How many times in a day do you search for something on the internet? With all this information at our fingertips, it’s most people’s go-to resource for just about everything. In fact, most prospects do online research before making a purchase. For that reason alone, your business needs to appear on the search result page of search engines. This simply means that your business would appear in a Google search. To appear on the result page organically, you need search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a set of tactics and techniques that you can implement so that your website URL appears in search results.

Any business or entrepreneur with a website or blog should be concerned about SEO. SEO is a constantly changing field because of the constant introduction of new technologies. Here are some changes you need to consider if you want to improve your SEO ranking.

Voice Search

Voice search is simply the process of speaking to your phone to find an answer to a question. Do you talk to your phone? Do you ask Google, where’s the nearest pizza place? Or similar questions. I do this all the time especially when I need to be hands free. Mobile voice search is on the rise. According to a study conducted by Google, 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day. Voice search will continue to gain momentum because digital assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant are becoming common in our homes.

Voice search is very different than typed queries because voice search reflects how we speak. We speak in complete sentences and questions, such as “tell me about the best sushi in town”. As voice search continues to gain popularity we should be focusing on long-tail keywords and full phrases. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that contain more detail. For example, “I am looking for the best carry-on luggage” may be a typical phrase you say to Google or Siri. It’s different than typing a query into a search engine, using this same example, on Google, I would use shorter keywords “best carry-on”.

Voice search is still pretty new and there are not many proven techniques out there, but here are some tactics to get you started with optimising your website for voice search:

  • Having an FAQ page is a good way to appear on a top search result page when a customer uses voice search. Survey your existing customers and ask them what questions do they need answers to. Use that information to create an FAQ page. Chances are a lot of people are looking for answers to those same questions.
  • Use Google Search Console (previously known was Google Webmaster Tool), it’s a valuable service that you can use to learn about which queries are driving traffic to your website. Use the result from Search Analytics Report to improve your site’s search performance.

Voice search is still pretty new and as time passes there will be more techniques that can help with SEO. Even though voice search is a rising trend, it’s good to stay up-to-date with new changes that are happening in SEO.

“Near Me” Searches

You are walking around a new neighbour and you feel hungry, who do you ask for recommendations? I would pull out my smartphone and ask Siri where to eat. Or I would type into Google, “sushi near me”. Based on those keywords Google will know that my intent is to find a sushi restaurant that is close by. ‘Near me’ searches are on the rise as people are looking for things that are in close proximity to them. According to Google, people who conduct local search on their phones are 50% more likely to visit a store within a day. This use of search for locating businesses within a geographical location is on the rise, local businesses should be taking advantage of this.

Businesses should use local SEO techniques so they can appear on the results page. The most important factor to ranking locally is consistency of your name, address, and phone number across the internet. Any time a website references your business and includes the name, address, and phone number, it’s considered a citation. The more citations that reference a name, address and phone number that matches exactly how it appears on your website, the more authoritative your local business will be to Google. Check every website that references your business and make sure your name, address, and phone number is consistent. That includes listings on YellowPages or Yelp, or blogs and anywhere else that makes reference to the location of your business.

Another way to appear on Google’s local search is by filling out a Google My Business Account with all your basic information. If you want to really optimise your business, make sure to include the following:

  • A profile picture
  • A description of who you are and what you do
  • Your phone number
  • Photos (aim for 10)
  • Hours of operation and methods of payment

Once you have filled out the information for your business on My Business Account, Google will either call or send you a letter to verify your business. Make you sure you follow the steps to verify the business, then your business will start to appear on the Google search engine and Google Maps.

SEO can take a lot of time and effort. It’s a long term game that all business should be playing. And with SEO constantly changing due to updates to search engine algorithms, searchers behaviours, and new technologies it’s a game that you need to stay on top of.

 

Christine Fong is the Marketing Assistant at WindWater Marketing, a B2B marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. WindWater Marketing helps clients improve their SEO to help drive traffic to their websites. Visit windwatermarketing.ca or email hello@windwater.ca for more information.