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Mastering the Art of Voice Search Optimization

Amazon Alexa“Alexa, tell me about voice search”
“I found this information on: Boy George”

Virtual assistants may be far from perfect – just search #AlexaFail on Twitter – but they sure are popular.

A 2018 survey of over 90,000 internet users found that 17% currently own a smart speaker (such as a Google Home, or an Amazon Echo), with a further 34% planning to purchase one in the near future. 20% of mobile Google searches are also carried out using a virtual assistant such as Siri.

Voice search is clearly here to stay, and businesses need to pay attention. Why? Because while the Alexas and Siris of the world may be saving lives, they could be killing your SEO.

We’ll take a quick look at four foolproof ways to stay on their good side.


1.  Siri Loves Structured Data

It’s true, she really does.

But first, what exactly is structured data? Structured data helps the Google bots to better understand your website, and the content you write. While humans can easily identify tables, lists and reviews by sight, robots need a little more help.

Voice search on phones is increasing in frequency.When you add structured data to your pages, you’ll need to use what’s known as ‘schema markup’. This is a specific type of HTML code that lets Google recognize the format of the data you’ve added, and – crucially – pull this data through for search result snippets. Think of it like speaking to the Google bots in a language they can understand. And the better they understand you, the better chance your site will have of ranking.

That said, adding elements like ‘review schema’ benefits users, as well as robots. By pulling through a review’s star rating to the results page, users have a far clearer idea of the type of content they’ll be viewing, which in turn should boost your click-through rate. Plus, by adding a variety of types of content to your pages you’ll also improve the experience of those viewing your site online (nobody likes to be faced with a huge wall of text!), so it really is a win-win.

So why does voice search favor structured data so much? By adding schema markup in the right places, you’re spelling out to Google exactly where it can find the content it needs to answer a voice search query. The easier you can make its job, the better!

And keep your eyes peeled for the launch of ‘speakable structured data’. It’s still in its BETA phase at the moment, but if introduced it will let you wrap certain parts of your copy in a specific markup code to signpost it as the perfect voice search result for Google.


2. Conversation is Key

Most local searches are done via voice search on a phone.The way we type a search query is different from  the way we search by speaking aloud.

Instead of typing ‘what is SEO’, or even ‘SEO what is’, we’re more likely to say ‘what’s SEO?’. This might seem like semantics (and technically, it is!), but bringing a conversational feel to your content is a surefire way to set you up for voice search success.

Here are three easy ways to nail conversational content:

  1. Use contractions, such as what’s, it’s, and here’s. This is simply more reflective of how we speak. E.g. ‘You might be wondering exactly what SEO is. Here’s a quick breakdown…’
  2. Use questions and answers. Why? Because it makes your content more engaging, and it signposts snappy answers to be picked up as voice search snippets. E.g. ‘So what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s all about…’
  3. Use natural language. It can be tempting to drift into complicated language in your copy, which can be off-putting to both robots and humans alike. Follow the easy rule: ‘If you can say it in a simpler way, do’.

3. Revel in Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness is no longe an option. Most searches are done from phones now.Mobile responsiveness is no longer the secret of clued-up web designers; all the best website builders in the business now offer completely mobile-responsive templates as standard. In SEO terms, having a mobile responsive website is an essential, not a preference.

But how does mobile responsiveness help with voice search optimization? With the vast majority of voice searches still carried out on mobile, your site needs to offer the best mobile user experience in order to compete for voice search snippets. That means a site that’s fast, and easy to navigate from your phone. Again, this is something that will benefit all your mobile users, not just those using voice search.


4. Fish for Long-Tail Keywords

When it comes to targeting keywords, voice search presents an opportunity rather than a challenge.

People are lazy when they type. They rely on search engine intelligence to decipher the meaning behind their two or three word queries: think ‘best restaurant Washington’, ‘website cost’, or ‘find gas station’.

With voice search, people are a lot more talkative. You’re far more likely to see queries such as ‘where’s the best restaurant in Washington?’, ‘how much does a website cost?’ or ‘how far away is the nearest gas station?’.

You can harness the power of these long-tail keywords in two key ways:

First, the gift of extra information and a question word in these queries gives a much clearer idea of the user intent behind the search. By targeting these long-tail keywords, you’ll create more precise content that gives users the answers they’re really searching for.

Second, you can (almost) say goodbye to shoehorning awkwardly worded keywords into your articles. Voice search queries are generally fully formed sentences that will easily double up as engaging H2s and H3s. Get ready for your content to (almost) write itself!


So there you have it: four simple ways to set your site up for voice search success.

But the best part? As we’ve mentioned throughout, these optimizations will improve the quality of your site for all users, not just those finding you through voice search. That means happy customers, happy search engines, and a website that’s ready to face future Google algorithm updates head on.


Hannah WhitfieldAbout the Author

Hannah Whitfield writes for Website Builder Expert, the number one resource for getting people online. Behind every successful online business is a sound knowledge of SEO, and Hannah wants to bring you the latest developments that’ll keep you one step ahead of the competition.


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SEO Tactics And Statistics That Every Small Business Should Know

Learning about SEO is an investment in your business.In today’s world, it comes as no surprise that search engine optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important aspects of marketing for small businesses.

SEO is a collection of practices that affect the online visibility of your website online. These techniques are used to rank it higher in the unpaid search results, commonly known as organic search results.

Having a website is not sufficient

Whether you already own a small business or plan to start one, just creating a website won’t lead to success. You’ll have to direct quality traffic to it to increase your leads.

According to a 2017 SEO research published on HubSpot, 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and increasing rankings in organic search is their inbound marketing priority.

SEO techniques include link building, page speed optimization, creating top-quality content, introducing SSL security on your site, and a lot more.

Two essential approaches to SEO

Basically, there are two different but complementary SEO approaches – on-site and off-site.

Understanding SEO is worth the effort.On-site SEO deals with improving your keyword visibility by optimizing context, images, refining code and structure, or anything else that is directly related to your own website.This ensures you’ll be included somewhere in results when people search for those keyword phrases.

Off-site SEO, on the other hand, involves increasing the ranking of your site by relating it to outside sources such as trustworthy sites (link building), social media, citations blogs, etc.

Neither approach is sufficient by itself. On-site SEO gets you included (somewhere) in search results and off-site SEO gets you ranked closer to the top of those results.

Search algorithms are fluid

Search engines update their algorithms on a daily basis, which is why it is hard to keep up with all the latest trends in the industry. Luckily, the infographic below is here to help you.

It takes you through the 72 stats that will help you understand the most important trends in 2019. It’ll explain common SEO concepts and techniques and provide you with a quick look at the evolution of search engines.

You will learn what you have to do in terms of SEO to improve your site’s ranking in search results, attract more visitors, and increase conversions (converting visitors into customers).

Last but not least, you’ll learn what else you need to do if you own a local business.

All about hoe to rank highly in search in 2019.

About the Author

Tina NikolovskaHristina Nikolovska — As the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tina’s daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses. As her first step towards this journey was in the field of content marketing, she’s still using every opportunity she gets to put her thoughts into educational articles.

7 Trends for Successful Digital Marketing (Infographic)

There’s a lot going on in digital marketing lately. For your small business to compete successfully, you need to be aware of and respond to current trends and changes in internet marketing and digital marketing more broadly. Here are the 7 top trends to be aware of:

  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Lead generation
  • Content marketing

Below is an excellent overview of the most important trends in digital marketing you need to watch. Thanks to the folks at Serpwatch for all their hard work on this.

7 trends in digital marketing for small businesses to be aware of.

Things Small Business Owners Should Know About SEO

Growth of revenue from better online visibility via SEO

In a world that is fully immersed in the Internet, it sounds just about right that small business owners now recognize the value of having a website. Many of them, however, haven’t come anywhere near to optimizing their sites. Some of them may have never even heard about SEO or search engine optimization.

SEO is an assortment of techniques that anyone with a website can use to enhance their rankings in the search results of Google and other search engines. It works around the premise that the higher your pages rank in the search engine results pages or SERPs for keywords that are most relevant to your business, the better their chances of getting clicked by search engine users. With more people clicking on the links to your pages, the more organic traffic you get, generating leads and potentially, conversions for your business.

Here are more things small business owners should know about SEO.

Mobile SEO is a must.

If SEO is about ranking higher to become more visible to as many people as possible, then all website owners should do mobile SEO right away. After all, mobile website traffic now accounts for more than half of all online traffic worldwide.

To say that optimizing your website for mobile devices is important would be an understatement. If anything, mobile SEO is critical, especially when there are now more people browsing the Internet using smartphones and tablets than those who do it on desktop computers. And with Google now basing its rankings and search listings on mobile versions of websites with the Mobile First Index, optimizing for mobile has become imperative for all small business owners who run websites.

The things you can do to optimize for mobile include ramping up page loading speed, making sure your text is large and legible enough so there’s no need to zoom in, and using images sparingly, among other things.

On-Site and Off-Site SEO

On-site SEO is about the things you can do within your website to make Google notice it. Adding meta tags, writing meta descriptions, using the appropriate keywords and phrases, and creating unique, informative, and engaging content are some of the on-site SEO activities you can do.

Meanwhile, the things you do outside the website like guest blogging, submissions to article directories, and social media engagements are some of the off-page efforts you need to make, often to get quality backlinks, which are among the top ranking factors set forth by Google.

White and Black Hat SEO

Avoid black hat SEO techniques; it's not profitable to piss off Google.

SEO has a set of best practices that will most definitely help your website rise in the search page rankings, because they play by the rules set by Google et al. These methods are referred to as white-hat SEO, and they include quality link building, keyword research, creation of original and high-quality content, internal linking, and speeding up loading time.

 

On the other side of the coin are methods and actions that are unethical and not in keeping with the standards set by search engines, and they are appropriately called black hat SEO.

Among the black-hat SEO techniques that could get you on the bad side of search engines are keyword stuffing, spam comments, invisible text, link buying, and duplicate content.

Interestingly enough, these techniques used to be the norm in SEO for many years since its advent a couple of decades or so ago. Despite having low-quality backlinks and spammy, duplicate, or useless content, many websites topped the SERPs without fail while relegating those with so much more to offer to the bottom pages of search results.

Thankfully, Google made earthshaking alterations to its algorithm a few years ago which have changed the face of SEO since.  What used to be routine SEO practices have become black hat SEO, and anyone caught using them will be facing penalties that lead to a significant drop in rankings and traffic.

SEO is a long-term game

Never get swayed by promises of quick SEO results, because there is no such thing. If anything, search engine optimization is a long-term game. For decent SEO work to get any results, you will have to wait about four months to six months, and the results wouldn’t even be that great. However, SEO results grow over time, and that means a sustained SEO campaign will get you the results you want eventually.

Once you hit your ranking goals, you must not rest on your laurels. Keep in mind that you have competitors, and they’re all working hard to get the top spots for specific keywords for themselves. If you slack off on your SEO efforts, then don’t be surprised to find your competition occupying the number one spot in the SERPs one day, and your site is nowhere to be found.SEO has been around for some time now. It’s not yet an exact science, and there’s still so much to learn especially since it’s an ever-evolving field. If you’re thinking about optimizing your website, then learn what you can about SEO, and never stop learning.

About our guest blogger

Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.

Your perspective adds to the value here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Do you find yourself struggling with the complexities of SEO for your business? At Rank Magic, we can fix that.

Your Website Needs Calls to Action!

This Buy Now button is a clear call to action.

Not having calls to action (CTAs) is one of the ten most common SEO mistakes small business owners make.

What’s a Call to Action?

An Add To Cart call to action buton is essential on any product or service "Buy" pageA CTA is a direction that asks or tells your reader to do something. It’s an image or line of text that prompts your reader to take an action, like download, buy, learn, request, sign up, subscribe, join, phone, ask, get help …

Why are CTAs important?

If you want people to comment on your blog posts, you nered to encourage that with a callo to action button like this one.

Do you want more orders? More inquiries from potential customers? How about more readers for your blog? More social shares? None of that is likely to happen without good calls to action.

If you’ve ever ordered a fast food burger, you were almost certainly asked “Do you want fries with that?” That’s a call to action, and it sells a lot more fries than if they don’t ask.

This call to action button for downloading something is more effective with nearby text extolling the valkue of the download.

It’s a very important part of getting your website visitors to convert into customers, and it’s often overlooked in writing website content. A call to action can determine whether or not a visitor on your website does what you want them to.

Small Business Trends claims that 70% of small business websites lack a call to action.

And customers actually expect them. When they get to a breaking point in a page or reach the bottom, they often look for direction to help them move on to the next step – whatever that is.

How to create and use Calls to Action

There are a few guidelines for effective use of CTAs. Here are what I consider to be the most important of them.

  • Almost all of your marketing content needs calls to action:
    • brochures
    • emails
    • blog posts
    • web pages
    • coupons
    • print ads
  • Get more subscribers with a CTA like this.Make them brief. Occasionally for SEO purposes, a call to action may be longer for the sake of including keywords, but in general they tend to work better if they’re brief.
  • Make them clear – ambiguous CTAs don’t work.
  • Demonstrate a benefit. Give your readers a reason to take the action you want them to take.
  • It never hurts to emphasize that something is FREE!
  • Use strong action verbs:
    • Download
    • Buy
    • Sign up
    • Subscribe
    • Join
    • Get Started
    • Call Now
    • Ask Us
    • Get Help
  • Wherever possible, avoid weak directions like “click here” or “learn more”.
  • Make your CTA as specific as possible:
    • Download my E- book
    • Call to talk with us
    • Sign up for our email newsletter
    • Ask us a question
  • Make your call to action stand out visually on the page.
  • The best locations are at the end of a blog post or web page, in between separate topics on a page, in a side panel, or in a pop-up or slide-in.

Some in-depth reading

The Daily Egg has a nice article on examples that work.

Neil Patel suggests avoiding CTAs like Sign up — Buy now — Learn more. He offers some detailed advice on how to write calls to action that are more likely to convert visitors to customers.

And here are a few CTA’s of our own:

We welcome your opinion. Join the conversation in the Comments below!

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Need more traffic so more customers can see and respond to your Calls to Action? Rank Magic can help! Ask me how.