What Does Voice Search Mean for Your Website?

We all love Siri and Google Voice Search – even Cortana – but what does it mean for your website and your website’s SEO?

What Does Voice Search Mean for Your Website?

Why is voice search important?

First, we need to understand why voice search is important before we get into how it impacts business opportunities, business SEO and what you can do to leverage it.

The model of searching using Google is a new take on a historical way of getting information.

As Ivan Bercovich, a VP of engineering at Graphiq put it:

“The old model was us asking the librarian. The new model is us asking a smart friend who is going to give us an answer.”

That’s why this topic is important – we’re not only talking about a different technology, but a fundamentally different way to look for and deliver information. We’re not looking for resources anymore – now, we’re looking for answers.

With this change in how people are searching and what they’re hoping to achieve, we need to shift how we think about SEO.

Verbal searches are three times as likely to be local, so it’s particularly relevant for local SEO success. To do that, we need to understand the differences.

1. Voice search is a lot more conversational

Obviously, because it’s spoken out loud.

When was the last time you said, “small business advertising cheap?”

Probably never, but you might have typed it.

What you would say though might be: “How do I advertise to a small business cheaply?” or “What’s the best way to market my national franchise restaurant to a local audience?”

See the difference?

Voice searches follow this pattern of conversation, which means that your website copy needs to follow the same trend.

The local SEO technique

Write your content the way you would say it so that Google can pull the answer. Another tip is to comb through your search query data in Google Analytics and look for natural-looking queries – odds are, those are the ones coming from voice searches.

2. Voice searches are looking for specific answers

Users are now looking for specific answers with their search. For example, the results to ‘best pizza open after midnight’ won’t be a list of search results. It will be the closest pizza place that is open after midnight. The most successful franchises are going to be the ones who provide such specific answers to questions like this.

The local SEO technique

Develop either an FAQ or a Q&A section of your website. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re covering common questions that people will ask.

3. Voice search is getting more complicated

A keyboard (especially a tiny one on a phone) is no place to type in a long search like ‘if I were going to buy a camera for traveling in South East Asia, what camera should I buy?’

That’s never going to happen. Instead, people will search ‘camera South East Asia buy’

Which is why SEO has focused on keywords for so long – it’s what lazy typists have searched. However, voice search is changing that.

Now, people can say the actual thing they want to find out loud, which is an awful lot easier than typing it out. The result? Long tail keywords are going to be really important.

The local SEO technique

Produce content that addresses long tail keyword demands. Not sure which long tail keywords are driving your traffic? Here’s how you find out:

1. With Google Analytics, you can easily see what people are searching to get to your site. Export that information to Excel.

2. Order the spreadsheet by number of searches.

3. Scroll all the way to the bottom – searches that have only have 1-2 people enter your site through them.

4. Look at the search terms.

Now that you’ve got a good idea of how to find the long tails, start building content to answer whatever those queries are, and use the query as the title to the content. Done. While long tail keywords generally convert higher, you probably shouldn’t optimize for long visits.

Conclusion

Staying on top of the latest marketing SEO trends and strategies for a small business or franchise can be exhausting. But if you’re only going to focus on one thing this year, make it adapting to local voice search. This voice trend is set to explode over the next five years, and companies are already reporting a huge amount of traffic via voice searches.

To keep on top of your SEO game, Siri needs to be able to find you.

Need help? Let our team make your site voice search friendly.

Landing Pages Demystified

Landing pages can turn a standard website into a conversion machine. Leveraging your business’ advertising and stretching your marketing dollars further. Here’s the lowdown on what’s up with landing pages.

Landing Pages Demystified

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a simple part of internet marketing. It’s a dedicated web page where customers land when they do some specific action.

This is easily explained through a hypothetical marketing case study.

Imagine you are a food franchise. Let’s says your marketing plan is based around a special – ‘order online, and get a free side dish’. This is rolled out through all your usual online marketing tools: social media, pay per click marketing ads, organic content marketing, affiliates, etc.…

Now you have two options. You can promote it online and drive all the traffic to your home page, where you have a promo banner that you use to feature the special.

Or you can drive them to a dedicated landing page, specific to this promotion and funnel them straight to your shopping user flow.

The benefits of a landing page are clear:

  • Better experience for the customer
  • Closer alignment between what the customer expects and what you provide
  • More seamless online/offline linkages
  • More effective marketing strategy and thus, better conversions
  • Measurement!

How do I get one?

There are two main ways to get a landing page – create one on your own site or use a third-party provider.

Custom landing page

You can simply add a landing page to your existing site. Depending on your marketing agency and the rules around your franchise, it’s relatively easy to create a new page and drive people to it.

The upside is that it’s virtually free; it lives within your existing web presence, and will probably match your web look and feel seamlessly.

The downside is that it might not be as effective as a third-party landing page, because it wasn’t designed specifically for that job.

Third-party landing pages

A third-party landing page, like one created through the internet marketing platform Unbounce, has the advantage of being absolutely brilliant at what they do:

  • Allows you to create, test and deploy quickly
  • Tracks everything with loads of data

However, there’s usually an associated fee when you use a third-party. Also, because it’s not hosted entirely by your team, recreating the look and feel of your site might be more trouble than it’s worth.

A/B Testing

The last major benefit of a landing page (especially if you go for a third-party option) is that it lets you A/B test relatively easily.

A/B testing is super simple: when your customers land on your landing page, half see one thing and half see a slightly different thing. In one, the CTA might be ‘buy now’. In the other, it might be ‘Get it now’. You see which version drives more conversions. Once you have enough data to know which is better, you change your landing page so everyone sees the better version.

The point is that A/B testing lets you refine your marketing tactics over time to drive a better conversion.

A dedicated landing page is the best environment for A/B testing because you have control over what the customer sees and can very quickly change it in response to new data.

Conclusion

Landing pages should be a part of your internet marketing strategy and can be critical to your internet marketing optimization as you refine your various channels. They are an excellent tool for helping you improve your marketing effectiveness, whether you opt for owned or choose a third-party supplier.

Need help designing your landing pages? We are always here when you need us.

7 Steps to a Better Search

If you’re anything like other franchises out there, you’re probably pretty reliant on organic search and your search engine ranking to drive your business.

But traffic, SEO and SEM aren’t just about the best search engine optimization tools and the hottest SEO techniques.

It’s about the quality of the traffic you’re driving.

7 Steps to a Better Search

Don’t fall into the classic SEO trap of driving massive volume that doesn’t convert.

Here are 7 things you can do to drive better quality traffic than ever before. Continue reading 7 Steps to a Better Search

14 Must-Have Assets to Diversify Your SEO Portfolio

There are so many tricks and tactics you can use to boost your SEO strategy that sometimes it can feel completely overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve put together 14 of our favorite white hat SEO techniques you can use to pump up your search engine marketing.

14 Must have assets to diversify your SEO portfolio

1. Speed up your site

Buy a subscription to a caching service (or get a plugin), host images yourself and reduce the weight of your website to make it go faster. Gtmetrix will give you a free speed report that you can use to help you find where you can speed things along. Speed is a ranking factor, so the faster your site the better your SEO.

2. Remove duplicate content

A holdover from the era of SEO keyword stuffing, Google punishes duplicate content pretty severely. Use a tool like Screaming Frog to make sure you don’t have duplicated content on your site.

3. Focus keywords in H1 and H2 tags

SEO keywords still remain important, despite Google’s best efforts to the contrary. To get the most bang for your keyword buck, try and focus on using them NATURALLY in H1 and H2 headings.

4. Limit H1 tags to one per page

There should only be one H1 tag per page. A blog, for example, might use H1 tags for their titles. If you’re using H1 tags for subheadings, switch them to H2 tags.

5. Specify what anchor text people linking to your site should use

If you have a network of bloggers linking to your site, specify what anchor text they use (anchor text is the text that you actually link, so if we linked to the Wikipedia page about anchors, the word ‘anchor’ is the anchor text). Google uses anchor text to work out what the page that’s being linked to is about, and it can help raise your authority within Google’s SEO rankings.

6. Add alt tags to your images

When Google crawls your site, it can’t see pictures – it relies on alt tags to know what the picture is. Without an alt tag (or with an alt tag that’s useless like 12345.png), Google won’t know what to make of it – and you’ll miss out on the SEO help.

7. Make your site look good on mobile

Google has been using mobile friendliness as a ranking factor since at least 2015. Make sure you’re getting the most from your development and web marketing dollars by making your site mobile friendly. Whether you opt for a responsive design, a mobile microsite or a mobile app, just make sure it looks good on a phone.

8. Use LSI keywords

LSI keywords, or Latent Semantic Indexing, are essentially related keywords to the ones you’re using. For example, if you’re using the keyword ‘website SEO’, an LSI keyword might be search engine optimization tools. There are many sources for LSI keywords, including Google’s ‘related terms’, Google AdWords, LSI keyword generators and tools like Jaaxy.

9. Write longer content

It’s become clear over the last couple of years that longer content tends to perform better than short stuff (generally, there are plenty of caveats here). Focusing on longer pieces gives you a chance to maximize SEO content value, as well as provide more opportunity for long tail keywords.

10. Write a great snippet

A snippet is the stuff that comes up when your site shows up in the search engine rankings. Here is ours:

Burkhart Snippet

You want to make sure yours makes sense, is legible and draws your readers in. The more people who click, the better your SEO ranking is going to be.

11. Make your site an HTTPS secure site

Getting an SSL certificate to make your website a secure one (it’ll show up as HTTPS instead of HTTP) is a quick and easy way to get a guaranteed SEO win. Google wants sites to be more secure, so they use security as a ranking factor. Getting your website a SSL certificate will help (they’re pretty cheap).

12. Provide incentives for reviews

Reviews are critical, especially for local SEO. First, it will help people know how great your business are since it’s social proof. Second, Moz attributed 5% of search engine ranking to social signals. For most franchises (especially restaurant franchises) that means reviews.

13. Respond to comments

The more comments you have, the more content you have on your site (which is good). It also shows deeper user engagement, which Google loves. To encourage comments, have a CTA at the end of your blog posts asking for comments, and make sure you respond when people write them.

14. Link each page internally and externally

With various updates over the years and an increasing focus on authority, Google’s made it clear that being connected to the network of the internet is really important. An easy way to do this is to make sure every post or page you write for your site has 1-2 internal links, as well as 1-2 external ones. The stronger your connection is to the broader network, the better off your site is going to be.

There you have it. 14 (mostly) quick and (mostly) easy SEO techniques you can start to apply to your site. With these in your back pocket, you’ll be number one in the SERPS in no time.

Think you’ve got a great SEO strategy that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Ways to Manage Your Online Business Reputation

Your business’ reputation is no longer just about how well you advertise your business or how good your customer experience is. Online reputation is now equally important – and can be even harder to salvage if it goes south. Here are the 10 best ways to manage your online reputation to prevent that from happening.

10 Ways To Manage Your Online Business Reputation

1. Put someone in charge of online customer engagement

It’s probably best that someone on your marketing team runs this as well, or hire an agency. The goal is accountability – you don’t want your online reputation to slip between the cracks.

2. Be transparent – ask for input and feedback

Your customers should feel encouraged to give feedback – and you should welcome it. Continue reading 10 Ways to Manage Your Online Business Reputation

Mobile App or Mobile Website? Everything You Need to Know

Deciding whether your franchise needs a mobile app or a mobile website to maximize your internet marketing potential is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Here are the pros and cons of each, and when they make the most sense for franchisees.

Mobile App or Mobile Website

What are mobile apps and mobile websites?

First, let’s cover some basics. A mobile app is an application that you build that customers then download to their device. Apps are a completely optimized mobile experience and generally have some offline capability. They are usually downloaded through Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Popular apps include:

  • Instagram
  • Clash of Clans
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Snapchat

A mobile website is a website that only appears on mobile devices and is generally a stripped down version of a full site. Their URLs tend to start something like “mobile.” or “m.”. Facebook’s would be http://www.m.facebook.com.

Continue reading Mobile App or Mobile Website? Everything You Need to Know

6 Do’s and Don’ts for SEO in 2017

 

The world of search engine optimization is one of constant change and flux. It’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO techniques in order to get your SEO ranking where it should be. With that in mind, here are 6 SEO strategy do’s and don’ts for you to practice in 2017.

6 Do's and Don'ts of SEO in 2017

1. DO target longtail SEO keywords with long-form content

Longtail keywords continue to drive the best quality traffic with the lowest acquisition cost. Continue to publish long-form content to hit those essential longtail keywords to support your pay per click keyword bids to promote your business. Continue reading 6 Do’s and Don’ts for SEO in 2017

4 Steps to Attainable Medical Marketing

Do you feel like your medical marketing efforts can’t keep up with the deep pockets of your biggest competition?

With recent healthcare reform changes, every one is talking about the changing healthcare marketing landscape. Hospitals used to dominate, but now health service providers such as physical therapy offices, stand-alone radiology and laboratories are looking for opportunities to increase awareness and gain market share.

If you are an independent healthcare provider, what are you doing to make potential new clients aware of your location? How do you come up with new ideas to market yourself, compete with hospital systems, and maximize your profitability? Medical marketing doesn’t have to be unattainable if you:

  1. Make Marketing Your Services a Priority.
    Your clients are your first priority, but be sure to dedicate budget and management staff time to marketing. Marketing provides measurable results thatalternate text
    work towards your business goals. Taking time to determine the top strengths and weaknesses of your practice can help you identify new marketing opportunities.
  2. Create a One-Year Marketing Plan
    Developing a marketing plan for your business can be done with a medical marketing consultant or on your own. A marketing plan should have set, measurable goals that are attainable over a defined period of time and include specific projects that will assist you in attaining those goals. You should also incorporate budget allocation for each item in the plan and work to stay within those limits.
  3. Embrace New Opportunities
    Perhaps you have bought the same ad in the same publication for years. But, what if trying something you haven’t done before, like digital radio ads, brought more new clients or if developing a creative mobile app brought existing client back in more often? Don’t let lack of experience or knowledge about marketing channels hold your business back from achieving better results.
  4. Partner with Experts.
    You don’t need a million dollars to get expert medical marketing ideas. Technology, the internet, and mobile marketing have completely changed the advertising landscape.

If you decide you want an expert partner, Burkhart Marketing will offer a FREE ASSESSMENT on your current marketing efforts.

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4 Ways to Reduce Hyperchoice and Increase Sales: How Professional Service Providers can Leverage Retail Trends

Even though hyperchoice has been a hot discussion item in the retail industry, it hasn’t received much attention in professional services industries. After writing a whitepaper on the topic for an analytic software client, we started thinking how our professional service organizations could benefit from understanding the trend.

Even if the word hyperchoice is foreign, the concept will be familiar.

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Hyperchoice occurs when the sheer mass of selections causes a buyer to get frustrated, lengthening the research process and/or abandoning the purchase altogether. We often assume that the more choices, the better. However, according to an University of Texas study on the psychological effects of consumer hyperchoice, it often leads consumers to experience confusion and regret.  Research shows that when given less options, customers make decisions quicker, with more confidence and experience less post-purchase regret.

Reducing Hyperchoice in Professional Services

Limiting options in order to increase sales might seem counterintuitive at first, but really requires applying a different mindset to your marketing approach to potential customers.

1 – Focus on Referrals

Regardless of the sophistication level of your typical customer, everyone gains confidence in a decision when they receive a referral from a trusted source. Recommendations often cause a purchaser to limit their set of options to only those where they were referred.

Efforts to develop strong referral partner relationships are proven to produce significant returns. Be creative in how you reach out to referral sources. What motivates these professionals and would make them feel special? How can you get their attention? Invite referrals to a special event at your facility. Send them something they could use in their business. And don’t forget to stay in touch. One-time actions are soon forgotten.

2 – Simplify Your Proposals

A great opportunity to simplify your customer’s decision is the proposal process. Yet all too often, a proposal is viewed as an opportunity to showcase all you can do. Remembering the effect hyperchoice can have on your audience and don’t overwhelm your buyer.

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If you’re at the proposal stage, your prospect already knows your breadth of services. Take advantage of this chance to showcase how your most relevant solutions will impact them. Demonstrate that you listened to their needs and keep it short. Don’t try to sell every service. Your customer will appreciate your efforts to simplify their decision.

3 – Customize Your Message

You probably already use targeting and segmenting in your marketing. Customization of your message is another step in this process. Regardless of your communication method, there is no reason to send the same message to everyone. Tailor your content based on the recipient, their industry or demographics and their needs.

Small steps such as using variable print options to customize a brochure based on the recipient’s background can go a long way. On your website, be sure prospects can find valuable information, specific to their situation, quickly.

4 – Get Back to Basics

Above all else, don’t forget to be the trusted expert that you are in your field. Nothing can replace face-to-face communication where you get to know someone, understand their needs and use your service expertise to recommend the appropriate solution.

– Meghan Mayer Martin, Burkhart Marketing Associates

Want to learn more about reducing hyperchoice and increasing your bottom line? Contact Burkhart Marketing Associates and discover how we generate measurable returns for professional service providers.

How to Fill the World Cup Void

What are we going to tweet about after the World Cup Ends?

Whether you enjoy soccer or not, the World Cup was big. How big? We’re talking HUGE! We knew it was going to create a great amount of interaction on social media, but the engagement levels and post analytics still managed to knock our socks off!

Here’s some of the data (Hold onto your socks!):

  1. The World Cup final was the most-discussed sporting event ever on Facebook, with an estimated 280 million interactions — likes, posts and comments — from 88 million users.
    1. That’s are 35 million MORE interactions than the record 245 million during the 2013 Super Bowl.
  2. The most popular match on Twitter was Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil in the semi-final, which sparked 35.6 million tweets.
  3. The month-long World Cup generated 3 billion Facebook interactions overall.
  4. Nike was the most-viewed brand of the tournament worldwide, releasing eight campaigns that generated almost 240.7 million views.
  5. Unruly Media, a social video technology company, reported that a video from Activia yogurt featuring Shakira was the most shared of the World Cup, at 4.7 million, followed by Nike with 2.6 million, and Samsung with 1.3 million.
  6. Data from Twitter shows that each time a player took a penalty shot, Twitter reacted by going silent.Sports fans around the world seem to hold their breath – whether they’re in the stadiums, watching on TV or live tweeting – when a player makes that fateful penalty kick.

But after crowning Germany as World Cup champions this weekend, twitter seems distinctly quieter. Here are BMA’s top five ideas of what we will see filling that void over the next few months:

  1. Football. Or should we say American Football. We’re getting into Fantasy Draft season and before you know it you’ll be spending every Sunday on the couch in front of your TV.
  2. Christmas and Thanksgiving. You’re probably thinking NO WAY, but let us remind you Black Friday is only four short months away.
  3. Movies. New releases like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dumb and Dumber To will likely stir up some Twitter and Facebook activity.
  4. Selfies. We’re obsessed with the word and the act so we’ll fill our World Cup void with more and more selfies.
  5. Weather. When all else fails the small talk always turns to the weather.

So you better get to tweeting and posting. We have a mighty large void to fill!

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Are looking for creative ways to insert your brand into topical conversation and storm social media channels? BMA’s mission is to outthink, outwork, outperform and have fun doing it. We can provide all the right tools for a full-service and integrated approach. Check out Burkhart Marketing Associates on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

Ideas. Action. Results.