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Batman & Google Voice Search

By piranha

30th October 2017

2017 is nearing its conclusion, but the world of SEO keeps on spinning!

This is the first article of a series on up-and-coming search optimisation trends to sink your teeth into. Whilst the same facets of SEO are still relevant (we’re talking backlinks and content), 2018 will see the rise of newer search factors and channels.

Without further ado, let’s take a look down the rabbit hole…

Ok, Google

Voice search is the future of SEO.

That might sound like a sweeping statement, but the advent of smartphones and smart technologies for the home has already firmly taken hold.

Ask yourself: why bother typing in a question or search term when you can simply ask your device? That’s exactly the question voice searchers are asking themselves!

Well… Asking Google, anyway.

Convenience is the dominant force behind this revolution, and it’s already gathering momentum; according to Google, 1 in 5 searches is a voice search.

That figure is sure to rise, especially after the company’s new, reasonably-priced smart hub – the Google Home Mini – shapes the Christmas market.

An aggressive marketing campaign should see Google take a larger market share of home hub tech. The current dominating companies in Amazon and Samsung had better watch out!

Phone Home?

It’s not just smart home technology that performs voice search. The Google Chrome app – available on any smartphone – also does so.
Let’s not forget about Bing or Apple’s iOS versions, either. (Sorry, Siri.)

But the device being used isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to voice SEO. What’s more interesting is how voice search is used in real-life situations.

“Long-tail keywords” is a phrase we hear about a lot, these days. But here, it’s very relevant.

Users search by voice using very different language than when they type. For example, if you’re looking for an actor’s name (using voice search), which of these options would you pick?

1. Who was Batman in The Dark Knight?
2. Batman actors
3. Free cake delivery

Definitely number 1, right?

(We like the look of number 3, but we’re not sure that it would find Christian Bale for you…)

This is an example of a long-tail keyword because it isn’t based on a single, simple search term. It’s actually natural language which a search engine would need to decipher to find an appropriate set of results:

Who was Batman in The Dark Knight?

Users speak to voice search engines as they would in real life. Because spoken language differs enormously from traditional search terms, websites need to contain natural language that helps people!

It all goes back to Google’s webmaster guidelines:

Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.

In recent years, Google’s focus (and those of other search engines) has leaned heavily towards the quality of a page’s content. This is especially true since search algorithms evolved beyond just picking out keywords and phrases.

SEO time – how to win at voice search:

• Optimise for long-tail keywords
• Make sure your content answers questions
• Make sure those questions are those people ask!

Optimising your pages for voice search is a complex, ongoing process which Google stresses should occur naturally over time.

By building your pages for users rather than search engines, you should (ironically enough) rank better!

For now, though, here are a few things to avoid:

1. Keyword stuffing (dot your language naturally with related search terms instead!)
2. Poor spelling and grammar (this sounds petty, but these things matter to search engines)
3. Missing image alt texts (helps search engines understand your pictures)

These factors all point towards improved page quality and usefulness to readers.

Mobile 1st

Smartphones are used by billions of people every day. In fact, Search Engine Land recently reported that nearly 60% of online searches are performed on mobile devices.

That’s a lot of traffic!

For 2018, that number will only rise as the functionality and accessibility of mobile devices improves.

Some important news:

Google is introducing a mobile-first index.

But what does that mean?

Basically, Google currently caches desktop pages and makes them available for both computers and mobile devices.

In the new setup, it’ll work the other way around.

This signals the death of m-dot websites and others who provide a watered-down version of the site content for mobile.

Here lies
m.example.com
2007-2017
RIP

(Ok, that’s maybe a bit dramatic… but webmasters do need to make sure each site is mobile-friendly!)

Mobile Optimisation

A key factor in mobile SEO is to make your website responsive. This means that everyone can see its content easily on any device.

You might be wondering: what else can I do to help mobile users?

The answer is in the AMP!

(Not loud guitar music but Accelerated Mobile Pages.)

AMP pages feature a special markup which helps them load quickly on mobile devices. If you want your site to succeed in 2018, make sure you consider AMP markup!

*

That’s the end of our first article on SEO in 2018. Make sure you read on next time to learn more!

We’re off to eat cake with Batman.

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