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To provide the best content to users, search engines like Google are constantly refining their algorithms. These SEO updates are important; they’ve eliminated black hat techniques like keyword stuffing and cloaking. They’ve also rewarded brands that link to reputable sites and provide quality content. 

But let’s be real. These updates can be impossible to keep up with, especially if you have a small team.

While each update brings specific tips for increasing your ranking, many of the changes are based on the best practices that have been in the SEO rulebook since the beginning: Mark up your data, keep your content fresh, and use keywords that match your target customers’ queries.

To help you accomplish these goals in 2020 and beyond, here are the top tips for optimizing your e-commerce brand site and product pages for maximum SEO success.

Check your site’s markup

Since introducing rich snippets in 2009, Google has evolved the way it shows your content in search engine results. 

To decide which elements of your product pages are eligible for rich snippets, Google looks at your site’s markup. This microdata tells the search engine what elements of the page are images versus text and helps the engine understand the difference between a slogan and FAQ content.

Rather than spending hours trying to understand the latest Google update, the easiest way to make sure your site is marked up correctly is to run it through Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.  

The tool will show you how search engines see your page and empower you to get ahead of potential issues and errors. 

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool is a free tool that’s extremely valuable. We see clients of all sizes utilizing it.

Keep it fresh with user-generated content

Since the beginning of the internet, search engines like Google have always rewarded websites with regularly updated content. 

There are so many ways to achieve this: blogging, continually revising product descriptions, adding new images, etc. And while all of these techniques are effective. They also take time.

Fortunately, you have a wealth of assets created by one of your most valuable resources: your customers. 

There are so many ways user-generated content can be leveraged to increase your site’s freshness.

By hosting customer reviews and other keyword rich user-generated content on your site, you’re able to regularly offer visitors (and search engines) new content. Reviews can also affect off-page ranking signals like engagement and reputation and help you understand your customers’ intent, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

Having an active social media presence can also help you achieve your fresh content goals. Take advantage of tools and plugins that allow you to display social media content on your site, including potentially SEO-friendly content like videos and influencer posts.

Improve your brand site’s SEO by focusing on user intent 

In the past, optimizing your site for SEO best practices involved weaving your target keywords into your site’s headlines, titles, and body copy

But recent updates to Google’s algorithm are pressing brands to focus more on user intent. Rather than building content based on a set of keywords, build it around the words and phrases customers are using to talk about your products and the problems they solve. 

You can find this information in a number of ways. There are agencies specializing in intent marketing. You can also offer incentives for participating in customer surveys or focus groups. Your product reviews are another powerful source of information. 

The great thing about reviews is that usually people will review a product using the same language they would to search for it. Brands have discovered new ways to talk about their products that they didn’t know before just by reading user reviews.

Bonus: Build sites for speed

One of the most significant changes to Google’s algorithm — one that goes beyond the SEO basics  — was the Speed Update. When it was introduced in 2018, this new code was designed to filter out slow-loading websites from mobile search results. 

Two years later, improving your page-load speed is still one of the top ways to increase your brand’s rankings in search engine results.

Make sure that all images are compressed appropriately and optimized for quick-loading, she said. It’s also important to check that the third-party plugins you use aren’t bogging down your site with excessive code. 

By keeping your site lean, updated, and optimized for your customers’ needs, you’re better positioned to roll with any search engine algorithms updates that come out in 2020 and the years to come.

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Want to learn more about how collecting user-generated content can positively impact your SEO? Connect with us here.

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