Search
First page, first position – that was the SEO goal of every business for at least the past decade. A lot has changed in the past few years. With today’s digital landscape consisting of paid ads, maps, shopping and reviews – people view search results completely differently. With this new view comes a change to not only what we see, but what drives people to convert on an affiliate marketer’s website. As Google improves their engine with smart search, affiliates will have to work that much harder to rank.
If top ranking is all you’re focused on, you’re failing. As mobile continues to surpass desktop visits in search, and links no longer reign as the dominant form of search results – affiliate marketers need to change the way they track search success.
Find out what it will take to rank when smart search takes over.
- Optimize your site for map apps
Map-based search queries have grown as people search for specific products and services in map apps. Location-specific searches are only going to grow as the marketplace becomes more mobile-smart. Almost 40 percent of people say they only perform searches on their mobile device, according to Google. “In a mobile-first world, people expect answers at their fingertips. They turn to the nearest device to make a decision, learn something new, or get something accomplished,” the report states. “Connecting the dots across these micro-moments are necessary for marketers to tell a single story across devices, channels and formats.” Winning at search means geo-specific information, like hours, menus, location photos, service or delivery area, and more.
- Engage with reviews
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to engage with their customers, especially those who leave reviews. Not only are reviews used to help determine how a search engine should rank your website, but in the future – it may be the only way your site can rank. For example, if a user searches for “best” in a map query – some services may filter out anything below a 4+ star review. If these results prove to be useful to searchers, it will likely continue to be used as a ranking metric. It’s important to cultivate and manage reviews to build digital relationships with customers and rank in future map queries.
- Structure your data for voice searches
Thanks to voice search on smart phones, and new products like Amazon Echo and Google Home – more than 20 percent of searches are done by voice. Google predicts that by the year 2020, 50 percent of search queries will come from voice searches. Unfortunately, there is only one result that spoken – meaning it’s vital to optimize for voice search. Start marking up that site.
Affiliate marketers will need to do all the above to maintain ranking, against competitor’s and larger brands. The good news for affiliates, is that larger brands are often slower at making site changes. Optimize your markup, and content now to get the leg up on the competition for intelligent search rankings.
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