The Rise Of Voice Search And Its Impact On Your Business

Voice Search Business

SEO is constantly changing and yet it is a crucial component of any successful digital marketing strategy. This means that you need to stay on top of emerging trends to remain relevant. You must be one of the first to identify and adopt new search technologies that might impact the industry. This and perhaps next year, the technology to watch is voice search.

Voice search seems to be growing at an unprecedented pace. According to an August 2017 article, approximately half of teens and 41% of adults are using voice search on a daily basis with most of the tech giants including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon now boasting their own special voice search devices and technologies.

Voice Search Business

Google has Google Now, Microsoft has Cortana, Apple has Siri, and Amazon has Alexa.

In other words, you can no longer ignore voice search. Otherwise, you’d be priming yourself for untold losses. No matter the size of your business or the industry you’re in, you need to take voice search seriously and (if you’ve not done so already) make plans to integrate voice search optimization into your overall digital marketing plans.

This blog post will explore on how SMBs can leverage voice search for maximum profitability. We want to show you how to stay ahead with voice search by discussing the exact steps you can take to benefit from the technology. First, though, here are a few things you need to know about voice search.

The Rise And Rise Of Voice Search

Let’s begin with a definition and short history of the technology. “What is voice search?” you might ask.

In the simplest terms, voice search refers to a speech recognition technology that allows digital consumers to search the internet by saying aloud the terms they wish to search, rather than typing these terms into a search field. The very first voice recognition software was introduced by Google in May 2002, approximately 15 years ago.

Although a majority of search engine users still prioritized text search, many began to see the convenience of voice queries. On mobile devices, particularly, it becomes incredibly easy to search by voice. If you’re using a smartphone, you just need to speak to the phone and relevant results would be displayed on the screen.

Voice Search Business

By 2014, an even larger number of internet users were searching by voice as captured in the 2014 article by Android Central. The study shows that by mid-2014, about 55% of teens were using some sort of hands-free search solution on their smartphones every day, including Google’s search solution, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana.

What were most revealing about the findings though, is how people use the voice search function:

  • 51% of consumers use voice search “just for fun”.
  • 40% use the function to ask for directions.
  • 39% use it to dictate text messages.
  • 32% use it to make a phone call.
  • 27% use it to check the weather.

In terms of where the function is used, a majority of people use it when watching TV or hanging out with friends. A good number also prefer voice search when working out in the gym or when cooking. Here is a snapshot of the figures;

  • 59% of teens and 36% of adults use it when watching TV.
  • 57% of teens and 24% of adults use it when in the company of friends.
  • 22% of teens and 15% of adults use it while in the bathroom.
  • 17% of teens and 15% of adults use it while exercising.
  • 8% of teens and 23% of adults use it while cooking.

Finally, the study also sought to find out why people who use voice search are so excited by the technology. The responses weren’t surprising. In order of importance, both teen and adult users think that voice search;

  • Is cool.
  • Is the future.
  • Is safer.
  • Is good for multitasking.
  • Makes them more efficient.

Fast Forward To 2017

The explosion in voice search will make you reconsider any reservations you previously had regarding the technology. Here are just a few statistics on the current status of voice search:

Voice Search Business

There’s a lot more. But, let’s now turn to the predictions. With voice search already blowing through the roof, what can we expect in the near future? According to the experts,

  • There will be 33+ million smart speakers in the U.S. by end of 2017.
  • By 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches.
  • By that time, approximate 30% searches will be done without a screen.
  • Additionally, approximately 600 million people will be using voice search.

How These Searches Impact Digital Marketing

After looking at these statistics, you might want to understand how voice search might impact SEO as you plan to integrate the technology into your overall digital marketing plan. Here are the major impacts:

Mobile Just Became Even More Important

Voice Search Business

When search shifted from PC to mobile a few years ago, smartphones and tablets became critical to SEO. Marketers were forced to immediately optimize their content for mobile devices, or risk losing a large portion of their sales and customers.

The explosion of voice search makes mobile devices, especially the smartphone, even more important. To marketers, it makes mobile optimization a must. With more than half of voice queries coming from smartphones, failing to optimize your content for smartphones would be akin to shutting out half of your potential customers.

Long-Tail Keywords, The Way To Go

Voice Search Business

If you check closely, you’ll notice that voice searches contain more words compared to text searches. On average, a text query on Google comprises just three words. Voice searches, meanwhile, comprise five words on average.

The reason is that when given the chance to ask for something by speaking, people try to be as elaborate as possible, using natural-sounding phrases and questions instead of the odd query language. Instead of asking “SEO Company in Florida” like they would type when text-searching, a searcher will ask “Find the best SEO Company in Florida.” It’s a small difference but in SEO, that’s all it takes to convert or miss out on a sale.

Back To Conversational Content

With text searches, marketers needed to think in terms of what someone would type in the search box. This led to what Google calls exact-matching. If you used Google Adwords at some point, you must have come across this term.

Voice Search Business

Voice search makes “exact-matching” a thing of the past. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to replicate what someone would say in a voice search. What this means is that marketers need to go back to the drawing board and begin creating conversational content suited to natural-language queries.

Location Is Now More Important Than Ever

Finally, location already plays a central role in 80% of all searches. Whenever people search with the intention of finding information of making a purchase, they will typically include a location.

Voice search takes this to another level. With voice queries, rarely will a searcher go without specifying a location. Whether they are buying shoes or trying to find a taxi company, they will almost certainly include a location. But not just that, most voice search providers can quickly and accurately pinpoint a user’s location in real time and deliver results based on the identified location. It means that location takes center stage from here on.

Tips On How To Stay Ahead With Voice Search

As we round up, let’s look at what you can do reap maximum benefits from voice search. We’ll assume that you already have a clear SEO strategy in place. Now, all you need to do is adjust the strategy to cater to voice queries.

  • Have a mobile-friendly site.
  • This is where it all begins. As already mentioned, most voice searches are done on smartphones. Make sure your content renders perfectly on these devices, from images to text and hyperlinks. Additionally, all your key resources – JavaScript, CSS, videos, images, etc – should be crawlable. Once done, use the Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your site is mobile-ready.

  • Avoid flash.
  • Flash is not supported by most mobile devices. A number of new laptops and PC browsers also don’t support the technology. To make sure that Google and mobile visitors can access your site and easily crawl or view your content, it’s best to avoid using flash on your mobile pages.

  • Optimize your page load times.
  • If you didn’t know, 40% of mobile users won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load. If some of your pages are still taking this long to load, you’ll lose a lot of customers. One of the simplest ways to improve your load times on mobile is to compress your images.

  • Adjust for natural language in both content and SEO.
  • Your content should from now on be more conversational rather than robotic. Think in terms of what people are likely to say rather than type in search engines. Even when writing guides and product descriptions, think more about what someone would ask if they were standing in front of you, and provide relevant answers – again, imagining that you’re standing in front of them.

  • Implement long tail keywords.
  • While it’s unlikely that short-tail keywords will disappear any soon, they become far less relevant when optimizing content for the natural phrases used in voice searches. No one will ask “SEO provider Florida” when on voice search. They’ll mostly be asking “Find an SEO provider in Florida.” Going forward, adjust your keywords to reflect this.

  • Incorporate an FAQ strategy.
  • When voice searchers ask a question, they typically begin with “What”, “Who”, “Where”, “When”, and “How”. Also, they’ll mostly be looking for an answer that fulfills an immediate need. One of the best ways to answer these queries is through an FAQ page – beginning each question with the adverbs we just mentioned.

  • Hire necessary talent.
  • The truth is – voice search has caught most businesses unaware. A majority of marketers are struggling badly with the technology. You don’t have to go it alone. There is talent out there that can come in and help you get over the line. Of course, you’ll have to dip into your pocket again. But, you’ll profit a lot from that investment.

If you’ve not optimized for voice search, you’re missing out big time. Not just on traffic but on sales too, because consumers are increasingly searching for products by voice and even placing orders hands-free.

Do not get left behind. Let us know which industry you are in and how do you use voice search in your business. Let’s begin optimizing your site for voice queries today!

Updated: 11/12/17

A Beginner’s Guide To Voice Search Optimization

Voice Search Optimization

In recent years, voice search has become an increasingly popular way of locating content. In fact, Google did a study back in 2014, and they found that more than half of all teens were already using voice search once a day.

Voice Search Optimization

There’s some sense to this growth – typing on smartphones and tablets can take longer than most people prefer, so why not use a faster, more convenient way of getting something?

Of course, the spread of voice search means you need to know how it works, how you can take advantage of it, and what sort of results you can expect. To start off, here is our beginner’s guide on how to optimize for voice search.

Step 1: Optimize Your Local Listings

People often use voice search to get information on physical products, services, or locations. Let’s break this down and look a little closer at each element of local listings.


Voice Search Optimization

To us, this is a simple question. But to a search engine, a product search is a specific sort of query.

  • Where tells a search engine that you are looking for a specific location. This means it should focus on places with physical addresses, and it’s going to ignore any online-only results. You won’t even have the chance to appear in the results unless you use something like Google My Business to let Google know you exist.
  • Can I Find tells Google that you are looking for something personally relevant to you. In many cases, this will also tell it to sort things geographically, prioritizing results in your vicinity.
  • The Best is a search modifier that provides criteria for narrowing down the results. In this case, ‘best’ is often determined by publicly available reviews, so companies with many good reviews are more likely to appear in the results. If you neglect getting reviews from customers, you aren’t as likely to show up in the results.
  • Pizza refers to a specific product that you are searching for. Naturally, any location that doesn’t sell the product being searched for will be excluded. This is why you should be as clear as possible about what products you sell.
  • In New York City modifies the first search term (“Where”) by providing additional criteria and context. You’re not simply looking for a product, you’re looking for a product in a set geographic area.

As humans, we understand the complexity of questions like this by instinct. However, you really have to think about what a voice search means if you want to optimize a search for products.

Product searches can be hard to separate from location services. The key difference is that people usually want to buy something when asking for a product, while they just want to reach a destination in a location search.


Voice Search Optimization

This is an example of a short voice search. Short searches are much like keyword searches, but Google is likely to guess at additional information relevant to the customer. Some factors it may account for are:

    People who want carpets cleaned aren’t going to hire a service from across the country. Instead, Google will almost definitely limit the results to a reasonable geographic area, even when people don’t tell it to.

    Results may also be sorted based on a user’s previous buying behavior and estimated income. A service that someone can actually afford is inherently more helpful than one they can’t, so it’s not rare for results to be sorted in this way.

    People don’t necessarily have to ask for the ‘best’ service to get results sorted by quality. Businesses with a good reputation are far more likely to show up at the top of search results than those most customers were unhappy with.

    Depending on what people are looking for, results may be sorted based on store hours. For example, if users are doing a search on Sunday, any store that’s not currently open may be moved down in favor of companies that people can visit right away.

The key point to understand here is that keywords are not the limits of a search. They are only one of several different factors. Although they are an important factor, but you can’t properly optimize your voice search SEO if they’re the only thing you focus on.


Voice Search Optimization

Location searches tend to be the easiest – people may be looking for a street address, a popular landmark, a transport hub, or anything else they might need. Optimizing for this isn’t important for most businesses, but if you have (or are close to) a landmark or other tourist attraction, you may want to try and get noticed in these searches as well.

Step 2: Target Long-Tail Keywords

When people use voice search, they often treat it like they’re having an actual conversation with their phone. This is quite distinct from the keyword-oriented searches people do when they’re typing.

Voice Search Optimization

Services like Answer The Public can help you narrow down your criteria and figure out what sort of intent people have when they’re searching.

Fortunately, most intents ultimately fall into one of the several major categories and figuring out which ones apply to your customers will help you optimize your content.

The major categories are:

    The searcher wants to buy something. It could be a specific product they’re already looking for, but they may also be interested in browsing ideas and learning about products before they buy.

    They’re looking to reach a specific place. There’s a lot of opportunities here for tour guides, airlines, and other businesses that are about getting people to the place they want to reach.

    They want to know a specific piece of information. Most people don’t like product-based results to an answer-focused search. In other words, they want the method (“here’s how to make a delicious pizza at home”) rather than just the tools (“buy these ingredients”). Products can be suggested as part of the method, but acquiring information is clearly the searcher’s goal.

    This is similar to an answer search, but Most people will follow the group consensus during a review search (that is, if they see most other people rate something 2/5, they’ll assume it’s bad without investigating further), which is both a problem and an opportunity.

    This is also similar to an answer search, but rather than looking for a website that answers a question, users tend to prefer a direct result when they’re asking for a calculation. For example, “How much is ten thousand yen in dollars?” will usually bring up the straight conversion. As a service-based answer, most companies won’t show up in these results, but particularly creative businesses may be able to find a way to get noticed here.

Step 3: Use Microdata

Voice Search Optimization

Microdata can help search engines understand more about your website and what kind of searches it would be an appropriate result for. This is a good thing. There’s no point in trying to get people to visit your website if they aren’t genuinely interested in what you have to offer – all you’re doing is wasting their time and increasing your percentage of bounce hits.

Instead, you’ll want to set things up so web crawlers like Googlebot can properly analyze and understand your site. If they understand you, that significantly increases the chance that you’ll appear in a voice search result.

As part of this, be sure to submit a sitemap to Google. This should include important information that people might ask for, including your physical address, phone number, store hours, and the prices of any and all products and services.

One More Thing…

While you’re at it, consider looking at the microdata of your competitors and seeing if they’re beating you in any way. If another company is open longer hours, charging lower prices, or generally having more of a presence online, you won’t get as many customers.

This does not mean that you need to change your business plan in order to match your competitors, but it does mean you may have some extra work to do. If you’re not sure how else to beat your competition, try improving the number and rating of reviews you can get.

Most people are looking for quality, after all, and might be willing to spend more if they see that a lot of people trust your business.

As always, never try to fake reviews. Search engines can and will punish you when they notice this, and that’s not worth the hassle. Instead, try incentivizing customers to share their thoughts and providing excellent customer service. Ideally, you’ll be able to get 200+ reviews in the 4-5 star range. At that point, most searchers will consider you a known quantity and fully trust the results.

Step 4: Focus on Mobile

Voice search is used almost entirely on mobile, with the majority of those coming from smartphones. Voice searches on tablets also occur, but not quite as often.

If people select your site from the results and find that it’s poorly optimized, all they’re going to do is head back and visit someone else. This increases your bounce rate and hurts your Page Rank at the same time.

The conclusion here is clear: Mobile user experience should be a priority for you.

One way to check this is using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

Voice Search Optimization

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test which can diagnose a web page and tell you exactly how it is or isn’t meeting mobile friendliness expectations.

Remember that mobile search results are almost entirely separate from desktop search results. Optimizing for voice search and SEO is important, but you don’t want to do it in a way that reduces your visibility in other areas.

Similarly, you should use PageSpeed Insights to figure out what might be causing your website to slow down.

Voice Search Optimization

Mobile users do not like slow sites, and if your page hasn’t loaded within a few seconds at most, you could end up losing a significant amount of your traffic.

In the same vein, the site should be easy for them to understand once they arrive. Here, for example, we broke up the content using easily-scanned headers to help you quickly see what this page is about and what specific topics are addressed. You can’t use this on every site, but it’s worth doing when you can.

The Limits Of Voice Searches

Most people don’t use special forms of searching when they’re making voice searches. For example, using “” in a search tells Google that it should only display results from educational sites.

However, given the conversational way people make voice searches, people just don’t say things like that. Some may add similar criteria (“give me some scholarly articles about pizza”), but any complex searches are probably going to be left to desktop users.

As such, it’s better to focus on primary results instead of the complexities of specific searches.


By following these four steps, you’ll be ready to stay on top of voice search optimization and ensure that as many people visit you as possible. If you’ve been keeping up with normal search engine optimization, you’ve already done most of what you needed to.

The key point here is that voice search is an evolution of inbound marketing, not an entirely separate thing. Most of the same rules apply, but voice search is a little more focused on the physical world.

To help stay on the right path, make sure you’re using Google Analytics to monitor the differences between your mobile and desktop traffic.

What are your thoughts about this guide? Leave a comment down below – while we can’t respond to every comment people make, we do read them, and we’ll keep your thoughts in mind when writing more articles on subjects like this. If you’re having a problem with searches, we want to know about it.

Updated: 7/11/17

How Should Your Digital Marketing Plans Change In Response To Voice Search SEO?

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

At this point, it is hard to deny that voice searches are changing how people use the Internet and query it for information. Virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, which were mere novelties a few years ago, have quickly come to be relied upon by people around the world.

2017 statistics show that voice-activated computing is rapidly rising in popularity. Looking towards the future, the debate is not over whether people will keep using voice search, but rather when voice search might come to equal typed searches in popularity.

This raises obvious questions for an online marketer: How do voice search and SEO interact? How might voice search SEO differ from previous SEO? And how will these strategies change in the future, and voice search becomes more ubiquitous?

These are the questions we will examine in this blog. First…

The Who, What, Where Of Voice Search

What is voice search? Basically, it is anytime a user uses any virtual assistant or other voice-activated application to query information online instead of using text entry methods.

People are using it for a wide range of tasks as well. According to Search Engine Watch, online searches are the second most-popular reason to use voice commands, used by approximately 62% of users.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

As for who is using voice search, hard research is harder to find. Presenters at LocationWorld 2016 cited a figure of 40% of adults.

Voice search is coming to be used almost everywhere. Going back to that SEW survey, common places for voice search include ‘home alone’, ‘at home with friends’, ‘at the office alone’, ‘at restaurants with friends’ and even at parties or at gyms.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

In short, voice search is coming to be an accepted behavior in practically any non-formal setting. This also suggests that occasionally talking to one’s phone is not considered any more rude in casual get-togethers than typing on it.

We could quote more statistics, but we suspect you get the point: Absolutely every available indicator is that voice search is growing in usage and popularity across most or all demographics. Not just that, it’s becoming common in a growing number of locations too. The only real matter of debate is how fast it’s growing.

Which can mean a major rethink of some assumptions regarding your SEO strategies.

What You Should Consider In Merging Voice Search And SEO

1) Different Query Lengths

The following assertion is more anecdotal, but there’s very little reason to doubt its truth: People almost always speak to virtual assistants in full sentences.

Sure, in science fiction you sometimes see people talking to their computers in extremely clipped fragments, like Captain Picard.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

But that doesn’t match usage we have seen in the real world, or that anyone else is reporting on. If someone’s iPhone were capable of ordering them a cup of tea, they would almost undoubtedly say “Hey Siri, get me a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.” They might even say please.

Likewise, if someone is making a search via text, they would be more likely to search with keywords.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

Whereas, if someone is making a voice search query, it comes out as something like:

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

This is probably one of the biggest changes to user behavior which has currently been brought about by voice search: a switch from a keyword based approach, to more natural full-length sentences.

So what can we do about it?

2) Accommodate To Voice Search

There are two major recommendations here, although one of which has already been a good idea in some time: Answer questions directly.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

If someone is asking “how voice interaction will affect SEO”, Google is most likely to pull up an article specifically answering that question.

Furthermore, answering questions means there’s a chance your content could become part of Google’s featured snippet at the top of the search page, answering the question without any clicking required.

This is doubly important because many virtual assistants will first look for a featured snippet answering the question. If they find one, they won’t even bother looking deeper for data. Having a featured snippet is the best way to have digital assistants repeating your information.

The other important change to your content for voice search SEO is to try to use more synonyms or rephrase your keyword a few times. This is in part because we don’t know exactly how smart Google’s heuristic system is. So, for example, if you want to capture searches relating to taking a vacation in Paris, you would want to try to work in phrases such as “Paris vacation,” “Paris travel,” and “Paris getaway.”

P.S. should be your frequently visited site.

Also, don’t forget about long-tailed keywords. Since users are speaking in full sentences, they’re more likely to use modifiers. After all, someone looking for a “romantic Paris vacation” would want much different search results than someone looking for “Paris business travel”.

This, in turn, means you probably need to spend more time researching your audience.

3) Understanding Your User’s Intent

Doing a “spaghetti against the wall” game with long-tailed keywords and synonyms will only get you so far. Also, you need to be careful that it doesn’t start looking deliberate. Content that is obviously playing the keyword game tends to turn off readers.

Do plenty of research into the queries which are leading to your site. Construct buyer personas in as much detail as the data supports.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

Constantly monitor top keywords relating to your industry, and use those to influence any AdWords bids or other PPC advertising you use. Look for your highest-value questions and constantly target those. Additionally, WhoRanksWhat is a great tool to find out your current ranking keywords and optimize your content based on the data.


WhoRanksWhat is a powerful and intelligent tool to help you find the best SEO keywords and get a higher ranking.

Voice search SEO is not going to reward those trying to cast a net that’s too wide. Specialization and narrow targeting will be much more effective for the majority of businesses.

4) Adapting To Local SEO

Speaking of narrow targeting, voice search is probably changing local SEO fastest of all. Voice searches are significantly more likely to be local, particularly when requests for maps and directions are figured in. There are a couple crucial points here.

First, do whatever you can to get near or at the top of rankings for your business type. If someone asks Siri for a local pizzeria, Google is going to factor in customer ratings in their own Google My Business system. The logic they use is somewhat fuzzy, but generally, unless the searcher specifies closest the search result will point them towards something which is nearby and highly-rated.

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

Also, be smart about the descriptors you use. Try to incorporate local slang and descriptions people use about their neighborhoods. Be as specific as possible. For example: A New York pizzeria is going to have a lot better luck with local SEO if they make sure to specify repeatedly that they’re in Hell’s Kitchen, rather than simply saying they’re in Manhattan.

So – getting very specific – a pizzeria on 8th Avenue would be smart to include “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Theater District,” “Garment District,” and “Clinton” along with “8th Ave” in their copy, to maximize their chances of coming up in local searches. It might not even be necessary to mention Manhattan at all! After all, someone in the area looking for a nearby pizza would not bother saying Manhattan in their search, but they might use any of the other above names.

Obviously, not every neighborhood has so many descriptors attached, but it illustrates the point: To succeed in local search, one must be local, and constantly keep their local pages updated to remain relevant.

5) Looking Towards The Future

Voice Search Impact On Digital Marketing

One of the most exciting things about voice search and voice search SEO, from a technological perspective, is that there are so many directions it might go. However, this could be downright paranoia-inducing for a marketer! There’s no good way to predict exactly what changes will come between now and 2020 (and beyond), but we think these are some pretty good bets to look into:

  • Enabling quick action. If it’s reasonable for your business, try to incorporate CTA into your advertisements and web listings, such as a “reserve now!” button for restaurants. These may capture virtual assistant searches if they don’t have to pull up a separate webpage.
  • Look into making APIs. One functionality people really want from their devices is more robust ordering and fulfillment. The day isn’t far off that someone can say “Siri, order me some General Tso’s Chicken” and have Chinese delivery appear at their door half an hour later. This will almost certainly be accomplished via API integrations.
  • Don’t ignore Bing. Bing has traditionally been overlooked in SEO, but that may not be wise in the world of voice assistants. Bing has 20%-30% of the market and much of that is due to Microsoft’s Cortana assistant plus other programs utilizing her. Bing SEO isn’t well-researched, but being at the top of Bing lists could bring significant value.
  • A brewing tech war. Right now, Apple and Google and Amazon and Microsoft are mostly content having voice services which only relate to their own platforms. This status quo is not likely to hold. Eventually, one or more will start trying to make bids to get onto the others’ hardware, and that will spark a technology war you can’t afford to ignore.
  • Increasingly specific customer profiles. Most virtual assistants keep a big database of their users’ information, preferences, and other key data points which they use in sifting through search results. In turn, to have the VA recommend your page or services, you’ll need to match those data points more accurately. This means increasing your own data collection processes and finding ways to be ever more accurate in your targeting.

In short, where voice search SEO is concerned, the smart marketer will always be looking to the future, reading the trends, and trying to position themselves based on what’s likely to come about a few months into the future.

So, what do you think? How are you adapting to voice searches in your own SEO work and how do you think it’s going to change online queries? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Updated: 22/10/17

A Simple Guide To Performing An SEO Audit In 2017

SEO Audit Guide

You may be familiar with the basic concepts of an SEO audit if you are running a website and leveraging SEO for your online efforts.

Basically, the process of auditing your site involves evaluating how well your SEO efforts are doing and where they can be improved. However, there’s more to an SEO audit than just making sure the content on your site is properly optimized. You will need to do a technical SEO audit as well. Let’s start off with understanding technical SEO audit.

What Is A Technical SEO Audit?

SEO Audit Guide

The technical SEO of your website determines how easy it is for Google to crawl and index your content. Performing a technical SEO site audit is something that you should do regularly. This is because of the changes that Google often makes to their algorithm.

For example, Google recently announced an update on JavaScript crawling support as well as the migration towards mobile-first indexing. These are updates that you will want to prepare for and keep in mind as you perform a website SEO analysis.

Performing a Technical SEO Audit in 2017

Just the word technical might make it seem like such an audit would be incredibly complex. Fortunately, learning how to SEO audit on the technical side of things isn’t too difficult. The following are some of the important things you should evaluate when performing a technical SEO audit this year:

1) Mobile Web Crawling

Google’s ability to crawl through every page of your site is vital to ensuring that it’s properly indexed.

Crawl errors in the Search Console consist of everything from 500 errors (server errors) to 404 and 403 errors (page not found errors). Such errors can hurt your ranking as well. For example, 404 errors are caused by links to pages that no longer exist.

While searching for crawl errors is a basic step in any technical SEO audit, you’ll need to audit your site for mobile web crawling as well. This is because Google recently announced that they are migrating to a mobile-first index as a result of the fact that most of their searches are now mobile-driven.

Basically, not only do you need to evaluate how Google accesses your website content, but also how their smartphone crawler does it.

The following are three types of technical SEO tools that you can use to your advantage to assess the mobile crawl-ability of your site and the accessibility of your mobile content:

Basic tools to check mobile status

SEO Audit Guide

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Search Console’s Fetch as Google tool are both user-friendly and can be used to identify how Google’s mobile crawler sees any page on your site, allowing you to use them to check the mobile status of the top pages on your site. You can also use the Mobile Usability tool to determine exactly what pages have mobile usability issues, if there are any.

Log analyzers

Log analyzers allow you to compare and identify the existing gap between your crawls and what the mobile Googlebot has accessed. Some of the most effective SEO targeted log analyzers include OnCrawl, Botify, and Screaming Frog Log Analyzer.

Mobile crawler simulators

There are a number of different tools that allow you to simulate the behavior of a mobile search crawler on your site, such as Deepcrawl, Sitebulb, Botify, and Screaming Frog SEO Spider, to name a few. A tool like Screaming Frog is particularly useful due its ability to let you view your pages in a List mode that verifies the status of specific pages, including rendered mobile pages.

2) JavaScript Crawling Behavior and Content Rendering

JavaScript can be a bit tricky. When you are doing a website SEO analysis, it’s important that you figure out whether your site is relying on JavaScript to show your main content or navigation and that you ensure that it’s not only accessible but also properly rendered by Google.

SEO Audit Guide

Google did come out and state that it was able to improve its execution of JavaScript so that it could better its understanding of web pages better a few years back. However, this depends on how JavaScript is actually implemented in addition to the framework that’s being used. Because of this, it’s best to only rely on JavaScript if it’s completely necessary.

You can also check the JavaScript crawling behavior on each individual page on your site as well by using Chrome’s DevTools or Search Console’s Fetch as Google. Doing so is relatively easy, just check any page DOM with the elements panel and then compare it to the Google’s cache version.

3) Structured Data Usage and Optimization

Google’s SERPs have been evolving at a rapid pace over the past few years with the introduction of elements such as rich snippets, knowledge panels, rich cards, answer boxes, and more.

SEO Audit Guide

These features have been introduced by Google as a way to improve and streamline user queries.

It’s important to note that larger and large number of queries are being answered with the addition of these features. What does this mean for your search results? It means that earning more clicks and drawing more web traffic is not just a matter of ranking well in organic listings, but that you need to maximize your website’s visibility through such features as well.

Fortunately, maximizing visibility through such SERP features isn’t too challenging. Mostly, it’s achieved by implementing structured data and making sure that your content is formatted in a way that answers audience queries due to the fact that modifiers can actually create a change.

The best way to identify what content has the best opportunity to be displayed in different SERP features is to use effective search competition and keyword tools like RankReveal.

How To Get High-Quality Backlinks

RankReveal is a great tool to keep track of your keywords rank (even your competitors’) without having to check it manually.

We also recommend using the Search Console Search Analytics report to monitor what SERP features you are ranking for and the impact on your web traffic that they are having.

4) AMP Configuration

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a feature that Google designed last year that allows websites and ads that are published in the AMP open-source format to load practically instantly, thereby providing users with a much better experience on their smartphones.

SEO Audit Guide

The improved user experience of an AMP page has made it an extremely important component of SEO, especially since Google requires AMP configuration for content that it includes in its News Carousel, one of its SERP features. Google has also begun to give AMP configured content preference over other content when it comes to its search results and image results.

Because of its increasing importance, you’ll want to check your website’s AMP implementation to verify that it complies with all of Google’s requirements, which include the following:

  • Web pages must be created according to AMP specification.
  • Your AMP must be hosted at a URL that relates to your main website.
  • Your AMP must be discoverable.
  • Your web pages must be written in valid AMP HTML.
  • Your content must be marked up with structured data.
  • You must monitor your AMP report for errors using Search Console.

To perform site-wide validation of your AMP pages, you can use SEMrush Site Audit or Sitebulb, which identifies common issues with AMP implementation. If you want to use tools like Botify or Screaming Frog, it’s a bit trickier. You’ll need to configure SEO crawlers with custom HTML extraction to verify the existence and status code of your AMP pages.

However, besides just doing a site-wide validation, you should validate some of your AMP configured content on a page-by-page basis, especially when it comes to your most important pages and when you have identified any problems while performing a site-wide validation. By performing a page-wide validation of your AMP configured pages, you’ll reveal more specific information about any existing errors and how to fix them.

There are a few tools that you should consider using for page-by-page AMP validation. AMP Playground is the official tool for determining if your pages pass AMP validation. You can also use Chrome’s AMP Validator, Chrome’s DevTools, and Google’s AMP Test.

Once you’ve run your tests and fixed any existing errors, we do recommend keeping track of how your AMP configured content performs and whether any errors occur using the Search Console’s AMP report. You may also want to keep an eye on the SEOmonitor rank tracker to monitor the visibility of AMP in SERPs and how it is impacting your web traffic and conversions.

5) HTTPS Configuration

HTTPS is a much more secure version of HTTP. Because of this, half of the pages that are loaded by Firefox and Chrome are using HTTPS, not to mention half of the pages that appear on Google’s first page of search results. In fact, Google began to use HTTPS configuration as a ranking signal back in 2014, which has certainly contributed to the large HTTPS migration that has occurred.

SEO Audit Guide

Moz found out that half of the page on the Google results page are using HTTPS. So they came out with this chart to estimate the HTTPS trend by the end of 2017.

If you have yet to migrate to HTTPS, then you should do so. Not only does it help with your SEO ranking, it will also provide your visitors with a more trustworthy and secure experience to your visitors. In fact, it’s absolutely vital that you use HTTPS if you have any kind of online store on your site.

However, when migrating to HTTPS, you’ll want to ensure that your site’s SEO efforts aren’t hurt during the transfer. This means that you will need to do SEO validation before you migrate, during the course of the migration and following the completion of the migration to HTTPS. Some of the SEO validations you’ll want to focus on include the following:

  • Before migrating, audit your website structure in order to ensure that you link, 301 redirect and canonicalize in Hreflang and XML sitemaps to the original versions of the URLs that you are planning to migrate.
  • Don’t forget to migrate all of your images, JS, CSS and all other content and resources that you use in your pages. You’ll need to migrate your subdomains and other properties for CDNs if you’re using them as well. If you don’t, you’ll have mixed content problems and you’ll end up showing content that’s not secure through your HTTPS pages.
  • Identify what your top pages are in terms of web traffic, visibility and conversions so that you can carefully monitor them as migration is performed.
  • To monitor the activity of your HTTPS domains and subdomains before, during and after migration, set up individual Search Console profiles.

Over To You

These are some of the technical aspects that you should make sure to go over when performing an SEO audit in 2017. By checking these aspects of your site’s technical SEO, you’ll ensure that you’re keeping up with some of the most important SEO-related changes that Google has made in the past few years.

When performing an SEO audit, don’t forget to check your website’s overall SEO score at the outset to give yourself a good idea of where your website stands in regards to your SEO efforts.

SEO Audit Guide

We recommend using SEOPressor Site Audit to track your website’s SEO performance.

What do you think of this SEO audit guide? If you have other tips that you’d like to share with us, feel free to let us know at the comment section down below!

Updated: 26/9/17

11 SEO Copywriting Tips To Master The Art (And Science) Of Inbound Marketing

SEO Copywriting Tips

SEO is essential to the success of your website in attracting new visitors. All too often, however, the technical aspects and requirements of SEO are given such weight that people forget about the visitors entirely, and focus only on their search engine rankings.

These rankings, while invaluable in creating opportunities to be discovered, are useless if the content they serve is poor quality. To succeed in inbound marketing, you need to be as skilled in copywriting as you are in SEO.

SEO Copywriting is a combination of artistry and discipline. The artistry comes from always considering your audience. The discipline is in providing them with high value, high quality content to a predictable schedule.

This means you’ll need a sharp focus and an attention to detail. Harnessing the power of SEO is great, but remembering the human audience SEO is designed to create is paramount. SEO and copywriting work symbiotically together to create results. One will be useless without the other.

Today, we’ll look at how you can resolve these two forces together, to provide more engaging content for your audience.

1) Research Comes First

In a post-truth world of fake news and clickbait, content backed by research is like a breath of fresh air for audiences, and is more compelling than ever.

SEO Copywriting Tips

As such, whenever you decide on a topic to write about, you need to research it. See what others have written about it – what sources did they cite? Go to those sources and read them yourself – what is interesting in those sources? Do the sources themselves cite other work? Visit those.

You need to give yourself a thorough briefing. You need to understand the topic implicitly, so you can synthesize that information for your reader. Your conclusions may be profound, actionable and correct, but it won’t matter if they come out of nowhere. You need to establish a context, and for that you need research.

Dig deeper. Identify valuable sources of information and share them. This is part of the value of your content for audiences – a curated ‘walking tour’ of the topic area. Of all the SEO copywriting best practices, this is the most essential foundation of good content.

2) Write For Humans, Optimize For Algorithms

Content for the sake of content is a death knell for your site. It will frustrate readers looking for value and cause them to go elsewhere.

Focus all your content on the needs of your target audience. Know what keywords you’re targeted, absolutely, but take time to understand why the keywords are so popular in the first place.

If a lot of people are searching for the same thing, it’s because a satisfactory answer is not common knowledge. You have an opportunity through your content to create the definitive response to that keyword. Take that opportunity seriously.

Once you have done so, you can help the algorithms find your content. Useful tools like SEOPressor can help you optimize for algorithms simply and easily.

SEO Copywriting Tips

SEOPressor analyzes your content as you write, then audit it for SEO efficiency and effectiveness.

Not just that, Hemingway can also help you optimize your content for the human audience.

SEO Copywriting Tips

3) Forget About Keyword Density, Watch Out For Keyword Stuffing

I can’t stress this enough: use keywords naturally.

If you choose to stuff your content with keywords, they will inevitably end up where they don’t belong. This will make your copy feel clunky and unnatural to the human reader. Increasingly audiences are becoming savvy to keyword stuffing, and feel duped into visiting a site that does it.

Keyword stuffing is a clear symbol to readers that you don’t care about them as people, and are trying to trick or catch them, rather than provide real value.

You should focus on making your content read easily above all. You can use SEOPressor to make sure your SEO score will still give you the best performance, without having to repeat the same phrase over and over again.

You can also use Website SEO Checker to ensure you haven’t overcooked it across all your content, creating a cumulative keyword stuffing effect.

How To Get High-Quality Backlinks

Website SEO Checker is a free tool to analyze your website and tells you how to get higher SEO score.

4) Use Related Keywords, Synonyms, And Grammatical Variations

Google and other search engines also use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords to match search results to the user’s intent. Essentially, LSI means ‘related terms’. While a lot of people might be searching for your keyword, a lot of others will be looking for the same thing using different words.

Using LSI keywords is an effective way to pick up this additional traffic, while augmenting your strength for the target keyword. What’s more, because it makes use of different ways to say the same thing, you naturally avoid keyword stuffing.

Fortunately, you don’t have to magic LSI keywords out of your imagination. Simply head over to LSIGraph and input the keyword you’re working on to be given a list of related phrases.

SEO Copywriting Tips

LSIGraph is a free online tool that will generate competitive alternatives to your existing keywords, helping you target them with ease.

Work these in as you write or see where they will best fit after you’ve written your draft, and slot them in. Instant performance, without sacrificing quality.

5) Create Length Through In-Depth Quality Content

In-depth articles get far more shares and links than short, superficial ones. Imagine right now you’re feeling some resistance to the amount of time, effort and care it takes to produce this kind of content.

Well, so does every other writer, which is why this kind of content is comparatively rare, and why it is shared so successfully when people do put in the requisite energy. In a study of 100 million articles, the longest were shared the most.

SEO Copywriting Tips

Yes, long form content is better for search engines. It allows you to strengthen your keyword while retaining a low density and use more LSIs. But you should never write long form content just for the sake of search engines. Length isn’t an asset in itself, detail is. Detail takes a higher quantity of words to relate.

Make sure everything you write has something to say. One of the most important SEO copywriting tips to remember is that every paragraph should reward the reader with more knowledge and insight.

6) Break Up Long Chunks Of Copy

79% of people skim through content online. This means they are seeking for the most valuable information in your content.

A wall of text will prevent them from being able to do so. Your sentences should be short, your paragraphs rarely more than four lines long. Your content should be emphatic, clear and concise. This way, the audience can ‘get it’ right away, with minimal effort.

You can help people with this in numerous ways:

  • Use bulleted or numbered lists like this one!
  • Indent quotes or key action points.
  • Include headings and subheadings.
  • Emphasize the key takeaways with bold and italics.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short and sweet.

7) Get Specific With Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are more human-centered, and they are becoming more and more popular with the advent of things like voice search on Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and other virtual assistants.

A keyword might be “landing page”, where a longtail keyword can be:

SEO Copywriting Tips

The long tail might be less popular, but the quality of traffic that comes from it will be far higher. If you can address specifics in a detailed way, people will feel far better rewarded. This will make them more motivated to spend time on your site, increasingly their likelihood of becoming a successful conversion.

8) Answer Your Prospects’ Questions

Here’s a thing – open your comments section. Seriously. Many websites producing content won’t offer a comments section because they’re afraid of what might go on there. After all, “never read the comments” is a meme for a reason.

That said, it needn’t be the case everywhere. Opening a dialogue with our audience will allow you to increase their engagement in your site and your content. What’s more, it will open a platform for your audience to ask you questions.

SEO Copywriting Tips

Encouraging readers to leave a comment on your blog post will help to increase interaction and build relationships.

This is an invaluable resource for you in planning your content strategy. If people have questions and they can ask you for the answers, simply answering the question can become your next piece of content. You know it will be targeted, rewarding and likely to convert, because you are addressing a proven need.

What’s more, if people are asking you questions about your product or service, many more will ask Google those same questions without even knowing about your brand. Now, by answering, there’s a chance you’ll attract those people.

If you can provide them with better answers than your competitors, they’ll become loyal to you, translating into purchases and an increase in customer lifetime value.

9) Get Your Content Noticed And Shared

SEO Copywriting should be human-centered, and this will make it far better for sharing. Social sharing is an essential element to success. This means creating content that is shareable. What translates to shares is pretty basic, but essential:

  • Have images throughout your article.
  • Have a Thumbnail image for your article implemented as a meta tag for three times more shares.
  • Make ‘em laugh – the most popular articles are funny or amusing, or make people feel a sense of wonder.
  • Contact influencers in your field – they amplify the impact of your content if they share it.

As well as putting your content in front of bigger audiences, Google and other search engines will see that your content is current, relevant and popular, boosting its ranking for those who search. In this way, social sharing creates a compound positive effect.

Identify forums, blogs, influencers, newsletters to proliferate your content, as well as the obvious things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on.

10) Title Tags And Snippets

SEO Copywriting Tips

You should always include your keyword in your title and in the meta description. The meta description helps algorithms understand where to place your content, while the title tag is what will show up as the link on Google search results.

By making sure your keyword is in the title, you’re maximizing the relevance of your content to the people looking for it, making Google more likely to rank it highly and users more likely to click through.

11) Remember To Include ALT Text In Your Images

Copywriting means writing everything that can help your articles rank. ALT Text on images is incredibly important, as Google Image Search can provide a vital source of traffic.

Make sure to keep your descriptions of images short and to the point. This text will be displayed if someone hovers over the image, so include a hint at the value of the article to encourage people to click through.

SEO Copywriting Tips

Even better, include a relevant keyword in the image file name to ensure it is permanently associated with the words being searched for in the digital archive that is GIS.

Use Your Voice To Write Right

By now, you should have realized that applying only SEO techniques will never be enough. You need great copywriting skills to have the best of both worlds. Only this combination will convert searchers into visitors, and visitors into customers. This SEO copywriting guide is just beginning.

It might sound like a contradiction in terms, but the most important thing you can do when writing is use your voice. All these tips, and many more besides, can give you set of rails to guide you. It can prevent you from ‘doing it wrong’, but that’s only the beginning. Now, you know what to do.

For now, a useful parting tip would be to read what you’ve written aloud.

SEO Copywriting Tips

If you can’t say it comfortably enough, people probably won’t understand it easily enough. Usually, you’ll end up splitting out sentences for clarity, and simplifying some of the terms you use.

To write it right, you need to know how you want to do it, and why. The why is easy – it’s for provide real value to a real audience, to create loyalty, trust and a sense of authority. How, however, depends a lot more on your brand, its personality, and its priorities. This will only be defined through time and experimentation. This process however will be invaluable, and will elevate your content above your competitors. Find your voice, find your fortune.

Have you discovered a big difference maker for your copywriting that you haven’t seen here? Share your favorite copywriting tips in the comments below.

Updated: 2/9/17