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Keyword On The Street
Female: Welcome to Keyword on the Street podcast, presenting the latest developments in the world of SEO and digital marketing. Keyword on the Street is brought to you by Lance Montana, a digital marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia.
Lucy: Hello, and welcome to Keyword on the Street. This is episode four. I’m Lucy, and I’m here with the lovely Laurence and the lovely Grace.
Laurence: Hello there. Lovely to be here.
Lucy: I should have said, “Graceful Grace,” but lovely will do.
Laurence: Opportunity missed.
Lucy: We love a trend prediction at the start of the year, and so here we are, talking SEO trends for 2019. So why should we pay attention to SEO trends in 2019? Well, HubSpot released a report on inbound marketing in 2018, revealing that 61% of marketers say improving their SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. And because search engine algorithms are constantly being updated, SEO is an ever-changing field. So it’s pretty important to stay on top of the latest changes.
Laurence: Certainly is. I mean if you aren’t getting your traffic from Google, where are you getting it from? I want to know, please give me a call. Seriously, it’s either like paid advertising – I mean you might actually be paying for advertising within Google itself. You know? Cost per click and Google Ads (not Google AdWords) or, you know, you’re doing it the right way and creating content that people actually want to consume.
Lucy: You’re just really interesting.
Laurence: And are looking for.
Lucy: Or are really, really good-looking.
Laurence: Yeah, totally. So Grace, you have prepared a couple talking points around this one. Can you kick us off, please, as to, you know, where SEO is heading in 2019 and what do we need to be across to capitalise on it?
Grace: Yeah, so this year, voice search is going to be a massive one. So I found a really interesting statistic that by 2020, roughly 30% of all website sessions will be conducted without a screen, and that will be all thanks to our friendly virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.
Lucy: That’s incredible.
Grace: So that’ll mean that people will be googling things entirely differently than they have been recently. And what that means for your keyword research and your SEO strategy this year is that instead of incorporating snappy keywords like, you know, ‘Best hair salon Brisbane’, that people tend to type out rather than speak, we want to be thinking about how would people speak these to their virtual assistants. So that might be something like, you know, “Hey, Siri. What is the best hair salon in Brisbane?” These keywords will probably be more structured like questions rather than short little tidbits.
So if you want a really quick, easy way of incorporating these long-tail, question-based keywords into your strategy, our number one recommendation is to start an FAQ page on your website and just think about the questions that potential customers might be asking virtual assistants, how you could answer them in a way that will be beneficial to them and can, you know, direct their attention to your website.
Lucy: Yeah, good suggestion.
Laurence: So you can make statistics prove anything, Grace. Where do you pull this 30% of all searches are gonna be screenless in 2020 from?
Laurence: Forbes. Okay. Okay.
Grace: Forbes had a good one about that. Yeah.
Laurence: So we’ll include links to any, you know, aspersions and grandiose claims that Grace might make throughout this episode in the show notes, and you can access those at lancemontana.com.au/podcast, no S. And look. I’m just being a bit silly. Like, it’s quite obvious that this trend is here to stay, and it’s going to get stronger and stronger very quickly just because of the amount of money behind it. Just always follow the money trail if you want to see what’s really going on in the world. You know, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, you know, anybody who’s anybody in tech is pouring money into natural language processing and voice-activated, integrated, Internet-of-things style of products and services. And so yeah, 100%. I think, you know, Grace is on the mark. You know? It’s a funny one as a business owner making the decision where to pour your resources because there’s always the next big thing that’s always, like, making money right here, right now.
And yeah, voice search was hyped pretty hard in 2018 as well, but I would tend to agree with you, Grace, that I think we’re gonna hit a little bit more of a tipping point in 2019 where there’s actually gonna be some, shall we say, tangible return on your investment in terms of actual search traffic coming through to your website from voice search.
Laurence: I mean it’s dicy at the moment, to be perfectly honest. It’s more probably about setting yourself up for later in the year or the year after.
Grace: Yeah, yeah.
Laurence: But you can’t make these kind of things happen overnight. So the time to get across it, invest in the resources and the design in your website is now.
Laurence: Lucy, do you have an Echo or a Google phone or any of those kind of assistant?
Lucy: No, I don’t. Well, I don’t, actually. No. So I’ve not engaged in voice search of any kind as yet.
Laurence: Yeah. What about off your mobile phone? You’ve never used Siri to find something?
Lucy: No. No.
Laurence: And look, I think that’s a really common answer still at this stage of the game.
Laurence: I’ve got a Google Home and we don’t use it. We unplugged it. I mean my wife Bridget is always freaking out about Google listening in to our conversations, and I don’t know why because we’re really not talking about anything that exciting or would mind if people knew about it, but I just found that I didn’t use it.
Laurence: I’ve got a super techy brother-in-law that’s hooked it up to lights and his TV and all these other kind of things so that he can kind of, you know, control his environment through Google Home. I can kind of, you know, see the benefit there. But in terms of like searching for products and services through Google Home, I think it’s a way off.
Grace: Yeah. Yeah.
Laurence: And same with Amazon Echo, but it is coming.
Laurence: You know, later this year, you know, maybe if you’re doing this right and, you know, you’re planning it out strategically and looking for a specific segment and specific queries, you could generate some traffic.
Lucy: Yeah. I think if something seems like it’s intuitive, then it’s…You’re definitely sort of heading in the right direction while sort of preparing yourself for it. But yeah, I think you’re right. It’s definitely…The beginnings of it are there, but it’s going to take a long time for people to sort of really embrace voice search.
Grace: Yeah, so we don’t want to throw our entire keyword strategy out the window just yet, but we can start to make small steps towards it. Yeah.
Lucy: Future-proof ourselves. Definitely.
Grace: Yeah, definitely.
Laurence: That’s right. Yeah, so actionable takeaway there from Grace. Thank you, Grace. Frequently asked question section where you’re using kind of good conversational-style queries to target long-tail keywords, yeah, which are those more detailed questions and search queries that people might put into Google.
Grace: Yeah, absolutely. The next one we got on the list is page speed. Laurence, I know you’re pretty passionate about this one.
Laurence: I’m pretty fast, generally. I’ve got short legs, but they’re good legs. Yeah, page speed is super important. You know? We’ve talked about this and will continue to do so because it is just the most important overarching factor of health and performance of a website.
Laurence: Okay. Apart from security.
Grace: It’s coming later.
Laurence: Yeah. Obviously your website needs to load first, and then the next most important thing after that is how quickly it loads. You know? We’re all pretty busy. You know? Some of it is good busy. Some of it not so much these days, but that’s the life, you know, the lifestyle that’s happening, and people don’t have the patience to stick around waiting for your un-optimised image to load, you know, in six or seven seconds on your website.
Lucy: Yeah, they really don’t. I feel like I completely understand that from a personal level. I was looking up kitchens, and the website was just taking forever to load, and I just decided I wasn’t even going to bother looking. It eventually loaded, but it was just…yeah.
Grace: Five seconds is the tolerance.
Lucy: Yeah. That was taking longer.
Laurence: Five seconds…I mean, Grace, you’re a more patient person than me. You found this great study, showing that basically every extra second your website takes to load, you’re losing an estimated 11% of website business.
Lucy: Yeah, wow.
Grace: That’s a big deal.
Lucy: That’s massive.
Laurence: So in our kind of day-to-day management optimisation of performance of websites, we try to pane for under two seconds. Certainly one second is amazing, but it is difficult to do, dependent on the server, the style of content that a website has. But, you know, this is one of those ones where you’re kind of constrained in what you can do, depending on the architecture and the website that you have as well. If you’re using a self-hosted solution like… well, you can use self-hosted solutions on SquareSpace. You can even use self-hosted solutions on WordPress and other platforms like that. You know? You’ve got the ability to do more with your speed at a server level, which is, well, it’s where it all starts if you’re using a solution which is hosted by a platform itself, all you’ve really got to work with this content itself and what calls you’re making to other websites.
So the quick thing that you can do that’s gonna have the biggest impact is to do an audit of your images and make sure that they are all as small as they can possibly be in terms of file size. Yeah?
Lucy: Good advice.
Grace: Yeah, and we use a great tool called Pingdom to test site speed. So we’ll put a link to that in the show notes to, you know, give you a tool to use if you’re wanting to test whether your page speed needs to be addressed.
Lucy: Yeah, for sure. Any third-party tool needs to be used with a grain of salt, but Pingdom is awesome. GT Metrix is another good one to use for comparison. Google’s page load speed tool is scarily inaccurate, often, and it’s one of the few Google tools that we often use that we tend to have a lot of issues with, hence recommending Pingdom in this case.
Grace: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Okay. Cool. So the next SEO trend for 2019 is long search terms. So the idea behind this one is that if your business is just getting started out with SEO, you might know that it can be really challenging to compete with established old websites for really popular keywords relating to your business. So that might be something like “best cafes Melbourne” if you’re a local cafe in that area.
Lucy: Yeah, absolutely.
Grace: It can be really, really tough to compete with people that have been on the top page for years. But there’s some good news here, Ahrefs have some really interesting information about the value of incorporating long search terms into your keyword strategy. So they found that 92% of all keywords in their almost 2 billion keyword database had fewer than 10 searches per month. These tend to be very long, highly focused keywords. Something like “best online store for white leather sneakers” would be considered a very long keyword. But these can give you some really highly relevant website visitors that have a much higher chance of conversion.
Lucy: Yeah. I guess that’s kind of in line with, you know, the success of niche marketing. It does really pay to sort of, you know, niche down and…
Grace: Hone in. Yeah.
Laurence: Absolutely. So these long-tail keywords can just be further, you know, through the purchase funnel process as well. So not only have you got more of a chance of ranking for this longer-tail keyword, but, yeah, it’s a more relevant market, and it can be a query with purchase intent as well. You know? So if you put in those kind of “buy” or “how to find,” “how to get to,” those kind of qualifiers in your search query…So instead of just looking for white leather sneakers, somebody’s put in, “Where to find white leather sneakers in Brisbane.” Well, you know that that query’s, you know, much more serious about actually trying to find those sneakers. Right?
Lucy: Yeah. Yeah.
Laurence: So though there might only be 10 or 15 searches a month for that longer-tail search query, as compared to the 50,000 for white leather sneakers, you know, you’re not getting a whole lot of completely useless traffic as well from people that aren’t actually interested in purchasing something from you. Yeah.
Grace: Yeah, so don’t get turned off if a keyword only has 10 searches per month. It’s not completely useless for your business.
Laurence: Yeah, 100%.
Lucy: Conversion rate might be higher.
Laurence: Yeah, you might organize your keyword strategy in terms of topics and clusters and be looking at, you know, hitting up 20 or 30 related longer-tail keyword queries, you know, within one topic, using some cornerstone content to act as a hub for that topic and then having, you know, specific content for each of those queries on your website.
Grace: Yeah, absolutely. Okay.
Lucy: Next one on the list, Amazon’s Rise.
Laurence: This is in the context of Jeff Bezos just announcing his divorce.
Lucy: Oh, yes. Yes.
Laurence: Which is pretty big news just to put it out there.
Lucy: Apparently they’re still very friendly.
Laurence: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lucy: So according to a study of just over 3000 global consumers, 56% of people visit Amazon first if they have shopping in mind. So it’s, you know, essentially becoming the Google of eCommerce, Amazon. So if your business sells books, electronics, any other product frequently sold on Amazon, which, let’s face it, is pretty much anything and everything, we’d recommend you revisit your keyword strategy to make sure it’s catering to Amazon’s search algorithm. It would be a good idea to also check out Amazon’s keyword research tool, Alexa, which has heaps of useful information.
Laurence: Yeah, we’re big fans of Alexa. We’ve got an agency account using this amazing tool, just super powerful, easy to use, competitor insights and research, keyword research, topical style stuff. You can, you know, draw down reports on what you need to do specifically to kind of hit low-hanging fruit, you know, with your website and what kind of things are gonna take more time to do but are gonna improve your website for the long term. If you’re serious about SEO, you know, investing in tools like Alexa are absolutely critical to performance.
Grace: Yeah, they’ve also got a great blog, Alexa, where they give some great tips on how to boost the SEO success of your Amazon products.
Laurence: To my mind, it’s just annoying that you now have to consider an entirely different massive digital monolith ecosystem, but that’s the reality of the world we’re in. And Amazon cannot be denied. Yeah.
Grace: Yeah. Absolutely. And the last point we’ve got today is website security.
Laurence: Yay. So exciting, website security. Look, I just think it’s so obvious that if your website isn’t secure, then nothing else matters. Can we overlay that Metallica music behind this.
Lucy: I was about to sing it. I thought that’d be inappropriate.
Laurence: Look, 84% of people will abandon a statistic if it’s unverified. No, 84% of people will abandon a purchase if they’re dealing with an unsecure website. As I said earlier, we’re gonna have all of the kind of reference resources behind, you know, this research in our show notes. You know, Google has basically made a pretty major statement last year in 2018 about how important security is in search by demoting HTTP only, unsecure, unencrypted websites. So you got to get a security certificate installed and configured on your domain because otherwise people may not even actually be able to get to your website without seeing a big, ugly, scary warning message about it being insecure first. Yeah. So that is absolutely crucial.
Grace: Yeah, and even if they can get to your website, people are skeptical enough as it is. They don’t want to be seeing scary warning messages.
Lucy: Yeah, being directed away from your website.Which happens all too often.
Grace: So get on top of it in 2019.
Laurence: Yeah. So to wrap up, SEO trends you need to be on top of to get the most out of this hugely lucrative inbound traffic in 2019 are voice search, page speed, long search terms, getting on board with Amazon eCommerce, and of course website security.
Grace: Exactly. And just for one final piece of extra motivation to stay on top of these trends, research by SmartInsights revealed that across multiple industries, 50% of clicks from any given Google search go to the top three ranked websites. So.
Lucy: Very interesting.
Laurence: You’ve got to get to the top. Thanks a lot, Grace. You too, Lucy.
Grace: No worries.
Lucy: Thank you, Grace. Thanks, Laurence.
Laurence: Everyone, you can subscribe, review, and rate the Lance Montana podcast at lancemontana.com.au. Thanks a lot for listening.
Female: Thank you for listening to the Keyword on the Street podcast. This has been a production of Lance Montana, a digital marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia. For more great free resources, go to lancemontana.com.au.
In the fourth episode of Keyword on the Street, we’re joined by our Chief of Content, Lucy Stephens, to talk about the SEO marketing trends you need to know about this year.
Topics covered in this podcast:
- How to prepare for the rise of voice search
- Why long search terms can provide enormous value to your business
- Why Amazon is just as important as Google for e-commerce businesses
- The influence of page speed and security on website performance and keyword rankings