How to factor voice search into your SEO?

How to factor voice search into your SEO?

In the past few years, the number of voice search queries has grown to be over 20 percent of all Google searches. In future years, that percentage will surely increase as people speak rather than type their searches. How can you optimize your website’s SEO for voice search?

Voice search has come of age

Why is voice search so popular? About 2 years ago, Siri, Apple’s digital voice assistant, was still frequently used as the punchline in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Mostly because her answers were often absurd and completely missed the point.

Today, Siri has matured and become more advanced. And it’s not just Siri: smartphones themselves have become “smarter.” We rely more and more on our phones and tend to carry them with us wherever we go. Whenever we need to search for anything, our phone is always within reach. That has led to an exponential increase in searches through our phones rather than on desktop. It’s safe to assume that that number of searches will only increase over time.

Using your phone, it’s much easier to launch a search query through Siri or Google, rather than type the search into your phone. But the growth of voice search won’t be limited to mobile phones. The rising popularity of smart home tools and the rise of the Internet of Things will also play their part in the growth of voice search statistics. In the near future, the Google Home speaker in your office will inform you that your home thermostat needs to be raised before you head home, after asking Google how cold it’s going to be tonight.

All these developments will lead to a significant increase in voice searches. As an online marketer, website administrator, or SEO-copywriter, it’s important that you prepare for those changes. Those updates will also help optimize your website for typed queries.

SEO optimization for spoken searches

Since spoken and typed searches are so different from one another, exactly how can you change your website in order to rank highly in voice search results? We’ll cover that with a few tips:

1) Long tail keywords
Voice searches are generally a bit longer than text searches. That’s why it’s important to use long tail search terms. For example, consider this search: “carpenter Birmingham” (typed) versus “Where can I find a good carpenter in Birmingham who is specialized in built-in custom closets?” (voice search). To score higher in the results for a spoken search query, it’s important to incorporate all the bold-type words as keywords on your website.

2) Reviews
“Where can I find a good carpenter in Birmingham?” For that question, local reviews are essential for a high ranking. Sure, you can think you are pretty great, but for any potential customer, what others say about you is key.

Make sure that your company’s information is available on relevant review sites and aggregate sites that are linked to your field of work. Encourage your existing customers to leave recommendations or feedback about your products or services on those websites. That also helps you develop inbound links. And those are important factors for Google. Read our blog post about link building for more tips on that topic.

3) Structure FAQ’s
The syntax for voice searches overlaps quite a bit with any FAQ’s on your website. That means it’s smart to add those to your site if they’re not already there. Take a critical look at your FAQ’s to make sure they are questions your customers are (frequently) searching for and ensure that the answers hold all the information you want to communicate to your customers.

4) Readability
Readability is one of the most important criteria for Google. If something is easy to read for a website visitor, the same goes for Google. Packing pages and titles with keywords is something that Google has been discouraging for a while. Focus on the kind of information your customers are looking for and the best way to present that info. Use short sentences and linking words. That works best for voice searches as well.

5) Everyday language
Voice searches use everyday language. As much as possible, consider the information on your website a conversation between yourself and your customer. Avoid formal or “written” language as much as possible. For example, in a text search, someone would search for “price of custom closet.” In a spoken voice search, you’d probably see something more like, “How much does it cost to build a custom closet?” By adjusting your use of language, you’ll improve readability for your visitors (see point 4). That’s because “spoken” language is easier to read than “written” language.

How do I test my content’s readability?

Readable content is essential to your Google results. That’s true for typed as well as spoken searches. But how can you test the readability of your content?

Of course, you can simply let someone read it and ask for feedback, but other readers aren’t always available (or suited to the task). That’s where webtexttool can be of help! The tool analyses your text for readability and offers suggestions on how to improve your writing. That way you can kill two birds with one stone: great, readable content for your customers that also ranks high in Google searches!

 

Reasons to improve the readability of your SEO content

Reasons to improve the readability of your SEO content

No one likes to read incomprehensible prose (or rather, almost no one does), but oversimplified baby talk is also annoying. In short, you want to write readable content that aligns with the wishes of your target audience. In this blog post, I’ll dig a little deeper into what readability is, how to measure it (with the Coleman-Liau Index and Flesch-Kincaid Index), why it’s important and how to write your own readable content.

What is readability?

Readability is a way of measuring how clear and understandable any piece of written text is. Language comprehension is a very important factor (are you using complex words or abstract sentence construction?), but layout, structure, and fonts also play their part.

Why is readability so important for SEO?

As far as we know (Google doesn’t always make this information public), readability is not a direct ranking factor in the compilation of search results. That means marketers would rather pay attention to technical SEO and the use of the right keywords

But readability is pretty important as an indirect factor: by writing in an easy-to-read way, your target audience is sure to spend more time on your website. They are also less likely to click on one of the other search results instead. That’s a signal to Google that you’re providing valuable content. In future searches, your page will rank higher because of it.

As an aside, copy that is easy to read will turn more website visitors into actual customers. That makes it an important element in your conversion optimization.

Take a look at: Higher conversion rate on your website? Here’s how to get started.

How do you measure readability?

This topic has been in play for much longer than search engine optimization or even the internet. In the 1940’s, Austrian-American Rudolf Flesch developed a formula to measure the readability of your writing.

The so-called Flesch Reading Ease Readability Formula:

You get a high score by writing short sentences with short words. Later on, the Coleman-Liau Index was developed to measure letters, rather than syllables, making things easier for computers.

Of course, the length of sentences and words aren’t the only factors to determine the readability of a text. The tips below will help you write readable content for your audience.

Tips for writing readable text

Writing should always be done with an audience in mind.

Know who you’re writing for

Determining your key audience is important. For the purposes of this article, I’ll limit that to your audience’s education level. The higher their education, the more complex text people are able to read.

However, that doesn’t mean that readers with a university education level are dying to read particularly complicated text content. Do you want to write for an audience that’s as broad as possible? Try to write at a B1 level:

Webtexttool checks readability

webtexttool checks readability and complexity of your content automatically 

Spoken language vs. written language

Writing in a conversational way is a huge help in the readability of your content. (Feel free to skip all the uhs and hmms, though.)

Imagine your blog post is a story you’re telling a friend. As you write, you can literally read it out loud to them, and you’ll easily be able to tell how it comes across.

Source: Unsplash

Typography & design

How your text is presented is also important to its readability. Choose a clear font like Arial or Helvetica. ‘Funny’ fonts, like the notorious Comic Sans, are to be avoided. (Or are they?)

According to experts, the ideal font size for desktop is 16 pixels, but the golden rule here is that you shouldn’t have to lean forward to be able to read the text on the screen properly.

Structure

Finally, a clear structure is essential for a readable piece of text, since many people will be scanning your blog post.

Using short paragraphs and subheadings will make larger pieces of text easier to process. Adding images and videos can be helpful as well.

Conclusion: this is how you write readable content

Easy-to-read text can indirectly land you higher in Google search results. Additionally, more people will purchase your product or service when they enjoy reading your blog.

Popular words, short sentences, and active verbs will give your content a high readability factor.

A scannable structure, easy-to-read font, and a conversational writing style will allow you to reach a larger audience.

Finding it hard to remember and implement all those guidelines on your own? webtexttool automatically keeps an eye on your writing to make sure it’s readable for your audience.

Higher conversion rate on your website? Here’s how to get started.

Higher conversion rate on your website? Here’s how to get started.

How do you ensure that your online visitors actually become customers and clients? That’s what conversion rate optimization (CRO) is all about. It’s a specialty that includes complex techniques and psychological concepts. But many companies haven’t even picked the low hanging fruit! That’s why you’ll read here about some simple steps that will help you increase conversions on your website in the upcoming quarter.

User-friendliness and great content as a solid foundation

Conversion optimization is closely connected to your website’s user experience (UX) and the added value of your content (SEO). If you have those two areas under control, you’ll already notice more visitors arriving from Google. High time to convert them into customers or leads.

Reading tips:

Writing understandable content for a large audience

Keep creating engaging content

5 reasons why User Experience (UX) is important for SEO

What should I do? (call-to-action)

A surprising number of companies forgets to add a clear call-to-action on the pages of their website. What do you want your visitors to do?

For example:

  • Try your service for free for 30 days
  • Download a whitepaper (including a free subscription to your newsletter)
  • Get a quote
  • Ask a question through the live chat

Experimenting is the best way to determine the ideal call-to-action for your specific product or service. Of course, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Create an attractive button

You can add a call-to-action to your text as a link, but creating a visually attractive button is another way to incorporate your message. That way, any visitor just scanning your website will see clearly at a glance what they should do.

Think like your visitors

Keep your visitors in mind when deciding which wording to use for your clickable button. What is the benefit you are offering them?

So not:

Newsletter sign-up

Request quote

Create trial account

But rather:

Free ****** tips in your inbox every month

How much will I save using ****** to do ******?

Try ****** free for 30 days

Experiment with placement and color

Conversions can really depend on where you place your actionable button and what it looks like. A distinctive color is definitely a must and consider including additional calls-to-action along the way in any longer articles (1000+ words).

A ‘softer’ alternative

Not every visitor wants to buy something right at this very moment. But it would be a shame just to let them click away. For those visitors, it’s a great idea to build in an alternative call-to-action when they decide not to click on that purchase button. Perhaps a discount code when they leave the website.

Why should I do it? (social proof, scarcity, ease)

Convincing people is an art. In many cases, it helps to have a clear outline of your unique selling points, but your visitors will often need an extra little push. Here are three well-known techniques:

Social proof

KFC is “Finger Lickin’ Good.” But why would anyone just take their word for it? For most brands, customer recommendations are key.

Showcasing reviews or testimonials on your website is a definite recommendation. It’s important that reviews are verifiable (full name, plus preferably a photo and contact information) and that they clearly convey how your product or service was helpful to them.

Scarcity

Have you ever browsed for hotel rooms on Booking.com? The company (that originated in The Netherlands) is very adept at suggesting scarcity. “In high demand – only 1 room left!” – “You missed it! We ran out of rooms at this property.” – “Just booked!”

You can try these same tactics (within reason) on your own website. Do keep in mind not to make far-fetched claims.

Ease

Finally, it’s always worth making things as easy as possible for your visitors. Is it strictly necessary to create an account in order to process an order? Does that form need to be quite so long?

Focus on those pages with the highest visitor count

Conversion rate optimization is a specialty that you can expand on indefinitely, but it’s unlikely that you have that much time to invest in it. That’s why it’s smart to focus on your website’s most important pages.

  1. Use Google Analytics to identify your key landing pages.
  2. Which pages have high traffic, but low conversion rates?
  3. At what point are you losing your visitors?
  4. How does your call-to-action tie into your keywords?

Next, experiment with the above tips to generate a higher click-through rate (CTR).

In conclusion: the first steps towards conversion optimization

With conversion optimization (CRO) you ensure that more visitors become customers or take the action you want them to take.

The basis for CRO lies in a user-friendly website with convincing and well-written content.

Tip: At webtexttool, you can use the Text Conversion Optimizer. This tool automatically measures the readability and credibility of your text.

A clear, enticing, and eye-catching call-to-action will help you convert visitors into clients or leads.

Three great tactics to employ are scarcity, ease, and social proof.

To get started, focus your conversion optimization on pages with a high visitor count, but a low number of leads.

Google Core Algorithm Update released

Google Core Algorithm Update released

The Google algorithm changes daily. Most of these are smaller updates, but once in a while there is a bigger update that could bring one or more changes to search results. This month a bigger update was released; a Google Core Algorithm update. This is the type of update that occurs several times per year.

Does this update affect your website?

A Google Core Algorithm update is an adjustment to the ‘main system’ of Google. That means that it could be anything from changes focuses on specific improvements, to broad changes affecting all search results. From this point of view, this update definitely affect your website!
Websites may see drops or gains in rankings as a result of the changes that occurred, which Google says is normal:

”There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

Webtexttool always adapts the newest SEO rules

We could imagine that you don’t know exactly what to do about this new Google Core Algorithm update. But that’s why webtexttool is here! We’ll make sure that the editor is up-to-date. Webtexttool therefore always adapts to the newest SEO rules. Keep in mind: check your content every once in a while to make sure that it’s ready for all the changes that Google does!

Longer meta description in Google. Here’s what you need to know.

Longer meta description in Google. Here’s what you need to know.

UPDATE MAY 2018

Google has changed things again 😉 The meta description length is now back to what it was before the change described below. Current description length is about 160 characters. Of course this change is also processed in webtexttool optimization algorithms. Moz also has an interesting read about it.

——–

You may have noticed in search results: at times you will see a longer meta description listed below a link. As a writer or online store owner, it is good to know why that happens. In this article, you will get a short explanation of meta tags, the change in their maximum length, and what they can do for you.

What is a meta description tag?

The black section of descriptive text below the URL in search results. You get to suggest what should appear there in the so-called “meta description tag”. Generally, Google picks up your suggested description, but not every time! For example, when your meta text is too long, Google cuts it down to a certain length.

Until recently, the golden rule was: a maximum of 160 characters.

But that has changed. Google is now showing descriptions up to 320 characters.

What makes a meta description so important?

We’ll go deeper into that change in maximum length, but first this: why are meta descriptions so important?

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

It helps searchers choose between multiple search results. That makes it important to clearly indicate in your meta text what your page is about, but do not forget to add a certain element of mystery or curiosity. That can boost your number of click-throughs.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

According to Google, building a keyword into your meta text does not factor into your search result ranking. Most experts would still recommend doing so, but maximum one time.

Which limit should I hold myself for my meta tags?

Should you be changing all your existing meta descriptions to a 320 character length? Probably not. Especially for any pages that are already performing well, it would be a shame to change those. 160 characters will often do the trick. There is also no guarantee that Google will show the longer descriptions every time.

For any pages with lower click-through-rates, it could not hurt to play around with the meta text. Certain categories are more suited to that approach than others:

Recipes are a great example of when a bit of additional information would encourage a Google user to click through.

Should I constantly stay on top of changes like this one?

Google’s algorithms are changing all the time. That can have a significant impact on your ranking in search results and the number of visitors clicking through to your website. If you keep a close eye on marketing blogs, you will pick up on these changes as you go.

 With webtexttool, there is no need to worry about any of it. We build every important SEO-update directly into our editing tool. That way you will get live tips as you write to make your content as attractive as possible for Google and your site visitors!