How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Voice search is growing rapidly as a more popular option for finding information online and it not likely to slow down.

People prefer the easy hands-free option of voice search so it is crucial for marketers to consider these types of searches in the way that they approach optimization. It is possible for marketers to use SEO methods and other optimization tools to ensure that their company appears in the results of a voice search.

An important thing to keep in mind when optimizing is that the way people pose questions and use keywords with voice search is often very different than typing out a query. Understanding why and how voice search usually occurs can help you gain insight into the best ways to optimize. Specific voice queries may be more likely to be useful in directing people to your business in the results.

SEO professionals have been discovering new strategies to make use of voice search in a way that will boost a website’s rank. The ease with which people can ask questions on the go using voice search has made it beneficial for SEO marketers to get a website to appear more frequently. With voice search someone can quickly and easily find your business right when they are ready to make a purchase.

Differences in Voice Search

When people type in a search either on a computer or a phone they tend to use more succinct language. They might type in about one to three words that quickly identify the main information that they are searching for such as “Mexican restaurant LA”. With voice search it tends to be more conversational in tone since people don’t need to save time when typing and they often use more words and longer phrases.

A voice search might take the form of an actual question rather than just a couple of keywords such as “What is the best Mexican restaurant in LA?” Conversational phrases can be included in SEO strategies in order to get better results in voice search rather than focusing on short keywords.

Understanding the way that people use voice search and what takes place when it is used can help you come up with better optimization strategies.

Another aspect of voice search that makes it different from traditional searches is that it typically focuses on local results for specific items or places that people are looking for. When someone performs a voice search they often want to take immediate action because they are on the go or need to buy something. When typing a search into a computer the user is more often looking to read longer material and research a topic before they decide to make a purchase.

The type of content used to optimize voice search will work best if it is local and brief to help people make a quick decision to purchase from you. They often won’t be reading long articles or clicking through many different sites when using voice search so concise information that provides them a solution is the most effective. Reaching users when they are looking for local businesses can ensure that you are taking advantage of the possibilities of voice search.

Although traditional, computer-based searches are still important for optimization every marketer needs to familiarize themselves with voice search. If you are not optimizing for voice search then you are missing out on a great opportunity to reach customers who are looking for a business like yours. Balancing optimization for both voice search and typed searches can give you a more well-rounded marketing campaign.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Can Competitors Attack Your Site With SEO?

Lately, there’s been much debate on whether Google penalizes bad/low-quality links OR if they simply de-value them. With every algorithm update, there is more speculation. The argument is that Google can’t (or shouldn’t) penalize outside factors, such as links, that can be created by virtually anyone – including your competitors.

This is where the notion of negative SEO comes into play. Since frantic webmasters are scrambling to avoid over optimization penalties, what’s to stop the really vindictive ones to use these tactics against a competitor?

If you’re interested in reading this long thread, 2 users posted a case study about their experiment on using “negative SEO” techniques to cause 2 sites to tank in just a few weeks. They post rankings of specific keywords before and after their link bombs and the 2 targets suffered accordingly. If this experiment really holds true, this means that competitors can focus on penalizing your site instead of optimizing theirs. Rand from seoMOZ eventually joined in on the conversation and even offered his site as an experiment for negative SEO.

On one side, this is terrifying news and imagine all the possibilities! Competitors can spend a few hundred dollars a month to send crummy links to your site, buy social mentions, submit false/wrong information to automated local citation services and more. This is all in the realm of possibility… but others argue that negative SEO alone cannot bring down a site that has been thriving solely using white hat techniques.

The best thing you can do is to keep an eye out on the search marketing newsphere. Keep this information on your radar so that you know what’s going on and when. It’s also important to keep tabs on your site via analytics and check them regularly for any drastic and unnatural changes – like say a couple thousand incoming links from irrelevant sites! It also helps to check your rankings (with a service like Authority Labs) or even keep Google Alerts so that you’re aware of mentions and if anything else unusual occurs.

For now, we’ll have to stay tuned to see how this negative SEO experiment turns out. In the mean time, SEOs around the world are awaiting Google’s official word on this topic. This idea of manipulating a competitor’s link profile is controversial but relatively low-key (for now) but what if it catches on with more and companies attacking each other? Do you think that Google will wait until then to make an announcement or change the way that they value bad incoming links?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Thursday Topics: Over Optimization & Social Media Marketing

Optimization Strategies
What happens if you overkill your optimization strategy? I just saw a short interview clip with Matt Cutts on a SEOBook article about this very subject. Although Matt claims that you won’t necessarily get penalized, it’s obviously not ideal to over optimize. Google optimization is a delicate task and the key is to make your efforts look as natural as possible. This means doing away with duplicate content (your own and content “borrowed” elsewhere) and mixing up the keywords you use on a single page. If you feel like you’re using a particular word a little too much, you probably are. This not only looks spammy but it makes it annoying for your average reader.

Have You Checked in with Foursquare?
Whether you love or hate social media marketing, you’ll certainly be at a disadvantage if you ignore it. The internet is abuzz over the Foursquare phenomenon and that’s cool, but I don’t really get it. I mean I “get it” from a marketer’s point of view so I guess we’ll expand on that note. Like local search, Foursquare pulls in customers to drive business. But, how does it work? The jist of it is that customers “check-in” on their smart phone using the application to keep track of the various locations they’ve visited. Depending on the amount and variety of places you’ve visited, users can earn badges that showcase their accomplishments.
Interesting… but what’s the point? Social Media Examiner shows how businesses can implement loyalty programs and build relationships using the app. By using the ‘check-in’ feature, customers can take advantage coupons and promotions available for locals. It’s beneficial for all, so why not? Foursquare, and the lesser-mentioned Gowalla, are fun and engaging new ways to use location based services to connect with customers.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.