May 14, 2019
Just when you think you’ve got your site optimized to rank at the top of search engine results, things are changing.
Changing in a monumental way.
Voice search is becoming the new norm, with Google estimating that 50% of searches will be done by voice by 2020.
Whether people are talking into their smartphone, their tablet or their personal virtual assistant, voice search is turning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on its head.
Just because you’ve done everything you need to do to for SEO, you haven’t necessarily handled voice SEO.
You want to make sure potential customers find your site when searching for products or services, and increasingly they are doing it by voice search.
By understanding this and executing our tactics, your business will be a step ahead of the competition.
So let’s dig into how to optimize your product page for voice search.
Understanding Voice Search
Let’s start by understanding voice search, also known as conversational search.
Voice search utilizes technology known as speech recognition to understand the user’s query, and then find an online match via search that matches the question.
If the user is on a smartphone or tablet, the results will appear as webpages, giving the user options to click on what appears as the top search results.
Virtual assistants, however, read an answer to the search; there is no list because “they” choose what “they” believe is the best answer to the question.
The rise in popularity of assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, as well as Siri on Apple’s mobile devices, means more and more people are using voice search and having the answers read to them. Windows has added the assistant Cortana into Windows 10.
According to Voicebot, the number of smart speaker owners in the U.S. rose 40% in 2018 to 66.4 million. There are now 133 million total smart speakers in use. Amazon Echo (powered by Alexa) has a 61% market share followed by Google Home at 24%.
As well, the ownership of these assistants is creating an increase in the use of voice assistants on smartphones, too. If you use Alexa, you’ll use Siri on your iPhone.
It’s clear that voice search is not a fad. They’re in homes to stay, and trends indicate their popularity and use will only increase.
How Voice Queries Impact Search Results
It’s important to understand the factors that impact results for voice search. To do that, think about how you would ask a question compared to typing in a query.
Let’s use an example.
I want to find the best place to eat burgers in my home city of XYZTown. I might type in “burgers XYZTown.”
But if I’m talking to my smart speaker or virtual assistant, I say: “What is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Keywords alone won’t cut it, for a few reasons.
Voice searches tend to be longer than traditional searches, but not too long. Google’s voice search, for instance, favors answers averaging around 29 words per result. Google also tends to extract answers from longer content.
Also, the content also has to be easy-to-read, so that assistants are able to comprehend the answer. The ideal content is at an average level of 9th grade.
Finally, voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, and therefore will more often be location specific. I won’t be searching for burger places, I’ll be searching for burger places in XYZTown. That makes location signals important aspects of your optimization efforts.
5 Steps to Optimize for Product Search
Now you understand why preparing your business site for voice search is so important, and why it’s different than traditional web searches.
Let’s get down to the tactics that will set you apart from your competition.
- Research Keywords
Keywords are still important, but are different for voice search. Virtual assistants will often bypass the results and instead direct the searcher to a product’s action.
Using the example of a burger restaurant, a user may state: “Order burgers.” Rather than recite the list of all the burger restaurants in the area, like a traditional web search, a virtual assistant may read out the nearest burger restaurant that delivers to the user’s address.
Therefore, you need to research all the search terms that users may ask that can be answered by your website. Build a list of keywords that have brought customers to your site, and turn them into questions.
Then “order burgers” becomes “what is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
- Build an Effective Q&A Page
You need a Q&A page, and there are several facets of an effective one for voice search.
First, the basic questions of who-what-when-where-why-how need to be part of the content. Isolating those snippets of information allows smart speakers to answer questions quickly. If your page is the fast answer to a problem, you will be found. Your page will be the answer when asked: “Where is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Another facet of an effective FAQ page is the use of long-tail keywords. Think about what questions you, or your customer service reps, are often asked about your business, your products or your services.
That could be questions like:
- “What kind of beef makes a burger special?”
- “What’s the best kind of cheese on a beef burger?”
- “What is a veggie burger made with?”
Such frequently asked questions share valuable content that also provide answers in a format that a smart speaker will be looking for when searching. Phrase all the questions in the first person, as a person might ask them, with short, informative answers.
Make sure the keywords are genuinely conversational.
“Burgers in XYZTown” becomes:
- “What burger restaurant offers delivery in XYZTown?”
- “Where can I go for the best burgers in XYZTown?”
- “What restaurants that are near my home make a delicious veggie burger?”
- “What burger restaurants that offer delivery have a gluten-free bun?”
Content focused on answering questions will truly address user intent. Potential customers will reach your site because your content is relevant to their question.
- Make Use of Lists and Tables
Content with lists, bullet points, highlights and tables will help search platforms understand the content and use them to provide answers to questions asked by users.
This type of page organization also makes the site more readable. It will allow readers to scan the page, and possibly stay to engage with the product instead of leaving the site.
- Aim to Appear in the “Snippet”
The “snippet” or answer box is what often appears at the top of a Google search. A special featured answer appears in a snippet block at the top of the results page. This includes a summary of the answer that has been pulled from a website, plus the page title, URL and a link to the page.
The best way to appear in the snippet is to ensure your page provides the best answer to the user’s question. Aim to optimize for the snippet box by:
- Building content in short paragraphs that are easy to understand.
- Including lists that are also easy to understand.
- Including a “how to” guide or answering questions on the page.
- Having good SEO and rankings. You need to have good organic search rankings to appear at the top of the results page.
- Optimizing content for long-tail, questioning keywords.
- Optimize for Local Results
Voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, which is also true for searches on mobile devices, so update your local listing and develop a “Google My Business” for your website.
This is important.
People will often search using the name of a city, particularly if they plan to visit it.
But people also do local searches by asking about burger places “near me.” The addition of the phrase “near me” activates Google to track the user’s location and send the Google voice search to Google business listings.
Ensure your business name is up-to-date and also include the email address, physical address if relevant, and phone number. This helps your site rank high in local search.
You should also focus on local content, including with title tags and meta descriptions. And as always, be sure your site is mobile-friendly, since mobile devices are often used for local searches.
Technology continues to evolve. The adoption of virtual assistants or smart speakers will only increase. Voice search over mobile will also continue to expand.
Using our 5 key tactics, you will be able to optimize your site for voice search. The first result is what matters, so enhancing your SEO efforts for voice will put you ahead of your competition.
Develop your conversational format and include what users will be asking. Make sure your business name is the answer when users say: “Hey Alexa, what’s the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and bi software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.
January 25, 2019
Take A Negative And Turn It Into A Positive
If you own a business, it is inevitable that you’ll have a negative interaction with a customer. No matter how hard you try, someone won’t be satisfied with your service, products or performance. Even though a negative review can hit you like a punch to the gut (especially considering that 91% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations), it’s important to slow down, take a breath, and look at this as an opportunity to put your customer service on display in a public forum.
Look at a negative review as an opportunity to show potential customers how amazing your customer service is.
Follow these steps, in order, to minimize the impact a negative review can have – and you’ll show potential customers why they should do business with you
1. Take A Deep Breath.
Responding to a negative review while angry can make you look foolish, and can scare away potential customers. No one wants to business with crazy. Amy’s Baking Company’s owners made this mistake by replying to negative reviews with insults, obscenities and threats. Thousands of people left fake reviews of the business in hopes they would be insulted by the owners too.
As much as you might want to respond negatively, don’t. It will hurt you and your business much more than it will hurt an anonymous person on the internet. Once you’ve calmed down, proceed to step 2.
2. Acknowledge The Complaint
As diplomatically as possible acknowledge the complaint the customer has. Take ownership of the mistake, and explain why it happened and how you’ll avoid it in the future. No one gets it right every time, and most customers are actually pretty understanding of unique circumstances that might have caused their problem. Definitely don’t be like Comcast. In the clip below one of their customer service representatives refused to cancel someone’s service and argued with the customer!
A simple way to start a reply to a negative review is with this statement: Thank you for the feedback. We always aim for 100% satisfaction, and we are sorry if we fell short.
That statement takes ownership of the problem, acknowledges it, and immediately builds rapport. It isn’t angry or argumentative. It’s supportive, and understanding. It opens up dialogue.
3. Make It Right (If Possible)
Respond to online reviews the same way you would with an in-person complaint. If someone is unhappy with something they ordered from your restaurant, at the least you’d remove it from their bill. You can use this same approach with online reviews. If someone leaves a 1 star review, complaining about their dinner – offer them a free meal or gift certificate. Ask them to give you a second chance, and then don’t disappoint. If a product is broken during shipping, send out a replacement.
4. Follow Up (Offline)
After you’ve publicly addressed the complaint reach out to the person directly. Be sympathetic towards their situation, but be earnest in your desire to make the situation right.
Your business’ service shines when dealing with an unhappy customer.
tldr; 1. Calm Down. 2 Acknowledge The Complaint. 3. Make It Right. 4. Follow Up
The best way to fight the occasional bad review is with consistent positive reviews. We’ve got a tool that can help your happy customers leave feedback, and help you resolve any complaints customers might have before they leave the dreaded 1 star reviews. For more information check out, Skragglies Reputation Management
July 28, 2018
If you haven’t noticed that mobile traffic is conquering the internet you may want to take a quick look at your analytics. According to Search Engine Land, nearly 60 percent of search is from mobile devices. Mobile is something that can’t be ignored.
What may have worked great for your users on a desktop could be failing your business on mobile. If you haven’t been looking at mobile marketing, lets dig in a bit and show you a few tactics that are, in my opinion, great ways to improve your conversions for mobile users.
Create a Sticky Header
With the new mobile first index a number of marketers have decided to avoid pop-ups (at least on mobile) to ensure that rankings don’t suffer. After January 10, 2017, in an effort to improve mobile search, Google decided that pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on mobile devices would not rank as highly.
Some of the examples provided by Google included a popup that covers the main content, either immediately, or while they are browsing later. You can read more about this update here.
With pop-ups being out of the question for some, sticky headers can be a useful tool for those trying to:
* Capture emails
* Get phone calls
* Create urgency
* Promote a sale or contest
* Direct people to a specific landing page.
A sticky header remains at the top or bottom of your site as a user scrolls, so it is never out of sight.
One of the reasons why some users might be ignoring your pop-ups is because they are annoying. Nobody likes them, but let’s face it, if it didn’t work digital marketers probably wouldn’t be using them. Instead of using the traditional pop-up that is triggered by a new visit, time on site, or activity, why not let the user initiate.
Try this. Create an image with a compelling offer. When a user views the image they will ideally click on the button within the image, and a pop-up will be triggered. The pop-up can ask for their information and the visitor will be more inclined to fill it out since they were the one who initiated the action.
Create Signup Forms within Blog Content
As a generation that grew up on desktop computers, you might be used to seeing opt-in forms that a nicely placed within a sidebar of each blog post. This is great for desktop users but as soon as you convert this over to mobile where does that signup form go? Depending on your template, your signup form might be excluded from mobile, or added to the very bottom, or worse it ends up at the top of the post before the content.
As you look through your content on mobile check to see where your opt-in forms are being placed. One of the best places you might consider placing opt-in forms is within your content. Maybe after the first or second paragraph, or at the end of the article before the comment section.
Reengage Your Audience to Close the Deal
If you run an ecommerce store you may have noticed that a good portion of your traffic doesn’t convert. MobileShopTalk wrote an article back in 2016 that claims nearly 80% of mobile audiences don’t complete their purchases online.
So how can you improve your conversions and get more of your traffic to convert? Well, the first step is to ensure that they don’t leave your site. Secondly, give them a reason to convert now. This is especially true considering that EmberTribe claims 95% of first time visitors to your site won’t return.
To help with your mobile conversions, consider adding a pop-up offer that appears when all activity has stopped. A lack of activity might be a signal that a user is about to leave. Try offering them a discount that expiring soon, give them something free with purchase, or offer them a chance to leave their email for special offers in the future. Don’t let them leave you empty handed.
A special thank you to Dale Carnegie Los Angeles and Fremont College digital marketing school for assisting in the creation of this article. Enroll today by visiting their website dalecarnegielosangeles.com or Fremont.edu.
December 22, 2016
We wrote this a few months back. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive guide on SEO, really more of a primer on the many facets of on page SEO & how dramatic a few changes can be in getting your website in front of the people you want to see it most.
The SEO Checklist and Reference Guide for Local Businesses
This SIMPLE Checklist and Guide will help you:
- Get More Traffic
- Start Generating Leads with your Website
- And… Get New Customers!
You can download the checklist and reference guide here