Why Voice Search Isn’t The Next Big Search Trend

Did you see the announcers trying out Google’s voice search in the various Major League Championship Series?

It delivered exactly the answer desired.

And you probably use voice search to at least a small extent too. Your internet marketing company may even help you optimize for voice searches.

…Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Staying on top of current trends is smart business.

However, voice search isn’t hugely revolutionary. That’s because it’s basically only a slightly more convenient way of searching.

Instead of typing in a search, you use your voice. It’s faster and easier than typing for all but the fastest of typers.

Useful. But not all that big of a deal in the grand scheme of search.

So What is the Next Big Trend?

The next big thing, and it’s actually already here, is conversational AI. You experience it through Alexa, Google Assistant (on their Google Home device and smartphones), and Apple’s Siri.

The difference now is that, instead of simply replacing your fingers with your voice, these “conversational AI”-powered devices search their knowledge repository to give you an intelligent answer.

So the idea would be that you get a more accurate and sophisticated answer than if you simply did a manual search.

What This Means to You

A simple voice search takes you to Google and shows you the top 10 search results just like it does when you type in a search.

However, with conversational AI, a response gets read back to you. In other words, you’re the only result for that search.

Now do you get the difference?

You’ll get a whole landslide more of qualified searchers when you have that position.

How Do You Get That Search Position?

Think about how you, your family, and your coworkers search when you use voice.

Do you speak the words and phrases you would otherwise type?

Some do. But if you survey enough people, you’ll find most search conversationally.

In other words, they’re not going to say “Dallas podiatrist” too often.

Instead, they’ll ask a question like,”Who’s the best podiatrist in Dallas?” or,”Who’s the top-rated podiatrist in Dallas and Fort Worth?”

This gives you a better understanding of the searcher’s intent. And then you create content tightly targeted to answer their questions. You use simple language they understand. And you avoid marketing or business speak.

This will lead to you dominating the search engines both now and in the future.

Google Releases (Yet Another) Core Algorithm Update

 

Well, should you just throw your arms up in the air and pound your head against the wall?

Google’s at it again.

They released the major “Medic” update in August.

And now here in late September, they’ve released another core algorithm update.

This one doesn’t have a name yet.

And, it’s definitely not as widespread as the “Medic” update.

But, it’s still strong enough to catch the notice of many SEOs.

No details have yet been released on what the update does.

And to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. You can’t keep up with all of Google’s updates anyway. But, you can stick to the core principles Google wants to see so you won’t get hammered hard by any update.

Google Offers Nearly Unbelievable Advice to Sites Looking to Improve Rankings

In March, Google released a shocking Tweet about algorithm updates. They said this on March 12, 2018:

“There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Wait a minute? What?

In other words, you’re not doing anything wrong. And you can still lose your rankings?

Yes.

You see, Google acts on what’s really a capitalist principle: the best, most popular pages get the highest treatment in its search rankings.

Over time, Google’s been working at making sure the truly greatest pages make it to the top of search.

So technically, you can be doing nothing wrong, but still lose ground in search.

How Should You Respond?

Well, Google’s trying to be as fair as possible. They want pages their searchers want to use at the top of their rankings because that keeps people using Google.

So, if someone’s beating you in search, you simply have to analyze their website and top it.

Because content quality is the most significant component of search rankings, spend most of your time figuring out how you can top their content.

Find the most popular sites centered around your topic and top their content…even if that means you cut your posting frequency from five times to one per month.

That one post could then generate shares, comments, and links and keep visitors reading for several minutes.

Those are the signals Google wants to see because they prove searchers like what you have to say.

And then you simply repeat and master the process like none of your competitors can.

Easy to say. Difficult to do.

But it’s certainly the key to success in search.

via GIPHY

 

How to Recover from Google’s “Medic” Algorithm Update

Did your site lose rankings and traffic in August and/or September?

Google rolled out an intense algorithm update.

And you might wonder what you should fix.

Well, here’s what Google’s Danny Sullivan had to say about it:

Doesn’t that seem like the world’s greatest non-answer?

What is this a guy? A politician?

So, you lose rankings and traffic…but you can’t do anything to fix it?

Believe it or not, Sullivan’s answer is a good one. And, it’s the right one.

Why No Specific Fix Will Restore Your Rankings and Traffic

When you try to find a specific fix…when you go down that mental avenue…here’s the problem:

you’re trying to please Google.

Yes. Pleasing Google is not what your website is all about.

That’s because Google exists not to put the sites it thinks should be at the top of the search rankings. Rather, it exists to put the sites that people want to use in first place.

That keeps people using Google (and not other search engines). And it keeps the company making billions of dollars.

Google doesn’t want to lose either.

So, What Do You Fix?

Your website can never again be a one-time or occasional thing you look at and make fixes to. If you go that route, you’re sure to lose your rank in search.

It may come slowly. But it will happen.

Rather, you want to constantly tweak your website to give your visitors a better experience. You do the same at your brick-and-mortar location.

You must also do this with your website.

So each day, simply ask yourself, ”What’s the number one thing I can do right now that will make the greatest impact on how much people like my website?”

…And that can lead you to lots of decisions like improving content, increasing site speed, creating more appealing marketing messages, changing code to improve performance, tightening security, and scores of other decisions.

The Number One Thing You Can Always Do

Ultimately, people visit and stay at websites with the most useful content. So if you’re a naturally talented writer, create the most in-depth blog post of its kind that answers a question, dispels a myth, or sheds light on an issue of concern to your audience.

If you’re not a writer, create a video, upload to YouTube, and post it on your website.

Add a podcast to your website.

The more helpful you can be with your content, the better.

Why?

People get all sorts of lame, and sometimes just downright wrong, answers on the internet.

So when you make it clear helping your visitors out is your number one priority, and they get information they can’t get anywhere else, you win attention.

They remember you.

They share your content with their friends.

And when they finally need your service, they choose you (and not your competitor).

In a nutshell, “sharing is caring.”

And that’s how you keep Google happy and maintain a nearly impossible-to-disrupt hold on your traffic and rankings, regardless of the changes Google throws your way.

via GIPHY

 

Does Your Content Stink?

Who determines the quality of your content?

Google?

Nope!

I’ll give you one more guess…

Got it?

Did you say your website visitors?

Ding. Ding! We have a winner!

Yes, your market determines the quality of your content.

Because, if they like it, they click through to your site from search, stay on your page for a minute or two, share your content, and then come back again and read more in the future.

Google factors all those actions into its rankings.

When you optimize for keywords, Google does look at your content too. But it continually adjusts your rankings based on how well your content performs.

Yes. Google works on the concept of democracy. The people vote by taking (or not taking) actions. A sole powerful king or dictator does not determine what you get to see and hear.

How Do You Know If Your Content Rocks…Or Sucks?

Read this snippet of an article of a post at a local online magazine and decide whether you think it rocks or sucks:

 

The Expert’s Opinion

So, what did you think? Would you have found that useful if you had an interest in going to Minneapolis for a weekend?

Now, get an expert’s opinion.

What do I think?

…It doesn’t matter!

I honestly cannot tell just by looking at the post.

The writing quality is decent. It won’t irk Google and hurt rankings in any obvious ways.

However, the true value of content gets judged by how well it meets the needs and interests of its audience.

…And the only way I can tell that is by viewing data and analytics.

I don’t have access to the website’s analytics. But I can see basic data via Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer:

43 social shares.

…And this post just got published a day prior to getting this data. So more shares will roll in.

Now, this website is a step above the typical small, local business. For them, I’m guessing it’s not their most popular post.

Buzzsumo lets me see the most popular posts on the site. So let’s look at that data:

Their top posts get 1.5k – 2.1k social shares.

A reasonable guess for this type of website would be that a typical post gets maybe 100 – 200 social shares or so.

It usually takes a couple weeks for numbers to get to their final (that’s how content works). So, this post you just read is likely an average post.

How to Use This to Determine Your Content Quality

Share numbers from your website won’t be nearly as high. That’s because you’re smaller and have a lower reach.

No shame in that. It’s just a fact.

For you, 50 shares on a post might be pretty decent.

But, you can also use Buzzsumo to research your competitor’s sites. See how many shares they get.

And remember, they may have a bigger audience built up. So, you can’t say your posts weren’t successful simply because you didn’t get the same number of shares.

But, you can get an idea of what content works in your niche. Write your own opinion on the same subject. Go farther in-depth and be more helpful.

Add pictures and videos to clarify your meaning. Link to helpful outside sources.

Then, you know you have great content.

And that means you simply have to get yours in front of the right eyeballs.

Great content comes from trying different approaches, studying data, and improving. You build it slowly over time with incremental improvement.

Armed with the right data, you know precisely whether your content stinks…or rocks!

How Do You Know You’re Creating “Quality Content?”

Quality content rocks.

Who would disagree with that?

Absolutely no one.

…But how do you know if you actually deliver “quality content” to your market?

Let’s talk about some of the characteristics (and leading websites) and what makes
“quality content” in fact “quality content:”

  1. Your Market Always Finds “Quality Content” Useful

In a capitalist society, it’s all about serving your market. Give them what they want. Yes, some content does better than other pieces. You’ll always have variation.

But you’ll consistently see evidence of it. In your analytics, you’ll notice:

  • Long on-page times (or long watch times for videos)
  • Low bounce rates (below 70%)

Quality content simply starts with questions your target audience/market asks. They may ask you in your office frequently.

…And then you become an encyclopedia of information when you give them the answer.

  1. Example Site: TasteofHome.com

This site benefitted bigtime in Google’s most recent update, which targeted websites specifically in its niche.

That’s how you know it has “quality content.” You can also go to BuzzSumo.com, enter a URL, and check the share count to gauge popularity.

So what makes this site’s content such a big deal?

Well, it serves a niche: people cooking at home.

The content is short, to the point, and written in simple language that’s easy to consume.

If you go to BuzzSumo.com and enter in the website’s URL, you find out these are the top 5 most popular posts:

It’s easy to see why some of these posts are so popular:

  • Who wouldn’t want a free Dairy Queen ice cream cone?
  • Taco Bell is one of the healthiest fast food chains. Really?
  • A new fourth type of chocolate has been found. Wow! Who wouldn’t want to learn about that?

BuzzSumo works in every niche. You can even search by keyword. So, just enter in your top keywords or key phrases related to the subject matter you want to create, and find out what rocks in your niche.

Then, create your own unique version with additional info not found in the leading stories.

Ta-da!

It really is that easy to find popular subjects to write about.

It simply takes some time and research.

So what does quality content look like?

It varies widely by niche. But now you know exactly what to do to find it, and then create your own version to serve your niche.

Google Rolls Out Yet Another Core Algorithm Change

You may have heard about Google increasing the length of meta descriptions, which won’t have a huge impact on search rankings.

But they actually said this on their Twitter account about their latest update:

“…It’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded. There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well, other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

So doesn’t that make you feel kinda helpless?

What if your rankings get completely trashed and you lose 25% of your site’s traffic or so?

Google’s saying you just gotta wait that out?

What if you can’t?

Search Engine Land reported the story.

Wait a Minute! Actually, You Can Do Something About That

So let’s focus on the fact that Google says they’ve rewarded certain pages less than they should have for some time.

Theoretically, for any one keyword or key phrase, you have one page on a website that’s better than all the others.

Truly, the best.

So even though Google tells you to wait, you can actually do a lot to improve your search rankings.

But let’s qualify that statement somewhat: this becomes much more difficult with your services pages that sell what you have.

Because, what’s so special about any single services page?

They all sell practically the same thing anyway.

Well, you can stand out a little by adding a FAQ section to your services page. You could also add video to give your prospects more of an idea of what it’s like to experience the results of your service. You might add a couple images to break up the text and make it faster and easier to read through your services page.

Your real opportunity to climb the search rankings lies in your content. A simple blog post runs a few hundred words – and that’s what you see most frequently at the small and local business level.

However, the leading online experts create posts thousands of words long. And they only make 1-2 of these per month.

They load the posts with useful videos and graphics. And they offer information you simply can’t find anywhere else.

For example, read any post at Conversion XL, a leading website conversion optimization blog (and bookmark it too).

If you mimicked that at the small or local business level and promoted your post like crazy, you’d win all sorts of traffic, links, social media shares, and customers.

…But You Must Have Realistic Expectations

So yes, you don’t have to sit there helplessly if Google begins to push you down the rankings negatively.

At the same time, understand this isn’t an overnight fix. It can easily take more than a year.

And blog posts rarely instantly attract more customers. People don’t read your posts, revel in how amazing they are, and then buy immediately.

Instead, they read, find your post useful, subscribe to your email list, or bookmark your website. They continue to pay attention to you for months, and possibly years.

Some just use your advice to fix their problem themselves. However, many remember your name, trust you because they love what you say, and then they buy from you when they have a problem you solve.

If Google pushes you down in search a little, it’s impossible to always know exactly why.

But you can absolutely increase your rankings at any time with the right approach.