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Quality SEO Content Checklist

We’ve all heard the term “Content is King” but are we actually writing content that deserves royal treatment?

Content needs to be original, desirable and relevant but are there more concrete quality content guidelines to use while writing?

At 1st on the List we’ve compiled this quick quality content checklist to help you write great content that is appealing for both your visitors and for the Search Engines in a post Google Panda world.

  • Write with a specific purpose and audience in mind, from start to finish.
  • Help the reader complete a task or answer a question.
  • Make sure your content includes all the information your reader may be looking for about the topic.
  • Make the content relevant and timely.
  • Write content in a voice that represents your brand and keep a consistent style of writing.
  • Write for your audience and not your peers; stay away from industry jargon.
  • Stay on topic; each sentence should have a purpose.
  • Write without promoting yourself or coming off as too salesy.
  • Link to good sources.
  • Double check all your facts, stats and sources.
  • Organize text into sections with headers, quotes, bullet points and so on, with plenty of white space, so that it is visually appealing.
  • Make the content easy to scan as readers will read as little as 20% of the words on the page.
  • Write a clear and concise Title to catch attention and indicate what content is about.
  • Be sure to proofread multiple times and ask someone else to proofread once you think it’s perfect.
  • Provide clear action statements to encourage readers to take a next step.
  • Make the content easy for readers to share through Social Platforms.
  • Organize text into thematic sections with synonyms, related terms and phrases.
  • Write a strong Meta Title and Description that isn’t too long or short for the SERPs.
  • Don’t overuse your primary keyword for the sake of SEO; be sure to use related terms and synonyms.
  • Clearly define yourself as the author on the page for both readers and Search Engines to recognize.
  • Make sure your content is 100% unique and provides unique value not found anywhere else. Is your content adding anything new and of interest to the Internet or is it just rewriting someone else’s thoughts?
  • Aim for a minimum of 300 words, depending on the type of content you are creating, and strive for 1,000 words; never compromise quality for quantity.

And of course, you can always refer to Google’s guidelines of high quality content to see how your writing measures up. Some of their hardest questions to ask yourself as a writer are:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Do you need assistance writing content for your website or optimizing and improving the existing content on our website? Give our Professional Copy Writers a call at 1-888-262-6687 or fill out our quick form to get in touch today.

Please Note: This article was originally published January 19, 2015 and has since been updated to reflect current SEO content best practices. 

Here are some additional recent SEO Content articles:

How To Incorporate SEO Into Your Web Design

SEO Web design is the partnership of web design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is a philosophy that includes the user and lead generation within the web design and planning process. It is a way of thinking whereby SEO comes first, rather than as a post-launch activity.

Generally, many web designers outline SEO as one of their services and their process of SEO is post-planning and post-build. For some, it means an install of an SEO plugin so meta tags and titles can be optimized and content reviewed. For others it means general keyword research and content edits.

SEO Web Design from reputable SEO Web Design Agencies is a different approach altogether.

  1. It Starts With The Planning – SEO moves beyond keywords and content and incorporates planning for user experience, lead generation, site speed, user paths, targets and goals. During the planning phase, we work with you to determine your services and products, your target user and the best way for them to interact with your website.
  2. Keyword Research – During the planning phase, we undertake exhaustive keyword research. What we uncover in the research process helps lead the way for key site planning decisions.
  3. Competition Research – It’s important to know what the competition is doing in order to best plan how to compete best in the marketplace.
  4. Site Architecture – Our SEO and web development teams work together to outline a site map that acts as a plan for your website pages. The keyword research, competition research, the user and your goals help outline what the best navigation, page names and content for your website will be.
  5. The Build – There are a variety of ways to build a website, but for a website to perform well in search engines, there needs to be an SEO approach to the build. Search engines, such as Google, outline best practices that, when followed, set your website up for success. Things such as user experience, site speed, tags, hosting location and navigation all contribute to overall SEO Success and need to be considered during the build process.
  6. Content – Website content should reflect your business and what your target visitor is looking for.  Content should be more than simply a reiteration of your brochure. By taking an SEO approach to content creation, your content is written specifically for the user and then optimized for the search engines.
  7. Ongoing Analytics & Reporting – SEO Web Design does not end once a website launches, in fact, launch is basically the beginning. SEO professionals love to dig into site analytics to see what is performing well and what may need a revision. User queries and intention can change which is why monitoring analytics, search engine results and leads is an important aspect of the SEO process.
  8. Maintenance – A variety of tweaks, both programmatically and within content, will be made on an ongoing basis.

Our best results come from web design builds that were done with SEO strategy at the forefront. While sometimes, in a non-competitive market, SEO can be added post-build, best practices and the best opportunity for success come from a true SEO web design.

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-888-262-6687 or send us an email.

 

10 Tips To Increase Conversion Rates on Your Sales Page

If you build it they will come… or will they? When it comes to websites and online marketing, you have to do more than put content on a website to attract visitors to your website. Then, when you do finally get them there, you have to offer them the valuable information they are craving.

 

But, there’s more to it. After all, most businesses are trying to grow their business, sales revenues or mailing lists. That’s where conversions come in. If you want to convert more visitors on your sales page, you need to reel them in. A well-designed, well-marketed sales page is key.

 

  1. Ensure Your Offer Is Right For Your Audience
  2. Use Testimonials To Build Trust
  3. Do A/B Testing
  4. Ensure Your Page Design is Optimized For The Right Visitor (hint: a clean, fast-loading, easy-to-read and navigate page is optimal)
  5. Ensure Your Content is Scannable
  6. Choose The Right Images
  7. Have a Variety of Content Options (some people like to read, some like to listen, some like to watch and some like to scan)
  8. Optimize Your Form For Ease
  9. Try Different Call To Action Buttons As Visitors Go Down The Page
  10. Lose The Navigation

 

In other words, keep it simple and focus on the ease of use. Lead the visitors through a journey that entices them to buy or fill out the form. Use these tips and you should expect an increase in your conversion rate.

How Search Engine Optimization Works

Whenever someone asks me “What do you do?” it really is a loaded question because understanding what I do requires just a little understanding of SEO and how SEO works.

More often than not I find myself answering like this, “I work for a local Internet Marketing company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization”. Then I follow it up with “Essentially, it’s like an advertising company for websites.”

I am always prepared to get a puzzled face that may recognize the term ‘SEO’ but not have any clue as to what SEO is, what it means or how it works. I must also be prepared to explain in more detail exactly what is SEO. This is usually how the conversation might play out:

Me: The whole point of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is to improve your web pages and make sure that they meet and adhere to the search engine guidelines so that your website can be found at the top search engine results pages (SERPs).

Person: But how does SEO work? What does it mean to “optimize your site”?

Me: What search engine optimization does is …

“Improve your web pages and make them better, more useful
and more effective for everyone including the people who visit your site
and for the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.”

In other words, search engine optimization helps both the search engines and the visitors.

Person: Oh, you mean like you get the website at the top of the page?

Me: Yes but it’s a little more complicated than just “getting” it there. Websites don’t just magically appear at the top by following a secret formula or paying a fee to Google. There’s much more to it …

Most times, they’ve heard enough but sometimes the person is intrigued and wants to hear more. The rest of the conversation might be summarized below.

Understanding How SEO Helps the Search Engines

Search engine optimization works by making sure your web pages meet the search engine guidelines and become more relevant. SEO helps the search engines to:

  • Find your web pages easier
  • Review your web pages faster
  • Better understand what your website is all about
  • So they can Index your web pages properly (add your pages to their database)
  • Rate your web pages more favorably
  • And list your web pages near the top of the search engine results so people can find you easier

In summary, search engine optimization works to help your web pages:

  1. Be Found
  2. Be Understood
  3. Be Indexed
  4. Be Rated Properly
  5. And Be Visible to people who are searching

Understanding How SEO Helps Your Visitors

Optimizing your web pages to make them as good as possible will help your website perform better in the search engines, which in turn, puts you in front of the very people who are searching for what you have to offer.

Search engine optimization works to help visitors find your website faster and easier plus your website will:

  • Be more relevant for the terms people use to find your website
  • Be easier to navigate
  • Help visitors find what they came looking for faster
  • Help visitors make better decisions (sooner) about what you have to offer
  • Help convert visitors into customers

In summary, search engine optimization will help visitors to:

  1. Find your site faster
  2. Understand your offerings
  3. Make better decisions about what they want
  4. Convert sooner

Understanding How Search Engine Optimization Works

While you may not know how to do SEO, there are many ways to optimize your web pages to make them as good as possible for searchers and for the search engines.

During search engine optimization, improvement changes can be made to any of the following (plus much more) to help improve your web pages and your page performance.

So in answer to the question, “How does SEO work?” here are some of the many places SEO helps to make improvements to your website:

  • Web Page Content
    – Body Text Content
    – Keyword Usage
    – Page Titles
    – Sub-Headings
    – Link Text
    – Images
    – Meta Data (Meta Titles, Descriptions, Alt Text)
    – Content Management Systems (CMS)
    – E-commerce Systems (shopping carts)
  • Source Code
  • In-Bound Linking
  • Page Loading Times
  • Image Sizing
  • Site Structure/Architecture
  • Site Navigation
  • Social Media/Videos
  • Server Setup
  • Hosting
  • Performance Analytics

Learn More About How Search Engine Optimization Works

By the end of the conversation I usually like to look at the big picture again; In marketing, the primary goal is to get your message out to as many potential customers as possible so they will buy your product or services.

Online marketing can be very powerful because no other marketing medium has the potential to reach as many potential customers 24/7 as do the search engines. And search engines like Google simply want to give their searchers the best, most relevant pages that they think will match what is being searched for.

The purpose of doing search engine optimization then, is to try and do just that: Provide the best, most relevant pages for the keyword term that was searched on.

Still looking for more answers? Visit our detailed explanation of “What is Search Engine Optimization” or contact our Search Engine Optimization Consultants.

3 Ways to Bring Emotion Into Your SEO Content Strategy to Build Brand Awareness and Trust

Emotions are a content marketing tool which SEO’s today can’t overlook. How we feel about a company determines whether or not we are compelled to share information about them and whether or not we bond with their brand.

This is especially true for companies which offer intangible merchandise, such as services. Selling intangibles is based on trust. You can earn that trust through emotional ideas presented through your digital content strategy that are shareable or by incorporating fear into your web content as a means to create an affiliation with your brand.

Did you know? A recent study suggested we’re only capable of 4 basic emotions:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Anger / Disgust
  • Fear / Surprise

Each of these four basic emotions have their place within SEO content strategies for promoting businesses. Consider the following three ways you can incorporate these emotions into your website content strategy.

1. Feelings are Trusted First & Thought About Second

The emotional aspects of our brain process information in 1/5 of the time it takes our cognitive processes to assimilate the same information. We immediately experience elation before we’ve had a chance to acknowledge or evaluate content.

Emotions are directly related to our evolutionary development. Auto-detecting emotions are hard-wired into us. We have learned to trust our emotional aptitude. Those instincts are what keep us safe and motivate us to share events or information with others.

Incorporating emotion into web or Facebook content strategy provides an incentive for visitors to convey your content to family, friends, and associates.

2. Happiness Inspires Social Sharing

Positive articles and images stimulating emotions are trusted and shared more frequently. Affirmative content makes us feel good, compelling us to express our elation to others. This exchange of energy intensifies our pleasure.

Remember the last time you shared a crazy cat video or upbeat story with someone? How did you feel after you pushed Send to email the link?

Selling intangibles is accomplished by developing the premise of trust to establish client relationships. Incorporate upbeat and affirmative ideas and stories when creating a content strategy. Positives are more likely to stimulate site visitors to share this content with others.

3. Safety Inspires Brand Affiliation

People who watch films which incite the feeling of fear experience a closer association with a brand presence (when there are no people nearby with which to share the event). Individuals who watch fearful movies encounter stronger brand affiliation than if they were watching films which evoke sadness, excitement or happiness.

Insurance companies create commercials involving auto accident scenarios to promote their policies. Fire safety equipment companies develop advertisements in which disaster is averted by using their solutions. Alarm companies introduce their merchandise as remedies for home or business break-ins and invasions. They are all using fear to sell their products.

In each instance, the premise of injury and loss are used to incite fear within the potential client. Fear motivates viewers and readers to correlate a solution with a company and enforces their brand awareness. If it is applicable to your company, use fear when developing a content strategy to create bonds with potential customers.

Emotions Gain Trust and are Excellent SEO Content Strategies

Don’t underestimate the power of human instincts. They motivate us to pass messages to others and create strong emotional connections to brands. Provide site visitors with a reason to trust your product or bond with your brand and your marketing efforts become a whole lot easier.

Introducing heartwarming stories into your arsenal of SEO content marketing tools provides site visitors a reason to share with others. In the right setting, inciting fear in your articles (where applicable) can create strong brand associations.

Reputation Marketing is also an important strategy to consider if you’re looking for more business leads. For more details on emotional content strategies for marketing your services, contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687.

Check out some of our other recent SEO Content related articles:

3 Simples Ways Improve Your SEO Content Writing

Several months ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Writing by Karen Hertzberg. It contained valuable information on being frugal with words that has changed the way I think about writing.

Her main idea was to groom your blog and content writing down to the bare minimum. Writing less becomes more appealing to readers. Ideas are presented more clearly. There is less opportunity for confusion. Minimalism helps your content get noticed.

“Writing less becomes more appealing to readers.”

Here are my three takeaways to pass onto you so that you too can improve your SEO content writing skills.

1. Remove Content Qualifiers from SEO Content

User attention span has shortened. Online article volume has increased exponentially. Long, rambling columns lack attraction. Help readers get through your narrative easier. Enhance your theme with fewer words. Say less, mean more.

Shorten content by removing superfluous qualifiers. Get to the point quickly. Waste less of your readers’ time. Some words and phrases to slash include:

  • As much as (phrase)
  • Believe (verb)
  • Can (verb)
  • Could (verb)
  • Like (verb)
  • May (verb)
  • Might (verb)
  • Possibly (adverb)
  • Really (adverb)
  • Up to (adjective)
  • Very (adverb)
  • Virtually (adverb)

Use replacement words and phrases. Dust off your Thesaurus. Use synonyms instead of words in the list above.

2. Eliminate Blog Adverbs, Conjunctions, Empty Phrases from SEO Content

We’ve all used them, sometimes as emphasis. Even to bump up the word count. Words and phrases below are reference points as to what you can exclude from your writing.

  • Actually (adverb)
  • Because of (phrase)
  • Currently (adverb)
  • In order to (phrase)
  • Presently (adverb)
  • Start to (phrase)
  • Suddenly (adverb)
  • That (conjunction)
  • Therefore (adverb)

3. Eradicate Repetition and Tautologies in SEO Content

Needless repetition is unprofessional and lazy. Comb blog and page content for extraneous statements and redundant phrases (tautologies). Dismiss them from your work. Obliterate examples such as those below:

  • 2:00 m. in the morning
  • Added bonus
  • Baby puppy
  • Completely devoid
  • Duplicate copy
  • Final outcome
  • Future prospects
  • Honest truth

Purifying Article Messages

Learning to purge your writing of wasted words will take effort. Gradually remove terms and phrases daily which inhibit clarity. Always evaluate your work and make improvements.

The benefits of doing this can include:

  • Stronger message.
  • Readers grasp concepts faster.
  • Google appreciates succinct content.
  • Ideas are more ordered and simplified.
  • Structure makes your subject matter easier to rank.

For more tips from our SEO content writers check out 16 Insanely Smart Small Business Blog Ideas.

If you have questions about improving the SEO content writing on your website or blog, call us at 1-888-262-6687 or email us at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

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7 Reasons Internal Link Structure of Your Website Matters for SEO

What kind of tools do you give your website visitors to find more relevant information on your website other than the first page they land on? Are the Search Engines finding every page on your website and understanding how your pages are related?

Internal link structure can address both of these issues, plus others. When we talk about internal link structure we are referring to the links within one page’s content that lead site visitors to other pages of the website with similar or related content. Not only do these links help visitors but there is also value in internal link structure for SEO.

What is Link Structure in SEO?

Before we go further into why internal link structure of a website matters, let’s first talk about link structure for SEO. Links are one of the most important factors that Search Engines like Google look at when deciding how to rank your website. An internal link is simply a link on your website page that goes to another website page on your website. These internal links help both your visitors navigate through your website and help the Search Engines establish your Site architecture or hierarchy, which is how your pages are related. If needed, review How the Search Engines View Linking before continuing on.

Here are 7 ways the hyperlinks and link structure of your website can help improve your SEO, visitor behavior, website rankings.

1. Link Structure Creates Ease of Access

A visitor lands on one of your site pages. After skimming or thoroughly reading the content, they may want more information. Providing links within the content directly to similar or supporting documentation makes it easy for them to maneuver around your site based on their needs. Learn more on how SEO and User Experience Work Together.

2. Link Structure Helps Googles Crawlers Find All Website Pages

Websites with poor internal link structures can be more difficult for crawler bots to follow. Providing internal links between pages makes it easier for Search Engine crawlers to analyze your website and index/rank all your pages. New pages can compel the bot to crawl them, and also re-crawl the accompanying pages to which you have linked. Learn more by reading Understanding Crawl Budgets and How to Increase Your Website Crawl Budget with Google.

3. Link Structure Increases Page Strength

Links pointing to your site from authoritative websites can improve your ranking. That is what we refer to as an external link or a backlink. Visitors who arrive through these external links may choose to then follow your internal links to other pages on your website. Theoretically, your internally linked pages from the original page can benefit by accumulating more exposure and potentially acquire direct links of their own.

4. Link Structure Utilizes Anchor Text

The anchor text you use for the link indicates to the visitor what the page is about and can have some SEO benefit for when the Search Engines crawl the page. Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the content found on the subsequent page. Using the page title or a relevant keyword phrase can be useful and easily understandable. You can find more details in the article What Does it Take to Rank #1 on Google?

5. Link Structure Points Upward and Non-Circular

In general, a best practice for SEO is to have your internal links point upward to their parent page. In this way, you are pushing link juice or link credit from pages deep within your site to your main pages. For example, on a renovation company’s website they may have their Kitchen Renovations page link to their Home Renovations page which then links to their Homepage.

Another best practice is to avoid circular internal linking that can cause the visitor to click in circles and get frustrated. This circular linking can also cancel out the link juice you are trying to structure.

6. Link Structure Requires Review and Updating

Run a quick link structure analysis and examine the status of internal links from existing site pages. Make sure that these links:

  • Are still active – do not 404, do not rely on a 301 redirect.
  • Are still relevant – have current pricing, product features, service list, etc.
  • Are still the most useful page on the site – have you since created a better more useful page?

Update old links with new links to more current content, and similarly connect your latest content to your more dated pieces, rejuvenating interest in them. If you are thinking of updating or changing link structure soon be sure to read the article Top 8 Ways to Rejuvenate Old SEO Content for New Exposure.

7. Link Structure Relies on Content

How many links you should provide from one page to another is going to depend on the length of the original page, and the number of suitable pages to which you can link. Do some internal research before you post the item and arrive at a number that makes sense for your readership.

A Little Link Structure Optimization Goes a Long Way!

Remember:

  1. Users have a much better experience on websites that provide relevant internal links from one page to another.
  2. Effective link descriptions (anchor text) make users aware of where they are going and can help with SEO.
  3. Internal link structure helps Search Engine robots find all the pages on your site, preventing any “orphaned” or unlinked pages.

For more information on link structure for your website contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687 or contact@1stonthelist.ca.

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SEO Voice Search Trends in 2017

There’s a lot of discussion lately about SEO for voice search and how it’s going to change SEO in many aspects. I tend not only to agree but to also suggest that the acoustic nature of voice search will hasten the development of new ways to present your website data specifically targeted to those using voice search devices.

Many articles about voice search marketing refer to the necessity of preparing for voice, but few make reference to little more than the importance of long tail keywords and lengthier query structures associated with voice search. This, in turn, will mean lengthier content more aptly zeroed in on the voice searcher.

While these might be part of an advantageous SEO strategy to optimize for voice, it can be very difficult to accurately and effectively annotate for mobile search intent and voice search intent within a single website page.

In this article, we will explore several voice search considerations for 2017.

Keyword Text Content vs Voice Content

Some voice search keyword strategies may work for a while, but voice searchers are looking for more than text content. They’re looking for voice content. And as Amine Bentahar wrote in his Forbes article 2017 Will Be The Year Of Voice Search,

“No longer can you simply target a specific keyword, but content and websites need to be more complex, ready to answer the questions that your users have.”

The complexity of presenting for voice search is still in its infancy, and research has presented us with some interesting tangents to follow. In a paper titled Understanding User Satisfaction with Intelligent Assistants,  from March of 2016, Julia Kiseleva et al. studied “how user satisfaction varied with different usage scenarios and what signals can be used for modeling satisfaction in different scenarios.”

We know that Google is all about searcher satisfaction, and they aren’t afraid to reduce the rankings of sites not keeping up with the rest of the flock. Check out our recent article about Google’s interstitial ads penalty update as just one example of their prioritized commitment to the searcher. And, rightfully so. It is the needs of the searcher on which Google’s empire has flourished.

Voice Search Behaviour is Complex

Julia Kiseleva et al went on to write:

“We also study how the nature and complexity of the task at hand affect user satisfaction and found that preserving the conversation context is essential and that overall task-level satisfaction cannot be reduced to query-level satisfaction alone.”

Starting to see what we mean about complexity?

Granted, their voice search research is on intelligent personal assistants, but the searching via these assistants for in-depth queries through online channels are in many ways what will push the edges of emerging dialogue surrounding how voice searches might be optimized.

SEO Keywords for Voice Search Differ from Text Search Keywords

Add to all of this the fact that voice searches and text searches are very different.

At the moment, there’s a lot of theory, conjecture, and hyperbole about SEO for voice search, but little clear direction. In the Forbes article, Bentahar also indicated that “[k]eyword research is needed for how people like to phrase questions out loud, understanding the search terms consumers are likely to use.”

This in and of itself opens an enormous can of regionally-specific, colloquial worms. I can’t help think of the off-kilter, axiom-like joke that Canadians sometimes pass around at parties. It goes something like this. Canadians ask “How’re you doin’, eh? Someone from New York might ask “Eh, how you doin’?

Voice Search Behavior and Good Abandonment

As Julia Kiselev et al. wrote in their paper:

“We know that user satisfaction for mobile web search is already very different. So we cannot assume that users who do not interact with the SERP are dissatisfied. This problem of ‘good’ abandonment received a lot of interest in recent years.”

I have found the same. After reading a couple of papers on good abandonment including  Good Abandonment in Mobile and PC Internet Search, and Detecting Good Abandonment in Mobile Search I came to the conclusion that good abandonment (the act of nothing after mobile search results are displayed to the mobile searcher) can’t possibly be construed as much of anything. The absence of something (searcher action post-query), does not indicate the presence of something else, (searcher satisfaction).

I think that the search engine research community have aligned themselves so closely with good abandonment because frankly, there are yet no other identifiable means of determining what an abandoned search means. Stop and think about this logic …

Picture yourself sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to be called into the examination room. You pull out your phone and enter a search into Google for a company name that you saw on the side of a vehicle on your way to the doctor’s office. Just as the SERP finishes loading, you’re called into the examination room. You put your phone to sleep, but the browser is still open. You forget about it until you are about half way home again. Is that too considered good abandonment?

There are dozens of similar scenarios where good abandonment makes no sense whatsoever. You can’t assume something about voice abandonment any more than you should associate lack of interaction with the browser post-text-search as good abandonment. The phrase good abandonment is at best a term used because there is no other data on which to quantify abandoned search results.

Voice Search Optimized Content for User Experience

In his article SEO Trends for 2017: Why Voice Search and Mobile Could Be Big, Sam Saidman wrote that SEO companies need to “provide voice search-optimized content that benefits the user’s experience.”

But no one clearly knows for certain what voice search-optimized content looks like yet. At the moment, the search engines hold all the cards, and the closest SEOs could hope for is a glimpse at server logs for voice searches.

Additional Voice Search Usage and Statistics – Voice Search Queries Still Far From Natural Language

Fortunately, researchers like Ido Guy can give us some ideas of what to focus on. Guy is a Principal Research Engineer at Yahoo Research. In his paper Searching by Talking: Analysis of Voice Queries on Mobile Web Search, Guy shares “we (presumably Yahoo!) perform a query log analysis of half a million voice queries, issued to the mobile application of a commercial web search engine, over a period of six months.”

Not only was the voice query log analyzed, it was compared to sample text queries on mobile of the same relative size.

Guy further reports that:

“…(w)e provide empirical evidence, based on language modeling, that voice queries are closer to natural language than text queries, yet are still distant from natural question language.”

The analysis was based on 500,000 random voice queries performed by 50,000 unique searchers, over a period of 6 months in 2015. Voice queries were predominantly more frequent during the day from 8am to 8pm, and text queries were more frequently carried out from 8pm to 8am. These stats were consistent 7 days a week.

Voice query lengths of 5 words or more comprised 34.5% of all voice queries, as compared to only 21.2% of text queries. On average, voice queries are definitely longer than voice. But what I find most interesting is the distinctive term set used by voice as opposed to what is used during text queries.

Terms most used on the voice list include:

  • Pronouns
  • Question words
  • Function words like determiners
  • Prepositions
  • But rarely any nouns.

On the other hand, the text search list included numerous abbreviations for states, such as nc, tx, ca, etc. These were almost never used on voice searches.

Voice queries usually began with question words How and What. The most distinctive words used on a text search were Facebook and Pornhub.

Guy also wrote that “A recent survey of 1400 U.S. smartphone users found that 55% of the teenagers use voice search every day.”

In an article titled How Voice Search Will Change Digital Marketing — For the Better,  Purna Virji refers to a voice search study by Thrive Analytics that indicates 71% of mobile personal assistants users are 18-19, and 59% are 30 to 43.

But even with widespread usage of voice for this particular age group, click-through rates are substantially higher for text searches than for voice searches, and at greater than 2:1 ratio. Not surprisingly, voice searches focused more on audio/video content. And that is where the most dramatic rift between text and voice search begins to occur.

Voice Search Trends and Behaviour

Overall, voice searches also tended to focus on topics that required less screen interaction than text searches. This is another clue for the SEO community that voice is undoubtedly evolving into its own, distinct taxonomic search group.

Guy goes on to write in his study that his “…findings suggest that voice queries pose their own type of language, in-between traditional text queries and natural-language questions” and that “…new metrics for evaluating user satisfaction of voice queries should be developed.”

These glimpses of a new taxonomy of searcher, slowly being revealed through research paper after research paper, is beginning to outline how differently everyone will have to examine the voice search aspect of SEO.

Voice searchers use distinctly different queries than text searchers on mobile. And even though there may be similar, overlying characteristics, voice searchers are not using natural-language questions per se.

The Future of SEO for Voice Search

Voice search will require a whole new set of measurement devices, an entirely new lexicon of terminology, and a willingness by SEO strategists to explore all avenues of presentation to voice search users. With so many details still to be examined, and so many questions to be explored, 2017 is certainly going to be interesting for SEO.

If you have any questions about voice search, how to develop a voice search strategy that makes sense for the shifting landscape of vocal search, or just want to contribute your two cents worth to the discussion, contact us today!

Phone: 1-888-262-6687

Email: contact@1stonthelist.ca

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Top 8 Ways to Rejuvenate Old SEO Content for New Exposure

Looking for some new SEO content techniques to improve your company exposure and bolster your overall SEO strategy as a result? Rejuvenating older SEO content articles and re-purposing the wealth of knowledge in those documents can prepare them for new mediums and bring some surprising results in the process.

Google defines rejuvenate as “make (someone or something) look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively.” Much like a makeover for your SEO content plan, breathing new ideas into established content gives it a second life. An opportunity to re-influence new audiences in today’s content-hungry mediums.

Here are 8 ways you can recycle and repurpose your older optimized content for new SEO content marketing success.

1. Update Old SEO Content Articles With New Stats and Best Practices

Maybe your old SEO content plan needs a refreshing coat of paint to make articles more contemporary and serve a wider audience. Check your keyword rankings for these pages and try not to up-end keyword phrases for this content that has garnered your traffic. Reexamining your older content for possible ways to improve its status just makes sense, particularly if it already has traffic. Change it up a little with an SEO content update, bring it up-to-date with new stats or best practices, and see if you can entice even more site visitors to the page.

2. Feature High-Traffic Content in Your Newsletters

If your newsletter needs a little sprucing up, review some of your high-traffic content and freshen it up for a new audience in the newsletter. There are still gems in the original content pieces, or they wouldn’t be receiving the level of traffic that they do. Graphic representations such as infographics can invigorate your newsletter, providing another opportunity to reach your market.

3. Create an Infographic for an Old Blog Article

Infographics are an informative-at-a-glance way to use statistics and other information gleaned from older posts. The content receiving click-throughs is still valuable content. Transforming information into a crisp, clean new format provides an opportunity to share this content through a variety of mediums that may not even have existed when the content was originally penned.

4. Transform an SEO Content Article into a Slideshare Presentation

LinkedIn’s SlideShare has become a popular way to present modified content in a static, visual format. Almost any content can be re-purposed into the Slideshare format. Even content that may have been used elsewhere such as in a webinar, or during the creation of a tutorial.

5. Turn Articles into Interactive Video Tutorials

YouTube is my friend! I’ve watched hundreds of tutorials on everything imaginable. Re-use some of your subject matter in those aging articles and present them in this widely used format. As long as your film is topical, pointed, articulate, and accurate, there will be an audience for your finished product.

6. Design a Webinar Around Old Content Pages

Use some ideas from the content pages receiving the best traffic and create a webinar on the topic, refreshing it of course, with more current information. Advertise your webinars on the same page as the article receiving the best traffic. Now the content is serving a dual purpose.

7. Promote Older Articles Across Social Media Platforms

Whether you’re a Facebooker, a Snapchatter, or a Tweeter, all of your most important information from these older articles can be used on any or all of your current social platforms. You’ll probably have to restructure it somewhat according to community guidelines and space allotments, but that doesn’t mean the content can’t still serve you in these areas.

8. Publish an Ebook

Revitalize your oldest yet still relevant subject matter by compiling it into an ebook. You can include one article or many, and you have the choice of giving it away in return for an email address lead or selling it outright and profiting from the ripe material you already have on hand.

Extra SEO Content Tip!

Are you looking for new SEO content ideas? Try reversing these ideas by turning old webinars, ebooks, videos, infographics, newsletters, and more, into brand new SEO content pieces for your website!

Final Comments on Getting More Mileage Out of Your SEO Content Marketing

Minimal effort is required to come up with quite a few productive ideas for recycling content for which you have already put in the time. You can use this reformatted assembly of information to expand your business potential and communicate ideas into many actionable new forms.

To find out how to repurpose your SEO content, or how to optimize your content for the search engines, please call 1-888-262-6687 today or email us at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

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7 Secrets to Create the Best Evergreen Content for SEO

At its core, evergreen content is just what it implies, content which remains relevant and applicable throughout the seasons in much the same way evergreen trees do not lose their leaves in the fall.

In this article we will help you understand the definition of evergreen content for SEO and identify seven characteristics of evergreen web and digital content that you can incorporate into your overall SEO Strategy.

What is Evergreen Content?

Here are a few definitions to help you understand what evergreen content means:

  • Evergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers (Wordstream).
  • Evergreen content stays relevant to readers over time and they continue to share it, link to it, and read it over time (Raven Tools).
  • Evergreen content represents posts and articles on your blog that will always be relevant to your audience, compared to topics that may change over time (SearchEngine Journal).

The key theme we see here is that evergreen stays relevant regardless of how long ago it was published.

Benefits of Evergreen Digital Content

Before we get into how to make your content evergreen, let’s talk about two of the benefits of making your content evergreen:

  1. Long Lasting and Timeless – your content stays useful and interesting for months and years to come. In this way, you get much more mileage out of your evergreen content articles than shorter, time sensitive topics. It may take more effort to develop an evergreen content piece but it will provide much more longevity over time.
  2. Boosts SEO – typically, longer timeless content performs better in Search Engines than shorter articles. Better rankings and visibility lead to more website traffic, stronger leader generation, and over time, better ROI.

In the search world, evergreen content occupies positions in the rankings for months or years after the initial date on which the material was posted. To remain in such a position, it not only needs to be informative and useful but must address the needs of an audience.

For example, the current search result for for “How to bake a potato in the oven” brings up a Featured Snippet from a website called Kitchn. The article was written in 2015 but still shows up in search results because of its evergreen nature.

Evergreen Content Topic Examples

There are several ways to be creative and write evergreen content that will have lasting relevance and interest for years to come. Here are some of the most common types of evergreen digital content:

  • How-To Instructions and Guides
  • Tutorials
  • Industry Resources or Glossaries
  • Personal Stories
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On the other hand, content that is NOT evergreen tends to be about events, holidays, seasons, or any other type of content with outdated resources or statistics.

7 Attributes of Evergreen Web Content

Now that we have a better understanding of the definition and benefits of evergreen content, let’s explore seven ways you can make your content evergreen for lasting SEO impact.

1. 100% Unique (Not Found Anywhere Else on the Web)

Your content cannot already exist elsewhere online. You want to make it as creatively unique and interesting as possible to ensure it will be picked and ranked by the search engines (i.e. Google).

2. Effective at Solving a Problem or Addressing a Need

Your content will have to be effective at solving a problem or addressing a searcher’s need. This is what Google looks for when a search is performed.

3. High Caliber of Detail

The level of writing and how carefully your content is presented are important factors. Make it obvious to the site visitor that you provide detailed, comprehensive information.

4. Satisfaction in Answering the Searcher’s Question

A long click essentially means that after clicking on a result in Google, the user does not return back to Google right away to look at a different result. Instead, they are satisfied with the query result they chose which is a signal to the Search Engine that it was a good result and to keep showing that result for future searchers. Evergreen content is similar. It retains its search position because the content continually satisfies searchers’ queries.

5. Longevity to Stay Current and Gain Authority

Content that is outdated next week, month, or year is not considered evergreen content. Evergreen content has authority over similar content written or posted at a later point in time.

6. Strong Headlines that Catch Attention and Spark Interest

Evergreen content has compelling headlines which retain their strength week over month over year and pointedly describe the topic within the article.

7. Optimization for the Search Engines (SEO)

All evergreen content is optimized for SEO and should be underpinned by existing content elsewhere on the site. This includes titles, headlines, sub-headlines, and all the regular SEO strategies your portfolio incorporates.

Evergreen Content Tantalizes With Topics, Not Keywords

Keywords used to be the most effective means of capturing a solid position on Google, and they still are to a degree. But keywords alone aren’t enough anymore. Topical ideas and conceptual intent are poised to supersede them. Utilize topics and themes in your evergreen content!

It will take significant work to narrow down a topic. Get your team together and brainstorm. Utilize relationship tools if you have them to branch out and consider your topic from different angles. Don’t be too general with topic content.

In a perfect world, topic intent and carefully chosen keywords would blend into a hybrid document that extols the strengths and virtues of both without sacrificing the unique traits of one over the other.

Think of it as symbiosis, where the core of the topic provides the engine that propels the significance of your keywords to realize their full potential (ranking on Google).

Additional Tips on Sculpting Evergreen Web Content

Nearly 30 years ago I listened to a marketing guru who gave some sage advice for those who attended his conference but were reluctant to sign up for his courses and purchase his written course material.

He would wave a dictionary in front of the audience at the end of every conference and say to them, “All the words contained in my course can be found right here. You need only arrange them in the right order.”

There’s the rub. You may find this a challenging process if you do not know how to craft content suitable for evergreen content expectations. For more information on evergreen content optimization as it might apply to your business or organization, please call us toll free at 1-888-262-6687.