SEO Archives - Duct Tape Marketing
Find a Consultant Become a Consultant

Tag Archives for " SEO "

The 8 Video Types That Every Business Must Master in 2021

What was once a complimentary, nice-to-have component of content marketing now plays an imperative role. Video has emerged front-and-center and is arguably one of the most effective types of content to connect with your audience.

Video consumption shows no signs of slowing down in the next few years. By 2021, the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos (a 19% increase from 2019).

If you still haven’t yet embraced video, now is the time to start.

Oftentimes when people think of video marketing, they think of social media content. While there’s certainly a great case to be made for using video on social platforms (and lots of ways to do it!), incorporating video across other marketing channels is just as essential.

Here are eight types of video content that can be added to any business’s marketing system. This will allow you to tell your brand story in a dynamic, engaging way, and influence people to take action. 

1. Brand Story

Every brand has a story. Lots of entrepreneurs have fascinating tales of how they got the idea to start their business and the journey that they went on to get that business off the ground. But when we talk about the core story, it’s not about where the brand has been, it’s really more about the customer’s story.

Every brand has a problem that they solve for their customers. It’s their own unique approach to solving the issue. This is what attracts customers to the business in the first place and keeps them coming back time and again.

Creating a video that tells your core story is a great way to establish trust immediately with prospects. A strong core story outlines a prospect’s problem, paints a picture of a world where the problem has been solved, and then offers up your business as the solution to the issue.

Putting a video like this front-and-center on your website sets you up for success with prospects. Not only do prospects feel seen and heard by what they’re seeing in the video—this is a brand that really gets my problem!—they also have a sense of connection with the people behind the brand.

When the business owner gets on camera and talks directly to their prospects about how they address their big concern, this wins their trust and builds a human-to-human connection from the get-go.

2. Service or Product Videos

You have gotten the attention of a prospect with your core story. Next, your prospect might want to learn more about the specifics of how your business can solve their problems. That’s where product or service videos come in.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. A video showcasing your offerings can help to dynamically demonstrate all the pros of purchasing your product or service.

For more complicated products, like a new software system or a tool or machinery that requires some set-up, product videos can help eliminate some of the fear that a prospect might feel about purchasing a complex product. When they see how easy it is to set up and use in the video, they’ll feel more confident in their ability to do it on their own.

The same is true of videos that feature services. Let’s say you are a car mechanic. People are often distrustful of car mechanics, thinking they’re able to rip people off because most of us don’t understand how a car actually works. A service video, where the mechanic walks viewers through the standard inspection process and points out potential red flags along the way can help to eliminate prospects’ fears that they’re a scam-artist mechanic.

Even for simple products, video can help to bring the item to life. A product video for a children’s construction toy that shows the features of the completed model might sell a parent on the purchase. Or a video on a clothing e-commerce site, showing a model walking back and forth in items of clothing can give viewers a sense of how the shirt or pants look and move on a real person.

Product Video Examples:

Service Video Example:

 

3. Client Testimonials

Testimonials, reviews, and case studies all play a similar role in the lead nurturing process. They offer social proof that your business is as good as you say it is. Of course, you have a vested interest in selling your business as the best business out there in your field. That is your job when you have your marketing hat on, after all! 

The most persuasive messages don’t come from email campaigns or sales reps, they come straight from the mouths of satisfied customers. Testimonial videos create a deeper and more emotional appeal from your brand. Social proof is a powerful decision-making factor. Video testimonials give regular customers the opportunity to be a brand advocate. 

By showing prospects an existing happy customer, you give them a taste of what their life could be like if they hired you. If you’re looking for tips on how to get the most out of your interview with one of your happy customers, check out these steps for putting together an effective case study.

Testimonial Video Example:

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s face it, scrolling through dozens of questions in a standard FAQ page is boring. Why not create the most engaging FAQ page possible by incorporating video answers onto the page?

This is also a great opportunity to get a number of people from the company involved in the video creation process. Have someone from each department get in front of the camera. They can each record a handful of answers to the FAQs that are most relevant to their role at the company.

First, this is a fun activity for the team members who participate. Additionally, it provides you with the opportunity to introduce prospects to even more of the faces behind the business. And the greater the sense of familiarity and personal connection you can establish early on, the more you will stand out in terms of trust and likability.

5. Educational and ‘How To’ Videos

People love having their questions answered and learning new things – especially when they’re looking for more information about a specific topic.

Educational videos offer real value to your audience they can apply and use in their everyday lives. When people find the content you produce to be valuable and genuinely helpful, you begin to earn their trust.

When they trust you, they’re more likely to return to you for more help in the future thus building a stronger relationship with them. This encourages leads down the funnel.

Educational Video Example:

6. Event Videos

Planning and hosting an event takes a massive amount of work. Capturing your event on video is an easy way to extend its length and reach. Videos make events scalable. You’re able to spread brand awareness, engagement, and authority far beyond the event itself.

Events are about making new connections and networking with other people. Your event video should capture that. 

Event Video Example:

7. Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are often used to learn more about a product or service. They help you deliver important information in a short amount of time and leave a memorable impression. It’s a short informative video that explains something in a colorful, fun, and engaging way.

Adding an explainer video to your homepage is a great way to quickly explain your product or service to someone visiting your site. It effectively walks customers through a scenario where their problem would be solved by using your product. This way a user won’t have to click through and read multiple pages to understand what it is that your company does or what your offer is.

Explainer Video Example:

8. Personalized Sales Videos

Once you have won prospects over with great video content on your website, it’s time to take things to the next level. Encouraging your sales team to use one-to-one video in the sales process allows them to embrace personalization.

Using a tool like Loom makes it easy for even the least tech-savvy sales team in the room to record and send videos. Creating a personalized video, where they address the prospect by name and speak to their specific concerns and questions, makes that prospect feel special. They think, “If this business went through the trouble to record a video just for me, can you imagine the lengths they’ll go-to for me if I become a customer?”

Video content can play a role throughout all stages of the customer journey. Video can be critical to establishing trust, building a personal connection, and moving prospects down the hourglass towards their first purchase.

SEO

5 Critical On-Page SEO Factors That Impact Your Ranking

Having high visibility in a search engine’s organic results is critical to your business’ online success. 

People use search engines to find solutions to their problems. And if your product or service isn’t visibly ranking in search as a solution to their problem, that’s a massive missed opportunity for your business.

So what can you do to improve your rankings and where do you even start? 

Start by focusing on optimizing your on-page SEO. On-page SEO is one of the most important processes you can use to achieve higher rankings organically and start showing up in front of your target audience. 

Because the search landscape is constantly changing and evolving, it’s imperative you make sure your on-page SEO knowledge is up to date. Here are five critical on-page SEO factors that every business should be thinking about.

1. Content

Focus on your H1 headings and H2 subheadings

You need to use H1 and H2 tags. These help Google understand the structure of your page. Your headline should become an H1 heading. Your sub-points should be H2 headings, and bullet points can help organize information under each subcategory. 

While this strategy for organizing content makes it easier for readers to skim and settle on the information they’re looking for, it also helps Google to better understand your content.

Use your target keywords at the beginning of your pages

An old-school on-page SEO tactic that still works today is to use your target keywords in the first 100 words of your article or page. Google puts more weight on the terms that show up early on your page—it helps Google understand what your page is about.

2. Page Speed

Slow pages are a no-go. Page speed has been cited consistently as one of the leading SEO ranking factors for years. Slow loading sites provide a bad user experience. Search engines prefer sites that are going to show users the answers to what they’re looking for as fast as possible.

You can improve your site speed by reducing your number of redirects, compressing files, implementing website caching, reducing your page size, removing third party scripts, and many other steps that can speed up load time. 

3. Mobile Friendliness

Today, we live in a mobile-first world. More people use mobile devices than desktops to browse the web. And because of that, Google has made it clear that your pages need to be mobile-friendly. 

Google has a mobile-first index. On pages where content is not easily accessible for users on mobile, it’s unlikely that you’re going rank high in search results.

Google takes into consideration what the user’s experience is when they land on your site. Your site needs to:

  • Be responsive and automatically resize to fit whatever device your visitor is using
  • Use large fonts for enhance readability on a small screen
  • Have easy navigation—that means having accessible menus is a must

If you have any doubts whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing tool to see how your site stacks up. 

4. Domain names, extensions and URLs 

Your URL helps Google understand what your page is all about. And having the right kind of URL can improve your organic CTR.

URLs

Using the right kind of URL is important—every URL on your website should be short, sweet, and keyword-rich. It needs to be a URL that Google’s bots can easily reach and crawl. But the theme here is: keep things simple. Keep the URLs as short as possible, write them in plain english, avoiding number or letter sequences that might only mean something to your team, and use relevant keywords tastefully—don’t just throw in keywords just for the sake of it.

Domain names and extensions

Domain names and extensions do impact on SEO—however, the approach has changed over the years. The major factor that leads to website ranking is hosting valuable content and getting valuable backlinks from authoritative sources. But when you add a keyword-rich domain name and relevant domain extension, it’s icing on the cake.

Let’s take a look at this example. 

Say we have Website A with the domain name and extension of www.plywoodstore-london.com and Website B with the domain name and extension of www.londonply.store. Both can rank just as well as the other. However, the latter will garner more trust and will help the business get more on-topic backlinks for the keyword search of ‘London plywood store’. 

Your domain extension is an opportunity to communicate what you do—coming up with your domain name gives you the opportunity to be uniquely relevant to your business, and you can get creative while boosting your SEO ranking. 

Consider choosing a domain name based on your business type. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you’re in technology or IT, you could go with .TECH
  • If you’re in retail or eCommerce, .STORE could be a good choice
  • If you’re a journalist or publisher, try .PRESS
  • If you’re building your personal brand, then you can use .ONLINE

5. Internal and external links

The web is built on links—so links are a crucial SEO ranking signal. A well-optimized page will include both internal and external links.

Internal links

Including internal links to other pages with relevant content can help Google to better understand how all of your content is related. When you include internal links, make sure the anchor text has keywords in it. This can boost your rankings with search engines.

External links

Some people hesitate to include external links for the fear that doing so will just drive traffic away. This isn’t the case. You want to show that you’re creating quality content for your website visitors. When you link to other relevant, authoritative sites in your niche, it creates a better user experience and is good for SEO.

If you have a business with an online presence, on-page SEO has to be a focus to compete and stay relevant today in search. Thinking about SEO on each page individually instead of just collectively as a whole gives you the greatest chance at standing out in SERPs on multiple pages.

 

.store logoThis blog post is brought to you by .store.

Have you ever tried to find a domain name and been given  the message, “Sorry, that domain name is already taken!”? You are not alone! But with .store, a new domain extension for eCommerce and online stores, you will get the domain you want!

What’s more, www.yourbusinessname.store, instantly tells people your website is a “store” and lets your brand do the marketing for you! So, go ahead
and get the perfect, memorable website URL for your online store at www.get.store​.​

keyword research

The 7 Steps to Keyword Research

This post was brought to you by Ivory Research

Both SEO and content creation strategies cannot be implemented successfully without keyword research. Creating content that is ranking and speaks to the intent and needs of your ideal audience requires an understanding of which keywords matter to the relevant searches.

Keyword research is a critical first step to establishing a successful marketing maturity model. While it’s worth investing some time and effort in the process, it need not be arduous or difficult. In fact, I have some tips to help you conduct simple, effective keyword research.

1. Ideation

Who will know your business better than you? Hopefully no one. That’s why a great first step in keyword research is to sit down and brainstorm terms and questions your business answers for clients.

You should have a solid idea of what your business does and what people ask for. Are there certain questions their sales team gets all the time? Is there a consistent piece of feedback you get in reviews about what you did differently from your competition?

Do your best to focus on what customers ask for and stay away from any industry jargon. You are looking for the words and phrases that customers would use to describe your goods and services.

Part of the brainstorming process should also include understanding the types of customers you’re hoping to attract. What do you want to be known for, and what related terms should you focus on?

2. Turn to Google Keyword Suggest

Google Ads does have a keyword research tool, but I find it easier to just go to the search engine itself and run some test searches. Their autosuggest tool is a powerful way to generate keyword ideas that reflect what people are actually searching for.

Let’s say you own a home remodeling business. If you go to Google and type in “home remodel” check out the suggestions you get.

While some people are looking for specific companies, it seems most turn to Google when they’re in the early design stages. They’re on the hunt for ideas. Others still are looking for an app or software to help them begin the planning process; and that makes sense—it’s easier to commit to an expensive remodeling process if you’ve been able to run some scenarios in advance and are certain it’s worth it. And of course, because the home remodel process is expensive, you see questions about loans coming up close to the top as well.

From this one simple search, you now have a goldmine of information and lots of SEO and content ideas. Maybe write a post outlining how to budget for and finance renovations. Perhaps you can create a video showcasing your favorite free design tools where prospects can test out remodeling ideas.

You can also check out the “People also ask” box featured in the middle of the SERPs and the “Searches related to…” links at the bottom of the page for more ideas.

People also ask Google search result example home remodel

3. Keywords Everywhere Extension

While you’re on Google, why not check out what the Keywords Everywhere extension can tell you? Designed to work on Chrome and Firefox browsers, this extension will tell you even more about the search terms you enter.

Once you type in your search term, the extension will display related keywords on the Google page. It will also pull in Google advertising data, showing you the search volume, cost per click, and Ads competition.

4. YouTube Suggests

While YouTube is owned by Google, it’s still worthwhile to pop on over to their homepage to check out their autosuggests on your relevant keywords.

While the search term might be the same, the results you’ll get are often radically different. That’s because people use Google and YouTube in very different ways. Folks often turn to YouTube for tutorials and other types of content, which means you’ll get to see a whole other side of keyword possibilities by checking out autosuggestions on both Google and YouTube.

5. Wikipedia

Another angle to explore is everyone’s favorite online research tool: Wikipedia. Type in your keyword there, and you’ll find a table of contents at the top of the page. This gives you a whole new list of ways to explore your client’s area of expertise. Take again the home remodel example.

The table of contents on home improvement dives into the reasons one may undertake a home renovation project. Perhaps there’s a way for you to build out content around each of these areas. Create a podcast episode around energy-saving renovations, with information about replacing windows, updating insulation, and walking listeners through alternative energy sources, like solar and geothermal. Write a blog post about how to incorporate safety and emergency preparedness measures into a home improvement project, from fire and burglary alarm systems to back up generators that supply power during an outage.

6. Answer the Public

When you’re looking for popular questions related to your search term, I suggest you check out Answer the Public. Simply type in your search term on the homepage, and the tool will create a visual representation of related questions and phrases, and will even provide you with an alphabetical list of related terms.

7. Analyze All Existing Content and Create Your Hub Pages

Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to take a look at the content you already have. How does that content align with the relevant keywords you found along the way? Are there ways to tweak the content to speak more directly to searchers’ intent? Are there gaps in the content you can fill with new content that will better address those most relevant search terms?

From here, you can begin to build out hub pages. These pages serve as the go-to guides on a given topic, and it’s easy to hone in on the best topics for hub pages once you’ve done your keyword research and understand what people are really searching for when they research your industry or field. Hub pages have major benefits from both an SEO and content perspective, so creating a handful of effective hub pages should be the ultimate goal of your keyword research.

Keyword research is never done in a vacuum. Great keyword research is at the heart of strong SEO and content creation strategies. It will drive your editorial calendar creation and help you get ranking in SERPs. By following the steps above, you’ll be sure to cover all of your bases and give yourself the greatest shot at happening upon unique keywords that can help you get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

backlink

How to Get High-Quality Backlinks

Getting backlinks can seem like a daunting task. How do you get other businesses to link to your site online?

If you don’t have any backlinks yet you can get up and running pretty quickly by tapping your existing partners and resources within your community. Things like the local chamber of commerce online listings, alumni directories for the founders’ schools, and church and community directories are great places to start. This is the low-hanging fruit, and getting these backlinks set up is a great way to ease into the next steps in a backlink strategy.

Once you’ve established those links, it’s time to move onto more advanced tactics. Gathering more backlinks should be an ongoing effort, and if you’re looking for legitimate ways to get backlinks, these are the best way to do it.

Research Competitors Backlinks

Start by investigating your competitors. Where are they getting backlinks? Are they in industry databases or local publications that list providers in their city? Once you’ve discovered these additional places where you can be listed, it’s sometimes as easy as filling out a simple form to get your business listed.

A comprehensive SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you research your existing backlinks as well as the links your competitors have acquired.

Update Existing Content

Hopefully, you already have some content on your site. Sometimes, there’s an opportunity to restructure or refresh the content you already have in order to generate backlinks.

Do you have any blog posts that list providers or tools that are helpful for your readers? Take a look through the list and add some new businesses onto these lists. Then, reach out to these businesses to let them know their service or tool has been featured; they’ll want to let their customers know that they got a shout-out on an outside site, and so you’ll likely get a backlink from them.

Submit Guest Posts

Guest blogging has long been a popular, more advanced way to get backlinks. Reaching out to relevant sites and writing a guest post on their blog is a great way to get links. However, over the years the trend of guest posting has waned a bit, so it’s now more difficult to get a guest blogging gig.

It’s worth the try, though! Put together a targeted list of blogs and publications that would be a solid fit for a strategic partner for your business. Write a compelling, error-free pitch email, outlining the topics you could write about and why it would bring real value to their audience. Tailor your pitch to each blog’s specific audience, and take the time to research who you’re emailing so that you can send a personalized message. Finally, feel free to follow up with your contact in a respectful way if you don’t hear back initially.

Join a Podcast

While guest blogging seems to be falling out of favor, guest podcasting is my new favorite way to get backlinks. Just like with guest blogging, guest podcasting is great because it allows you to tap into the existing audience of the brand of the podcast you’re appearing on.

And there’s an additional benefit that guest blogging doesn’t have: It’s very little additional work. While writing a blog post requires research, writing, editing, and selecting photos and relevant emails, when you are a guest on a podcast, you simply show up and talk about what you do every day. You’re an expert in your field, and you can speak comfortably on your topic with little preparation. And with most podcasts, you can call in from wherever you are to speak with the host, so within the 30 minutes or so that it takes to do the interview, you have generated great backlinks.

A service such as Podcast Bookers can get you set up a pitched to podcasts very quickly.

Write up a Report

While it’s sometimes challenging to convince others to let you guest blog, if you have exclusive research to share, you can capture everyone’s attention. Offering up research is a great way to get media links and to even open guest blogging doors.

Yes, exclusive research takes time. However, if you are able to partner with one of your existing business relationships, you can both reap the benefits and halve the work. You and your strategic partner can tap into your networks to find people to interview for the research. Then divide and conquer when it comes to assembly the data and creating visually-appealing ways to share it.

Connect in New Content

How can you get attention and backlinks for new content you create? Mentioning relevant influencers, community members, or others in your posts is a great way to get re-shares on new content.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stuff names into posts for the sake of name dropping. Make sure that the people you’re mentioning are relevant to what you’re writing about. For example, let’s say you are a home remodeling business. Consider pulling together a series of posts featuring families you’ve done work for. If there’s anyone that’s a pillar of the community who they’ve worked with, ask if they’d be willing to be featured. Let’s say you helped the former mayor remodel her kitchen—ask her if she’d be willing to talk about the process and share how her new and improved kitchen has bettered her life.

Once the post goes live, let the person know and ask them to re-share with their network and followers.

Publish a Press Releases

With all of these new digital marketing tactics, it’s possible to forget about those tried-and-true methods. But press releases are still a great way to get attention and backlinks! Are you launching a new product or opening a new location? Did you make a big, announcement-worthy hire? Are you participating in a local community event? There are plenty of reasons you might write a press release.

If you need a refresher on how to write an effective press release, check out this guest post on our Duct Tape Marketing blog.

Link Out

This is a long-game approach to getting backlinks, but it’s worth the effort. When you’re creating content, link out to tools and resources you genuinely like and think are helpful. If you’re featuring a specific tool or mentioning an individual person, you can email the business or person to let them know. But it’s good practice to include external links in every post, and many of those external links don’t warrant an email to the source.

However, it’s likely that the source is doing exactly what you’re doing: monitoring your online presence. They’ll see an alert that they’ve been linked out to, and that simple thing such as a link can get your brand on their radar screen. While they might not shout out that piece of content or link back to them right away, there may come a time in the future where they’re looking for a link to share that’s relevant to your client’s business, and it’s your site that they’ll turn to.

It’s important for you to build up a repository of backlinks. It matters for SEO ranking and your online reputation, and the more mentions you can get across the web, the more likely you are to win the attention of a new audience. But just as important as quantity is quality. A great marketing strategy can help you gather backlinks that are relevant to your business.

The Most Useful Ways To Utilize Google Search Console

Even if you don’t have much marketing experience, you understand how critical it is to have a presence on Google. It’s the key to getting your business name out there. Google is the world’s largest search engine, and it’s often the place people go to discover new brands that can solve the problem they’re facing.

All of this to say that how and where you appear in Google search results matters. If you want to develop a better understanding of your business’s presence on the search engine, you must set up your Google Search Console account.

This free tool is designed to help you measure traffic to your site, understand where people are coming from and what they’re searching to find you, plus fix issues that are holding you back from putting your best foot forward in search results.

Let me walk you through the specific features of Google Search Console so that you understand how to use the tool to its greatest effect.

Submit Your Sitemap

When you’re creating a new website—or making major changes to your existing site—you need to introduce this new site to Google. Google will only consider displaying your site in their search results once they understand what it’s about, and the way that Google comes to know the content of your site is through crawling and indexing.

Basically, Google has robots that crawl each site, looking for keywords, content, links, errors, and any other information that can help them understand what a website is about and whether or not it will be a helpful site for their users. From there, it indexes your site; essentially, it adds you to their roster of sites they might display in search results.

Google will eventually index all sites on the internet, but by uploading your sitemap to your Google Search Console platform, you can fast track the indexing process for your site. While Google might happen upon your site a few days after it’s been uploaded or overhauled, sharing your sitemap within Google Search Console cuts that indexing time down to a few hours.

Find Crawl Errors

While Google is crawling your website, they’ll be on the lookout for errors. If your site is sprinkled with broken links, 404 errors, or shows signs of having been hacked, Google will punish your website in SERPs. They’ll infer that your site will likely be unhelpful for searchers, and so they’ll move you down the results page (or omit you altogether).

Sometimes, though, there are errors on your site that you don’t even know about! If you’ve been in business for a while and have a website with dozens or hundreds of pages, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and the like, it’s hard to keep on top of finding broken links and 404 errors in that maze of content.

Similarly, hackers can basically piggyback on your website, without you knowing, and use your domain name to host their own spammy or dangerous content. This happens outside the bounds of your own website’s backend, so it’s impossible for you to see the hack through your WordPress site or other hosting platform.

Fortunately, with a Google Search Console account, you’re able to access all of the information about errors that Google finds on your site. They share a list of the issues with your pages, so that you’re able to go in and fix anything that’s causing Google to penalize your page.

Understand Query Keyword Ranking Data

Knowing how and where you rank on Google for certain search terms is vital information for a business owner. When you understand what search terms are leading real people to your website, you can tailor your existing content to better address their needs and create all new content designed to rank for search terms you’d like to be seen for.

Google Search Console is the place to see how you actually rank in Google. It will show you real search terms that led consumers to various pages of your site. Not only that, it will give you an assessment of your average ranking for each term.

For those pages that are ranking on the first page of SERPs (basically, anything that falls within the 1-10 ranking range), you know you’ve done some great SEO work. The content is strong, and the metadata and descriptions are enticing users to click on the content.

For pages that are ranking on that second page of SERPs, you know you’re almost there. Armed with this information, you can begin to tweak your approach on these pages. Maybe the on-page content itself is great, but the meta description needs work to draw readers in. Or perhaps you can add a video to accompany the existing content that will keep readers on the page longer and encourage them to move onto other pages on your site.

Discover Click Through Rate

Your click through rate (CTR) is a ranking factor on Google. If you have a great ranking for your page but a low CTR, Google might begin to punish you in rankings. Any page that’s ranking within the first five links should have a CTR of between seven and 10. Anything lower than that indicates that the page’s content is useful, but for some reason people aren’t clicking through to it in search results.

Armed with information about results ranking and CTR, you can better identify the issue with your content. In the case of a high ranking page with low CTR, you know the issue isn’t the page itself. Once people land on the page, they’re loving the content—that’s how your page ended up ranking so well in the first place.

But the low CTR indicates that something’s off with the content as it displays on Google SERPs. Maybe the title isn’t compelling or doesn’t accurately describe what readers find on the page. Maybe the metadata and description are misleading. Whatever the case may be, you know to focus on that aspect of SEO, rather than wasting time trying to optimize the page itself.

Get Definitive Answer About Backlinks

Backlinks are another ranking factor. When your website is cited on other sites, Google infers that yours is a trustworthy page that is an authority in your area of expertise. These are major signals that you’ve got a useful website, which will in turn give you a boost in your SERPs ranking.

While there are other tools out there that can estimate your backlink status, Google is able to give you the definitive answer. Using Google Search Console, you can see exactly where your website is linked to elsewhere on the internet.

From there, you can work to build out more backlinks strategically, or even ask to remove links that are harmful for your site (more on that next).

Disavow Links

Sometimes your content can end up on strange websites. I’ve seen instances where clients’ content was shared by weird, seedy websites. While you want to build up backlinks, you want them to be with reputable companies and on websites that are related to your industry or field. Backlinks on untrustworthy sites can actually be toxic for your online presence.

Once you’ve seen where your site is linked to, you can submit a disavow list via Google Search Console to remove your backlinks from unsavory sites. Keeping your business’s online presence clean is a key part of managing your online reputation and ensuring you continue to rank well.

Eliminate Duplicate Content

Google will punish websites that have duplicate content across their pages. In some cases, this duplication is necessary (like if you have the same content on your standard webpage and then have the exact same content on a printer-friendly page). However, duplicate content can theoretically be used for nefarious purposes, so Google flags all large chunks of duplicate content as suspicious.

Through Google Search Console, you can see what content Google has taken issue with on your site. From there, you can either remove the duplicate content, or take steps to consolidate your duplicate URLs.

Google Search Console is a powerful tool that allows business owners a behind-the-scenes look at how Google is assessing their website. Using this information, you can optimize your online presence to address Google’s concerns, create content that resonates with your ideal customer, and ensure that your site is achieving its greatest ranking potential.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to SEO.

5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the 5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

Every business needs SEO. If you’re a consultant or marketing agency, every single one of your clients is looking for you to get them results. They want to show up in search engine rankings—and not just show up anywhere, but rank competitively so that they get noticed by new audiences.

For experienced marketers, SEO isn’t complicated or difficult. We all know that there are certain things we need to do, like creating a website with the proper structure and implementing a content plan. Once you’ve covered the basics, you want to take your efforts to the next level so that you can really deliver for your clients.

These five techniques can help you take what your clients already have and turn it into even more valuable SEO fuel.

1. Optimize Your Old Content

Many business owners have produced lots of content over the years. If your client has been blogging for 15 years, there’s a ton of valuable content to tap into! The key is to go back and re-optimize that older content. Removing broken links, getting rid of outdated resources, and updating to be relevant for today’s audience is a great way to give your client’s existing content a boost.

This is also an opportunity for you to link to newer internal content. If your client has since created several explainer videos on the topic, plus a great podcast episode, why not include links to this newer material?

2. Embrace New Formats

Today, content is about so much more than blog posts. And fortunately a format like video can help you create exponentially more content in the same amount of time.

Take, for example, what I’m doing with this podcast. I’m actually recording this as a video, and will pull the audio separately to create the podcast episode that you’re listening to now. I’ll also create a blog post to accompany this episode. That means that in about ten minutes of work, I’ve suddenly created content in three separate formats (video, audio, and written word).

3. Add Video to Your Pages

Speaking of video, if your client doesn’t already have video on their website, now is the time to include content in this popular format. Not only are people more eager than ever to consume content in video format, video also helps increase your ranking with the search engines.

One of the ranking factors for Google and other search engines is dwell time (essentially, how long a visitor stays on a given web page). Longer dwell times lead search engines to infer that the content on the given page is relevant to the viewer, which they reward by giving you a boost in SERPs.

I’ve noticed on our site that pages that have video embedded on them encourage people to stick around. Visitors usually stay on these pages one to two minutes longer than pages lacking video. Even if they don’t watch the entire video, a video clip that can hold their attention for even 30 seconds will keep them on the page for longer than blocks of text would.

4. Get on Podcasts

I’ve talked before about the SEO benefits of guest podcasting. Lately, there has been a shift away from guest blogging and towards guest podcasting. Lots of businesses have started podcasts, and they’re hungry for guests to fill those episodes. Why not get your client on relevant shows?

Guest podcasting is great for a number of reasons. The time commitment is minimal; in 20 minutes of talking, you can create an entire episode. Plus, since you’re a guest, it’s up to the podcast host to edit the episode and do all of the behind-the-scenes work.

Podcasters are happy to link to your client’s website, ebooks, and other resources. This creates backlinks for their site, which are an important external element in building reputation and SEO. Plus, the podcaster will promote the episode through their networks and channels, bringing additional exposure to your client.

5. Collaborate with Clients to Produce Content

The final step to boosting your client’s SEO is a bit more involved, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Each month, work with one of your clients to produce content. This could be a video or podcast interview on your own site, a case study, a co-created survey, or just about anything else you can dream up.

Put together a package of content featuring and partnering with your clients. Through this process, you’ll generate backlinks and great content for both of you. Collaborating with your clients is great for strengthening your relationship with them, plus it can help you close more deals for yourself!

Prospects love to see examples, case studies, and the like. Co-created content touches on all of those elements. And when you’re producing and promoting your own content, you’re showing off your marketing prowess to potential clients.

As a marketer, you understand how to nail down the basics of SEO. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, these five steps are a great place to start. By amplifying your client’s existing efforts, you’re getting the most out of each piece of content they create and generating great SEO results with less heavy lifting.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Opteo logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Opteo. Opteo is a Google Ads optimization software that helps you automate the day-to-day tasks so you can handle more clients in less time.

Opteo frees you up to focus on higher-level strategy aspects of managing Google Ads accounts, and includes over 40 different optimization suggestions to help you manage keywords, improve ad creative, and optimize bids.

They’ll also send you email or Slack alerts about sudden changes in account metrics, so you’re never left wondering what’s happening with your Google Ads accounts.

To get a free, 6-week extended trial, exclusively for Duct Tape Marketing Podcast listeners, head over to opteo.com/ducttape.

Building an Effective Total Online Presence

The Three Elements of an Effective Total Online Presence

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Total Online Presence

Business owners today understand that being visible online is important. But what does having an online presence really mean? It’s a lot bigger than just having a website and a Facebook page. And when you look at the statistics on how consumers behave online, it’s easy to understand why. Did you know that:

  • 77 percent of searches on mobile devices are followed up by an action within an hour;
  • 87 percent of potential customers won’t consider a business with low reviews/ratings;
  • 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information on social media sites; and
  • 82 percent of small business owners claim their main source of new business is still referrals?

All of these statistics demonstrate the importance of having a total online presence that is fully integrated. That means that the total online presence shouldn’t supplant everything else you’re already doing—it needs to support it.

In order to make the most of the way that consumers interact with brands online, there are three fundamental elements of strategy for your online presence: website, SEO, and content. These are bigger than just tactics, they’re strategic components; as such, they need to be blended together in an effective and efficient way.

Below, we’ll take a look at the three elements of your total online presence, and how to get them working in tandem to bring you the greatest results.

Creating an Effective Website

The way that both search engines and people search has changed how websites need to work today. Your homepage isn’t just a placeholder and index for all of your links. It’s now the start of a journey—it’s where you build the know, like, trust, and try elements of your relationship with customers.

The first thing your homepage must do is demonstrate how you solve the biggest problem your prospects are facing. No one comes to a website looking for a product or service; they come looking for a solution to their problem. If you can prove that you understand their issue, then you can begin to talk about how you solve it (with your products and services).

The content on your homepage needs to back up your claims. Video is becoming an increasingly important element in building trust. A video featuring your team talking about your deep understanding of the problems your prospects face builds trust. Not only do they feel like you really know what you’re talking about, but the simple act of seeing your face and hearing your voice builds a personal connection that makes the trust grow even faster.

You also want to provide an evaluation or checklist in order to give prospects a way to try your approach. When they can see the way you work to solve their problem, they gain confidence in your ability to get the job done.

Beyond those basic content elements, your website also needs to address two major technical hurdles in order to be competitive today. First, it must work on a mobile device. In 2018, Google announced that they’d be using mobile websites, rather than desktop websites, as their main basis for indexing and ranking. This means that if you don’t have a mobile site (or you have one that isn’t optimized for mobile), you’re lagging behind your competitors and falling in Google search rankings. Second, security and privacy are becoming bigger and bigger concerns for consumers. After years of watching some of the giants like Facebook and Target stumble with online security, consumers are looking for small businesses who work hard to guard their personal information. This means ensuring that you have an HTTPS site and that you are encrypting any data you collect from visitors.

Search Engine Optimization

It’s Google’s world, we’re just living in it. Whether you like it or not, Google is the biggest player in the online game, and so a small business owner’s chief concern needs to be optimizing for Google. But at the same time, you can’t lose sight of your customers and optimizing for their human needs.

The first thing that any small business owner should do to ensure they’re ranking well with Google is take a deeper look at Google My Business. I’ve talked before on the podcast about the importance of this tool, but Google continues to build out this platform and further integrate it with other tools. In fact, I suspect that in 2019 it may become Google’s very own social platform, allowing small business owners to interact with their customers. But for now, at the very least, it’s the number one way in which small businesses are being found by people looking for local solutions.

This means you should be taking your Google My Business presence seriously. If you haven’t done so already, claim your business and make sure there are no duplicate entries. Ensure the category of your business is specific, and that the name, address, and phone number all sync up with what you have on your website. Add photos and videos, posts, and descriptions to your profile. You can even use Google My Business to connect directly with customers and prospects through text messaging.

You also want to be sure that your website is giving you the best shot at ranking locally. Fill your pages with local data, content, and resources. And beyond what is actually on your website for prospects and customers to find, you need to be paying attention to the metadata behind the scenes. Make sure your titles and descriptions are helping you rank for those search terms that matter most to your prospects.

Reviews are the final piece of the SEO puzzle. They have become a significant factor in how you rank. Businesses with few reviews or poor reviews will fall behind those with lots of good reviews. And as with all of the other elements of SEO, while reviews matter for rankings, they also matter for the people reading them. Having reviews—and good ones at that—will make prospects far more likely to give your business a try.

Content Beyond Blogging

Today, it’s pretty common for “content” to be used interchangeably with “blog posts.” But in reality, content is much bigger than that. Content drives every channel. Whether it’s advertising, email marketing, social media, community events, videos, referral offers, or text messaging, these are all forms of content (or at the very least channels where content is needed).

When you’re developing content, you need to be catering to every stage of the customer journey. A great way to do this is through the creation of hub pages. These pages allow you to structure your content around specific topics. When you centralize all of your knowledge on a given topic within a hub page, that allows the content to be shared more easily and to draw attention in ranking.

Beyond just creating a centralized page for relevant content, you want to be sure you’re marrying content upgrades to those hub pages. If you have a page that ranks, attach a free checklist or eBook so that you can begin using all of that content to capture leads.

I’ve Got My Strategic Elements—Now What?

As you can see, these three main elements of your total online presence all go hand in hand. This means that you also need to get your website, SEO strategy, and content working together to generate and capture leads, so that you can begin the process of nurturing them and converting them to customers.

Building an effective strategy is about addressing the needs of your prospects and customers all along their journey. Whether they’re in the earliest stages of the marketing hourglass, and are just coming to know and like your business, or they’re a repeat customer about to make a referral to a friend.

Every element of your strategy needs to be focused towards moving people along the hourglass, and this goes beyond just website, SEO, and content. Things like advertising, outreach, pay per click, and reviews all must work together to accomplish this task.

Fortunately, if you’re using these three major strategic elements as your guide, you’re able to structure the other tactics around those larger forces to create a marketing system that best serves the needs of your business and your customers.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Asana logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Asana! Asana is a work management tool to keep your entire team on track. The Duct Tape team relies on Asana to unify communication, assign and delegate tasks, and manage deliverables for everything from individual meetings to big client projects.

To help support the show, Asana is offering our listeners an exclusive deal. You can get a free, 30-day trial. Just go to asana.com/ducttape.

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website (And How to Do It)

Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. So it stands to reason that it should be built with marketing, rather than aesthetics, in mind. Yes, there is something to be said for having an appealing website, and you should certainly aim to design one that has both form and function. But the mistake that a lot of small business owners make is focusing on form exclusively, and that is where they miss a major opportunity.

Your website can be the most beautiful one in the world, but if you don’t focus on its function, then it’s all for naught. If you want to build a successful website, you need to start with a solid SEO framework to build a site that is easy to find and works seamlessly with your other online marketing efforts.

Why SEO Matters

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what gets new prospects onto your site. If someone does a Google search looking to solve a problem that they have, and your business is capable of solving that problem, you want your website to be the first one that they see. Think about your own browsing habits: How often do you look at the second, third, or fourth page search results on Google? If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of results, you’re not being seen by the majority of people.

Start with Keyword Research

Ensuring high rankings on search results is why it’s critical to begin the website design process with keyword research. Start by brainstorming the terms you would search for if you were looking for the good or service your business provides. This can and should be a long list—write everything down and don’t self-edit. Google Search Console can also help you identify the terms that are already driving users to your site, which might help you reframe your own thinking on the list.

Then begin to winnow the list down to 12-20 terms; some that speak to the fundamentals of your business and some that speak to a specific intent a user might have when searching. These keywords will inform all of your website design choices from here on out.

Think Like a Search Engine

The way that a human sees your site is very different from the way Google sees it as it crawls through sites looking for information relevant to a given search. You want to make sure that as much of your content as possible is in HTML text format. Images, Flash content, and Javascript are often not seen by search engines as they’re crawling sites, so if all of the important information about what your business does is displayed on your page within these dynamic formats, it’s possible that Google is skipping right past your website when looking for relevant words or phrases.

Using a tool like Google Cache Checker will allow you to see what your website looks like to Google. If your pages are showing up mostly blank, you know that search engines are missing out on crawling the majority of your content, so you’ll want to restructure your site to be more HTML heavy.

Consider Website Structure

In addition to thinking about the way a search engine will see your site, you want to make sure you’re building a structure that makes sense for SEO and for visitors.

Creating a site map can be a helpful way to think about content and flow. What information do you want to group together? What is the logical path that visitors will take when navigating your site? How can you make it easy for users to get from one relevant piece of information to another? And how can you structure your website in a way that enriches the customer journey and encourages users to move down the marketing hourglass?

Once you’ve thought about the user experience aspect of your site, it’s time to think about structure from an SEO perspective. Creating a site with crawlable link structure is critical to making sure that all of your content is seen by search engines. There are a number of reasons why your links might not be crawlable, including if they’re for pages that are hidden behind submission forms, if the links are within the aforementioned Java content that search engines aren’t able to see, or if there are hundreds of links on a given site (search engines will only go through so many links before hitting a limit).

Create Rich Content

Of course, this effort you’ve put into creating a site that’s easy to find, functional, and appealing will all be useless if your site has sub-par content.

As I’ve said before, the goal of this content should be to establish your business as a leading authority in your field. This valuable content will serve you across the board. It makes prospects come to trust you and moves them to the try and buy portions of the marketing hourglass. When you continue to generate new, rich content, it drives existing customers back to your site for more information, keeps you top of mind with those customers, and makes them more likely to repeat and refer.

Not only that, but when your website is filled with valuable content, and you continue to add more on a regular basis, you generate a stream of information that you can use to drive users to your site. You should be housing all of your content—blog posts, webinars, case studies, podcasts, white papers, and infographics—on your website. Then, as you share links to all of this valuable content on social media or via your newsletter, you’re directing all traffic back to your site.

A website, no matter how good it looks, is nothing without a solid approach to SEO. Your website is the most important piece of your online marketing strategy, and so investing the time, energy, and money in creating a site that ticks all of the boxes for form and function is a worthwhile endeavor.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.

small business SEO

5 Steps to Small Business Search Engine Optimization

Want to know what Google thinks of your site? Request a free SEO review from Duct Tape Marketing.

The video above is a replay of a recent live webinar I conducted. Combined with the text below you should have a pretty good feel for the steps necessary for small business SEO.

If you’re looking for a highly technical post on search engine optimization (SEO), this is not the content for you, and honestly, that’s because I don’t believe SEO is that technical (unless you have an e-commerce site, in which case it can be). There are elements you have to understand, but you mainly have to apply the right tactics on a consistent basis.

So, without further ado, here are the five steps that I would recommend for small businesses as they dive into their SEO efforts.

1. Strategy First

Back in the day, people would get a website built, they’d get somebody to put content in the website, and then they’d find somebody to “SEO the site,” but you can’t approach SEO that way today because every aspect of your total online presence is so highly integrated (see image below), that you really have to think about all of the components at the same time.

small business seo strategy

This is why I put such a strong emphasis on focusing on strategy first.

When focusing on your strategy, start by developing a list of problems that your target audience is experiencing that you can help them solve. Conduct keyword research around this list of core themes and identify the top five or so topics that you’ll produce content around. So, instead of writing about your products and services, you’ll write about, in detail, the problems your audience is facing and how to fix them.

Content is such a big part of SEO these days. You must create content that your audience will want to read and find useful, which allows you to make a connection to the solutions that you sell. That’s how you think strategically about search engine optimization.

The key is to hone in on four or five core topics and start producing content around those. Your website structure and content need to revolve around these few themes which will make your content development easier and more focused.

To develop these themes, I brainstorm a bunch of topics, and then there are a few tools I use to narrow them down:

Google Keyword Planner

This is a free tool from Google that is a part of Google Ads and is often used by advertisers to figure out what search terms and keywords they should bid on, but it’s also a great tool for giving you data on what search terms are being searched for.

In addition to monthly search volume and competition, Google Keyword Planner also gives you a suggested bid for the term, and while you aren’t using this for advertising purposes per se, it can help you see which word may generate more conversions or sales because people are willing to pay more for it in their advertising, which is a good clue it could be a good word for you to target with your content. Decent volume and a higher suggested bid could be good indicators that those are good themes you should go after.

Keywordtool.io

This tool gives you questions that people are asking which often show high intent (questions are great for voice search SEO as well).

Answer the Public

When you type in a search term, this site will give you a bunch of variations and questions people are asking related to that term.

Google Auto-Complete

If you just start typing a keyword into the search box on Google, it will start to suggest what terms they think you’re after or related common searches (there are also related searches at the bottom of the search page). These related terms are often ones that have high volume.

google related terms

Keywords Everywhere (Chrome Extension)

When you type in a search term in Google, this extension will provide a sidebar on the right side of search engine results pages that shows you related keywords and other things that people have been searching for, as well as volume and cost per click.

Once you have the handful of themes that you’d like to move forward with, I’d recommend creating what I call hub pages that have a lot of related links driving back to them, including block posts related content that you produce over a year or so. From a structural standpoint, I’d make these hub pages prominent tabs on your main site navigation (more on the hub content later).

2. Google My Business

Once your strategy is in place, you have to essentially bow down to Google, especially if you’re a local business. For local businesses, Google My Business has become one of your most important search engine optimization assets.

Google My Business is also how you get into Google Maps that show up above the organic listings. To determine who shows up in this 3-pack, Google factors in the proximity of where you currently are, but it also factors in if your Google My Business listing is properly optimized. To optimize your listing:

  • Make sure it’s claimed
  • Make sure there aren’t any duplicates of the listing
  • Add a specific and relevant category
  • Include your company’s name, address, local phone number, and website (these should match the information on your website)
  • Add photos and videos
  • Add positive reviews (these are a huge ranking factor on their own) – Be sure to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative.
  • Publish Google Posts

To be effective with your SEO, small businesses need to not only take advantage of Google My Business, but the entire Google Universe as well, including Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ads, because they all integrate together to help you get the results you desire.

3. On-site ranking factors

If you’re trying to optimize a page for a keyword phrase, you get to set the:

  • URL of the page
  • Page title (meta)
  • Header tags – H1 and H2
  • Alt image attribute
  • Page content

Take a look at these elements on the page you’re reading now – you’ll see SEO tips and strategies for small business in a number of places because that’s what this page is optimized for.

So, include the keyword in those areas! Now, this is not to say you should keyword stuff because you shouldn’t. You still want to write for humans, but be sure to take the opportunity to get your most important keywords in these areas. The page title, meta description, and URL also influence the snippet that shows up in search engine results pages (meta description isn’t an actual ranking factor, but it is a click-through factor, kind of like an ad for somebody to click).

I use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which is a free plugin that helps me optimize this metadata. I highly recommend using it!

To supplement these on page efforts, you must control your Google Search Console as well. This is where you tell Google what’s on your website. To do this effectively:

  • Claim and verify your profile
  • Add your sitemap
  • Check your messages
  • Integrate it with Google Analytics

4. Content Hubs

I spoke about this briefly earlier in the post but thought I’d dive a little deeper. Content is no longer just a tactic; it’s like the air that’s necessary for your marketing efforts, which is why these hubs are so important because this content becomes such an important asset over time.

If you were working with an HVAC contractor, for example, this is what a hub page (Guide to Air Conditioning Repair) with its various sections may look like:

small business content marketing

On these pages, you’d include links to all of the content you’re writing about these topics as well curated content from other websites that are related, creating a link building structure that shows Google all of this content is related. It essentially shows Google that you have useful content for your audience. Remember, the guide itself will be in your main site navigation.

If you create 4-5 hub pages over the course of the year and just keep building upon them, they will be huge assets for your business.

Here’ an example of a hub page we’ve put together for Duct Tape Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

5. Off-site ranking factors

These are things that you do have some control over, but they’re not on your website (although typically point back to your site). These are other factors that tell Google what your site’s about, what people think about it, that it’s important, etc.

Clean data

Make sure all listing and directories are accurate across the web. This is especially important if your business has moved. Your data needs to be consistent. There are a few tools that can help to ensure your data is clean including Yext and MozLocal (both offer free scans to see where you stand and can help you fix them).

Links from other sites

If people link to posts on your site (a backlink), this tells Google that people think you have great content on your site. It acts as a popularity vote. Good places to look to add links to your site include:

  • Alumni sites
  • Strategic partners and suppliers
  • Local events
  • Media
  • Chamber of Commerce

Reviews

When people write about your business and type in what a business does well, Google recognizes this. The following are areas to add reviews:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Industry-related review sites

Social signals

When people talk about you on social media, Google pays attention to those mentions.

Domain authority

You have less to do with this, but it’s a huge ranking factor. This factors into how many links back to your site are from important sites, how long the domain has been around, and so on.

To recap the information above, you must have a plan; you must take advantage of the Googleverse, you must optimize and pay attention to on and off-page ranking factors, and you need to build content hubs.

Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to Small Business SEO.

Want to know what Google thinks of your site? Request a free SEO review from Duct Tape Marketing.

voice search

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

As we are all aware at this point, voice recognition technology is continuing to get better and better, in fact, it is now believed to be 95% accurate. As users, we’re adapting to this new voice revolution rather quickly (almost 1/4 of mobile search queries are voice search), yet marketers and SEO specialists seem to be lagging behind a bit when it comes to optimizing for this new way to search.

If you’re in the marketing world, it’s time you start paying attention to voice search optimization to help you show up in search results via this method.

While optimizing for voice search requires slightly different tactics than the search engine optimization techniques we’re used to, they can benefit your website as a whole, regardless of how a person is searching for you, so implementing these best practices is really a win-win.

Aim for the Featured Snippet

Position zero, or Google’s featured snippet, is now the most coveted spot in search engine results pages for many reasons, but becoming the top result for voice search is now one of them.

A featured snippet is meant to be a quick answer to a question (as shown in the screenshot below), which is typically what people are looking for when they are using voice search.

voice search optimization

If you are able to land this spot in results pages, you’ll be more likely to be the result found in voice search results. According to a survey by Backlinko, 40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet.

With the featured snippet, simple answers (such as asking a celebrity’s age) are answered directly as they are facts. For more expert/opinion-based posts, search engines will pull content from websites they think are the best fit to answer the question.

Helpful tips to get to that desired spot include:

  • Knowing and addressing your audience’s intent
  • Doing your keyword research
  • Creating high-quality content that answers questions
  • Implementing SEO best practices
  • Focusing on easy-to-follow formatting

At the end of the day, aiming for the Featured Snippet should be a top priority regardless of how people search, but it can really give you an extra boost with voice search.

Optimize for certain types of keywords

As most people in the marketing world know, when it comes to SEO, keywords are, well, key. They are at the core of your content strategy and help you identify and respond to audience intent.

When it comes to voice search, you need to think about keywords and SEO a bit differently as these search queries tend to be a bit longer than type-based search. Because of this, you really need to put an emphasis on long-tail keywords.

Additionally, when people use voice search, they’re typically more conversational than when they type terms into a search box. Be sure to create content around conversational phrases. Having an FAQ page on a site or Q&A related blog posts can be easy for search engines to pull from since questions typically come across as being more conversational. I like using Answer the Public to find questions related to search terms I’m trying to rank for. I definitely encourage you to check it out!

When it comes to SEO, I don’t really condone shortcuts as SEO should be looked at as a marathon, not a sprint, however, research is showing that there are some common trigger words that may help with voice search that you could add to your target keyword phrases to help you get found through voice search. These terms include, but are not limited to:

  • Buy
  • Get
  • Find
  • Top rated
  • Closest

Granted, don’t include these in all of your content, but you may want to consider sprinkling them in here and there.

Understand schema markup

If you’re asking yourself what schema markup is, I highly recommend starting your research (and don’t be deterred by code, this is important stuff!). Not only does it bode well for search optimization in general, it may also be one of the most important factors to ranking for voice search.

In a nutshell, schema markup helps search engines understand the content on a page. By including it on your website, you make it very clear what that page is all about, making it easy for search engines to scan.

Invest in mobile optimization

For SEO in general right now, it is imperative that your website is mobile-friendly. Google primarily cares about user experience and are now pulling the experience on mobile devices over a desktop for SEO. I’d recommend moving to a responsive design and ensuring mobile site speed is quick to avoid penalty.

Since so many voice searches are done via mobile device it’s essential you are optimized to help get found in mobile results.

Focus on content

While this may seem like a no-brainer at this point in the SEO game, there are a few specific tips that you should pay attention to specifically when it comes to voice search:

  • Ensure your content is simple and easy to read
  • Aim to write long-form content (roughly 2,000 words) as that’s typically what Google pulls from for voice search
  • Answer your audience’s questions and solve their problems with your content
  • Write/speak naturally in your content (this goes back to people using conversational phrases when using voice search)
  • Share your content on social media regularly, as those tend to perform better with voice search

Stick with SEO basics

Lastly, don’t forget about the basics of SEO. The more you follow those best practices, the more Google will reward you. Just because there are new aspects to consider doesn’t mean you should forget about the existing elements.

  • Be sure to optimize on-page elements with relevant keywords including URL, page title, header tags, alt text, meta description, and within the copy itself.
  • Build a backlink and review strategy.
  • Ensure your site is secure.
  • Focus on page speed (according to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).

I say this all the time but it never seems to be enough: build out your total online presence. Create the best user experience you can and you’ll see the benefits roll in.

Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO.

1 2 3 4