- According to various studies, videos help engage your page visitors as well as get them to remember your value proposition better and help them make purchase decisions
- When creating marketing videos to add to your landing page, keep them shorter than 2 minutes and position them prominently on the page
- Make sure to add convincing CTAs within your video to drive action
- While videos can boost on-page engagements, they can slow down your page (which may hurt its rankings), so make sure to lazy-load your videos and keep an eye on your Core Web Vitals
- Optimize your video page to increase its chances to rank in Google and generate traffic and product awareness
Video marketing has been on the rise for over a decade now. Consumers are getting more and more used to watching video content wherever they go, be it on Facebook or on a product page.
Which may make one think:
Isn’t video content expected by now?
Shouldn’t we produce a video every chance we get?
However, the real question is: Will videos be a conversion ignitor or a conversion killer?
Let’s find out!
First, some tempting stats…
There are plenty of case studies and reports claiming that using a video on a landing page is a great idea for boosting conversions:
- How-to videos is the most popular type of videos. According to Google itself, it is the most popular format of the video, even more popular than music or gaming.
- Viewers tend to remember 95% of a message after watching a video, and only 10% after reading it. Moreover, videos are capable of boosting conversions by 10-20% (Studies vary here, so numbers can even be much higher).
- Consumers tend to watch a video about a product rather than to read about it. Forbes Insights found that 83% of people prefer watching video to reading text.
- In an older Animoto survey, nearly all the respondents (96% of them) found videos helpful when making purchasing decisions online.
Now, some important technical stats…
1. The longer a video, the lower its engagement
You have about 10 seconds to grab the attention of viewers with a video marketing clip. According to Facebook, people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch for at least ten more seconds, so there’s a pretty tight window here.
Once your video manages to grab a viewer’s attention, they will likely engage for two more minutes. After two minutes the engagement is sharply declining. Obviously, the more interesting a video is, the more people will watch but since we are talking about the engagement with a landing page, it is not about narrative videos that are able to hold viewers’ attention for 30 minutes or more.
That being said:
- Make sure your video’s first 10 seconds will grab attention
- Then make it no longer than two minutes to ensure your page visitors will perform a desired action on the page, instead of feeling bored or vice versa too engaged with your video.
2. In-video CTAs work!
Lots of landing page videos I’ve seen are missing in-video CTAs which is unfortunate because a video on a landing page is a very essential part of most buying journeys. In fact, a call-to-action within a video may drive as much as 380% more clicks to a landing page.
The whole purpose of a video on a landing page is to drive conversions, so create a video that leads into the sales funnel and gives detailed instructions on what to do next.
In-video CTAs can be in the form of verbal messages (i.e. the narrator encourages users to follow certain steps) and graphic end screens (an end screen with a call-to-action).
Don’t forget that your video may also be a traffic driver (i.e. people from Youtube clicking a link in the description to get to your landing page) as well as the discovery channel (people watch that video elsewhere and become aware of your product).
So make sure those CTAs can be followed directly without visiting your site, for example, where possible provide a phone number to call right away. On a similar note, make sure that desired action can be performed any time without direct involvement of your team. Set up smart AI-powered communication technology that can engage your leads during off-hours, like IVR or chatbots.
3. Video placement matters
Video placement is never something to take lightly. There’s no single tactic here, because no product or page is the same. A/B test different layouts and then experiment more.
From an SEO perspective, Google recommends using a video prominently on a page for it to index it and potentially generate video rich snippets.
If your site runs on WordPress, there are a few themes that have video landing pages already coded up. I have found a few great ones on this list, so check it out when you have a moment.
4. Videos can slow down your page
Embedding any third-party content, including videos, will slow down the page, and lower your Core Web Vitals score. This can, in turn, hurt your page rankings because Core Web Vitals are official ranking signals. As an examples, here are scores before I embed a video:
And here’s the same page but with a video embedded:
Depending on your content management system, there may be different solutions to make this step easier. Here’s the workaround for WordPress (which will also help speed up your whole site, not just that specific landing page), and here’s a tutorial for Shopify. Wix claims to handle video lazy-loading for you. Check with your current CMS if you are using an alternative one.
5. Videos rank!
Wherever you are hosting your video (Youtube, Wistia, or else), don’t forget the basics: Use your keywords in the most prominent places (title, description, file name, etc.). Remember: Videos rank incredibly well and they can actually drive more people to your site and build awareness, not just help boost conversions.
Video page optimization is not much different from any content optimization process: You need relevant and useful content surrounding your video. You can also check out my Youtube optimization checklist to get your videos to rank higher:
So, should you start pumping out videos?
Videos can be very expensive and time consuming to produce. Which makes creating them difficult to justify if you’re a conversion focused organization.
What it really comes down to is your list of conversion hypotheses. Every growth team and conversion optimization team should have a running list of hypotheses to test. Each hypothesis should be ranked (at the very least) by:
- Test ease (or difficulty).
- Test cost. Consider developer-hours, video production costs, designer costs.
- Potential reward. How much do you expect this particular hypothesis to move the needle and why?
By creating a list that ranks your hypotheses, you can make better judgment calls as to what tests to run immediately and what tests you should put on the back burner.
You may have significant data (qualitative and/or quantitative) that suggests creating videos will produce a large return on investment. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid – get your director’s hat on and start pumping out video!
Side note: The system you create for your hypothesis list will most likely require continual improvement and tweaking to get it right. The important thing is to start one now if you haven’t. As you run tests, you’ll figure out what other metrics or ranking factors help you make better decisions for choosing what tests to run. Just be sure to iteratively improve your system according to your new findings.
Do you feel up to it?
Using videos to increase conversions is yet another risk vs. reward calculation. The upside can be huge, so don’t shy away from this conversion boosting technique.
Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
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The post Five video optimization tips to help boost your landing page conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
- ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
- Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation
Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.
As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.
Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.
AI automation going to be integral for content optimization
As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.
While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.
ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.
The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.
However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.
For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.
With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.
It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole
Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.
It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.
Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.
Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities
Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.
AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.
Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.
Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords
Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.
Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.
It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.
Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience
The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?
Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?
The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.
The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.
The post Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
If you’re struggling for conversions, it’s tempting to throw money at the problem in search of a quick fix. Resist that temptation, though – because the key to a better conversion rate isn’t always to be found by pumping money into your ad campaigns, or a flashy new marketing drive.
Nope – the solution’s much more simple. Mobile optimization!
Starting with your site’s mobile experience makes sense. After all, 46% of Americans spend between five and six hours on their phones, every day. When they come across your website, it’s likely to be via their phones. Meaning your site needs to be ready.
Below, we’ll walk you through our top 4 mobile optimization tips. Follow them, and you’ll end up with a clean, compelling, and customer-centric site – that’s ready to convert.
What is Mobile Optimization Strategy?
First things first – what is mobile optimization, exactly?
Mobile optimization is the process of tailoring your website to users accessing it on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet (as opposed to on a desktop computer.)
It involves ensuring that your website’s layout, structure, and content are customized to mobile devices. So why is that important?
Well, think about the consequences of a site that isn’t optimized for mobile. Content displays as misshapen or missized. Elements jump around on the page, as if with a life of their own; you find yourself having to zoom madly in and out, simply to read the text on the screen.
Sloppy mobile optimization – or total lack of it – means a frustrated user. And frustrated users rarely turn into customers!
How To Maximize Your Conversion Rates Through Mobile Optimization Strategy: 4 Top Tips
Ready to start maximizing your conversion rates – and make your website more mobile-friendly in the process? Here are our 4 top mobile optimization tips:
- Provide a simple, clean checkout experience
- Add on-page product recommendations
- Offer more ways to pay
- Strengthen your CTAs – and their visibility
Read on for the full scoop.
1. Provide a Simple, Clean Checkout Experience
The first way of boosting your mobile site’s conversion rates? Optimizing your checkout flow to ensure you’re providing a frictionless experience at the checkout.
How exactly you do this will depend on how you’ve built your website. But a few broad tips include:
- Enabling guest checkout, so users aren’t deterred by having to create an account to make a purchase
- Providing a wide range of shipping options
- Reducing the amount of form fields (i.e. the depth of info you require from your customers)
- Displaying security badges to increase consumer trust
2. Add On-Page Product Recommendations
Integrating on-page product recommendations is a low-effort – but potentially high-impact – action for optimizing your mobile site.
The on-page product recommendations you recommend could be products the customer has recently viewed, or ones similar to the products they’re currently looking at. These will appear in the frame as they browse your store on their mobile, meaning they can quickly, and easily navigate to the kinds of products they like.
On-page product recommendations are great for UX. But they’re also good for your conversion rates – as you’re removing one more barrier to your customer making a purchase.
3. Offer More Ways to Pay
These days, offering a diverse range of ways to pay isn’t simply a ‘nice to have.’
It’s a must-have. And, along with choosing the right web hosting provider and building your site with the most suitable platform, it’s one of the biggest website decisions you’ll make.
Consumers are more discerning now than ever. Many distrust the process of paying online; others just want the process to be as slick, seamless, and speedy as possible.
Your job? To ensure your customers can pay with multiple different payment methods, including:
- Mobile wallets (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay)
- Credit and debit cards
Millennials, in particular, are fond of the convenience and ease mobile wallet payments offer. In the US, Gen Y leads the share of consumers making digital or mobile wallet payments (46%), according to Statista.
And, to target Gen Z, you can even offer your customers a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) service. It’s big with that demographic – in the US, 55.1% of Gen Z consumers 14 years old and over will use a BNPL service at least once this year.
4. Strengthen Your CTAs – And Their Visibility
When it comes to maximizing conversions, compelling call-to-actions are a must.
So take the time to audit the content, placement, and design of your website’s current CTAs. Do they:
- Start with command verbs that create excitement and engagement.?
- Cultivate a sense of urgency?
- Demonstrate the benefit to the customer if they choose to take action?
Remember, you’re optimizing your CTAs here for mobile devices. So think about your user, and how they’re interacting with your site. They’re already on their phone, after all – so how can you tap into that to improve your CTAs?
One tip is to use phone call-based CTAs. Instead of inviting someone to fill out a lengthy contact form, or get in touch via email – both trickier to do from a mobile phone, or while on the go – invite them to call to make an inquiry, instead.
Plus, CTAs aren’t just about the wording – what they say – but about how they look. So make sure they stand out from the rest of the page’s content (you want people to know they’re looking at a CTA, after all!). Harness the powerful simplicity of white space. And, if there’s a button, make sure it’s big, bold, and screams “click me!”
Mobile optimization won’t just improve the look, feel, and usability of your site. It’ll increase your conversion rates – and help you grow your business online, too.
So good luck, and have fun implementing these tips. Mobile optimization can be tricky and time-consuming. But the results will be worth it in the end – trust us!
The post How to Maximize Website Conversion Rates Through Mobile Optimization Strategy first appeared on PPC Hero.
So, you’ve created some blinding content. Now you need to get it read. How do you go about this? The traditional search route is to think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and insert some keywords, not forgetting to mention the product a lot. For instance, if your business is all about Databricks Hadoop connector matters, you’ll need to reference this a fair amount on your site.
So far, so obvious.
When it comes to voice search, though, some slightly different thinking is needed. This variety of search has become so commonplace now that anyone wanting to get their content found will be wise to give it some consideration. Consequently, we’ll look at voice search and offer an easy-to-follow method for achieving better prominence for your content.
Voice Search – What’s It All About?
Voice search has become super-popular as a means of searching the internet. How popular? Well, statistics show that over 70% of people prefer using voice search to typing. The driving force behind this transformation is the rise of virtual assistants. The resulting growth in voice search-driven eCommerce is startling.
Voice search is set to become even more popular as more people buy smart speakers and other voice assistants, and will likely see a major increase in use once the Internet of Things really gets going and smart devices proliferate. As a result, it makes sense to consider voice search optimization when thinking about internet visibility.
So, let’s see how you can put this optimization into practice.
1. Conversational Language
The need to adopt a less formal tone has made inroads into content creation, especially in areas such as email copywriting. It’s even more important when considering generating content for voice search.
Voice search queries tend to be phrased more conversationally than their written counterparts. So, search terms might be “vegan shoes Baltimore” in a typed search but will be more likely to be “Where can I get vegan shoes in Baltimore?” when it comes to a verbal query.
Start by listing all the conversational queries a voice search user might employ when searching in your area. For example, “Where can I find vegan brogues in Baltimore center?” and “Show me where there’s a vegan boot shop in Baltimore.”
If you run out of queries quite quickly, do what a sensible person does: Try Google. Put one of the above queries in, and then go to where it says, “People also ask for…”. And then grab the suggestions.
Then, when you’re formulating your content, stop repeatedly to ask yourself, “what kind of query does this material answer?”. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be tailoring your content to be what people are looking for, i.e. answers to questions. Use question keywords and long-tail keywords. This is a good technique to appeal to all searchers.
Moreover, keep the writing tone conversational, and you’ll score big with the voice searchers we’ve been talking about.
2. Know Your Customer
You should have a clear idea of who’s most likely to be interested in your site and angle your content to appeal to them. This is a fairly standard practice in commerce—any lead generation database will use this principle.
However, with voice search optimization, it’s doubly important as the natural language they use when speaking can vary between population segments.
It can be fairly nebulous. It might simply be that you probably appeal to a younger demographic, for instance. In which case, imagine you’re reading out the content to a room full of teens. Are they starting to look a bit bored? Best pep it up a bit with some concise answers and maybe some humor.
Think about the expertise of your customer too. If they’re likely to have some expertise on subjects like Azure data lake cost, then you don’t want to be too elementary in tone.
The more you remember who’s likely to want to access your site, the more likely your site is to be accessed. This a simple point, but a very important one.
3. Emphasize Local
Local’s huge in the voice search world.
What this means for you is that you need to maximize your local findability. In other words, highlight your business locations (should your business have a brick-and-mortar presence, of course). Start by attending to your Google Business Profile listing. Make sure that the business listing information is correct and up to date.
Then go through your content and take the opportunities where they arise to mention your location.
Again, think of what questions people will ask when they’re on the lookout for a local supplier, and key into those phrases.
4. Think fast
It should go without saying that you need a site with speed. The more you lag, the more you lose.
The internet is built on speed and convenience, and users are becoming more and more accustomed to high performance. They don’t want to hang around for ages while a site that may or may not contain what they need struggles to make its wheezy way down to their device.
It’s even more the case with voice searches. People conducting a voice query may be out and about and perhaps multi-tasking. They need a quick answer.
So, make sure you trim the site for speedy performance. This includes getting rid of large images and other factors that can slow things down.
The final step that we’ll look at here is to think about how your site looks and behaves with mobile searches. This is because a considerable proportion of voice search devices are mobiles.
The best way to deal with the demands of mobile devices is to make your site design responsive. This means that it takes into account the device that’s being used to access the site and changes its design accordingly. What was large and landscape on a laptop must be compact and portrait on a mobile device.
Since 2019, being mobile-friendly has impacted a site’s Google ranking, so it makes all kinds of sense to accommodate mobiles into your site design and make the mobile user experience as great as it can be.
Some of the steps to voice search optimization aren’t that dissimilar to standard SEO. However, there are differences there, some large, some small. Pay attention to these, and you’ll soon have voice SEO to shout about.
The post 5 Steps to Perform Voice Search Optimization For Your Content first appeared on PPC Hero.
With better optimization of your Facebook ads sets, you can significantly improve your ROI – read these 5 best tips to get the process started.
Read more at PPCHero.com
When trying to increase conversions, it’s not enough to just make visually appealing content. There are many marketing strategies you can use to your advantage.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Today, using data for driving business decisions has become common practice for most companies, with many having a dedicated analytics team checking the impact of marketing investments, which channels to invest in and effect. But the majority of these activities are focused on optimizing parameters before the audience click the ad. The question is: are you taking the same data driven approach to your website design?
If you don’t use data to optimize your site’s user experience, you risk low conversion rates and lost revenue. A well-designed user interface could increase your website’s conversion rate by up to 200 percent, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400 percent.
Now take your revenue, check your conversion rate, and calculate what it would be if the conversion rate would increase +200%. The number right there is why the companies that will thrive in the future most likely will be the ones that are data driven in, and focus as much on, both crucial moments during the user journey—before and beyond the ad.
Building this strength comes down to working with the research methods within conversion optimization and step by step A/B testing your way to a website your customers will love using.
Here are three steps on how to get started:
Find the weak spots on the site. Combine quantitative research in Google Analytics, qualitative research such as user testing (in the Optimize Resource Hub you can find easy instructions) and inspiration from best practices. The Optimize Resource Hub gives you best practice suggestions from Google and a library of test results from other companies.
Prioritize the most impactful tests. Give each test idea a score of one to ten according to the uplift you think it will generate, and subtract a score of one to ten depending on the effort the test will require.
Start testing. You can get started today by setting up Google Optimize—the tool that uses the full power of Google Analytics. A free version is available so you can have a test up and running within a few minutes.
For more in-depth knowledge around the process of conversion optimization, check out the CRO tips in the Optimize Resource Hub.
Learn from experts
We have one more treat for you, in the form of a new series of articles that will be published here on the blog: The Optimize CRO Series—Experts share their secrets. In this series, CRO experts from all over the world will give their best advice around these topics:
Favorite frameworks for analyzing sites
How to do a QA (quality assurance) of an A/B test
The experts’ best tests
Learn from the failing tests
Eager to know more? Make sure you start following the Google Analytics products blog through the channel that fits you to get the upcoming guides.
Wondering how to do app store optimization in 2021? We’ve put together the top 7 ASO tips & tricks that will help you enhance your organic growth strategy.
Read more at PPCHero.com
- Around one-fifth of all keywords trigger a featured snippet
- 99% of all featured snippets tend to appear within the first organic position and take over 50% of the screen on mobile devices, driving higher-than-average click-through rates (CTR)
- The key to featured snippet optimization lies in a few specific areas: long-tail- and question-like keyword strategy, date marked content that comes at the right length and format, and a succinct URL structure
Google has always been pretty hazy on any details about winning featured snippets. This was the case when they were first introduced, making them something businesses considered to be the cherry on top of their SEO efforts, which is still largely the case. Having first-hand knowledge about the value and power of featured snippets, Brado teamed up with Semrush to conduct the most comprehensive research around featured snippet optimization to uncover how they really work, and what you can do to win them.
Revealing the highlights from a Featured snippets study that analyzed over a million SERPs with featured snippets present, this post unwraps actionable suggestions on amping up your optimization strategy to finally win that Google prize.
General patterns across the featured snippet landscape
With billions of search queries run through the Google search box each day, our study found that around 19 percent of keywords trigger a featured snippet. Why does this even matter? Featured snippets are known to drive higher CTR – as another study uncovered, they are responsible for over 35 percent of all clicks.
Further proving the immense power of featured snippets, our study showed that they take up over 50 percent of the SERP’s real estate on mobile screens.
Combine this with our findings that 99 percent of the time featured snippets take over the first organic position, and that they are in most cases triggered by long-tail keywords (implying specific user intent), and you’ll get the reason behind incredibly high CTR numbers.
Are some industries more likely to trigger featured snippets?
In the study, we defined industries by keyword categories, discovering that, indeed, featured snippet volume is inconsistent across various segments.
The top industry, seeing a featured snippet in 62 percent of all cases, is Travel and Computer & Electronics, followed by Arts & Entertainment (59 percent), and Science (54 percent), while Real Estate keywords lag behind all the rest with only 11 percent of keywords triggering a featured snippet.
Yet on a domain level, the industry breakdown varies slightly, with Health and News sites having comparable featured snippet volumes.
You can discover the full industry breakdown within the study.
Featured snippets are all about earns, not wins
Just hoping your content will win you a featured snippet isn’t enough – as our study showed, it’s all about hard-earned content optimization results.
Throughout our in-depth featured snippet analysis, we pinpointed the following SEO best practices consistent across all featured snippets we’ve come across:
1. Optimize for long-tail keywords and questions
When it comes to optimization and keywords, employ ‘the more the better’ logic.
Our study found that 55.5 percent of featured snippets were triggered by 10-word keywords, while single-word ones only showed up 4.3 percent of the time.
One thing even better than long-tails is questions. In fact, 29 percent of keywords triggering a featured snippet begin with question words – “why” (78 percent), “can” (72 percent), “do” (67 percent), and in the fewest cases, “where” (19 percent).
2. Use the right content length and format
The SERPs we analyzed included four types of featured snippet: paragraphs, lists, tables, and videos:
- 70 percent of the results showed paragraphs, with an average of 42 words and 249 characters
- Lists came in as the second-most-frequent featured snippet (19 percent), with an average of 6 item counts and 44 words
- Tables (6 percent) typically featured five rows and two columns
- Videos, whose average duration stood at 6:39 mins, showed up in only 4.6 percent of all cases.
Of course, don’t blindly follow this data as the golden rule, rather see it as a good starting point for featured-snippet-minded content optimization.
Plus, keep in mind that content quality always prevails over quantity, so if you have a high-performing piece that features a 10-row table, Google will simply cut it down, showing the blue “More rows” link, which can even enhance your CTR.
3. Don’t overcomplicate your URL structure
As it turns out, URL length matters in Google’s choice of a site that deserves a featured snippet. Try to stick to neat site architecture, with 1-3 subfolders per URL, and you’ll be more likely to win.
Just for reference, here is an example of a URL with three subfolders:
4. Make frequent content updates
In the “to add or not to add a post date” dilemma, based on our featured snippet analysis, we’d suggest that you publish date marked content.
The majority of Google’s featured snippets include an article date, with the following breakdown: 47% of list-type featured snippets come from date-marked content, paragraphs – 44%, videos – 20%, and tables – 19% of the time.
While fresh-out-of-the-oven content can be favored by Google, 70% of all content making it into the featured snippet was anywhere from two to three years old (2018, 2019, 2020), meaning once again that content quality matters more than recency, so you shouldn’t worry that putting a date on it will work against you.
Take a deep-dive into the full Semrush study to learn more about featured snippets and discover the best way to create featured snippet hubs.
A.J. Ghergich is the CTO at Brado.
The post Data-backed insights on featured snippet optimization appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- Optimizing images is an often overlooked aspect.
- While images might look great, they often end up with a filename that looks something like IMG982713.jpg that is not very descriptive.
- According to Internet Live Stats, there are 3.5 billion Google searches made every day.
- CannonDesign’s Vice President, Communications Director shares some key image SEO tips and best practices to help you use images as an asset in your SEO strategy.
SEO involves a lot of different parts and strategies, some of them can be quick fixes and others can take much longer to implement. So you can see why it’s easy to forget something especially for a company that is not used to doing these things and are trying to do SEO for the first time. It’s easy to perhaps overlook some of the smaller steps involved in practicing good on-site SEO. It’s important to remember that every little thing you can do to strengthen your site’s SEO efforts makes a difference and this is especially true if it’s something that other sites may be overlooking.
Optimizing images is an often overlooked aspect. As a site gets planned, designed and images get added more often than not, the images get added without being properly optimized, as long as they look good, the thought of images tends to end there. While the images might look great, they often end up with a filename that looks something like IMG982713.jpg and as you can see, that is not a very descriptive image file name. So without the proper optimization and planning, you’re wasting a valuable SEO asset.
Why is image SEO important?
Optimizing your site’s images will help with your site’s UX, load time, and improve your site’s rankings in the regular SERPs as well as image search. Image SEO is especially important if you’re an ecommerce site, as you will most likely have hundreds of images, and if not properly optimized you will be missing out on lots of potential traffic and rankings.
Image optimization will play an even larger role in search with the advancement of visual search, by being able to use images to purchase products for example. Google and Bing both use for visual search, Google has their Google Lens and Bing has their visual search.
If the images on your website aren’t properly marked up and optimized, now’s the time to focus your efforts towards that aspect of your site’s SEO.
Ecommerce image optimization
If you run an ecommerce business then you know that SEO is a different beast and how important every little change or tweak that you can do to your site is to help you to gain an edge on the competition.
One of these things is image optimization. Images account for more bytes than any other part of a website, and this is especially true for ecommerce sites, as they tend to have hundreds if not thousands of products and therefore product images. All these product images can have a large impact on your site’s performance which can also impact your customer retention and conversions.
This is why optimizing your site’s images is one of the best ways to improve website performance and SERP rankings, which is especially beneficial when it comes to large ecommerce sites as all the images can potentially slow down your site and with Google’s new upcoming core web vitals update your sites speed is more important now than ever.
Here are six tips on what you can do to help with your site’s image optimization + three bonus tips.
1. Create customized image filenames
This is where your image SEO starts, with the image file name. When you are naming your image file names, you’ll want to use a descriptive file name that also contains the right keywords for the image. The reason for this is that your image file name will be used to help Google understand what the subject matter of the image is.
It’s important to remember that your image’s file name is what will inform Google and other search engines as to what your image is about.
For example, a typical let’s take this image file name will look something like “IMG-1234” or something similar. as you might imagine, that image file name will not be of much help to users or Google as nobody would search for that and having that as a file name gives no information to Google either.
Now let’s look at this picture from GSC or Google Search Console for example.
You could simply name it “GSC” or “google-search-console” but if you get more descriptive and name it “google-search-console-traffic-spike” you would be helping users and search engines to better understand the image.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can go back to the days of stuffing keywords in your image file names. Doing that will surely get you penalized and or even banned from Google. Keep your filenames descriptive and straightforward and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Remember, it doesn’t take much effort to rename images to something a little more descriptive unless you have an ecommerce site with hundreds or thousands of products, then it will take So it’s worth doing and something that will help with your site’s rankings in the long run.
2. Write SEO-friendly image alt text
Alt-text is important for your site’s images as it is what you can use to help provide better image context that in turn will help search engines index your images properly. It is also what will appear if there is something wrong with your image and it fails to load.
Google even mentions the value of alt text in images, saying that alt text provides them with useful information about the image that they can use to help determine the best image to return for a user’s query.
3. Image file size
Your image file size plays an important role in how your site will load for both users and search engines. Having large (file size) images on your site can cause your site to load very slow. With page speed becoming a ranking factor, it’s even more important than before to make sure your site loads in seconds.
Your site’s images can be massive files and that is not helpful when it comes to user experience. This is where optimizing your site’s image file size plays a large role as all the huge file sizes can directly affect your ranking in SERPs and image searches, especially if you have a large ecommerce site with hundreds or even thousands of images.
You can’t afford to reduce your image file size in a haphazard manner, this is something that needs to be done properly, otherwise, you will end up with a low quality looking image. Adobe Photoshop’s ‘Save for Web’ functionality offers one of the best options for you to reduce the image file size without affecting the quality of the image.
If you don’t have access to Adobe Photoshop, there are lots of other great online tools that you can use for free to make these changes. Tinyjpeg is a great tool and so is Google’s very own image compression tool Squoosh.
Squoosh allows you to preview the changes in the quality of your images when you start making changes to your images. You simply just have to drag and drop your image into the web app and you are all set to make the adjustments to your image file size.
As you can see with the above Las Vegas sign image, the left side is the newly reduced file size at 27% smaller than the original on the right. Can you spot the difference in quality?
Once you have made all the changes to your image file sizes, you can then test your site’s page speed with one of the many tools available online.
There are lots of tools that you can use to test your site’s speed, such as WebPageTest.org or Pingdom. Google has a few great tools that you can use for free to check your site’s speed, Lighthouse, Pagespeed Insights, and their page speed tool Test My site.
Loading times are important for UX and SEO, so make sure that you reduce your site’s image file sizes to ensure that you have a fast loading site. This tweak to your site will pay off in the long run and is worth the little effort that it takes to make the change.
4. Choose the best image file type
Three main image file types are the most common that you can use across your site, they are JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Each one has its pros and cons. JPEG tends to be the best option as it’s the format that provides the best options for maintaining image quality when compressed or resized.
PNG is often used for logos as it gives you the ability to create a small image with a high-quality resolution. You need to be careful though as the higher quality display will result in a larger file size, which could cause issues with your page’s performance.
GIFs are similar to PNG files as they are good smaller images, they shouldn’t be used on product photos or lagers images.
JPEG is the best option format as it keeps file sizes small without losing image quality and it is also universally supported.
5. Create an image sitemap
Just like a sitemap that you would create for all the pages on your site, creating an image sitemap or adding your images to your current sitemap, will help Google to discover your site’s images, increasing the likelihood that your images will be displayed in image search results and generating more site traffic.
“Image sitemaps can contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which enforce cross-domain restrictions. This allows you to use CDNs (content delivery networks) to host images. We encourage you to verify the CDN’s domain name in Search Console so that we can inform you of any crawl errors that we may find.”
, says Google
It’s important that you add your site’s images to a sitemap and especially important if you run an ecommerce business and want all your product images to be indexed. You can add your images to your existing sitemap or create a new sitemap for your images. The main idea is that you want all of your images somewhere in your sitemaps.
Placing your images in a sitemap increases the chances of search engines crawling and indexing your images which can then result in more site traffic.
There are lots of different tools that you can use to help generate your site’s sitemap, these two are a great starting point, but feel free to choose the one that is best suited for your needs.
- Screaming Frog: Screaming Frog is one of my go-to tools in my SEO arsenal, it’s great desktop software that offers a wide range of SEO tools. It’s also free to use including generating a sitemap as long as your website has fewer than 500 pages. For those of you with larger websites, you’ll need to upgrade the paid version.
- Yoast: Yoast is a must-have SEO plugin if you are running WordPress, they make it super simple to create a sitemap, by simply toggling a switch.
6. Open Graph and Twitter Cards
Facebook has a comprehensive list of OG tags that you can use across your site but I find that these are the ones that you will want to focus on.
You will want to pay special attention to the og:image tag as this is the most essential Open Graph tag as it is the one that occupies the most social feed real estate.
Twitter Cards work in the same way that Facebook’s Open Graph tags work.
Using Twitter’s ‘Summary Card with Large Image‘ tag is one that you will want to focus on when it comes to images.
“The Summary Card with Large Image features a large, full-width prominent image alongside a tweet. It is designed to give the reader a rich photo experience, and clicking on the image brings the user to your website.”
Once you have your tags in place on your site, you can test them to make sure they’re working as expected and are ready for sharing.
You can use these tools to check your site OG tags:
If you take the time to add the HTML code to your site for both Open Graph and Twitter Cards, you can guarantee the image will appear on the social platforms each time your link is shared.
Bonus image optimization tips
Now that you have gone through the six tips for image optimization in 2021, here are three bonus tips to help you further optimize your site’s images.
7. Mobile-friendly images
With Google’s mobile-first indexing, it’s important to think about how your site’s images will work on mobile. Just like you would make your site responsive, one thing you might not know is that you can make your sites responsive as well. Having responsive images will ensure that your images will work well on devices with widely differing screen sizes.
8. Image file structure
Google mentions in their updated image guidelines that they use the file path and file name to rank images.
“Create good URL structure for your images: Google uses the URL path as well as the file name to help it understand your images. Consider organizing your image content so that URLs are constructed logically.”
So what does this mean for you? Well, let’s look at ecommerce optimization again as they usually feature multiple products. A good practice would be to place your images into different category folders that would correspond to your different products instead of just lumping them all into one generic folder.
9. Structured data
To help your images stand out even more you will want to add structured data. By adding structured data to your images, your images can then be displayed as rich results, which would then give users relevant information about your page, which could then drive better-targeted traffic to your site.
Google Images supports structured data for:
Image SEO involves a few different aspects and elements to work to its full potential and search engines like Google and Bing are only going to get better at recognizing these elements.
For comparison, image SEO is relatively easy, as far as SEO goes. It’s not as complex as other aspects of SEO. If you take the time and put a little extra effort into properly optimizing your site’s images for both users and search engines every time you add an image to your website, you can give your pages a little extra edge in the search engines.
Remember, Google, Bing, and other search engines aren’t perfect, so you should try and do everything in your power to help them understand your images and you’ll reap the benefits.
So, before you start uploading and adding images to your site, make sure to follow the image optimization tips and best practices mentioned in this article.
Key takeaways for image SEO best practices and tips for image optimization:
- Create an image sitemap or make sure your images are featured in your sitemap for crawlability and indexability
- Choose the right image file format
- Compress your images for faster page load speed
- Create unique images
- Create optimized image file names
- Write SEO-Friendly alt texts and make sure they are relevant to the page
- Like your site, make sure that your images are mobile-friendly
- Use high-quality and relevant images
- Customize file names
- Add structured data
- Create responsive images
- Create an optimized file structure
Feel free to share your image SEO practices and queries in the comments section.
Michael McManus is Vice President, Communications Director at CannonDesign.
The post Image SEO: Best practices and tips for optimization appeared first on Search Engine Watch.