“Ok, Google, locate a tree service near me.”
That’s the search of the future. Nobody’s even typing. Aunt May has simply picked up her cell phone and spoken to it; in less than 60 seconds she should have a list of people to call. If she’s really in a bind, she might hit the first result she sees.
It’s more important than ever for us to get prepared. This starts with making sure our best practices are tuned up to perfection. However, there are five additional areas of focus we can give particular attention to in order to make sure we’re at our best.
Broaden Buyer Intent Keywords
Our first task will be to make sure we’re working buyer intent to its utmost. We can’t run an AdWords Keyword search and expect to catch everything our buyers want to know. We have to expand our net. You can’t simply brainstorm every question a customer will ever have. It’s not possible. You need to hear from customers themselves.
Looking through Q&A sites is one way to do this, since here customers are asking real humans for information in their own words. This tells us exactly what people are concerned about, and gives us a chance to respond and craft something better than the forum answers they’ve currently got access to.
Focus on Internal Linking
We’re seeing a bit of an algorithm shift towards rich internal linking. Look for opportunities to capitalize on content that’s already written while expanding your ability to answer customer questions and provide information. Don’t link to “Home,” “About” and “Contact Us.” Link to your last very engaging article that relates to the customer’s query.
In short, let your link building serve as a handy index guide to the “book” you’ve written. This invites customers to stay on your website longer, and tells them you really care about meeting their needs. Google will reward their satisfaction by giving you more opportunities to get in front of them.
However, don’t get carried away. Too many links weakens the value of the page. It also makes the web page messy, distracting, and difficult to read through, which is the opposite of what we want. Stick to 2-3 relevant internal links and one really solid outbound link.
Make Structured Data Interesting and Engaging.
Our meta-descriptions are often our first and only chance to hook the customer. While character counts can create a challenge, you should think of each meta-description as a mini-ad which helps customers see what the web page has to offer. If you’re both enticing and accurate customers should see at a glance they’ll get what they need, click, and find it. Customers who never make the click will never learn our sites will deliver what they need.
Convert Web Pages into AMP Pages
Semantic search goes hand in hand with mobile search. Lightning-fast mobile-friendly pages that load in less than 3 seconds will continue to get a ranking advantage. We’re making sure to convert every applicable web page is converted so we can get out in front of this trend now. Blog posts definitely apply.
Many of our customer’s competitors won’t do that. This is a great way to give them an edge!
If you can’t turn a given page into an AMP page do whatever you can to drive the load speed below 3 seconds. Less than that and customers will bounce, impatiently searching for something that meets their needs faster. Faster pages are out there, so they’re right not to wait.
Make it Conversational
Customers are using a conversational search style; we should use a conversational, to the point answer style. Imagine each page being read aloud by the appropriate device. That’s not true for most devices now—most will simply display the search results.
However, we can imagine it’s coming, given some content is already being delivered this way. The Amazon Echo, for example, simply tells you local weather conditions when you ask about them, rather than delivering a web page which talks about local weather conditions. In 2-3 years we could see these devices simply relaying information verbally. If our information is dry, boring, or difficult to interact with we could lose in the long run.
Our clients are relying on us to get good results. We’re already making the shift. Now it’s just a matter of getting the work done, knowing that once again we’re about to deliver marketing so good it’s just not fair!