Crosslinking for Seo: What Is It and How to Do It?

Cross Linking for Seo

“Crosslinking” is a term used in two ways when talking about websites. Although both processes are designed to improve a website’s Google rankings, they do so in very different ways. 

Within this blog, we are going to focus on the internal linking – cross linking method as opposed to the crosslinking of two websites. However, we have included definitions of both below.

Confused about crosslinking? Then read on for definitions, benefits and and our easy how-to guide.      

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Cross Linking for Seo

Define crosslinking

 Crosslinking two websites definition

Crosslinking for SEO can refer to the process of linking between two separate domains. Like with backlinks, Google rewards websites with crosslinks from relevant and reputable sites that add value to the content being linked to.

Unlike backlinks, however, which typically direct their link value in one direction, crosslinking connects two websites, building reciprocal links that have big potential benefits for SEO. For those looking to reap these rewards of this technique, however, websites need to closely adhere to the guidelines set out by Google.  

Crosslinking and internal linking definition 

Crosslinking can also be used interchangeably with the term “internal linking”. This is defined as the process of linking one webpage to another within the same domain. 

As with backlinks, crosslinking or internal linking is an important part of any good SEO linking strategy. It’s crosslinking of this variety that will be the focus of our blog. 

There are several different types of crosslinks. In addition to links on your homepage and menu, you can also add links within your content. These are called contextual links. They involve linking relevant topics in one piece of content to another piece of related content within the same domain, typically using anchor texts ( text on a page with the clickable hyperlink attached to it).

Why is crosslinking (internal linking) important?

In terms of SEO, backlinks have huge benefits for a website. Unfortunately, even with brilliant linkable assets receiving backlinks is mostly out of your control.

What you can do, however, is control the crosslinks/internal links present on your website.

Crosslinking internally : the 5 main benefits

– Crosslinking helps Google understand and rank your website

It’s important to remember that Google bots are designed to recreate a user’s thinking process. These bots, which crawl and index URLs, are responsible for finding, analysing and deciding where websites appear in search results.

This means that by improving user experience through crosslinking, this will, in turn, help improve your ranking with Google. For, as Google itself says, the better it understands your site, “the better it can match it to people who are looking for your content.” 

2. Crosslinking improves user experience through anchor texts

By choosing user-friendly and descriptive anchor texts you will improve the useability of your website. Using these anchor texts to link to related content that will interest your readers, will also help users navigate your content and website better. 

If the content you provide through internal linking is relevant and provides real value to your audience, they are more likely to use the anchor texts to click through and read further articles. As a result, this means visitors to your site will stay longer, which in turn will reduce bounce rate and increase your site’s conversion rate. Acting as a good user signal to google to improve your rankings.

 

3. Crosslinking helps you boost 

Crosslinking between your posts and page means you can signal to search engines the hierarchy of your website’s content. This allows you to give the most important pages more value than other pages, which are less valuable.

  1. Crosslinking helps spread the link value or juice

If a website (especially a reputable one) references yours with a DoFollow link, it acts as a vote of confidence from them. It tells the search engine that your site is valuable and informative. This is what we mean by “link juice” or “page rank”. 

Internal linking helps you pass this link juice on from one page to another within the same domain. This helps to boost the visibility and authority of other pages of your site.

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Cross-linking for SEO: how to do it

For those new to SEO the concept of crosslinking might seem a little daunting. Websites recommending complex linking strategies and content “silos” are likely to make you feel even more overwhelmed.

But finding a flowing way to connect the content on your website (which is essentially what crosslinking is) doesn’t need to be complicated. Instead, we suggest focussing on user experience, quality content, and naturally linking pages. By doing so, you’ll appeal to both users and Google. 

Start with keyword research

Creating keyword rich content which throws up natural opportunities to link won’t happen on its own – you need a strategy. 

This research will form the basis of your content strategy, and from which you can create pillar pages and content clusters – all of which are great for SEO. 

Create lots of quality content

In the world of digital marketing and SEO, quality content is still King. In order to link internally through contextual links, you need to have lots of great content on your website.

Of course, when creating within a niche, opportunities to link between different webpages and content sources that are relevant to your pillar pages, will occur naturally. 

Keep your anchor text natural 

When crosslinking it’s important to use a user-first approach. This means focussing on improving the value and accessibility of a webpage for the user, instead of trying to appeal to Google’s algorithm. 

So, when it comes to choosing anchor text and linking opportunities, instead of using keywords (which might be tempting), it’s best to use words and phrases that are natural for the reader and that fit within the given context. 

Create a structure (Your site silo) 

As already mentioned, crosslinking helps create a hierarchy of importance within your website. The more internal crosslinks a webpage gets, the more important Google will assume it is.

This means that the most important pillar pages should always be the ones with the most amount of authority being passed through to them. This does not necessarily mean “have the most links” being directed towards them, but instead potentially having pages which might already have a lot of links being directed towards sub topics, then pointing to them. How you do this is all dependent on the site silo structure you take, but below is an example of a ‘priority silo’ technique. 

Choose an appropriate amount of links

When it comes to the amount of links to use, Matt Cutts of Google suggests a reasonable amount of around 100, but this is totally dependent on the size of the website you have. Remember, that’s 100 including all the links on the page, such as those in the header, footer and sidebar. 

Given the above – and although there is no perfect number – the addition of 3 or 4 crosslinks within the body of text is a pretty safe bet.

Again, it’s important to think about the user when adding these crosslinks. 

Ask yourself: are these links adding value for the user? Are they improving navigation around my content and website? When it comes to choosing where and when to link, these questions should help inform your decision. 

Link deep within your website

In terms of crosslink for SEO, the most important links are those embedded deep within the structure of a website. 

 

However, as your website evolves and grows, some pages may become weakly connected to the most important pages. It’s important to return to these pages and re-stablish these links so that Google is reminded these are valuable pages and to rank them. 

Use “dofollow” links

Labelling links as either dofollow backlinks or nofollow tells Google identify whether to pass on link juice (dofollow) to a website, or not (nofollow).

When it comes to crosslinking strategies, there is some debate amongst experts on the use of dofollow and nofollow. However, while nofollow links have their value, dofollow links are arguably the best way to build out the internal link architecture of your website. 

This is because the link juice needs to flow freely within these internal pages, rather than get stopped by a nofollow. So, when it comes to cross linking, keep things moving by using dofollow. It also allows crawlers to read all the content on your site efficiently, thus maximising your crawl budget.

Crosslinking for SEO: things to avoid

Over-optimising your anchor text

Keyword stuffing/overusing your keyword in the anchor text is viewed by google as an attempt to game the system and can punish websites for doing so. Although not as likely with internal links, still tread carefully.  Matt Digerty has stated that from tests he has carried out in the past, having 100% varied keyword anchor texts get the best results in terms of rankings.

Too few crosslinks/internal links 

If you’ve read the above then you should know that without enough crosslinks your users – and your Google ranking – will suffer. Make sure to hit the “sweet spot” of a reasonable amount, without over-optimising.

No crosslinks

Those pages without any links at all are called orphan pages. The search engine assumes that the pages are being purposefully hidden from Google and are part of a black hat SEO scheme. Google can punish whole websites for orphan pages, making them very detrimental from an SEO standpoint.

Linking too much to your homepage

Instead of simply directing links to the homepage (the homepage should have lots of links already), it’s best to try and strengthen internal pages to boost over SEO of your website. 

 

When looking to build a linking strategy for your website and business, it can help to speak to an expert. Why not book in a free discovery call with Digital Rainmaker to find out how we can help? 

How to Get Links to Your Blog or Website Through Linkable Assets (White hat hack)

How to get backlinks to your blog and website

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When it comes to building a brand or website, creating great online content and assets is a game changer.

In terms of SEO, it’s a proven and cost-effective way to drive organic traffic to your website and connect with your customers. Overtime, it also helps you build authority in your niche.

But owning quality “assets”, such as blogs, software, graphics or video content, is only half the battle. After-all, these assets aren’t going to be worth much if they simply sit dormant.

And unless you’re established in the industry or have an existing audience, you’ll probably struggle to get eyeballs on your content.

So, at the same time as creating assets that are interesting and valuable, you’ll also have to think up ways to bring them to Google’s attention. And what’s the best way to do this? With backlinks and press promotion. 

In this post, you’ll find out what linkable assets are and exactly how to create links to your website through linkable assets. 

What are backlinks and why are they important?

In essence, backlinks are when an external website links back to your website. 

They’re important for SEO because they tell search engines, like Google, that others consider your content or site informative and of high quality. As more external sites vouch for you through backlinks, search engines will conclude that your website or content is valuable.

One of the most effective ways to attract quality links is through creating great content that speaks to your niche, stands out and is both unique and valuable. While this is no easy task, below, we’ve outlined step-by-step the strategy we use to create our own linkable assets.

But first, let’s get technical for a second and talk about the Google algorithm.

Understanding Google’s algorithm

Prior to Google’s final 2016 update to Penguin 4.0, volume – rather than quality –  of links played a much bigger part in how Google ranked a website. 

The update aimed to reduce the effectiveness of so-called “Black Hat” spam link schemes (these are unethical SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing and misusing redirects), Google’s algorithm started to recognise quality inks. As a result, websites and web pages that had earned links of this calibre were rewarded by Google. Those who hadn’t, saw their rankings suddenly nose dive. 

Google claimed that, instead of punishing websites for using spam links, this new version of the algorithm would devalue poor quality links.

Google’s July spam and links update

Due to its latest update, Google’s algorithm is now even better at identifying and nullifying what it considers to be spam or toxic links. Avoid paid backlinks to gain links to blogs if possible

They claim that they have also improved their ability to identify transactional links, stating that sites participating in affiliate schemes need to qualify these links with rel= sponsored. As a result, sites involved in paying for and displaying guest blogging and sponsored posts that are not identified as “rel=sponsored” will likely be negatively affected.

Putting paid posts aside, what alternatives are out there for obtaining high quality, relevant and contextual links? The answer: linkable assets. 

What is a linkable asset?

Also known as a link magnet, a linkable asset is a piece of content or a tool created with the goal of enticing other domains to link to it. 

According to Rand Fishkin at Moz, who coined the phrase, “it’s the idea that rather than simply producing and hoping people like [your content] enough to link, you build a true incentive for them to do so.”

Infographics, motion graphics, video content, online calculators and listicles are all great examples of linkable assets.

 How to make a linkable asset?

The internet is a crowded space. So, when it comes to cutting through the noise to create a truly linkable asset, the first thing you need to do is find a way to stand out. 

Read on and you’ll discover a tried and tested process for creating linkable assets.

Want to find out more about creating a linkable asset for you company? Or need help building one?

Understand Your Niche

Hold fire on the content creation. The first step to creating linkable assets is to understand your niche. 

To do this, use platforms such as Ahrefs to find out which of your competitors’ content is being linked to, then research why webmasters and journalists are sharing this content. 

Analysing existing content and understanding its limitations in this way will help you produce something that is 10X better. If your content is of superior quality to what already exists, people will want to share it. 

Why not try the SkyScraper technique, for example, which involves leveraging existing content that has already been proven to get results. 

While the SkyScraper content has some benefits in that it doesn’t need to be unique, it also has drawbacks. Namely that you’ll need to try rank for very competitive keywords, so it’s a technique better suited to more established brands and websites. 

You can also use research into the content that exists in your niche to find the things that aren’t there that you think should be e.g. what problems in your niche need to be solved? What questions are yet to be answered? Fill this gap in the market with high quality content and you’ll naturally attract backlinks.

Be unique 

Making your “asset” unique is probably the most important factor when you’re looking to attract links from other sites (especially for sites in niches people might consider “mundane”).

When starting on your journey to creating unique content, however, it might at first feel like every topic or idea you think about has already been covered. But rest assured: whatever your niche, there is always a way to drum up something unique, fun and interesting. 

Start by working out what information you have available in-house which others don’t. What stats or facts about your business might people find interesting or amusing? 

Remember – while unique is the buzzword here, it doesn’t have to mean creating entirely from scratch. Instead, it can involve repurposing existing information and data in unique and original ways (more on this later). 

To illustrate the point, here is a case study from one of our own clients: eco pet brand which sell dog poo bags:

We know that regular dog poop bags are made from plastic, the disposal of which contributes to environmental problems. We also know that sustainability and environmental issues are a hot topic at the moment. 

So, our idea was to combine the two in an interesting and visually appealing motion graphic that would illustrate just how many poop bags the UK alone was responsible for. Through creating this linkable asset, we would not only attract visitors to thier site, but could also positively promote the brand and its products – a definite win-win!

Use existing data

There is a misconception that in order to get your hands on valuable unique data, it needs to be purchased or you need to run things like surveys at scale. Although these are still great methods, there is a huge amount of free data online which you can use, you just have to get creative

Now, let’s bring it back to our dog poop bag example. The idea here wasn’t to produce entirely new data on the subject but to reinterpret what was already there and combine it with inhouse data,  in order to create something fun, impactful and unique. As a piece of content, it also had to feel right for the brand.

To show the impact of dog poop bags on the environment, we decided to create an infographic of the world being circled by these bags. We then needed to find out some relevant, interesting and freely available stats on the subject. 

We used a combination of our existing knowledge (e.g. on the dimensions of dog poop bags) and some easy-to-find – and free! – data on the purchasing of dog poop bags in the UK. 

After some rough calculations, we figured out how many times, if put end to end, one year of dog poop bag purchases in the UK could circle the world. Finally, our developer Umair and Graphic designer Millie turned these stats into a simple but effective motion graphic – aka our linkable asset. 

Connect this data with your brand

The next step in the process of making a linkable asset is to combine the data available online with information about your products, services or findings. By effectively attaching interesting findings to the page, product or service you are trying to promote, you will see better results in regards to relevant links, conversions and rankings for those key pages. creating backlinks to blogs

This is exactly the tactic we used for our dog poop bag infographic: we found ways for the data and visuals to promote our client’s brand. Through creating a quality infographic and link magnet using information at our disposal, we also helped draw attention to one of their flagship products – their compostable dog poop bags.

Create must-link content

So, you’ve chosen a unique, stand out topic and collected interesting and relevant information. But this still isn’t enough to get the links pouring in. Now you need to transform this piece of content into a must-link asset. 

By this we mean creating something that’s not only attractive to other domains, but also illustrates the data it describes so well that it has to be linked to when referenced by another site. This usually  means producing visuals like motion graphics, software, infographics, video and images which help people understand the subject matter you are talking about.  

Of course, choosing the right kind of linkable content – and then creating it – can be a real challenge. If you’re stuck for guidance, or need technical support, why not speak to an agency like Digital Rainmaker

Newsjacking and thought leadership

Stay tuned into what is in the news and on social media, then tie-in your content with these hot topics so that people will simply have to link to you. 

In terms of our own infographic, for example, we could have gone one step further and connected it more directly to the conversation around the environment by offering up some stats on the impact of normal poop bags vs compostable poop bags. 

Other easy ways to get people talking about (and linking to) your content include creating or writing something on a controversial and/or humorous topic. Although beware: the wrong type of controversy could damage your brand.

Get links to your blogs through outreach and promotion

Next to making quality content and blogs, outreach and promotion is the next most important part of the backlink-earning process. 

To those of you new to PR/Digital outreach and promotion, this process involves reaching out to webmasters and journalists – the so-called “Linkerati” – and inviting them to link to the asset you’ve just created. 

Tools like Ahrefs, Sparktoro, SEMRush and Buzzsumo (most of which require subscriptions) are invaluable when it comes to gathering this kind of data. They can help you identify which journalists, webmasters and brands fall within your niche and have shared similar content in the past. 

These platforms will often also provide the relevant contact information, making outreach much less time consuming.

The final step in this “how to” guide for creating linkable assets? Construct a must-read email or press release detailing your brilliant new content (there are plenty of free templates available online to help with this). Then, send this out to the best linkerati in your niche. 

Still confused about where to start with linkable assets or simply don’t have the resources? Reach out to us at Digital Rainmaker to help you devise a content strategy that will help you get links to your website and send your Google rankings soaring.

The Key Fundamentals Of Content Clustering

You’ve finally got your act together on the marketing front – or so you think. From paid ads to SEO, blogs, and email campaigns, you’re seemingly on the ball; proud of your carefully crafted plan, convinced you’ve solved the content puzzle.

So, when you come across a blog that highlights a new and effective marketing strategy – which you don’t have – it’s understandable if you’re a little miffed. But don’t worry.

In this case, we’re talking about content clustering. Marketing is always evolving and those that keep up are usually the most successful. In 2013, Google introduced the Hummingbird Update. This essentially made SERPs a lot more human and tailored to more specific searches. Since then, Google users have been able to access more accurate answers, relevant to what they’re actually searching for.

This is Google’s way of answering special requests – which means the content has to do the same. This is why content clustering is so important. It gives readers easier access to more specialist topics. While it can be tricky to get your head around, there’s no doubt that it’s an incredibly effective tool when you do.

What is content clustering?

Content clustering is a finely-tuned approach to content marketing. In simple terms, it’s a multitude of content pieces that all align under one common overarching topic – known as pillar content. If that doesn’t simplify things, then imagine it like this:

You’re a London SEO Agency, who want to write about email marketing (Pillar Content). Now, this is quite a broad topic. While you can produce loads of content for email marketing on one single page, there’s a lot to cover and your risk exhausting your reader or viewer.

Instead, it’s better to create a group of well-rehearsed and informative pieces that individually cover each specific area of email marketing and feed into the broader topic.

Pillar content and cluster content are also defined by different key words. For instance, a pillar page will pinpoint a much broader keyword; whereas a cluster topic will target a much more specific keyword, with a much smaller search volume.

You may be asking: what’s the point in all of this? Well, there are many reasons why content clustering is a must for agencies and marketers. The major reason, however, is to keep our old friend Google happy.

Why is content clustering important?

For a start, content clustering gives your website a really good structure. Not only does it look good, but it provides visitors with a seamless experience. They can easily navigate your content and jump from topic to topic, comfortable that what they’re reading is exactly what they were searching for.

But above all else, content clustering is there to impress Google. As with the majority of things in digital marketing, we must do our best to keep Google on our good side. Content clustering shows Google a well-structured and informative site, targeting specific keywords. If your content does this well, Google will reward you.

They’re looking for experts in certain areas. So, a tonne of different pieces of content on one specific topic is a great way to demonstrate this. Google has criteria that separate good from mediocre content, which determines how much trust they put into a certain brand or site. This is known as EAT:

Expertise – does the creator have the correct credentials and how accurate is their content?

Authoritativeness – how well do you stack up in that industry? Who’s been backlinking to your site and who looks up to you?

Trustworthiness – does Google trust you to provide honest and information? Who has backlinked or cited your site?

When creating your cluster content, your level of website expertise in your chosen field increases. Equally, as your blogs begin to rank your level of authoritativeness and trustworthiness will also be dragged up due to an increase in backlinks, citations, and regular informative information on the site.

How do you create cluster content?

  • Go Granular:

As mentioned already, cluster content should target smaller topics. This type of content is all about building up to a bigger subject – the pillar page. So when we start small, we have a much better chance to create this funnel system.

It’s a good idea to work out a topic hierarchy. Then, you can direct all of your sub-topics towards this broad end goal. This will only improve your rankings.

 

  • Understand Your User

It’s the number one rule in marketing: understand who it is your selling to. In order to maximise your cluster content, make sure you find out what questions your customers or viewers are asking.

This means you can target more specific and granular keywords which will ultimately get your content ranking higher. Google is always rewarding content that’s relevant to what users are searching for – so make sure yours is.

  • Interlink

Again, this helps point viewers to other relevant content of yours. It also ticks a load of boxes for Google. By interlinking to other pages, you show Google the link between pages, as well as their relevance and value. Do this, and you’ll soar up the rankings.

So, there you have it – another marketing instrument that’s sure to boost your digital presence. It’s worth mentioning that this may not be a strategy applicable to everyone; so double check before you start.

By clustering your content, you not only simplify your users’ experience, but you make your website stand out for all the right reasons with Google. It’s of course these two who we need to impress. While it may be a lot to take on board, cluster content is relatively simple once you crack it. When you do, it’s an incredibly effective long-term strategy.



 

The History Of SEO And What Its Future

HoldsSEO in 2021- is it worth it?

With the rise of paid media, ads and platforms like TikTok, there’s been a conversation around whether SEO is becoming outdated. However, irrelevant of how much websites now rely on alternative online advertising, being able to rank organically above your competitors, is an almost irreplaceable asset to your business. So, as long as people are still using Google – which they are, there are (40,000 google searches made every second)– then SEO will remain just as important as it is now, although it may come in different shapes and sizes as it has done over the years.

In the long history of Google influencing site rankings, there have been many changes to its algorithm. It has been important for SEO companies to keep up with all the various updates that have impacted how our pages rank. This got us thinking: can we look at what Google has done in the past, to gain insight into its future?

 

Where SEO all began…

Nowadays, we know how important Google is in the world of SEO with 3.5 billion Google searches being made each day. However, there was a time when SEO was independent of Google. We could say that the world of SEO began in 1991, when the first ever website was launched. But officially, the first use of the term ‘search engine optimisation’ was in 1997. This, however, was completely different to what it is now.

Keywords

As soon as people started using search engines, website owners began thinking of ways to get their site to the top of the SERP (search engine result page). At the beginning, this was purely how much the content of your site matched what the user entered in the search bar. In other words, for a website to be highly ranked, it just had to be filled with the keywords. The more often the keywords were used, the higher the website would rank, and thus keyword stuffing was born

Backlinks

In 2000, Google partnered with Yahoo and began controlling their organic search. When anyone searched in Yahoo (the more known and influential search engine of the time), they were faced with ‘powered by Google’, turning Google into a household name. They soon began ranking on and off-page factors – a revolutionary SEO move. Google realised that if people were talking about a site, it would act as an indicator for the importance of that site and so it deserves to rank high.

 

A collection of Tweaks

Over the next few years, Google added more and more changes to its algorithm to improve the user experience. In 2004, they began to include local SEO and started to personalise the user experience by looking at the user’s individual history and interests.

In 2005, they created ‘nofollow’ to combat spam and 2006 saw the inclusion of ‘Map Plus Box’, so that the user could easily navigate from their search, to a map of what they wanted. They even made it easier for site owners to track their progress, with the creation of Google Analytics and Google Search Console. In 2007, Google added to Universal Search – its biggest change since the Florida Update that added news, videos, blogs and images to the user’s search.

Florida Update

In 2003, Google got smart and realised the ways that businesses were getting their sites to rank higher. This update had a huge impact, causing some retail companies to go out of business.

Now, sites with an unnatural amount of keywords, invisible links and hidden links dropped massively in their rank. This update was to remove clutter for the user and although it seemed detrimental at first, it actually forced businesses to make more of an effort to rank their sites, by improving the user’s experience and adding useful content.

 

Brands

The 2008 Vince update seemed to favour bigger brands as they moved up the search rankings with more ease in comparison to new or smaller brands. Google claimed that this was not because they just wanted to praise larger companies, but because larger brands were popular for a reason – they were trustworthy.

Social signals

With the rise of social media, Google now considered this when ranking sites. Now, social signals such as shares, likes and tweets all mattered.

Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird

In 2011 and 2012, Google released two new updates that still have a major impact on how we as SEO’s operate today. With Panda, Google aimed to eliminate the use of ‘content farms’ which are websites that produce thin or scraped content.

The Penguin update was even more accurate in eliminating keyword stuffing and linking patterns. The user now had clearer results, with no auto-generated, low-quality content to sieve through.

The 2013 Hummingbird update was introduced which allowed search engines to reward more natural language. This was due to the rise of mobiles and voices search. Yet again, Google making it easier for users to get exactly what they want.

Mobile

2015 was the year that mobile searches overtook that of desktop which caused Google to launch its mobile friendly algorithm.

AI

Also in 2015, Google introduced RankBrain which was equipped to understand what the specific user’s intent was. For example, it can recognise whether the user wants to buy or read information, or whether they want a short or long answer. By 2017, Google was declared the world’s first total AI company, with AI in everything. Google informs and assists rather than just showing you a list of information.

BERT and EAT

2019 saw the creation of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), to better understand different languages. This improved the quality of international traffic. This update also focused on increasing the ranking of sites that had higher quality content, rather than its use of keywords. The 2020 updates introduced ‘E.A.T’ (expertise, authority, trustworthiness), which was used 186 times in their guidelines, showing their emphasis on providing good quality information for their users.

2021

What will likely be the biggest change for 2021 is Google core web vitals update.

This is the introduction of page speed to Google’s existing page experience ranking factors (such as mobile friendly, HTTPS, safe browsing and no intrusive interstitials). Page speed is something webmasters and business owners should be focussing on anyway, as it has a direct impact on conversion and bounce rate. However, with this now becoming major ranking factor, businesses should begin to use the likes of Google Search Console, Pagespeed insights and lighthouse to prepare for the core web vitals update. Along side side this, we predict that mobile compatibility will be more important than ever as phone usage continues to overtake the use of desktops.

Just as we see an ever increasing usage of mobile search over desktop, we are seeing more and more use of voice search, which will no doubt transform the way SEO is undertaken over the coming years. To prepare for this, two methods which businesses should make sure that they are undertaking, is aiming for rich snippets which are short and to the point (FAQ’s are an effective method to address this), as well as being setup across Bing, Google and Safari, so they are available for Alexa, Siri and Googles Assistant.

Some other useful things to consider, is content depth – as long as the information is relevant, it matters less on the actual content depth which has dominated how google ranks content over the last couple of years. It is also suggested that sites should be niche, so make sure your content is specific to your site’s main objective.

What can we conclude?

Despite the many different updates that Google has done over the years, there has been one that seems to be consistent: to improve the experience of the user. The various tweaks to its algorithm have always been to ensure that when you search in Google, you are met with the most appropriate product, service or information out there. We know that keeping the user satisfied means that they will continue to use Google and therefore Google makes more money. Because of this, Google will always do what it can to put the user first and provide them with the best result possible.

Because of Google’s increasing intelligence, it is wise to leave the easy, cheat ways behind. Instead, focus on providing good quality information on a well-functioning site. Use language that the user would use, and check your sites on tablets, mobiles and desktops to ensure a smooth web experience. Although we cannot predict the exact changes google will roll out to the world of SEO, we can be sure that UX will be the most influential factor over the next couple of years.

 

How Do I Optimise a Website For Voice Search?

In 2021, voice search is becoming more and more important in SEO. Devices like Amazon Alexas and Google Homes are becoming increasingly more popular and as a result, more people are asking virtual assistants questions, instead of typing them up. As usual, search engines are keeping up with these trends, and making compatibility for voice search an important factor in SEO.

What are the differences between voice search SEO and normal SEO?

The issue with voice search is that Ai assistants will only read out one result, instead of showing a whole page full. So, with voice SEO, getting that number one spot or rich snippet is even more important and influential. In the past, SEO’s have argued that rich snippets are not as beneficial as they might seem on the surface, as they have prevented top-ranking sites from gaining a wealth of traffic as searchers are delivered the answer they were looking for without having to click onto a website. However, with voice search becoming more influential, SEO’s will inevitable compete even harder for these snippets.

Although we use the term ‘voice search’ for anything asked to smart devices, there are actually two different categories regarding ‘Voice’. These are voice search and voice action.

Voice actions:

When you ask the device to do something, like “call a hairdresser near me” or “call a plumber in Manchester”. These are what you want to be targeting if you are a local business with a local SEO focus.

Voice searches:

These are information-based queries. This could be; “how often should I water my plants”, “why do you need vitamin C in your diet”, or “what is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile”.

So now that you have a good idea about the type of voice search, let’s run over the different approaches for ranking both voice search and voice action queries.

How to Rank for Voice Action:

If you are a service and location-based business you need to focus on optimising your site for voice action. This is done by making sure you are compatible for all different devices that do voice search. You may already have a Google My Business account, but what about the devices that do not use Google as their map service? This is why you must optimise your business profiles on all possible map sites that your potential customers may search on.

This means optimising for these four different sites:

  • Google My Business (used by Android phones and Google Home devices)
  • Bing (used by Alexas and IPhones)
  • Yelp (also used by Alexas and IPhones)
  • Apple Maps (used my IPhones)

So, how do you optimise on these platforms?

Just as when you are getting your google my business ranked, you need to place a focus on displaying as much relevant and useful information as possible. So within these sites and platforms, you must include:

  • photos (make sure to include up-to-date photos of the service you provide, members of your team, and your logo)
  • reviews (these are vital for letting future customers know that you are trusted by those who you have helped)
  • opening times (if people are unsure when you are open, they are less likely to use your service, and Google knows this)
  • descriptions with keywords (a well-planned keyword strategy will ensure that you appear when people ask for you what you do)
  • name, address and phone number (this MUST be consistent across all four platforms)

By including all the necessary details, the search engines will regard you as trustworthy and you have a higher chance of being elected for voice searches. Ultimately this is not much different to typical SEO which is broken down into E.A.T – the T being trust. So, in short, do what you were doing previously to gain the ‘Trust’ element, but across other numerous platforms for multiple search engines.

How to rank for voice search

Voice search is for those looking for information and answers to their problem. An easy way to do this is to add an FAQ page to your site answering common questions that your customers may be asking.

Make your answers short – about 40-50 words for each answer. This is because audiences asking their devices certain queries want quick, to-the-point answers, without their smartphone or speaker reading them an essay. To think about what questions your FAQ should have, think about the theory ‘they ask, you answer’. Whatever questions you think a potential customer might have should be inputted into an FAQ.

What does an X service entail? What are the benefits of buying X product? What is the average market price for X product? When it comes to Voice search intent, think about questions asking; ‘How to…’. ‘When do I…’, ‘What is…’ and ‘What do I do when..’. These types of conversational questions take up over 65% of voice search queries. Ultimately this means that you should be carrying out long-tail keyword research and prioritising the conversational type of queries which seem to be appearing.

When addressing these questions, you should focus on simplicity (like an 8th-grade reading level) whilst keeping it conversational as this is the type of content that voice search results will pull out. You should in theory be writing similarly to how your audience speaks, which means thinking about the industry you are in and the type of customers you interact with on a regular basis.

Schema Markup

Having a schema markup can greatly improve your page ranking. It can help you get on rich snippets and featured snippets. So, if you want that Position 0 ranking, you should be utilising schemas. Because 40% of voice searches come from featured snippets, getting your schema right is vital for voice search.

Search engines look at your schema and from this can understand the context of your website. Having a schema markup is the equivalent of you describing your site, with detail, to your search engine. This allows you to have more of an influence on how search engines should read your site and thus rank it.

Schema can come in many different forms. Although there are some universal schemas for all websites, such as organisational or breadcrumbs schema, the type of schema you use will often depend on the industry you are in and the type of website you run.

These include:

  • Creative Works
  • Article
  • Video
  • Event
  • Recipe
  • Local Business Schema
  • Product

You should choose the most relevant type for your content. There are so many types and properties (778 types and 1383 properties), so it is very important that you choose the right one. Having the correct schema can help your chances of being on the featured snippet, which as previously mentioned would increase your chances of being sleeted for voice search.

Last tips

Ultimately, you want to work on authority with voice action and voice search. So, remember to ensure that your content reads well and is not unnaturally crammed with keywords. Throughout the history of SEO, Google has become better at noticing what might be spam, so always try and be as helpful to the user as possible.

When you are writing this content, think about how people would speak. Matching what people ask with their voice means writing more naturally which probably means less formally. Finally, if you are providing useful information that matches what people are asking, then searchers will want to use your answers and give your site a high-ranking position.