6 Hacks to Beat Your Competition on Voice Search and Google

6 SEO Hacks to Beat Your Competition on Voice Search in 2018 and Beyond

Google Assistant (Duplex) Announcement at Google IO and What It Means to Your Business

6 Hacks to Beat Your Competition on Voice Search and GoogleSummary

  • Google announced the next generation of the Google Assistance in May 2018
  • Google Assistant’s name is Google Duplex
  • Google Duplex will be able to schedule appointments and carry on conversations
  • Businesses will need to adjust their SEO strategy for voice search
    • Create conversation and relevant content
    • Ask & Answer questions your audience/clients will ask
    • Add rich snippets to utilize microdata/schema
    • Ensure your website is mobile friendly and fast
    • Create long-form content that includes short, concise answers
    • Answer your phone

During Google IO (May 8th -10th, 2018) Google announced the next phase of its Google Assistant development. It is well ahead of where most people anticipated it would be.  Its name is now Google Duplex and let’s just say Skynet is real.

Google Duplex takes the digital assistant to a new level.  Soon Google will be able to place calls, set appointments and carry a conversation with the person on the other end.  Google Duplex will also be able to call businesses to confirm hours of operation on days where hours might be adjusted, such as holidays.

This is exciting and scary at the same time.  This combined with a rapidly increasing focus on voice search (Gary Vaynerchuk’s VoiceCon is on May 22nd in New York City) should emphasize how voice search is becoming more of an integral part of our daily lives.  Comscore estimates that by 2020 50% of all searches queries will be done through voice.  Gartner estimates that by 2020 30% of voice search queries will be done using a device with no screen.  https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/04/10/voice-search-statistics-2018

 What does this mean for SEO and your business growth? 

It means if you are not taking voice search seriously you better start.  This is going to sneak up on everyone faster than mobile did.  Not including this in your SEO and marketing plan could prove detrimental in the coming months and years.

Google, Amazon, and Apple are the primary players in voice search at the time of this writing.  Google and Amazon are clearly the leaders in voice search.  If you have used either of these services, then the potential is evident.  If you pay attention while you or someone else uses Google or Alexa then it should also be clear there are subtle nuances between voice queries and text queries.

It’s also a safe bet that Facebook and other social platforms will add voice search features in the future. Whether your focus is social or search, the result is you will have to optimize for voice queries. Voice queries are not the same as type or text queries. The only real question is how soon you need to start considering voice search as part of your content marketing strategy.  The answer is NOW.

Truth be told no-one can say for sure how voice search will impact SEO.  Most SEO solutions providers have a good idea of what will happen.  What is clear is how quickly voice search is evolving and the impact it is having on local search and SEO.  Something else that’s clear is you will not be presented with 10 results on a page when you ask your virtual assistant a question.  You will only get one result.  You’re not competing for page one anymore.  Now you will compete for number one.

6 SEO Hacks to Beat Your Competition on Voice Search

Voice Search Graphic SEO 2018

  1. Adjust Content to Be More Conversational & Relevant

There is a difference between the way someone types in a search query and the way someone verbally asks a question.  If you don’t know what I mean, then try it out yourself.  Ask Google or Siri a question and then think about whether the way you asked is the same as you would type it in.

Case studies so far have shown that there are several factors that return results for a voice search query.  One of those factors is the tone of the query response.  Conversational pieces of content fared better on voice search.

It’s still early for the results to be concrete. Voice search is still evolving.  Early case studies may not be relevant in a few months.  That said the early case studies make sense.  People would rather receive search query results in a conversational tone.  Take a little time to think about the conversations you have with your peers, yourself and even your virtual assistant if you are already using one.

  1. Ask & Answer Questions Your Audience Will Ask

When people use voice search they typically ask a question or issue a simple command.  Questions require short and too the point answers.  You’re already seeing this on the Google Search Results Page (SERP).  Many times, if you ask a question it returns a result at the top with bulleted answers or a one-sentence answer.  This is called the knowledge graph.

The knowledge graph results are often the result you get when using voice search.  The knowledge graph began showing up on Google Search in 2016. It’s almost like Google has been planning this all along.

How do you get results in the knowledge graph?  Answer questions.  There are many ways to come up with questions and answers.

  • What are some of the ways you can come up with questions to answer on your site?
    • answerthepublic.com lets you ask a question and returns different variations of the question. This is sort of what Google does with RankBrain (Machine Learning).  Google’s goal is to identify the searchers intent.
    • Ask existing clients and/or audience for questions they may have and answer them.
    • Use Quora to find questions related to your industry. Add them to your site and add answers.
    • Use Google’s Question and Answer section on Google Business listings to create relevant questions and answers.
    • You will also notice in my more recent blog posts I also include a bullet point summary near the top of my blog post. I am working my way backward on the rest of my blog posts to do the same.  Either a 1-2 sentence summary or a few bullet points will be added.
  1. Rich Snippets/Microdata

You’ve probably heard about rich snippets.  You may have even talked to a marketer about them.  Are you using them?  Statistics say you are not.

36.6% of Google Search results include at least one rich snippet, but only .3% of all websites use them.  Search Engine Land April 22nd, 2014.  While this has likely increased, I heard on a more recent podcast (within the last few months) that adoption of rich snippets is still very low.

Rich Snippets are derived from Structured Data added to website code.  This structured data makes it easier for Search Engines like Google and Bing to understand what a web page is about.  Structured Data also helps search engines extract important information from a web page.  That information might include things such as:

  • Hours of Operation
  • Location
  • Blog Author
  • Type of Content
  • Events
  • Local Business Info
  • Reviews
  • And a lot more.

Structured Data uses specific language.  The structured data the major search engines use comes from Schema.org.  It is important to note that Rich Snippets or Structured Data is not exclusive to Google. In fact, Google, Bing, Yahoo all use it as well as Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms.

Structured Data is going to play a big part in voice search results as this information is easier for search engines to decipher.  It’s also easier for mobile search results to be returned based on structured data.  Many voice searches are performed on mobile.

Let me get on my soapbox for a sentence or two.  If your site is not optimized for mobile, rich snippets, and voice search, you are going to miss out on a huge chunk of search results.  This will cost your business a lot of money.

  1. Mobile Friendly and Fast

Alright, I mentioned it already.  I have mentioned it in other blog posts and podcasts.  I will continue to mention it until most businesses are taking it seriously.  Mobile search represents more than half of all search queries.  Many of those searches are done using a virtual assistant.

What do you do when you try to load a website on your phone and it takes more than a few seconds?  Most of us will close it or go back to the search results to load another page.  We will do the same thing if we load a web page on mobile and cannot view it or navigate it properly.

This impacts your search results because your bounce rate increases.  Bounce rate is a user engagement factor.  A high bounce rate and low time spent on a web page tell Google your web page is not relevant for the search query it is being returned for.  It will not be found via voice search if it is not mobile and fast.  Google wants FAST.

Google has already started rolling out mobile first indexing.  Google says that this only impacts sites that are mobile friendly but sites who are not have also received notification from the Google Search Console.  Page speed has also continued to gain importance, especially on mobile.

  1. Long Form Content

Google almost anything and you will see that most of the responses are long form.  Of course, it depends on the industry and your competition but the longer and more diversified your content the more likely it is to rank high in the search results.

The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. Therefore, Google tends to source voice search answers with long-form content. ~Backlinko Voice Search Analysis 2018

While word count helps the content rank higher on Google, short concise answers help your content be the query result on voice search.  When creating your content, you will have to provide short answers (the above study suggests that results were 29 words or less on voice search) while creating long-form content, at least 2000 words, that is engaging.

I mentioned industry and competition.  It is important to keep an eye on what your industry is doing as a whole and what your local competition is doing.  It’s even more important to stay one step ahead.  Don’t create content just a little better than what your competition is creating.  Create content that crushes their Google rankings.  This might seem harsh but at some point, a current, or new competitor will figure out that they need to put more focus into search results.  When they do you don’t want to make it easy for them to take what you worked so hard for.

Creating long-form content is one way to ensure it will not be easy for your competition to take your search rankings.  Creating long-form content that invites engagement is also a way to make you the authority in the eyes of your ideal audience and in turn Google.  Becoming the authority means you have a better chance of getting in the knowledge graph and being found for voice search queries.

  1. Answer Your Phone

This should seem like a no-brainer but unfortunately, it’s not.  Answer your phone.  Google is calling.  One thing that is clear from the samples of Google Duplex (and they were real samples) is that Google will place calls to set appointments.  If you are in a business that takes reservations or appointments it will be even more important to answer your phone.

Imagine if 50% of search queries were now voice.  Now imagine if that search is for an Italian restaurant or a hair salon.  Who will Google find?  When they do will the phone number be correct, and will someone be available to answer the phone?

As mentioned earlier Google will call businesses on holidays to check what their hours are.  I know of an Italian Pastry shop that lost a lot of business because Google showed them as closed on Christmas Eve.  They were indeed open, but this is another example of why your Google Business listing is critical, and why it will be important to answer your phone.

You’re probably scratching your head trying to figure out why businesses must be told this.  I was once hired to handle SEO for a local locksmith.  I set expectations and clearly explained what would happen during our time working together.  For 5 weeks the locksmith complained because he could not be found for New Haven Locksmith.  He was two towns above New Haven and was number 11 in the search results.  He was abusive and liked to insult people.  After 5 weeks I had enough and fired my client.  It was the first time I had ever fired a client but in retrospect, I should have never taken this client on.

During this 5-week engagement, the locksmith was ignoring phone calls and email requests for service calls.  He was only focused on getting to page one with New Haven Locksmith (which happened 5 days after I fired him).  He was turning away business in a highly competitive industry.  Traffic and results were being driven to his web properties but this locksmith was not focused on delivering a positive customer experience, or any customer experience.  He wasn’t focused at all.

There are a lot of businesses, especially smaller businesses, that do not answer the phone on a regular basis.  Don’t be that business.

 

Final Thoughts:  Voice search continues to evolve and become more and more a part of our daily work and personal lives.  It’s clear that voice search and virtual assistance will be a big part of how Google and other search engines return results.  While these 6 Ways to Improve Your Search Results in Voice Search may further evolve it’s safe to say that these are areas that will need your SEOs attention in the coming months and years.

If voice search will account for 50% of all search queries in 2020 and 30% of those will be on a device without a screen what will you be leaving on the table by not adding voice search to your strategy?

 

 

 

 

One Hack to Improve Website Traffic

This One Hack Will Increase Your Website Traffic by 95%

This One Hack Will Increase Your Website Traffic by 95%

Google Analytics Hack

I have read case studies of a trick that increases traffic by 200 or 300%. It’s an ethical method of increasing traffic so of course the nerd in me was intrigued.  I put the theory to test.  Here are the one trick and the results.  You may get better (or worse) results than I did.  I certainly would have liked a 300% increase in traffic but I got 95%.  I will take it.

The Hack

It’s really quite simple.  If you’ve been blogging on your site for a while then you probably have dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts.  Go back to a blog post from a year or more ago.  The blog post should be primarily evergreen content.  Evergreen content is content that can be shared or used over and over again because the content is not outdated.

Once you find an appropriate blog post go through the post and update it.  Remove or update content that has a date.  Change a few images around.  Remove any content that is not longer relevant.  Add new content if there is any available.

In my case, I also found that I needed to update some of the on-page SEO elements.  I also modified the title but left the URL structure alone.  Remember if you change the URL structure you will have to add a 301 redirect.

OK, after reviewing and editing the blog post I shared it across most major social media channels.  I was moderately impressed with the results.

[button color=”accent-color-tilt” hover_text_color_override=”#fff” size=”large” url=”http://52.91.7.33/google-search/” text=”Want To Increase Your Website Traffic?” color_override=””]

The Results

1 hack to improve website traffic by 95%I had a traffic increase of almost 95% compared to the same time frame a week earlier.   I also had an increase of 67% over the same time period a year earlier. 

Compared to the week earlier there were also some other impressive, and more telling, statistics.

Page Views increased by 157%.  That means people were looking at more pages as a result of the updated blog post.  This is awesome.  You want people to look at more pages on your site.  This shows they are interested in knowing more about you and what you do.

Pages per Session increased by 32%.  Again, this is great.  More pages being viewed every time someone came to the site means they want to know more.

Average Time on Site increased by 5735%.  Wow..just wow.  People read the blog post and likely much more.

Bounce Rate decreased by 19%.  Great as well.  As indicated above people visited more pages while on my website.  This is truly awesome.

One Hack to Improve Website Traffic

An interesting stat was the new versus returning visitors.  The pie chart on the top is the newer results while the one on the bottom is from the previous period.  It makes sense that people who have been to my site before would return to read the article but when you combine that with the increase in page views and time on the site this equates to remarketing.  Most marketers and business owners know that you have to touch someone 7-10 times before you can close.  Instead of touching 16.7% of my audience for at least the second time, I reached 40% of my audience for at least the second time.

Awesome Website Traffic Increase

My quick case study shows what most marketers have probably suspected for some time.  You don’t always have to create new content.  Repurposing and sharing old content works well to drive qualified traffic to your site.

How do I know the traffic is qualified?  Well if it wasn’t qualified traffic the bounce rate would not have decreased and Page Views/Average Time on Site would not have increased so dramatically.  I drew the right audience by repurposing a blog post from over a year ago.

Practicing this one hack consistently will obviously have positive results on your traffic and on your business.  I would love to hear back from anyone who does this to hear their results.

[button color=”accent-color-tilt” hover_text_color_override=”#fff” size=”large” url=”http://52.91.7.33/google-search/” text=”Want To Increase Your Website Traffic?” color_override=””]

 

Are You a Growth Hacker?

Growth Hacking 101

growth hacking 101Technology and buzzwords go hand in hand and for those out of the loop, it can be hard to keep up with all of the new lingo and jargon. As we move into 2015, it seems that growth hacking is one of this year’s buzzwords, but despite its unique daunting name, its meaning is simple.

A growth hacker is a person who has the skills in starting as well as growing a business from scratch, although they don’t necessarily have to have been involved with a business since day one. Basically, it’s someone you want working with your company because their job is to grow your company, but how will they do that? You do want to see effective growth, right? So how do you apply the skill set of a growth hacker effectively?

Firstly, it’s good to remember that your growth hacker is not a short-term solution. Instead, they can actually drive your business forward in a sustainable manner. Something that has long-term benefits.

So what is Growth Hacking? Is it worth the attention?

Growth Hacking is when a marketing person or rather a business has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with the only what is trackable, testable and scalable. Tools such as e-mails pay per click ads and blogs are commonly used instead of the typical advertisements of commercials, publicity, and money. Whereas their marketing brethren are busy chasing vague notions such as branding and mindshare, growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth. If done correctly then those users beget more users, who later beget more users and the chain continues. Think of the way you were taught to approach marketing in business school and erase it. What’s interesting is that growth hackers are inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining as well as the self-propagating growth machine that can take a startup from nothing to something. Who wouldn’t want that?

How Can I Growth Hack my Business?

The best way to growth hacking is by asking your valued customers a few questions. Why do you prefer our products and services? Growth HackingWhat is holding you back from bringing other people to us? What product or service do you love? And many more. Ensure you don’t ask your friends or random people. Be strategic about it and use tools such as SurveyMonkey, Wufoo or even Google Docs, which make it very easy to offer surveys to some or perhaps all of your customers. Invite business contacts to use this service. The best way to get people to do this enormous favor for you is by making it seem like it isn’t a favor. Just make it the kind of thing that is worth spreading.

Top 5 Benefits of Growth Hacking: Why Use Growth Hacking to Grow Your Business?

Here are the top five benefits of using the techniques of growth hacking for your business.

Saves Money

At times, growth hacking can be a pain in the ass. Therefore it can be a very cost-effective way of promoting your brand. Rather than the traditional TV commercials, print advertising, and billboards, growth hacking concentrates on new cost-effective and measurable techniques to promote your business. Collecting adequate information on the success of the growth hacking strategies using real-time data allows you to determine the success rate of each and every plan. Strategies used by growth hackers are relatively low cost, therefore, they have more room to fail without costing the company lots of marketing dollars.

Builds Customers Relationship

When you position your company as an expert with lots of relevant and informative content, you will certainly build your network and make past and current customers experience a positive feeling from working with your company. Customers always want to feel good about their purchase. If your clients have a positive experience with your company they are more likely to interact with your new content and praise your expertise in the digital domain. It is without a doubt, the most terrific referral source to tap into and a unique way to stay in touch with past and current clients. Social Media is connecting everybody, let it become the new “magnet on the fridge” or rather a “business card in your wallet?” Make use of this invaluable connection to stay in touch and ensure you interact with past and current clients.

Organic Growth

Growth HackerThe number one goal for a growth hacker is to grow the visibility and following of a business. Diverting the focus to this goal makes them constantly try new avenues, platforms, and strategies to reach the online consumer. Basically, they will sign up for anything that can help achieve the goal of online visibility. The good thing is your online presence begins to grow organically through channels, content, and comments used by the growth hacker. The more you are actively participating in them, the more likely your business will organically grow with time.

Focuses on the Big Picture

More times than not we are busy focusing on the day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute tasks and responsibilities of the business operation. What most of us don’t know is that this does not focus on the big picture goal of every business. Using a growth hacker or growth hacking marketing strategy to guide your marketing keeps someone focused on the growth of the business. Businesses are either declining or growing, there is no middle ground. Ensuring someone is focusing on the growth of the bigger picture ensures you are focused on the main goal of growth.

Increased Online Visibility

Growth hacking somewhat of a volume game. However a growth hacker will not try to appeal to the masses, but rather he/she will attract those who already expressed interest in your offering. The more relevant and useful the content your growth hacker shares online, the more likely it will attract current and new clients to your online presence, creating a receptive audience. The more useful and relevant your content is, the more value your online presence has to potential or existing customers. Good content and information position your business as an expert. Most people want to deal with experts and will seek the advice of an expert when they are in need of help as well as keep their current business and referrals with that expert. Positioning your company as an expert will build a network and also make past and current customers feel good about their experience.

The beauty of Growth hacking

Okay, so you’ve done it. Your site is successful, users are bringing friends and generally your concept has become a household name. What next?

Do It Again! You can apply all of the above to whatever business concept you have. If it has legs, you will hit the ground running. Start now!

Bottom Line

Well, well, well. There you have it. Growth hacking works because of its huge reliance on its users. An understanding of who really wants your product greatly improves your chances of it being a great success. Continuing to analyze as well as understand the target audience basically means your business will continually grow with your initial users while giving them what they want. What’s more is you should also retain a buzz around your products using social media to really drive up the results and further growth.

Ready to Growth Hack Your Business?