Voice search began decades ago with speech recognition systems introduced in the 1950s with the Audrey system from Bell Laboratories. Today, most people are familiar with the voice commands integrated into the Windows Vista, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant. There has also been a plethora of virtual assistants, speech and voice recognition apps like Alexa, Vlingo, Dragon Professional, and Voice Finger.

Is your website optimized for voice and speech recognition systems and apps?

According to a study on Google by Northstar Research, around 41% of adult Americans and 50% of American teens use voice search daily. Websites would be wise to jump on this bandwagon as expectations are high that voice search will continue to grow in popularity and use around the world. For 2017, it is expected to be one of the top SEO trends.

Websites have to be adjusted to accept voice-based queries because these are very different from the traditional types queries. For instance, voice queries tend to be longer and more explanatory using complete sentences and questions – as if the person searching feels the need to explain his search. With typed keywords, the general perception is to focus merely on short keywords so you can envision how drastic the dynamics have become.

Start by focusing your SEO efforts on long-tailed keywords and phrases. This would also mean adjusting your content to a more conversational tone and changing some content to be more specific like your FAQ page. Long-tailed keywords generally have three to four keywords. They are used to target specific markets and demographics. Those who use long-tailed keywords in their search tend to know what they want and are in a buying mode already.

Fortunately, long-tailed keywords also help improve your ranking faster than single keywords because you are less likely to be competing with many brands and businesses.

Claim your business. Voice searches tend to be localized searches or depend heavily on verified businesses. Thus, make sure your business is listed in popular and respected business listings like Yelp, Google, Foursquare, Maps, or even Facebook.

Test your website using a voice recognition app. The best way to know if your website will pop up with a voice search is to search it! Find an app and use it. Ask other people to do the same and analyze the results. If need be, change your long-tailed keywords, review your Home and FAQ pages.

Finally, make an effort to improve and generate positive reviews and feedback. Your online reputation will play a huge role in voice search especially if you make an effort to read and respond to reviews and feedback.

As of the end of 2016, there were 1.86 billion Facebook active users with an average 17% increase every year. Yet studies show that as of December 2016, Facebook reach has been falling by an average 44% for organic reach! According to an analysis of Facebook News Feed by Ignite Social Media, the algorithm has changed to generally favor paid ads over organic content.

Not long ago, Facebook revealed that organic content has a 16% chance of reaching the audience but over the months, this has dramatically been reduced to just 2.5% or 3 people out of 100. This means fewer engaged users which translates into a less-than-effective marketing campaign. Engaged users are those who visit your Facebook page with a higher chance of buying, subscribing, or sharing your content. Clearly, Facebook has had a change of heart regarding content by encouraging more paid ads.

However, don’t rule out organic traffic just yet because studies also show that organic content results in quality engaged users and better buying action because organic content is content that your audience wants; the reason they are following you in the first place. And organic content is not aggressive “in-your-face” hard ads which most people tend to shun instinctively.

In other words, your social network is more likely to buy from a friendly post than from a pushy ad. When you post something about a great computer repair service, it’s helpful but when you have an ad on your Facebook page about repair services, it’s impersonal, hard-sell, and cold.

For organic content to be effective, you must:

  1. Not have a regimented schedule in posting content. Post content both during peak and off-peak times since Facebook feed is not done chronologically. However, do the math and experiment with the results.
  2. Respond to comments.
  3. Show your humanity and re-engage your audience with adorable, funny, or inspiring videos or photos.
  4. Use engagement metrics to find out what your audience is interested in and focus on giving them more!
  5. Use Call-To-Action (CTAs)

5 Reasons Why You Need Traffic

If you’re on Facebook and you have a business or a brand to promote, you need traffic. More visitors means more followers which in turn can translate into higher sales, better leads, and one very effective way of improving your brand’s recognition and success.

#1   Since Facebook is so popular, the first reason you need traffic is because it is global. You can now realistically expand your network to people and places around the world without having to leave your neighborhood.

#2   Facebook traffic can potentially give you real-time results and these results will help you target the right audience and content to keep the cycle alive.

#3   Traffic will boost your followers and allow you to expand and bond with your network.

#4   You have a wealth of data available to you that includes knowing and understanding your competition so you can build and develop your brand more efficiently.

#5   Finally, you need traffic because it will help you earn, become famous, or both! With more traffic, you increase your Shares and Likes and your Facebook page will appeal to other businesses willing to ride on your visibility and popularity to get ahead.

Man writing in a notepadEvery business owner has over a thousand details to work on and not a day passes without something important on the calendar – especially if the business has an online presence. Sometimes, it’s not a question of cost when choosing between paid and organic traffic because if it were, hands down, organic traffic would win over spending on Google Ads because it’s free! Unfortunately, life for a business owner is never that simple.

Last July Google introduced an update to its text ad format and it was geared mainly towards mobile use. It expanded the paid ad space by 50% with the suggestion that this change would improve clickthrough rate (CTR) by as much as 92% vis-à-vis lower costs.

Results show that while costs did decrease the CTR was, at best, mixed. It did not help everyone. For instance, Guitar Center reported a CTR increase of 100% while make-up giant, L’Oreal revealed their CTR increased by 92%. These were two of the lucky ones and it’s probably due to the fact that they were part of the beta test group.

Does this mean you should focus on organic traffic instead? Not at all.

The advantage of paid Google ads is its immediacy. If you want to send out your message quickly and reach as many people as possible, the most effective way is through Google Ads. Your ads will show up on searches, meaning you don’t have to wait and work for higher rankings. And Google ads can cost as little as one cent depending on the real estate and terms.

However, just like in traditional media, once you stop the ads, you lose contact with your traffic and market. It’s gone unless you have a back-up plan.

What about organic content?

Google still puts a lot of weight on organic content. Their mission is to provide the most relevant information and make the search fruitful. While you don’t have to pay Google to be on their search results, you can boost your chances by spending on select optimized keywords. It’s a more difficult choice because some keywords have been taken by the multinationals and big brands.

The downside to this choice is the uncertainty in results. You can enjoy immediate results or you may have to wait ages for the keywords to convert. For this reason, SEO companies are available to bring home the bacon, so to speak, provided they have the experience and track record to convert within six months or earlier. The other advantage of using an SEO expert is the opportunity to build your presence online, increase traffic, improve lead generation, and advance your ranking on Google. This is something that is more permanent than Google Ads – even if you decide to stop the SEO service.