Voice search optimization (VSO) is an integral aspect of search engine optimization. It needs to be a part of every SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. The appeal of voice search lies in the fact that it is hands-free, faster and it enables people to multitask.
It is now more important than ever to focus on voice search amid the current crisis situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; since the hands-free technology minimises the chances of contact as well as of contamination. With the steady advancement in technology, voice chat is becoming more and more reliable. The users of mobile phones, smart speakers and connected devices consider voice chat as a necessity. Voice search is progressively evolving from voice recognition to voice understanding. People using voice search for their queries generally need instant results and swift responses.
Listed below are a few tactics which the marketers can use for succeeding in their business website’s voice search optimization:
- Understanding the type of customer along with the device behaviour: The voice search algorithms make use of location, searcher intent and several other data points in order to understand context. Similarly, marketers need to conduct real-time research and gather data on how people are using voice search and on which voice-enabled device; so as to gain insights into the consumers and their behaviour.
- Concentrating on conversational keywords: The marketers need to concentrate on conversational long-tail keywords to decide on the questions they need for giving the answer.
- Creating incredible content that is persona-based: Context, its relevance, and brevity are the essential aspects to be considered while optimizing for voice search. It is highly imperative to create incredible content that resolves the users’ pain points by answering their questions in a clear and concise manner.
- Providing context by using Schema Markup: The marketers need to use schema to mark up their content and notify the search engine what their website is all about. This HTML add-on enables the search engines to understand the context of the content and in turn helps the content become more relevant in specific queries made by using voice search.
- Building pages in the website that answer FAQs (frequently asked questions): The users of voice search generally begin their queries with the adverbs: ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘where.’ Marketers need to develop FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages in their websites in order to answer these queries. They also need to ensure that the navigation and informational structure can be found easily in the website.
Thinking mobile and thinking local: It is important to remember that when it comes to voice search, mobile and local are interlinked. Mobile devices enable users to conduct on-the-go local queries; and in turn, voice search enables these users to ask hyper-local questions. The marketers need to ensure the readability of XML sitemaps and directions to brick-and-mortar locations on their website for the visitors and search engines.
Recent analysis has proved that creating shorter content is the way to earn the most backlinks. However, it is prudent to note that generally the length of the content varies depending on the topic as well as on the type of content being created.
The analysis focused on the linkability and shareability of the blogs/articles which had a length of less than 700 words. The share count and backlink count of the blogs/articles were taken into consideration so that the marketers could gain relevant insights into what type of content needs to be created. This also enabled the marketers as well as the SEO (search engine optimization) professionals to pinpoint the ways in which the content can be optimized for link building.
The analysis then focused on the significance of evergreen content when compared with timely content. Any piece of content that can maintain its relevance over a long duration is considered to be ‘evergreen’ content. The content piece was assessed over a period of 30 days after it has been published to note how many backlinks and social engagements it has received. This has also proved that timely content is likely to generate many links if it is original, relevant as well as interesting. DIY (Do it Yourself) and how-to blogs were found to be the most evergreen among all the blog types.
The analysis also took into consideration the most shared content based on the share count per type of content and the vertical that it is related to. Based on the number of shares received, the top five content types are as listed below:
- How-to blogs/articles
- Bulleted or numbered lists, and videos
- How-to blogs/articles with videos
Based on the number of backlinks received, the top five content types are as listed below:
- How-to blogs/articles
- General blogs/articles
- Lists or general blogs/articles
Google Analytics is a wonderful mechanism for SEO (search engine optimization) professionals and marketers to reach and engage with customers. It enables them to look and think beyond the basics such as: the number of sessions, time spent on the page, as well as the total number of conversions.
It is imperative to optimize the use of Google Analytics in order to understand the customers better. It is a good practice to follow certain rules while developing a digital marketing strategy that will focus mainly on data. These rules are: taking only valuable insights into consideration (which result in savings on spend and which can boost conversions), taking simplified steps (no need to have advanced knowledge of analytics), and having no requirement for additional code (since all the reports can be easily accessed through Google Analytics).
A few pointers for making the most of Google Analytics are listed below:
- Using multi-channel paths for conversion: Google Analytics makes use of last click attribution to enable reporting on the conversions. A user’s path to conversion includes multiple touchpoints; which can be visualized in the Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF) Top Conversion Paths report. Marketers need to select the desired conversion, filter it to a particular medium, edit the primary dimension, and add a secondary dimension; in the MCF report.
- Making comparisons among the various traffic sources and conversions based on the market: In case their business has ac presence in multiple markets, the marketers need to compare the various traffic sources and the conversions based on the market: per city (if the business is at the national level), and per country (if the business is at the international level).
- Re-engaging users for retention along with the acquisition of new users: Marketers need to check at what point they should re-engage the users for retention (by advertising new products or by running email campaigns) for enhancing the performance. The brand or business also needs to acquire new users for this purpose.
- Measuring the flash sale success: Marketers need to grasp the buying behaviour of new customers during specific seasons (festival seasons or other holiday seasons) and comparing the metrics such as: “transactions per user” and “revenue per user.” This is done by conducting flash sales during these seasons and measuring their success.
- Using machine learning to calculate the probability of conversions: Marketers can make use of the machine learning aspect of Google Analytics to calculate the probability of the customers to convert. Previous audience interactions provide insights that enable the marketers to create website content and develop advertisements which are highly relevant.
Making use of the Custom Google Analytics Dashboard: While Google Analytics comprises a standard default dashboard that provides basic insights into the number of web visits, the number of pages visited, as well as the total number of accumulative conversions; it is imperative that marketers invest in a customized Analytics dashboard that will display only those metrics that they need. They can also simplify the process of reporting by sharing this customized dashboard with others in the company so that they can replicate it.
Enterprise SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial in order to ensure that any business venture can succeed. In turn, there are several factors contributing to the success of enterprise SEO. Let us have a look at some of the integral aspects that need to be balanced in order for the search engine optimization to succeed.
- Error management and technical search engine optimization as part of the SEO mitigation: Geneally, an SEO manager spends time in identifying any issues related to the project that may arise after the project has been initiated. But, it is the responsibility of the SEO manager to collaborate with the various teams that are working together on the project, identify underlying issues (if any) beforehand, and then try to mitigate them prior to initiating the launch of the project.
- Evaluating all the assumptions and reporting on all the successes as part of the SEO analysis: Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic and revenue rely heavily on search engine optimization. Every enterprise company needs to be aware of this irrefutable fact. Analytics experts use the data from Google Search Console for tracking the number of clicks for particular keywords and then evaluating the percentage of all the clicks so as to obtain the estimated revenue for those keywords. This enables the companies to gain insight into: the performance of their SEO, the successful efforts, and the scope for opportunities.
- Managing the projects for search engine optimization and determining the growth as part of SEO project management: It is imperative for the SEO team to identify the upward trends in the searches as well as the gaps that need to be filled in the current or previous efforts for search engine optimization. Large scale initiatives are identified that impact major sections of a website. A project manager is then tasked with implementing these initiatives, which include: realigning the design and content on a set of pages, and prompting the initiatives for an internal linking plan which influences several aspects of the website.
- Endorsing search engine optimization to the stakeholders as well as to the other teams as part of relationship building: Every enterprise SEO needs to have certain core strengths, such as:
- Communicating across the different channels as well as the teams effectively
- Promoting search engine optimization through documentation and education
- Collaborating with various teams for prioritizing the SEO initiatives
- Identifying opportunities while reporting on the SEO to the key stakeholders
- Managing the vendors, including the consultants, agencies, tools, etc.
- Keeping themselves apprised of the latest SEO trends
Structured data is the data that is organized in a coherent order. It is an integral aspect to be considered in search engine optimization (SEO). It is simple to understand even by the layman. Structured data helps in gaining and boosting traffic for any website.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the computing language that is used for marking up the structured data by creating the code for it as well as systematizes the content in the web pages. It makes navigating the web pages easier for the visitors of the website. In addition, the HTML organizes the code which enables the browser to display the web page. This code is not visible to the visitors. The HTML also encompasses informative content that is intended for the search engines. This content is known as MetaData.
Structured data is also a markup language. It collects the content (data) and then conveys it to the search engines, which in turn, display that information in a compelling manner in the search results. The names of products, along with the images, ratings and review content related to those products; are a few of the examples of the types of data that is organized by structured data. Structured data enables the publishers to label the names, images, ratings and review content of the products for the search engines.
Google publishes support pages and developer pages that explain about structured data. These pages comprise precise instructions detailing which structured data needs to be used by the publishers in order for them to qualify for Google’s rich results in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Google elucidates which structured data it uses for the purpose of displaying various types of rich results. Websites that make use of structured data are eligible and far more likely to obtain search results that include images, stars and top placement in the featured snippet that is placed at the beginning of the search results. This can result in increased traffic to the website.
Every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy needs to include identifying and answering searchers’ queries among its main components. The Q & A (Question and Answer) section is an integral aspect for any website. The implementation of an effective Q & A strategy depends on a number of different mechanisms.
Let us first learn about the advantages of refining a website for accommodating the questions based on the targeted keywords as well as the answers to these questions. Some of them are listed below:
- Meeting the user intent on the web page and providing the required context for boosting the organic rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Revealing the depth of expertise on any given topic, to the search engines.
- Having a chance to earn Featured Snippets, People Also Ask, and other such fraggles within Google search results
- Having a chance to earn Rich Results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) after making use of structured data.
- Offering opportunities to boost user-generated content (UGC) in the website
- Revamping the local search engine optimization (SEO) experience within Google MyBusiness
- Enhancing the potential for Scroll to Text highlighting within the Google Featured Snippets
- Effective utilization of the Q & A section in the website can enhance the user experience in the site and also boost the conversion rates
Some of the mechanisms involved in the Q & A strategy are: Google Search Console (when the website is already receiving traffic and impressions for the questions available in it), People Also Ask (an interactive widget that appears within Google Search Results which lets the users scroll through questions that are related to their own queries), People Also Search For (displayed on few Knowledge Panels), Google Trends (a resourceful mechanism which the searchers can use to develop questions/queries), as well as user generated content (UGC) sites (such as: Quora, Reddit and such others).
Content developers are constantly looking for ways to strengthen or boost their position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Creating compelling content that is also rooted in facts, informative and entertaining all at the same time goes a long way towards achieving that goal.
Listed below are a few search engine optimization (SEO) pointers for the content developers and publishers to grow their audience:
- Optimizing the website architecture: Undertaking mobile optimization and structured data will definitely help any website to attain a good position in the search engine results pages. However, it is highly imperative for content developers to optimize their website architecture in order to strengthen and boost (if possible) that position. They can enable the search engines to crawl and index their website by: having consistent and noticeable primary navigation, having a visible sitemap, along with defining the editorial universe in their website home page.
- Following the on-page search engine optimization best practices: Some of these on-page SEO best practices include: setting up SEO titles using keywords, fully utilizing the meta descriptions and creating compelling calls to action (CTA), using the SEO titles as the headlines for the content, and using subheadings within the entire content.
- Adding author biographies along with their pictures: It is a good practice to add the biographies and pictures (if possible) of the authors of content as it helps in gaining the trust of the visitors to the website. This is a user experience aspect that helps content developers in establishing their expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) within the search engine results pages.
- Optimizing for Google Discover: Optimizing the content for Google Discover enables the users in discovering the topics/concepts related to their interests easily based on their browser history, search history, app activity and location. This optimizing can be done by: consistently developing engaging and trustworthy content, retaining evergreen content, using images and videos within the content, as well as by supporting multiple languages.
- Using attention-grabbing featured images: Making use of original art, graphics, and custom images related to the content will grab the attention of the readers. It is essential to compress the images for increasing the page load speed, customizing the image file names (using keywords for names), writing SEO-friendly alt text for the images, making the images mobile-friendly, and clearly defining the image file path structure.
- Publishing industry news instantly: It is a good practice to be first in line while trying to publish industry related news on individual websites. This can be done by: following RSS feeds and creating Twitter lists, joining the Facebook and LinkedIn groups, as well as monitoring the competitors’ activities through social media.
- Making use of other channels to support their search engine optimization: Making use of other channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Tiktok can gain leads and support the website’s search engine optimization efforts.
- Inserting images and videos in the content: Inserting visual content such as images, videos and infographics can enhance the overall readability of the website as well as boost traffic to the website.
Keyword research is an integral aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers need to conduct keyword research in order to understand the shifts in consumer intent and behaviour that are caused by the ongoing tumultuous circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands and businesses need to adapt to the changing trends and focus their marketing efforts accordingly.
There are certain resources made available to users by Google that can help marketers transition easily into what is now called the “new normal.” The resources (mechanisms) are listed below:
- Rising Retail Categories: Think with Google established an interactive mechanism called “Rising Retail Categories“ to help users understand: the swiftly emerging retail categories that appear in Google Search Console, the areas in which they are emerging, and the queries associated with these categories. Marketers need to identify the currently trending categories and market their products/services accordingly.
- Corona virus Search Trends: Google had established “Corona virus Search Trends” during March of this year. Initially, there was a surge in search intent for the topic ‘corona virus’, but it has gradually reduced.
- Shopping Insights: Google had previously established “Shopping Insights”, which lets marketers keep track of the competing products in their categories as well as assess how well they are measuring against their competitors. This mechanism enables marketers to better understand the customers’ shopping intent online, thus prompting them to make well appraised advertising and inventorying decisions across online as well as offline channels.
- Market Finder: Established in November 2017, Google’s”Market Finder” enables marketers to identify those areas which offer the potential for growth, depending on the key metrics for their chosen categories.
- Google Surveys: Google has renamed the previously established market research mechanism “Google Consumer Surveys” (in March 2012) as “Google Surveys” in October 2016. It collects data from the survey questions that the marketers prepare and then provides notable insights into the minds of the target audience. Google Surveys help marketers to assess the searcher intent.
- Google Trends: Established way back in the year 2005 (in May), “Google Trends” is a mechanism that has previously not been used much by SEO (search engine optimization) professionals. Yet now it has gained momentum, in these trying times.
A featured snippet is a notable block filled with information that appears above the organic search results in Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Google usually displays these featured snippets for certain queries (question forms such as: what/where/why/when/how/who) from time to time.
Various kinds of Featured Snippets on Google
A featured snippet comprises a synopsis (in any format such as: a list, a paragraph, a table, or a video), along with the URL, the page title, and the link to the webpage from which the answer was formulated. Google retrieves the information from one of the organic search listings on the first page of results and displays this information in the featured snippet. Also, Google offers the website credit by means of a link. This is an attempt by Google to simplify the search process for users. Without the need of clicking through to visit any website, Google provides the users with answers to their queries within the search results.
There are mainly three kinds of featured snippets: paragraph snippet, list snippet, table snippet. They are clearly defined below:
- Paragraph snippet: Paragraph snippets are generally used to answer questions such as: ‘who is’, ‘what is’, ‘why is’, and ‘how to do/get.’ These are the most favoured snippets.
- List snippet: List snippets are generally of two types (bulleted list and numbered list). The bulleted list snippets are used to answer questions such as those related to: ‘feature lists’, ‘unranked lists’, ‘ranked lists, and ‘best of….lists.’ The numbered list snippets are used to answer questions such as those related to: ‘DIY (do it yourself) tasks’, ‘recipes’ etc.
- Table snippet: Table snippets are used to answer questions such as those related to: ‘data’, ‘rates’, and pricing.’
Rendering is the final step in the process of making search engine results pages viable. This step follows after indexing of the web pages takes place in order for them to rank accordingly in the search results. Rendering is an integral aspect of search engine optimization (SEO).
Significance of Rendering Web Pages
Rendering enables the search engines to glean the details of the web pages and their purpose. Also, the search engines can better understand user experience and figure out which content needs to take priority; with the help of rendering. There are certain benefits of rendering, such as finding out: weather any content is concealed by a click, whether an advertisement is filling the page entirely, whether the page is slow or fast to load or whether the page loading speed is within the acceptable time frame, as well as whether the content that is visible at the end of the code is originally displayed within the navigation or at the beginning of the code.
Listed below is the step-by-step explanation of how rendering takes place:
- Sitemap or crawler discovers a page.
- Depending on when the crawl budget is available, this page will be added to the list of pages which are ready to be crawled on a site.
- Crawling and indexing of the page content take place.
- The page is then added to the rendering queue.
- Finally, rendering of the page takes place.