Tips for Writer’s Block | 5 Ways to Coax Creativity!

.So there you sit — staring at a glowing screen, a blank word document stealing the oxygen out of the room. You have just a thousand more words before the end of the day and it’s already an hour to closing time. Maybe the week got away from you or the ideas just haven’t leapt to the page as usual. Whatever the case, writer’s block is something that can be as enigmatic as it is obvious to cure! Here are a five tips for writer’s block!

Smashing Your Writer’s Block | Five Tips for Writer’s Block

Whether you’re in marketing, journalism, or you just write for fun, we all have those moments (or maybe many excruciating series of moments) when capturing the right words and ideas is as easy as holding the smoke in your hands. It doesn’t help when there are a series of other assignments ready to present a similar struggle. Writer’s block is never fun…Or maybe it is?

Here’s my first technique for eliminating writer’s block:

1. Indulge in Nonsense

Sure, you’re not going to want this to transfer into the ultimate execution of your work. However, sometimes it helps to simply write the first thing that comes to mind. It may not (and will likely not) be related to the serious topic you’ve been tasked to cover, but it may unfurl your subconscious mind enough to expose your real ideas.

writer's block

Words are hard, but nonsense is simple!

Whether it’s just a matter of clearing away unwanted mental baggage or generating a false sense of accomplishment, writing nonsense is something that can be a quick solution to shifting your thoughts into the right gear. While I can see this working for the more nebulously minded of us, maybe you’re the type of person who just goes deeper into the self-doubt writer’s block produces.

2. Get Up and Move

Sometimes it just takes a bit of physical movement to redistribute the blood and really get those mental facilities up and running. If you have the ability, go for a brief walk, run, or do some light cardiovascular exercise to convince your body that things are different now and the masterpiece can ensue.

writer's block

Believe me, staring forcefully into your computer monitor until words appear is rarely the best way to produce something you’ll be happy with. You may want to just get a little sunlight and breathe deeply into the void of existence before sitting down to write your problematic piece of work. Hopefully, that’s enough to let you reach the fruit of your creativity-orchard, but if not you may need a more directed approach. Getting up and moving is one of the most important tips for writer’s block, as it also will help with your overall wellness.

3. Find an Uncanny Influence

If you’re inspired by music, find something you’ve never heard before. Into the visual arts? Go glimpse interesting imagery just until the point where your mind’s eye is ready to see those words hitting the page! The point is this — find something to help you break out of your regular thought-patterns and stir up new ideas. Writer’s block may feel like you’re turning to stone at the bottom of the ocean, but if it never left anyone then humanity would have exhausted just about every great thought available. So far so good!

writer's block

Waste time with the Magic iPod at your own risk…

While it’s important not to waste time being a whimsical dandy just floating about, finding things you wouldn’t normally draw inspiration from can inform what you’d like to create, in addition to what you’ll want to avoid. The answers are out there, regardless of how elusive they are at this very moment. More or less, just take to mediums which aren’t your usual cup of tea and swallow them whole or smash the mug entirely — whichever is a more applicable metaphor.

4. What Would You Want to Read?

So up until this point, my advice has probably been pretty subjective. Perhaps you’re looking for that actionable, completely obvious way to destroy your writer’s block the “just say it already” takeaway point. And really that’s just it! Write exactly what it is you’d like to read yourself. Some people take entirely boring subjects, and through some alchemical wizardry, produce a relatively engaging piece because they’re genuinely interested in the content.

writer's block

You are your most critical audience member, and simultaneously the performer!

This can also translate to the fact that sometimes you’ll need a jump start on figuring out the exact content you’ll be writing. For this, I’d essentially recommend finding similar pieces and writing your own take on the matter, taking care not to lift anything directly. Plagiarism is still alive and well in our digital age! Think about who your ideal reader is and write for them. The worst case scenario is that you write too narrowly, but that’s fine if it gets the job done!

5. Time is Your Friend!

Sometimes you can use your deadlines to leverage your creative mind! I know what you’re thinking “that’s what has gotten us here in the first place.” However, maybe setting small incremental goals is just what you need to break down a larger task at hand. Give yourself an hour to get the topic or focus of your piece. Use the next hour to develop the outline. Before you know it, you’re adding that final punctuation mark and punching out for the day! (Side note: Time is an illusion of consciousness designed to present order in a relatively chaotic universe.)

writer's block

The most difficult part for many with writer’s block is taking that first step into the unknown. You know, that swirling semantic tornado of uncertainty devouring the trailer parks and open prairies of your mind until inspiration is pulled from the rubble! Hopefully, this blog gave you your mental vacation needed to erupt with that next great piece of content! If not, you’re on your own — but I’m glad I temporarily convinced you otherwise! I hope you enjoyed these tips for writer’s block!

7 Link Building Mistakes Every Marketer Should Know

Ah, link building. It’s one of the most common SEO techniques out there, but it’s also one of the most challenging. No matter how experienced a digital marketer you are, link building is sort of a crapshoot – you never really know what’s going to happen. Needless to say, there are quite a few link building mistakes that anyone can make, and these mistakes could yield some negative consequences.

7 Link Building Mistakes Every Marketer Should Know

link building mistakes

1. Buying links

We hope you’re smart enough to know that buying links is a BIG no-no in the SEO world. However, there are still some people out there that think they can take the easy way out by buying or selling links. It seems too good to be true, right? Well, it is. Paid links can seriously hurt your ranking in search engine results. Search engine algorithms, especially Google’s, are becoming smarter and smarter. So, there’s a high chance that they will catch and penalize any link buyers or sellers out there. Avoid this mistake at all costs!

2. Getting “no-follow” links

Building no-follow links is nothing more than a waste of time since Google ignores any link with the nofollow tag. These links do not count toward a page’s authority, nor their placement in the search results. Use tools like Moz or SEMrush to check your links, and stay away from nofollow links whenever possible!

3. Only building links to your site’s homepage

This one’s a popular link building mistake for beginners. While it may seem like a good idea to build backlinks exclusively to your site’s homepage, it’s not. Google will see this as artificial or spammy, and your search rankings could suffer. It’s important to keep other pages in mind while link building, like links to your site’s blog. This will help you to rank higher in the search results for pages other than your homepage.

link building mistakes 2

4. Building links too quickly

There’s no rule for how many links you should build in a day, but search engines will notice if you seem to be getting backlinks unnaturally quickly. Link building is not a process that should be rushed; slow and steady wins the race! If you build, say, a thousand links to your site in one day, prepare to be penalized. Search engines will notice this, and they may even ban your website from being indexed as a result.

5. Getting backlinks from irrelevant sites

Link builders should strive to build backlinks for relevant sites only, or, sites within their niche. In other words, if you have a site that sells pet supplies, getting links from a marketing website isn’t going to do you any good, even if the site has a high domain authority (DA). Before trying to build a link, make sure that the site is in a similar niche as yours.

6. Linking to a site with a bad reputation

Linking to spam or duplicate content sites is one of the worst link building mistakes you can make. Building a link to a site with a bad reputation will tell Google that you endorse that site. As a result, you will be penalized. Be sure to thoroughly check the site and their reputation before you link to them!

7. Getting site-wide links

It’s a good idea to stay away from site-wide links or links that come from the header or footer section of a website. While this used to be an effective link building strategy, it isn’t anymore. Google started noticing these types of links and began penalizing the websites.

Can you think of any other link building mistakes that marketers should avoid? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Why Marketing With Graphic Design Can Improve Your Business

Graphic design is becoming an increasingly important component of online marketing. Design is so much more than pasting a colorful picture onto a piece of paper or using an interesting font on your website. Graphic design is a way in which we can communicate and problem-solve through the use of photography and illustration. Graphic design is a key way to connect with users or customers and sway their decision-making process. The supplementary use of imagery and color is often times a more appealing form of communication than just using written word. Hence, why so many people are interested in nailing this aspect of the marketing mix! So, how exactly does graphic design improve your online marketing? Here are four great ways that marketing with graphic design can help grow and advance your business.

marketing with graphic design

4 Ways Graphic Design Can Improve Your Marketing

1. Improves Your First Impression

Believe it or not, you have less time to make a good impression online than you do in person. This means you have just seconds to make a good impression on someone visiting your site. If your website lacks visual appeal or attraction, chances are you will lose any potential business from said viewer. Potential customers visiting your site should be able to understand what your company does, how they can help, and why they should choose to conduct business with you. Remember, you only have seconds to do this. Thus, marketing with graphic design is an incredibly important and useful tool that can help to sway their decision in your favor.

Builds Trust

In today’s digital era, online trust is becoming increasingly important in the wake of online scamming. When people visit and browse your company’s webpage, you want them to feel they can trust your site. Design, believe it or not, plays a larger role in online trust than you might think. A small study asked users to record whether they trusted certain websites they visited, and if not, why. When evaluating why there was distrust towards certain websites, 94 percent of those reasons related to design problems. This means you may be utilizing the concept of graphic design, but doing so in a counterproductive way. Some of the top reasons that viewers did not trust a website were due to a boring web design, pop-up ads, slow load times, too much text, and more. Invest time in developing a site that is user-friendly and builds trust. When viewers feel they can trust your site they will likely continue to return.

Improves Your Social Media Presence

It’s no surprise that engaging graphic design can have a major impact on your social media platforms. How you utilize design will also impact how people remember your brand. In the age of scrolling, eye-catching visuals are becoming increasingly important. Creating current and well-designed visuals will help attract new followers, likes, comments, shares, and overall engagement.

Improves Your CTA’s

As we’ve mentioned before, graphic design is a great way to communicate and engage with your audience. However, when users are visiting your webpage the end goal is almost always engagement. Whether it’s liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking on a link it all helps to increase the social participation around your brand. The use of graphic design only helps to further improve your CTA’s (call to action) Attention grabbing CTA’s will help to guide users visiting your site into potential paying customers.

What do you think are some additional benefits of pairing marketing with graphic design? Let us know is the comments below!

SEO Tactics for Small Businesses | Some Basic Tips!

Each year there are more SEO tactics to become aware of for the benefit of your business. When you’re working to ensure your company’s websites are performing the best they can, it all comes down to staying ahead of the curve. No matter what your product or service may be, there are SEO tactics for small businesses that you’ll want to stay aware of and implement. It’s not just the trends you have to consider, but how these tactics can stay sustainable throughout the year. Today we’ll talk about some of the basic SEO considerations to make if you want your small business to flourish:


SEO Tactics for Small Businesses | Basic Tips:

Unless you’ve been totally avoiding the internet and all the marketing required to make your small business a success, it’s no secret that mobile SEO is huge. Along with a greater volume of searches, mobile devices are changing the approach consumers take when finding information on a product or service. This means that SEO tactics for small businesses absolutely need to account for this shift. Mainly there are 3 main things you’ll want to consider:

  • Voice Search
  • Featured Snippets
  • Local Search

Optimizing your small business’s site for each of these aspects of mobile search can have some huge results. That’s why we’ll break down each of these critical SEO tactics for small businesses.

Voice Search is Here to Stay

Whether it’s through a smartphone, home assistant, or even a desktop more people are doing voice searches than ever before. Last year in 2017, 33 million voice search devices were used by 40 percent of adults each day. Compared to its launch in 2008, Google’s voice search received 35 times more search queries in 2016. Since voice assistants have been added to more phones, TVs, and dedicated devices than ever, SEO is following suit.

SEO tactics for small businesses

In terms of SEO tactics for small businesses, you’ll always want to answer specific questions via ‘first-page content,’ and by this I mean content that provides the absolute best and most concise answer. This is what will ultimately get you popping up on people’s mobile devices which leads to our next point…

Featured Snippets are Best

If you’re optimizing for voice search at all, that means really nailing those featured snippets. When people are searching for a product or service your small business provides, they’re likely looking for something very specific. Doing some keyword research into what phrases your customers are actually using allows you to earn these featured snippets with greater accuracy. Then, not only will your site be easier to find on mobile devices, but will also populate on full desktop pages better.

Local SEO is EVERYTHING

If you’re a small business then you already realize the importance of optimizing your website for local searches. When you consider both voice search and rich or featured snippets, local search is where these things really make sense. Most of the time, people are going to ask for products and services “near me” or “in my area.” Writing content featuring keywords with your city or location is one way to do this in addition to having a Google My Business profile. This way people can instantly find your store hours, directions, and a phone number without doing an additional search or even clicking onto your website itself!

Overall, SEO tactics for small businesses include many other more nuanced factors, however, these are some of the most common and effective ways to increase your site’s reach and rank. Combining voice search, featured snippets, and local SEO ensures you’re getting the best return on investment for any marketing and content writing efforts you’re undertaking.

What are some ways your small business optimizes itself for Google and other search engines? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

Full disclosure: Before I accepted my position as a content marketer at Track5Media, I was a reporter. Now that I’ve crossed to the other side, I have to be the pesky marketing person harassing the media. It’s quite an adjustment. After a year into my marketing position, though, I’m realizing how much of a benefit it is to have both a marketing and journalism perspective. From my commitment to fact checking to my awareness of how press releases are received and perceived, I see how my time as a journalist shapes me as a marketer. I’m not special. Lots of journalists are making the transition in their careers from journalism to marketing. I know that the skills I brought with me, I’m also competing with in this industry. With that said, I realize that my experience is still valuable to those who haven’t been frantically looking for a story on a Friday afternoon. Here are some tips (from my perspective as a reporter) on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Five Tips on How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

how to write a press release

Are you tired of writing press releases and sending them but not getting any news coverage? Here are five tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Target the right reporters

It’s not enough just to write a press release and blast it out through one of those fancy distribution websites. I mean –  do that –  but also think about how to target the right media. Is there someone locally you know who covers the industry you work in? Is there a specific magazine or industry newsletter that might be interested in your news? It’s always best to target the right audience.  a personal copy of your release.

Get their attention

Make sure you have a catchy subject line when you email them. Look at some recent articles that they wrote, and consider the language or phrases they used. Make your subject line sounds like something they would write.

Make them care

Just because something is exciting to you and your company, doesn’t mean it’s exciting to everyone else. That’s why if you want to know how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore, you have to think about what makes it to interesting to other people. Construct your press release with that thought in mind. You already care. That’s why you’re making the announcement. Your job, however, is to convince other people that they should care too.

Give it to them straight

Consider the five W’s – who, what, where, when and why. Make sure your press release answers all of those questions and then some. Make sure you give them all of the details and that they’re accurate. For example, if you forgot to write a press release about a new hire and it’s six months later, don’t try to tweak the content so that it seems like it just happened. There’s nothing more frustrating for a journalist than to be fed old news.

Follow up

The most important part of how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore is to follow up. You can do everything right, but at the end of the day, reporters are busy. They’ve got many others just like you sending them story tips and press releases, and they have an editor yelling at them to make a deadline. Even though they might be interested, your outreach could be lost in their inbox. Send them a follow-up, or even give them a call! Sometimes having a friendly conversation on the phone will help you to stand out above the rest.

Do you have any additional tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore? Share with us in the comments below!

Stop Creating Content Just to Create Content

Do you ever find yourself using extra words in a blog just to get to your word count? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the content we create and what exactly makes it valuable. It seems like as marketers, we throw these arbitrary numbers out there – all blogs should be at least 500 words or Google likes content that’s closer to 1,000 words or briefer blogs are better because people have shorter attention spans these days. But what about… write until you’ve made your point and then stop? Stop creating content just to create content.

Stop Creating Content Just to Create Content – Four Things to Consider

stop creating content just to create content

  1. Who is your audience?

In order to stop creating content just to create content, first, consider who your audience is. Once you have a topic selected, how much background do you need to include for your readers? Do they prefer technical writing or a fluffier piece? What questions do they have, and how do you plan to answer them in your content? With your audience in mind, you can better decide what information to include, what to cut and how to construct your copy.

  1. What is the purpose of your content?

Next, you need to ask yourself what is the purpose of your content? Although you know the basics – to write SEO content for your website that Google can crawl but that also engages readers – what else are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to get your audience to perform an action once they read your content? If you put yourself in their shoes, what could you say to compel them to do what you want them to?

  1. Did you get your point across?

Next, ask yourself – did you get your point across? Often times I find myself at the end of writing a blog thinking – I believe I said everything I can say about this subject. However, sometimes I’m still not on my word count. So, I go back through the blog and I add extra words or fluff sentences to make my content longer so that I don’t get in trouble. I’m guessing I’m not the only one…

This is a terrible idea.

I know I need to stop creating content just to create content, and so do you. If you can justify a shorter or longer piece than what you are required, be confident in that decision and just go with it. Even if your manager disagrees, chances are, your readers will thank you.

  1. Is your copy compelling?

The last question I think is critical – is your copy compelling? Or another way to word this… is your content boring? If you were bored writing it, chances are people won’t want to read it. Not only do you have to get your point across and include a call-to-action, you also need to be creative. Don’t be the person who has a catchy headline and then puts people to sleep with a boring, long blog that basically says, “I’m writing this so that I get paid.” How can you engage your reader as much as possible every step of the way?

stop creating content just to create content

In a previous life, before I entered the colorful world of marketing, I was a journalist. Perhaps it is that old-school journalism training that has me brainwashed into thinking you should get your point across as fast and creatively as possible. Or maybe that’s just fake news. Either way, I hope I gave all you fellow marketers out there something to think about next time you sit down to write. With that said, I’m going to stop creating content just to create content now. You’re welcome.

 

How to Use LinkedIn for Marketing Your Business

Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your time with a company page on LinkedIn? You’re posting articles weekly and chatting it up in groups relevant to your market. Yet there seems to be very little engagement when you look at analytics. Me too. Track5Media has a LinkedIn page for our company as well as for several of the brands that we own. Some pages perform better than others, but overall, engagement is nothing to brag about. There has to be some secret to success on how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business, right? My frustration moved me to action, and I did a little digging online about LinkedIn and company pages. Here are the four most useful things that I learned!

Four Tips for How to Use LinkedIn for Marketing Your Business

how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business

1. Know your audience. It may seem obvious, but after you create a company page you need to decide who your audience is going to be. For me, this one gets tricky. On our job board websites, our marketing efforts are typically business to consumer. For example, on AllTruckJobs we are marketing to truckers so that they come to our website and apply to the jobs that our clients (trucking companies) have posted. However, on LinkedIn, our goal is to market to our clients. This means switching up the language in copy so that it’s geared toward a business-to-business audience.

2. Use SEO. You also shouldn’t forget about SEO. Make sure that your LinkedIn page is optimized for SEO just like your website would be. This will help people searching for specific keywords or services to find your page.

3. Gather a following. The third item is what I find to be the most challenging. How the heck can you get people to follow your page? It doesn’t matter how engaging your shared content is if you have no one following your page and engaging with that content. I found a few suggestions for how to get more followers:

  • First, make sure your employees are following all of your brands on LinkedIn. This is an easy way to establish a basic following, and hopefully, it will show up on newsfeeds that they are following that page.
  • Secondly, let your clients know that you have a LinkedIn page and encourage them to follow it, either through an email, newsletter or blog post. Tell them they’re missing out on great content there!
  • Third – add a LinkedIn follow button to your website just like you would your other social media pages. Not only should you share that you have a LinkedIn page on your website, but share it on your Facebook and Twitter pages as well. If you have more followers on those pages, try to push that following to LinkedIn too.
  • The fourth and final way I found that you can get more followers on your page is to join LinkedIn groups. Engage with people in those groups, follow their pages, and hopefully, they will start to follow you as well.

4. Be interesting. The last tip I have for how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business is to share content frequently that is interesting and beneficial to your audience. Think about articles that are relevant to your industry, as well as content on your own site that you want them to see. Also, don’t forget that you don’t only have to share text copy. Is there a YouTube video or a Podcast out there that they might be interested in? Better yet, can you create one? Sharing different forms of media can help to make your LinkedIn page more engaging.

Do you have any successful strategies for how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business? Share with us in the comments below!

Sharp Sound and Killer Content: Tips for Recording an Interview

Here at Track5Media, the marketing department is expanding our audio and video marketing. This means getting expert interviews from people in the various industries we work with, recording them, fancying them up, and putting them online. As someone who worked as a print journalist for several years my first thought was, interviews, how easy. Then, my coworkers took me into our tiny podcast room, put these huge headphones over my ears, pushed my chair so that my face was up against a microphone and showed me how to hook up my cell phone to the computer for recording. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed. I felt awkward and out of my comfort zone. Interview someone without taking notes? And I have to hear my voice too. Count me out. Recording is very different from a traditional interview. Although it’s been an adjustment, here are five tips for recording an interview that I’ve learned so far.

Five Tips for Recording an Interview

A woman talking into a microphone preparing to give tips for recording an interview

If you’re like me – intimidated by the recording process, have no fear. If I can do it, anyone can. Here are five tips for recording an interview.

1.     Plan ahead so conversation flows

Before doing a recorded interview, you want to think about who the interviewee is. What are the best questions to ask them to get the most interesting conversation flowing? Once you figure that out, send them the questions ahead of time so that they can look them over. Also, be sure to ask them how much time they have free. The last thing you want is for them to start to cut the interview short because they didn’t expect it to take so long. Once you have everything organized with your interviewee, the last piece of your planning process is figuring out the location. You want to make sure that you have a place to record the interview that is quiet with minimal background noise, and that you have the equipment to record the interview.

2.     Don’t be afraid to stray from your plans

In a perfect world, you’ll have 10 or so questions that you plan to ask. Everything will go according to plan. Your interviewee will answer all of the questions exactly like you anticipate and conversation will flow into the next topic. In reality, you can’t predict how someone is going to answer. Your interviewee could say something that steers the entire interview in a different direction. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GO THAT WAY. Sometimes someone will say something you didn’t expect, and it will take the interview on an even more interesting turn than you predicted in your planning. Being able to recognize this in the moment and change or adjust your questions accordingly is a skill that takes time but is one of the most critical tips for recording an interview.

3.     Minimize background noise… that includes you!

For me, the hardest thing to learn about recording an interview is that you can’t respond the way you normally would. Since you’re talking on the phone, your natural inclination is to verbally indicate that you’re listening. Phrases like, “right,” “yes,” or “of course,” slip out. However, when you’re recording an interview, it’s important not to talk over the person who is talking. It’s safe to assume that they know you’re listening and that you understand what they’re saying, so reserve your impulsive polite signals. This also includes laughing, sighing and any other background noise. To ensure that the interview is crisp and clear, try to eliminate any sound other than the person who’s speaking.

4.     Test your equipment ahead of time

Luckily for me, I have some awesome and techy savvy coworkers who help set up the equipment for a recorded interview. Making sure that the equipment works and is recording both interviews is pretty important for getting sharp sound and killer content in a recorded interview.

5.     Try not to be redundant

You’re making sure your equipment is still functioning. At the same time, you’re keeping track of which questions you already asked and which to ask next. You’re also trying to remember not to laugh or comment while the interviewee is speaking. And of course, in the midst of all this, you’re listening to the interviewee’s answers, of course! When it comes time for you to speak again, don’t be redundant. I really struggle with this. I notice I’ll say things like, “that’s awesome,” or “right, that makes sense.” These redundant phrases can sound extremely annoying and insincere when you play back the interview, so make sure you respond with a variety of phrases. You can also simply state the next question without commenting on the previous answer.

Do you have any tips for recording an interview? Share with us in the comments below!

Voice Search Ranking Factors | The Basics

I’ll be the first to tell you that voice search takes a little practice! Recent additions of an Amazon Show, Fire TV, and an Amazon Cloud Cam had my roommate and I giving these devices all sorts of wacky requests. For literal hours, we just searched whatever came to our minds — and let me just say that we’re quite colorful thinkers… voice search ranking factors

“Alexa, just how flat is the Earth?”

“Alexa, does this look infected to you?”

“Alexa, how many U.S. presidents were Reptilian aliens?”


Needless to say, she didn’t have the range of expertise needed to deal with us lunatics. But that’s more or less a result of the technical SEO behind voice search and how people are searching! Clearly, Alexa isn’t ready to dig deeply into psychobabble. Still, for more actionable and direct search terms she’s not half bad.

Voice Search Ranking Factors

Last year in 2017, 33 million voice search devices were used by 40 percent of adults each day. Compared to its launch in 2008, Google’s voice search received 35 times more search queries in 2016. Since voice assistants have been added to more phones, TVs, and dedicated devices than ever, SEO is following suit.

voice search ranking factors

The question then comes down to voice search ranking factors and what digital marketers should really be thinking about! Other reports predict that 50% of searches will be done via voice technologies, but what exactly are people searching for?

Featured Snippets are Golden

When it comes to Google Home or Google Assistant, it’s obvious that they want the top, most concise result for every voice search… Bring in the featured snippets! This “position zero” on SERPs is what most people want regardless, but now it’s recognized as one of the most significant voice search ranking factors. At the moment and like many things in Google’s kingdom, there aren’t definitive answers on how to achieve these snippets. That said, lots of research has been done with this in mind. Some methods include:

• Answering Specific Queries: Generally, voice searches consist of simple, everyday types of questions. If you know that a piece of content is generally geared toward questions easily searched for using a voice assistant, then your keywords and H2 tags should reflect this. Directly following those optimized tags and phrases should be your featured snipped text.

• Answering Queries Specifically: Not only should the questions you answer be specific, but that goes for your answers too. Google wants the cleanest, most acceptable answer possible because they’re kind of putting their name behind it with the whole featured thing. Answers provided as lists are also particularly savory to their algorithm.

• Write Content for the First Page: Yes, I realize that’s like telling a sports team to “win the damn game,” but seriously it’s kind of the point. If the rest of your content and page aren’t optimized overall, getting a featured snipped won’t really be within reach. Voice search ranking factors follow most of the same rules for general SEO, but really it needs to fit the form and function of the content you’re writing at that moment.


Local SEO is a Must

Another one of the voice search ranking factors to consider is local SEO. While it doesn’t apply to companies who work with remote, national clients, brick-and-mortar businesses will definitely need to pull out all the stops.

voice search ranking factors

One of the main ways companies achieve this is through focusing on their Google My Business Pages are as good as they can be. That obviously means having the correct address, contact details, and opening hours. In turn, this will translate into significant voice search ranking factors. When people ask “Alexa, where is the nearest liquor store,” or “what are some local movie theaters” you’ll be set!

Optimizing for local searches also includes garnering positive online reviews, all in addition to using structured data markup or Schema.

Focus a Bit on Semantics

The very basics of voice search ranking factors rely on an understanding of the minds of your searchers. Are they asking questions about your products? Are they requesting information? Do they need to know your business hours? For a while, we’ve thought about voice search as being very short-tail phrases.

However, as people become more comfortable with these devices, the tone is becoming more conversational. Voice search certainly needs to incorporate more long-tail keyword phrases while keeping queries conversational. Using sites like AnswerThePublic or Moz’s Keyword Explorer are great ways to start learning what people are actually searching for and how easily you can begin ranking.

Ultimately, it’s about pinpointing exactly what people are going to search for with their voice, and doing whatever possible to get those rich snippets!

Any success with voice search ranking factors? Let us know in the comments below!

Link Building 101: What I’ve Learned so Far

Link building is kind of like gambling. You sit and work at it for a long time, there’s very little guidance on how to “win,” but it’s really exciting when you do. The main difference between link building and gambling is that no one comes around serving me free drinks while I build links… although they probably should. I started link building about three months ago, so I’m a newbie. I knew essentially nothing about link building before I got started. However, I used to work as a journalist so I found similarities. I reach out to websites that are relevant in some way to our brands, find a reason why they might want to link to us, and pitch the idea. Sometimes I actually get a response back! That’s winning. In my short time doing link building, here are five things that I learned. Welcome to link building 101!

Link Building 101: Five Things I’ve Learned so Far

link building 101 lessons

1.     You might be getting links and not know it

The first thing I realized, is that not everyone who chooses to add your link is going to tell you they did it. Most of the links I’ve acquired so far, I found by checking our fresh index backlinks on Majestic.com. Each week when I start my link building, I check our newest backlinks and compare them to my list to see if any of the links are from websites I contacted recently. I was pleased to find that they were. I had been feeling very discouraged about my link building progress until I learned from a coworker to check this. Essentially, I was winning and didn’t know it.

2.     Organization is key

Link building 101 lesson number two – organization. In order to be successful at link building, you need to be organized. This is especially important if more than one person is doing link building for the same brands. Make sure you’re keeping track of who you’ve reached out to and when, so you’re not harassing someone or sending them the same request from multiple people. Follow up is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. That’s why keeping track of all lines of communication is key.

3.     Keep your emails short and to the point

I keep my emails short and to the point for a few reasons. The first reason is that I recognize the person I’m reaching out to is probably getting a bunch of similar emails every day. The longer my email is, the less likely they are to read it. Secondly, if their job is anything like mine, email tends to take up a lot of time that they don’t really have free. That’s why when I reach out about a link, I tell them about my brand, suggest a place for my link, and thank them for their time. It’s short, simple and direct.

4.     Broken links are your best friend

I’ve had the most success in getting links by finding broken ones and suggesting one of my brands as a replacement. Many times, people aren’t looking to add more links to their page. However, if they know one of the links already there is broken they are more likely to take time to replace it than they are to add a brand-new link. This is why broken links are your best friend. I personally use a Chrome extension that checks sites for broken links, but I’m sure there are other resources out there.

5.     Don’t get discouraged

The final lesson of link building 101 – don’t get discouraged. It may seem like you’re doing a terrible job and you’re never going to catch on, but that’s probably not true. Like I said in the beginning, link building is like gambling. You’re not going to win every time. It could take a while, and sometimes it simply comes down to luck. However, you will eventually get links! They trickle in over time, and you’ll slowly start to see all those weeks of outreach pay off.

What additional link building 101 tips do you have? Share with us in the comments below!