The Future of Search

Voice search: the future of SERPs?

It has been estimated that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice search. So, if you think voice search is just a gimmick, think again.

With two years to go until the anticipated uptake in voice search, now is the time to lay foundations for a strong voice search strategy.

What is Voice Search?

In a nutshell, Google Voice Search does exactly what it says on the tin – it allows users to search through speech rather than by typing a query on a desktop or mobile device. Currently, There isn’t much difference between the search results that return for voice and conventional search methods. However, as the trend for voice search increases, queries will need to adapt to reflect the style of language used for voice search.

How to Optimise for Voice Search

Voice Search is more conversational and natural than searches made by typing in one or two keywords. So, whilst a user might search for ‘best restaurant in Manchester’ whilst using google on their desktop, they’re more likely to a ask this as a question – ‘which are the best restaurants in Manchester?’ This means that voice search queries are longer than typical keyword search queries.

Target conversational search terms

To optimise for this change in search queries, businesses should target more long-tail keywords on their websites. When carrying out keyword research, it is important to consider more conversational search terms and to think about how people talk and ask questions. Think about the questions that customers ask when they call your business and make a note of the queries that you receive. If there are common queries then it would be useful to start targeting them on the website for your business by creating articles in the blog section with the long-tail keyword being the main focus.

Create FAQ pages

Most businesses have FAQs pages on their website – which is great news. FAQs pages are a strong way to target conversational terms that are likely to be popular voice searches. And they’re really easy to set up. Try focusing on question words such as Where, How and What as to target relevant question-based searches. What do does the business do? What are the main opening hours? A sports clothing retailer might sell running trainers and these pages could have an FAQ section where common questions can be answered. But don’t just stick to questions directly related to your business – branch out to common queries. For example, Search terms such as ‘What are the best running trainers for wet weather’ can be targeted along with a list of recommendations.

Structured data

Structured data are content summaries, tables or lists that are pulled through into search rankings (see image below).

The structured Data Markup can give voice search devices more information about the content on your website. An example of a voice search could be ‘What is the best hotel to book in Berlin’ and hotel websites can use the correct Schema Markup to optimise their site to rank in the featured snippet for this voice search term. it is common for a business to focus on ranking first in the search results, however, this can be very difficult to achieve in a competitive market. Using structured data markup allows businesses to increase the chance of their website ranking as a featured snippet, which can be more valuable than ranking first as this content will be above every other search result. use schema markup to increase the likelihood of your content being seen before any other search result for that keyword.

Did you know: Cedarwood Digital offers Search Engine Optimisation designed to make your website convert. View our full list of SEO services here.

Google Update Septemebr 2018

Google birthday update: has your site been affected?

Google has confirmed that a small algorithm update occurred on the 27th September to coincide with Google’s birthday. It has been described as being smaller than the update that took place in August, as experts report that it has not impacted as many websites as the August update.

It is important to be aware of and monitor Google Algorithm updates because they can lead to significant changes in traffic levels.

How do I check if my site has been affected?

Tracking tools such as SEM Rush help to identify if traffic levels have seen a positive or negative change. If no change is identified, then It is also possible that this recent update hasn’t had any impact on your website – which can only be seen as a positive.

As always, there are varying opinions on the impact of the update. Several industry experts are questioning whether this update has been a reversal of the “Medic” algorithm update that occurred in August, as some websites have experienced positive impacts.

 

Did you know: Cedarwood Digital offers Search Engine Optimisation designed to make your website convert. View our full list of SEO services here

10 Outreach Tips From Brighton SEO 2018

10 Outreach tips from Brighton SEO 2018

On 28th September, the Cedarwood Digital team travelled south to attend Brighton SEO, a huge one-day search marketing conference.

Here are 10 outreach tips that we picked up during the day.

Broken backlinks

Whilst many companies are familiar with fixing backlinks to their own websites, now is the time to start taking advantage of competitors’ backlinks. Screaming Frog, a website crawling tool, allows companies to find any inbound links to a competitors website that result in a 404 error. Once these have been identified, outreach teams can contact the journalist who published the article to suggest that they link to their company’s website instead. If the article contains content that the company’s website doesn’t currently have, then create this content first and then pitch it to the journalist alongside a link to the content.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Reverse image search

This may be an old technique, but it is still useful for identifying new link opportunities. Find a graphic or image that a competitor had featured in national publications and then use this in a Google image search. This will show the websites that covered that graphic and the context that it was used in. Then work on creating a graphic with updated information on it and contact the publications to see if they would be interested in your material.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Hashtags

Take a competitors URLs and paste it into a link tool such as AHREFS or Majestic and then identify their new backlinks. If there any hashtags in the articles they have recently received links from then make a note of these and simply Google these hashtags. This is a great way to find out which bloggers have worked with a competitor which gives an indication of the articles that they publish.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Backlink analysis

A backlink analysis is a great way to understand where a competitor has been recently securing links – for example, using the SEM Rush gap analysis tool. This will not only show the domains that are linking to your competitor, but also exactly where the link is and its context. It is likely that your competitor has a large number of backlinks in their profile so it is recommended to compile a list of around 15 top opportunities to start with and then build this list up in stages.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

Set up alerts

Set up Google or Ahrefs alerts for your business and then set up alerts for your competitors. This will tell you when your competitors are being mentioned online, meaning that you can see if they are receiving links from high authority websites.

Laura Hogan – Use Your Competitors For Freeeeee Links 

News & media jumping

This is a technique that is used on Twitter by those who work in PR and it involves using a set of hashtags to request specific information. These hashtags are #PRRequest and #JournoRequest and journalists often use these when they are are trying to find someone to comment or interview for a story or feature. Sign up for email alerts so that you don’t miss out on a potential opportunity.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Trade & industry publications

Industry-specific publications are always on the lookout for relevant content so use them as part of your outreach strategy. If you have any content that you would like to share that would be useful to others in your industry, then pitch this to relevant journalists. It is likely that the publication operates in print as well as online then this could also lead to some fantastic exposure for your business.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Secure links before you produce the content

Time is very important and every second of an outreach campaign counts, so try to secure a link before you have produced the content. If you have an idea for a piece of content or infographic, check first that this is of interest to your target publications. You can find out by pitching your idea to journalists and writers to get their feedback. If you are able to compile a small list of publications that would be willing to use your content with a guaranteed link then you can go ahead and make the content.

Stacy MacNaught – Securing Links Before You’ve Even Produced Your Content

Surveys

If you want to create content or a press release on a certain topic that requires the public opinion, then try surveys. Google Surveys allow users to gather information in a short space of time, whilst Survey Monkey allows you to collect a large pool of data. Analyse this data, collate your findings and write them up into an interesting piece of content.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

Data outreach

If you have a content idea that requires data and statistics from reputable sources, then try government bodies. The  Office For National Statistics (ONS) and Freedom Of Information Requests are great for getting reputable data from government departments, such as the police force or the department for education. There are already requests available that other users have submitted but you can submit your own.

Charlie Marchant – Ways To Definitely Get Links For Your Business

So if you work as part of an outreach team and have been struggling for campaign ideas, then try some of these outreach tips to ramp up your link-building strategy.

READ NEXT: Why are links important for SEO?

Why Are Links Important For SEO

Why are links important for SEO, and how can I get them?

If you’re in the digital marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard that getting backlinks from other websites is crucial for SEO. It’s important to utilise anything that can help to boost your website’s search ranking, so we’ll shed some light on why links are so important and teach you how to build them yourself.

Why are links important for SEO?

Building backlinks to your website (getting other websites to link back to yours) sends out a trust signal to Google that your website has good authority, and therefore should be ranked higher. However, this depends on the type and quality of the website that posts the link. Essentially, if a quality website which Google trusts links back to your site, Google determines that you too are a quality website, so should be ranked higher. You can work out the quality of a website by checking its domain rating on websites such as Ahrefs or Moz: the higher score the better.

However, Google can also penalise for backlinks which it sees as unnatural. For example, spamming forums, creating tonnes of directory listings, paying bloggers on fiver to link to your website are unnatural ways to build links, which in turn will lower your position on Google. It is far better for SEO to secure a few strong links a month than to build hundreds of low-quality backlinks in a short space of time.

Hence, you should always ensure that links have a natural connection to your business, which you can achieve with the following techniques.

Brand reclamation

 

It’s always great exposure when a publisher features your brand in their article, though sometimes they will mention a brand without linking back to the brand’s website. Whilst this can be frustrating, it’s easy to maximise this opportunity and secure a link from a high-quality website. Most of the hard work has already been done because a journalist has already noticed and written about your brand. Simply drop them an email thanking them for featuring your business and request a link to your website be added to the page in case their readers want to find out more.

Tracking brand mentions online is very easy to set up so that you don’t miss these opportunities. There are several web-monitoring tools that help you do this, such as Google Alerts (free), Ahrefs alerts and Gorkana. Some publications may have editorial policies not to include external links, but it’s always best to email and check.

Media tools

 

Now that GDPR is in place, media databases with opted-in contact details of journalists are more important than ever for sourcing good quality PR opportunities and contacts. There are a variety of tools you can pay for, as well as free databases that scrape public email addresses from across the web.

One relatively cost-effective way to find feature opportunities is through journalist alerts. These are email alerts that journalists send out to source contacts or information for the features that they are writing. You can then respond to queries that are relevant to your brand, offering information, images, product reviews or quotes. Not only do these tools allow you to effectively build links in a natural way, but they also allow you to develop relationships with key journalists in your market without the need of a pricey media database. Building your own database of journalists that you have successfully worked with makes it easier to work with them again in the future, as you can either contact them with valuable content or they may contact you with relevant upcoming features to you.

Local links

 

Big-budget content campaigns can bring in a lot of high quality links, but exploring your local link opportunities can also be a good cost-effective way to build links on a smaller scale. Investigate whether you have any current connections that you could source a link from. Is your Managing Director an alumni of a prestigious university? If so, perhaps they could make a donation or share their business expertise on their website. Is there a local charity you could work with? Or a local group linked to your industry? Explore current connections that your staff and management have to see if there are any natural links that could be secured by sending an email.

Competitor analysis

 

If a key competitor outranks you for several of your keywords, performing an analysis of where their links are coming from is a great way to see what kind of outreach work they are undertaking. Tools such as Ahrefs enable you to identify which publications your competitors are receiving links from, as well as spark ideas for potential outreach content.

Are there any high quality review websites that your competitor has a link on? If they do and your brand doesn’t, then this can be an area to explore. Do they have any links from high quality bloggers? Again, if they do then you can contact the blogger who wrote the article to introduce your brand and highlight what you can offer them, should they be planning any articles which you could contribute to.

 

Looking for more tips on outreach and link building? Check out these easy-to-action tips we picked up at Brighton SEO in how to secure links for your website.