Landing on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) gives any business website a great advantage over its competitors. With one survey proving that more than half (51%) of all website traffic comes from organic search, high ranking websites can significantly drive in potential clients and complement branding efforts. However, to enjoy these benefits would require the proper implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Since not all firms can claim expert-level SEO knowledge, employing the services of an SEO-focused agency is sometimes the best option.
Yet with so many companies out there offering SEO services, hiring a reputable firm can be a challenge. It is even possible to end up with a bogus SEO agency, doing more harm than good. Increase your chances of working with a credible SEO agency by knowing the common mistakes to avoid when searching for online marketing partners. Here is what you should look out for:
Falling for unrealistic promises from an SEO agency.
It is easy to be lured with the guarantee of a high search engine ranking for your business website. Yet an SEO agency that promises a first-page search result is a sure red-flag. Your doubts should also increase if the promise does not include clear steps and tactics to achieve the top spot. An honest SEO provider lays down an effective SEO strategy yet also informs the client about the instability of how search engines work. This means that a reputable SEO agency does not center its services on ranking alone. Instead, it provides the best SEO recommendations to improve the rankings and usability of a business website based on reviews and assessments done.
Settling for the cheapest package.
Stats from 2019 SEO services report shows that small businesses spend an average of USD 497.16 per month for SEO services. To save money, it is tempting to choose the SEO provider that offers the most affordable packages. However, expertise comes with a price. This is why reputable SEO companies demand a fair rate for the quality of the services they offer. Thus, an agency offering very low rates may also result in poor performance. This would then lead to wasted money in the long run.
Neglecting to do SEO agency research.
To avoid regrets and mistakes, it is advisable to be meticulous before signing-up with an SEO agency. Do not forget to dig into the background and history of the SEO firm. Among other things, you want to know who their past clients are and the feedback they received from them. You should also be ready to ask the right questions that can assess the credibility and competence of an SEO firm.
Expecting quick results.
Patience is a virtue any SEO agency should attain due to the slow rate at which results are likely to be seen. It usually takes months before you can see the effects of all on-page and off-page optimization techniques. Therefore, a trustworthy SEO firm offers long-term yet realistic SEO services. On the other hand, you should be wary of SEO companies that promise results in a short period of time.
Success in digital marketing requires knowledge and competencies on various strategies. This is why it is best to leave all your online marketing needs to the experts by partnering up with Birch River Design Group. Our team based in Scottsdale, Arizona makes it a goal to help businesses enjoy the rewards of professional digital marketing techniques. Learn more about our services by reaching out to us via phone call or email. Feel free to connect with us through LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook!
It is impossible to tell the history of Google without mentioning the numerous algorithm updates it has introduced over the years. Google started introducing more updates as they continue to enhance how their platform processes search results. Web marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists follow and monitor all updates such as Panda, Hummingbird, Penguin, and RankBrain. This is because changes implemented by Google can greatly affect a website’s ranking and performance.
Just recently, Google rolled out another change, the BERT update. With claims that the new update will affect 10 percent of all search queries, taking time to understand it should be part of crafting an online marketing strategy. The following briefly explains what this new change is about:
What you need to know about the Google Bert Update
Google is not the most popular search engine in the world for nothing. The giant company keeps on finding ways to further improve its systems and technology. Last October 2019, Google announced the BERT update, which is the acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The term may appear intimidating. However, it simply represents a technology that will allow the machines to better understand the search intent of users when they type in search queries.
Through its natural language processing (NLP) software, the BERT update aims to help machines respond like a human. In the past, it was not uncommon to type in a keyword and get unconnected results. Due to language complexities, it is very easy for search engines to wrongly interpret a query. Google wants to limit or altogether eliminate these mistakes through the BERT update, which is adept at interpreting the nuances and context of search queries.
How will the Google Bert Update affect SEO?
Since Google did not roll out any major updates in the last five years, reports are saying that the BERT algorithm will bring significant changes to Google’s search function. This prediction makes many digital marketers worry about how it will affect their SEO strategy. People in the online marketing world are likewise eager to learn ways on how to optimize their website for BERT.
However, a statement via Twitter from Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, sends out an assurance that the BERT update will not require any new or drastic changes to a website’s current on-page SEO tactic. This is true for a website that is already making an effort to provide quality content for its visitors. In a tweet, Sullivan said, “There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.” Thus, if there is any effect, the BERT update will further highlight the importance of great content. The search algorithm will focus on search intent. Therefore, inserting exact keywords in content will no longer be as important as before. Now, the goal is to make the content sound more natural by writing with the users in mind and not for the search engines.
With the rapidly evolving technology, keeping up with the changes is one of the many roles of a digital marketer. Make sure that your firm is always updated with the latest news about how online marketing works by partnering up with a reliable digital marketing agency, the Birch River Design Group based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Get in touch with us through a phone call or email.
One thing to know about search engine optimization (SEO) is that it is not something that gets easier in time. With frequent algorithm updates and the growing number of competition, the task to dominate the search engine results page (SERP) is getting even more difficult. Thus, even after landing on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing, web marketers cannot afford to stay lax for long.
Aside from the fact that a new website can always steal your spot, the gauge to measure a successful SEO campaign can change anytime. As an example, not too long ago, page 1 ranking in Google was the coveted SERP position. Nowadays, this is no longer the case. SEO experts are aiming to rank for Google featured snippets or what is now called position zero.
What are featured snippets?
Introduced by Google in 2014, a featured snippet occupies the top organic spot in a Google search result. Instead of the usual brief meta description that you see under the title tags and URL of a page, this search result provides a summary of the page content. It can be in the form of a paragraph, a list, or a table. This unique way of displaying a result allows users to grasp the gist of a page without actually clicking the site.
Why do you want to rank for featured snippets?
To be in position zero is highly beneficial because of the prime exposure and competitive advantage it gives. As the content summary even appears inside a prominent answer box, it is obvious that it is specifically intended to catch the user’s attention. Like a famous landmark or a prime business location, a featured snippet is impossible to miss. At times, a featured snippet can even appear above the paid search ads.
Firms and brands would surely want to aim for position zero because an adequate featured snippet may mean that users will no longer even bother to check websites with similar content under it. Thus, now comes the golden question: what can SEO specialists do to rank for featured snippets? The following are some suggestions:
3 Simple Tactics to Rank for Featured Snippets
Follow SEO best practices.
Stats reveal that 60% of featured snippets are pages that are already on page 1 of Google. Thus, if you wish to rank for featured snippets, aim to get a high-quality score from the search engines first. You can do this by implementing best SEO practices. Among other things, do not forget to do keyword research, as well as incorporating it in title tags, meta descriptions, and writing content.
Provide answers to common questions.
A featured snippet that works as an instant answer box is Google’s way of enhancing the user’s web search experience. For your content to be featured, you need to post content that correctly and sufficiently provides answers or solutions. In-depth and constant research about your target clients can help you understand their concerns and see what they are searching for. You may also want to look at existing answers for popular queries to see how you can provide better answers.
Structure your content for snippets.
The way you write and the structure of your content can highly increase your chances to be featured. To write with featured snippets in mind, consider question-based queries and long-tail keywords. Anticipate the question users will ask and be ready to present the best answers. To make it easy for search engines to get the meat of your content, use heading and subheadings. It would likewise be search-engine friendly to arrange information in a list form or inside a table. The basic copywriting rule to write in a brief and concise manner will help you rank for featured snippets as well.
SEO can sound too technical or complicated for those who are just starting to understand how it works. This is why it is advisable to seek the services of a competent SEO agency such as Birch River Design Group. Our team of digital marketing professionals can help ensure a wise investment for your firm’s digital marketing needs. Schedule a meeting with us today!
With the influence of technology likely to intensify in the years to come, the way people search for information online is rapidly transforming. From typing queries into a search engine, more and more people are starting to explore the convenience of using voice search. A forecast report from ComScore even shows that by 2020, half of searches will be done through voice search. As a relatively new area of technology and search, it is crucial as a business owner to understand the techniques to make it work to your advantage. Prepare for this new way to search and future-proof your business with the following tips.
What is voice search and how is it used?
As the name implies, voice search is a technology where users can simply use voice commands instead of typing keywords to search for information online. This innovation works through the use of automatic speech recognition or voice-to-text mechanisms. Today speech recognition technology used in voice search is commonly used by voice-enabled digital assistants. Apple was the first company to offer a voice assistant with their introduction of Siri in 2011. Three years later, more tech giants launched their own digital assistants: Cortana for Microsoft and Alexa for Amazon. In May 2016, Google launched their own version of voice assistant with Google Home. With technology companies continuously enhancing the functionalities of voice search for consumers, it is clear this new technology will only continue to grow.
Why is voice search gaining popularity?
Anything that makes life more convenient is bound to be a success. Because speaking to search is much simpler than typing keywords, it is no wonder that voice search is gaining in popularity as the future of search. You can also attribute its popularity to the rising usage of mobile devices. Voice search assistants are often a main feature of smartphones and devices, making digital assistants relatively accessible. Along with the convenience it brings, voice search also has its share of challenges. The tendency of the machine to mistakenly interpret spoken queries is one of the difficulties a user may face when making a voice command.
New Practices To Implement For Voice Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) has largely focused on text-based queries. With the increasing use of voice search, it is bound to bring about changes to best practices for optimizing digital content. For brands that want to stay competitive, this stresses the importance of implementing a competent voice search strategy. The following are tactics that digital marketers can do to implement voice engine optimization (VEO).
Focus on long-tail keywords.
Writing takes time. Before voice search, users tended to type just one to two phrases when searching for something on the web. Voice search takes the effort of writing away as people start to simply tell their devices what they need or are searching for. This makes a good keyword strategy highly important. When you write any piece of content for your brand your business, it is crucial to include long-tail keywords or phrases. Question phrases are also great suggestions as people tend to talk to the digital assistants as if they are humans. Because of this, it is best to incorporate keywords that sound like natural conversations.
Prioritize page speed.
Page speed continues to be a crucial factor in website rankings. Voice search represents a faster, fuss-free way to obtain any information a user needs. A fast-loading website is the perfect complement to this feature. To avoid losing clients and risking a low site ranking, both the desktop and mobile version of your company’s website should prioritize page speed.
Update content to match voice search queries.
Useful and original content will remain king despite technological developments. However, a little change in how you present content will go a long way. In the world of voice search, content that provides brief, yet complete answers to user’s questions are the way to go. Long-form content will always be crucial, but always be sure to optimize your website and content for voice search. One simple way to do this is by adding a page for frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Watch out for updates.
Voice search optimization is a relatively new area of search technology. There is still a lot to learn and discover about it. It is also a fast-growing market, so the best tips and strategies in utilizing it for your business can change at any time. In order to know how to effectively use this technology to market your brand, it is best to keep track of the latest updates and trends.
Birch River Design Group knows the importance of keeping up with the latest in digital marketing and search technologies. Our team is ready and capable to walk you through the process to get your business ready for future developments such as voice search. Request a meeting with us today to discuss how we can help you achieve your business goals!