If you are involved in your company’s SEO initiatives, then you have probably heard phrases like Mobile-First and Voice Search. What is it, and how does it work? More importantly, how is it different than old-school SEO?

To answer those questions, let’s go back to the days when having a ‘responsive’ page was what you needed to perform well for Google. Those were the days, and by the time everyone had finally updated their site to be responsive, Google decided to make another significant change.

Google has started generating its rankings and evaluations of websites by looking at the mobile version of a company’s site first. Hence, “Mobile First indexing.” Keep in mind, however, that “responsive” does not mean the same as “mobile-friendly,” “mobile centric” or “mobile first.”

Mobile-First indexing means that there are new tactics to improve your rankings on Google and other search engines. This is important because Google will not transition a site to the mobile-first index until it sees it as ready. So, if there is no mobile version, it’s not finished, or is determined to be lacking from a user experience perspective (buttons too small, page load times too long, images wider than the screen in mobile display mode) – it will not move into the mobile first index, and your company’s website may fall further down on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

This is why appearing in Google’s Knowledge Card is so important these days. When someone conducts a search on their phone, they’re on the move. This impacts the importance of having more info in Google My Business listings and public listings, etc. Where you are searching from impacts your search results. By making sure your information is complete, local and found on the Google Knowledge Card, your customers find you faster.

The end result – now customers don’t necessarily need to make it to your website, they are finding the information they need on the knowledge card. While this enables them to find answers about your business faster, which provides great customer service and satisfaction- it does mean you may see a flattening out or decrease in website visits as more users convert to calls, navigations, and purchase directly on the search results page. This basic fact requires a radical rethinking of the way that SEO progress is measured and evaluated across your brand.

Where do you start?
First, you need to flesh out your company’s Google knowledge card strategy across your site and related Google properties, including Google My Business, Google Shopping, and more, depending on your industry. When this is done correctly, using structured data, the information can be crawled and displayed by Google faster and more efficiently. Google prefers pages with clearly marked up data fields, utilizing this structured language to populate rich information SERP features including the Knowledge Card, events, listings, reviews, and more.

Why is this important?
Structured data helps further clarify the content intent for Google’s crawlers. It tells Google, “this is what this page is for, this is what service is offered, where it is offered, how, when…etc.” It keeps Google from having to guess, so information is accurate, and accessible for Google to use. Google loves that.

What is the Value of One Second?
For every additional 1 second of load time, on average users were found to view 11% less pages and convert at a 7% lower rate. Site visitors hate to wait for a page to load, and Google’s bots are no exception!

Decreasing or compressing image size can help with this. For multiple images, compressing them can help a lot.

You also want to make sure that sitemap links are accessible via the mobile version of your site, and for Metadata, it’s important to craft it in favor of mobile use.

Because of the constant changes and developments in the world of SEO, many developers and CMS platforms aren’t up to date with these newest requirements. It’s important to get the right tools and educational resources to keep you up to date.

Voice Search Optimization
Requiring the most dedicated work to rank for, Voice Search Optimization means making your site the BEST answer for the customer’s Voice Search question to Google. To help increase your rank, consider:

  • Fast Page load time – the average time is 15 seconds, but optimal is under 3 seconds.
  • Focus on answering questions in your content – your content should be conversational, and use long-tail keywords. Content should answer questions, like on the FAQ page. Answer the Questions on Google My Business.
  • In terms of content, keep it to about 1 paragraph long, and at a 9th grade reading level. Markup the questions in <h2> headers.
  • Get your content into Google’s featured snippets
  • Make sure your content follows the E-A-T guidelines (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy Model)

Still not sure where to start?
TRUStar’s Mobile First Voice Search experts can help! We have been successfully implementing Mobile First Voice Search for our clients and we know we can bring you the results you need. We’ll be happy to review your site, make recommendations, and implement those changes to increase your ranking and visibility. We meet you where you are, and work with you to achieve your desired outcomes.

Contact us for a free, no obligation meeting to discuss your company, and how we can partner with you to reach your SEO goals for 2019.