Is the time of voice search officially here?

With digital assistant sales increasing by a huge 103% in the last year it is safe to say that smart speakers are soon surpassing their trend status and becoming staples in the everyday home.

 

A recent study indicated that the top uses for these speakers were listening to music, checking the weather, asking fun questions and researching. With half of the uses of these devices essentially being search it highlights the necessity for a shift to voice-centric SEO strategies.

 

Voice search is still relatively new, so there is no exact formula for what exactly we should be doing for optimisation, but a key point to consider is the language difference between search styles.

 

While majority of typed Google searches are succinct keywords phrases, voice search is slightly different. Rather than a condensed two or three-word sentence, voice searches are generally spoken style questions.

 

So unlike general searches such as “Fahrenheit to Celsius” a voice search would be, “what is the conversion between Fahrenheit and Celsius?” Because of this specific question-style search, the results must reflect answers to these searches, reflecting sentence structures rather than simple keywords.

 

The surge in digital assistants doesn’t mean that our laptops, desktops and phone are becoming obsolete, it simply means that we have to consider other platforms to include in our SEO strategies so we don’t get left behind.

Google AMP irks users  

The launch of Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) has been the talk of the previous year with Google urging sites to prepare for mobile optimisation. However, despite the constant reminders, tips and tricks AMP didn’t particularly launch to a smooth start.

 

It turns out the Google’s URLs are being displayed in search results instead of the publisher’s which is a pretty big faux pas on Google’s part if searcher’s can’t even view the site address of their results. Those that are still behind on being AMP ready can view this is a new opportunity to get their sites ready while Google is still in the process of addressing this issue.

 

But why is AMP so important for publishers? Well, with mobile search, mobile commerce and mobile use increasing each year, it makes sense that there is a greater chance your site will benefit from being mobile optimised. This is particularly true if you are an online retailer or you rely heavily on local business and local searches.

 

If you’re still not sure how to optimise your mobile site for AMP then a quick trick is to invest is a mobile-optimisation builder, which can help guide you along the way for more convenient mobile sites.  

Troubleshoot your SEO strategy for 2018  

 

It’s a brand new year, which means a fresh start for you, your business and your SEO strategy. But my keywords haven’t changed, why do I need a new strategy? While keywords are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about SEO it isn’t the only objective. Your SEO strategy can be tweaked at any stage of your business’ life cycle to keep your current objectives at the forefront.

 

So, if you’re not just thinking about keywords, how can you refresh your strategy? Well, consider your short-term and long-term business goals, if you haven’t developed any then the beginning of the New Year is the perfect time!

 

Think about what you wish to achieve in 2018, is it increased traffic? Maybe you want to improve your local search? Establishing your objectives helps clarify the necessary SEO strategy, ultimately making it more effective.

 

There’s no denying that SEO takes a huge chunk out of your day because not only is it quite intensive but they are continuous updates and algorithm changes that can actually harm your SEO campaign if not adhered to. So investing in a professional SEO strategy could be your best business move of 2018.

 

Finding an SEO agency to handle your day-to-day SEO campaign ensures that you have more time to grow other aspects of your business, pushing your 2018 business goals even further!

The top 3 SEO buzzwords of 2018  

 

With 2017 coming to a close it’s time to start looking to the New Year to make resolutions and come up with new strategies. Not just your strategy for eating healthier, getting more active or meditating but your SEO strategy as well! To get an idea of what 2018 will hold for SEO we’ve compiled a list of the top three buzzwords that will influence how you should be strategizing.

 

MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING

2017 has been a big year for mobile with increased searches, shopping and more, so it’s no surprise that 2018 will put mobile first. Throughout this year Google has reminded us of the impending mobile-first index that will be coming soon and it’s finally here. So get your website mobile-friendly before you fall behind.

 

VOICE SEARCH

Digital assistants are becoming more and more popular and with their features growing by the day, it seems as though they’re here to stay. Because of that, voice search is something that SEO specialists are looking at optimising, as written and speech patterns differ for search queries.

 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Search engines are smart and they’re only getting smarter. Platforms such as Bing have introduced AI to their search queries, with features that assist users in improving their search experience with better and cleverer results. Its only a matter of time before an AI war breaks out between search giants so keep an eye out when considering your SEO strategy.

 

While this is definitely not an exhaustive list of everything 2018 will have to offer, there are no doubts that these SEO terms will be dominating the scene.

Bing introduces AI search results

Artificial intelligence is becoming an increasingly hot topic for search with Bing introducing their own AI search tools for users at an event earlier this week not only for the search engine but Cortana and Microsoft Office as well.

 

This AI shift focuses on three main categories of tools including intelligent answers, intelligent image search and conversational search.

 

Intelligent answers offers an extended version of snippets with varied responses and results for search queries. Rather than presenting single responses, Bing is providing users with a fuller understanding of their search query through source comparison.

 

Image search has been on the rise with platforms such as Pinterest getting involved and now Bing has thrown their hat into the ring with their intelligent image search. Similar to what Pinterest provides users, Bing can now search through images, targeting buildings and items for visual search with fashion and furniture capable of presenting ‘shoppable’ results for online retailers.

 

Finally their final AI update is the conversational search function, which can assist users in narrowing down their queries for more specific results. This is done by presenting potential narrowed search terms for the original query suggesting improved search terms for greater result accuracy.

 

While Google is still the current search powerhouse, Bing’s AI features have the potential to provide strong competition for not just the search engine but the Google assistant as well.

Yahoo speaks out over Mozilla split  

When news broke about the Mozilla-Yahoo split late November it was clear that Mozilla’s wandering eye for Google was the reason for the premature breakup. Their subsequent press releases and statements wrote the narrative for the split with no word from Yahoo. Until now.

 

Unlike Mozilla, Yahoo didn’t release a statement to the press regarding their split, but they did make a statement…a huge one. Nothing quite says bitter ex like a lawsuit and that’s exactly what Yahoo did.

 

Yahoo’s parent company Verizon sued Mozilla earlier this week for a breach of contract. Verizon is also seeking damages for the loss of business that has resulted from the split and are demanding that Mozilla rescind the termination, which isn’t going over well.

 

Mozilla responded to the lawsuit with a countersuit as they claim they were within their contractual obligations to terminate their relationship and claims that Yahoo failed to retain the quality of the search engine during their years of partnership.

 

As of now no decisions have been made with a hearing scheduled for February but this messy breakup just goes to show that you can’t be friends with an ex.

Amazon Australia launches to lukewarm reception  

For anyone that has ever consumed any sort of American content, whether it’s a YouTube video, TV show or article knows that Amazon is a big deal. An online marketplace where you can find almost anything at greatly discounted prices which are delivered to your door in a matter of days – what more could you want?

 

With Amazon being unavailable in Australia for the past few years we’ve simply had to look on in envy as our American counterparts enjoy their promptly delivered, discounted goods. So when Amazon announced that they would be launching in Australia the excited was palpable with many speculating how it would impact local retailers with Amazon’s bargain basement prices.

 

Well, Amazon was launched on Tuesday and it didn’t exactly live up to the hype with many flocking to Twitter to voice their disappointment. While Amazon promised prices 30% below RRP some items turned out to be more expensive. The most awkward being Amazon’s Kindle being more affordable in local retailer Officeworks.

 

Not only were some items more expensive but the digital wonderland of items that was expected didn’t deliver either with the Australian Amazon offering a much more limited offering then its American site. We can only hope that this disappointing opener is part of Amazon’s long-term strategy with plans to cut prices and introduce more products in the coming months.

 

While we wait for their next move, we can enjoy the hilarious reactions online.

 

 

Our prediction for 2017’s most Googled  

 

It’s been a busy year for politics, global news and the entertainment industry and while we can agree that there have been highs and lows, it’s these moments that begin trending with people flocking to Google to find out more.

 

Each year Google releases their Top Charts for global and domestic searches in categories such as Searches, Global News, People and more. We’ve come up with our top picks for Google’s Top 10 based on all the craziness that 2017 has had to offer. Here’s our guess for each category, we’re betting that one of these will at least land Top 10.

 

Searches: Royal Engagement

 

Global News: Trump/Russia Collusion

 

People: Meghan Markle

 

Consumer Tech: iPhone X

 

Global Sporting Events: Fifa Qualifiers

 

Losses: Hugh Hefner

 

Movies: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Musicians: Taylor Swift

 

TV Shows: Stranger Things

 

Each of these search terms have been the centre of media frenzies for positive and negative reasons and while there are still a few weeks left of the year, here’s to hoping nothing too crazy happens in the meantime.

Key metrics to keep your eye on

Implementing an SEO campaign is one thing but actually analysing your results are a different story. While reporting to clients can be daunting it can also provide fresh insights and new ways to tackle SEO for improved results.

 

Looking out for key metrics and noting their changes throughout different approaches provides a great framework for measuring your methods and its successes.

 

TRAFFIC

That’s a pretty obvious one considering most SEO goals are related to increasing site traffic through paid and organic methods. When measuring traffic it’s important to look past the homepage and consider other landing pages to monitor their performance for a well-rounded SEO approach

 

CLICK THROUGH RATE

Keeping an eye on the click through rate (CTR) provides an indication of the site’s pages that are having the most success with searchers. If some pages are performing significantly better or worse than others consider how the approach for that page differs and tailor a strategy to combat this.

 

 

CONVERSIONS

Another obvious one but no less important, conversions are a very tangible indication of whether an SEO campaign has been successful, have more customers called or bought things online? Or has their been a dip? While this could be a number of non-SEO related factors it is still a factor to consider when measuring the effectiveness of an SEO campaign.

 

Obviously there are dozens of metrics that can be measured, analysed and compared but it would be almost impossible to keep an eye on everything, so focus on a few key metrics to look out for.

Top 3 SEO agency red flags

SEO is important, that is something that most businesses can agree upon, but because of how quickly the industry is changing it can be almost impossible to keep up.

 

Rather than letting SEO suffer by trying to operate in-house most businesses will invest in an SEO agency to get the job done, but how do you find the right SEO fit? We’ve come up with the top three red flags you should be looking out for when hiring an SEO agency.

 

FAST RESULTS

SEO is very much a marathon, not a sprint, so any agency promising quick results is most likely taking shortcuts that can harm your business in the long run. If an agency is promising quick results, ask them the methods they use to achieve this and decide if it aligns with your business goals and values.

 

 

MIS(SED) COMMUNICATION

Communication is key to any agency relationship and SEO agencies are no different. Ensure that you find an agency that promptly responds to questions but also listens to your ideas and goals. An immediate red flag is a lagging response time for an initial consultation.

 

POOR PITCHES

Whether it’s a casual coffee meeting or a formal presentation, a pitch can tell a lot about a business. Are they able to adequately address questions and concerns? And do they provide an actual framework for how the end-goal is achieved? A pitch also provides an indication of the standard of work an agency will provide as it is a reflection of their quality.

 

But at the end of the day it is important to trust your instinct, no one knows your business and its perfect fit better than you. So trust you gut but keep a criteria in mind for making your final decision.

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