Real Estate SEO Keywords

Do you know the power of real estate keywords for lead generation? If you are a real estate agent, content marketing is what drives the consumer today. Consumers want a product and valuable information. Other than IDX listings, you must be an expert in the real estate industry.

Do you know the power of real estate keywords for lead generation? If you are a real estate agent, content marketing is what drives the consumer today. Consumers want a product and valuable information. Other than IDX listings, you must be an expert in the real estate industry.

Ballen Real Estate Websites [BREW]

Creating customized single property pages is wonderful for showcasing a listing, but more than that, it's a way to keep visitors on your website even after they rule out the featured property. And, with Listings to Leads, you also get an automated checklist to market your listings!

BREW is an acronym for Ballen Real Estate Websites – easily considered one of the best real estate websites with IDX. BREWs are powered by Ballen Brands, a family-owned and operated small business specializing in digital marketing.

Real Estate SEO for your Blog or Website

So you are looking to learn Real Estate SEO for your Blog or Website. You've come to the right place. While there are is some terminology to learn in the process, you'll find optimizing your blog or website for the search engines is not as complicated as you might think.

So you are looking to learn Real Estate SEO for your Blog or Website. You’ve come to the right place. While there are is some terminology to learn in the process, you’ll find optimizing your blog or website for the search engines is not as complicated as you might think.

What Are Longtail Keywords?

The term longtail keyword is a metaphor for the long, bottom end of a distribution curve representing search engine frequencies. It's Important for SEO.

There are numerous situations in life when size just doesn’t matter. There are also situations when less is far better than more.The term longtail keyword is a metaphor for the long, bottom end of a distribution curve representing search engine frequencies.

7 Positions higher in 24 hours with the On-Page SEO Checker Tool

I tried the new SEMrush On-Page SEO checker and rose 7 positions on Google for 5 pages, overnight! Ranking on the search engines is a combination of guesswork and science proven methods, although it's constantly changing. Even what's proven is subject to change quickly.

I tried the new SEMrush On-Page SEO checker and rose 7 positions on Google for 5 pages, overnight! Ranking on the search engines is a combination of guesswork and science proven methods, although it’s constantly changing. Even what’s proven is subject to change quickly.

In today’s video, I want to talk about SEMrush’s On-Page SEO Checker.

We use tools that guide us and help us pay attention to what’s happening with Google and what’s happening with our pages, and we can use these to improve our own efforts.

Some of this we can base on our own experience and our own skills, and then sometimes it’s better to go to the tools and actually use some of these strategies to improve our methods.

Yesterday, I went ahead and did this for the first time.

I set up a few of my top pages that generate a lot of traffic. I went through each one. I spent hours and hours. I went through each one and did some of the suggestions. I didn’t do the backlinks yet, but I did a lot of other suggestions, which I’m gonna show you.

I wasn’t looking for perfection, I was looking for progress, and I wanted to make some changes and see what kind of results this actually gave me.

Well, overnight all of these pages rose on the search engines for the queries I was focused on. Every single one of them.

Each page has lots of keywords that it ranks for, but I focused on certain ones with each of these pages because I was focusing on a single focus keyword for each page.

This was for my real estate business in Las Vegas. There’s a variety of pages in there from hyper-local to niches, to neighborhoods. There’s A nice combination of pages here,  and this checker worked with all of them.

I actually pulled up each one of these pages individually for multiple keywords and they all rose after doing this just yesterday. There is definitely something to this.

Now let me show you how this works.

Gather the Keywords

The first thing I do is I go over to my Search Console. It’s a good idea to have Search Console set up so that you could actually measure which keywords and pages are bringing you the most traffic, so you know where to work on first.

Typically working on your highest volume keywords is a good strategy.

Another great (probably better) strategy might be just to work on all of your pages that are ranking on top of page two and you want to move those to rank on page one.

You can do a sort and filter and find all of your pages that are on page two and follow these optimization strategies.

Either way, you can start with your high volume, which is going to be harder to move significantly, or you can start with your page two keywords, pages that are ranking, and they’ll probably be easier to bump up and move to page one, which could lead to a significant result in traffic.

How to find your Keyword Stats in Search Console

  1. Locate Search Traffic
  2. Choose Search Analytics
  3. Change date to desired target range (30-90 days)
  4. Check off queries and position
  5. Sort by position
  6. Select the keyword you want to work on

Now what you can do here, you can import all of your pages from Google Search Console and you can actually use filters. You can say, “I only want to import pages that are in this position.” You can do a filter for only keywords that rank 11 to 20.  Great strategy. In fact, I would suggest that you do that first before you go after high volume keywords.

For this example, we will take one from the Google Search Console. I chose Retirement Las Vegas.  I can scan for this page by search keyword now in SEMrush if I have loaded my pages. Or, I can add a keyword and page manually to optimize.

Help grow your audience with Constant Contact email marketing

Read the Report

SEMrush returns six ideas in our example. Let’s go ahead and click on those ideas. If you’re already doing on-page SEO at a high level, a lot of things will already be green because you’re following best practices, right?

FIND Featured Snippet Opportunity

In my case, my SEO strategy needs no improvement. There’s no keyword cannibalization, which means I don’t have multiple pages trying to rank for the same keyword phrase. That’s perfect.

This one is great. “If there is a high probability that your page may appear on a featured snippet, we’ll tell you.” That is the coolest thing. I did that yesterday. My Las Vegas zip codes page, which is my 2018 goal, which hit number seven today by the way offered that suggestion. So I went in and optimized it.

I’m very excited about that. That was 60,400 monthly searches. This section will tell you if you could potentially earn a featured snippet. (Also check out SEMrush Featured Snippets).  If that search query has the chance of earning a featured snippet, it tells me that so I know to go back in and make sure I’m doing questions and answers.

I’ve got my schema markup. I’m doing everything I can to earn that snippet. That’s so cool. Now, the next part says  “focus on creating more informative content.” You’re probably going to see this a whole lot. If I click on see detailed analysis, What I’m able to see here is how long my content is compared to somebody else’s content.

Remember, this is not really about counting words on the page. It’s comparing how comprehensive the pages are.

Check Semantically Related Keywords

Next, there’s a keyword usage section. For example here, for our keyword “retirement Las Vegas”, SEMrush says I’ve used the keyword phrase 1.67 times. I’ve used it in my title. I’ve used it in an H1. I’ve used in a meta description. I’ve already covered all of that really well. It might even be a tad over optimized because I used it 11 times.

Let’s go look at semantic keywords. Interesting. This is my favorite part of the On-Page SEO Checker. What it does is it measures semantically related keywords.

SEO Content Template, a different tool inside the SEMrush SEO suite,  suggests related keywords before you build the content. This one does it after you build the content and they’ll be different.

Because once you create all your content, then SEMrush has a better idea of what the topic is and it can better suggest semantically related keywords.

Get Backlinks

I look at each of the suggested keywords and build in content using them wherever it is natural and applies.

There’s also a backlink suggestion in here. There are some locations on here that they are suggesting you go get a backlink from. What I would do is I would open the suggestion and ask myself “Okay. Is there a way to get an article or an advertisement or something that has my link to it on this page? ” Yeah, possibly. Running a real estate ad, running a listing ad, requesting they share an article or infographic etc.

Overall, with this on-page SEO checker portion, we’re looking at keyword usage. We’re looking at semantically related keywords. We’re looking at backlinks. We’re looking at content length, and we’re also looking at video usage.

If you go back to page ideas, there’s a couple more.

Improve Readability

Making your text readable. This is something I struggle with incredibly and I guess what I’m going to have to do at this point is hire an editor to come in behind me and make things more readable because I’m never going to sit down and learn that in this lifetime, nor do I really care to. There is a readability score.

Basically the lower the score, the harder it is to read.

The higher the score, the easier it is to read according to whoever is checking the readability. It has to do with passive voice. It has to do with sentence structure. This isn’t something I’m specifically natural with.  It’s so funny.

One of my developers for my real estate lead generation company, Ballen Brands, my whole team makes these videos for our YouTube channel. When he makes his videos, he pre-writes his scripts and they always pass the readability factor. He’s just one of those guys that just naturally writes in that type of format.

Depending on where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll have to decide what’s right for you. How much this plays into ranking is debatable.

From what I’ve understood, readability is not yet a direct ranking factor, but we do want our content obviously to be readable.

The readability score wants sentences to be simple and short. Part of making that readability score better is to go in and make any sentence that’s long shorter, break it up into two sentences.

Even vocabulary that could be considered too advanced for the average reader isn’t suggested on writing anymore because of the readability factor.

You want a kid to be able to read this and understand what you’re talking about. You don’t want to necessarily dumb it down, but at the same time, you want to watch super-advanced vocabulary. That’s just a touch on that. Like I said, that’s not something that I would say is my specialty at this point.

Make sure your title tag is being used correctly. That there’s no duplicate content. That your page is not blocked from crawling. You want to make sure that your page speed is fast enough and that your bounce rate isn’t too high.

Today was an overview and it works, it works, it works. I was so impressed with the results today I had to make a video.

SEO Checker Tools


All-In-One SEO Software & Tools

  •  Website Crawling and Site Auditor
  • Google Rank Tracking with Updates Daily
  • Backlink Checking tool and Link Building Tools
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Reporting

On-Site Audit

The crawler inspect your entire website and follows every internal
and external link.

Rank Tracking

Track daily keyword rankings on different search engines and
country or city levels

Backlink Checker

Monitor your Backlinks, spy on your competition and find ideas
for link building strategies.

SEO Tutorials

The Definitive Guide to Semantically Related Keywords

Semantically Related Keywords are a new key component of SEO. For internet marketers, success is decided by the invisible hand of the Google search algorithms and their frequent, unpredictable pattern of updates. In fact, rarely do we see the updates coming, and depending on what he updates target, they could be detrimental to rankings.

Semantically Related Keywords are a new key component of SEO. For internet marketers, success is decided by the invisible hand of the Google search algorithms and their frequent, unpredictable pattern of updates. In fact, rarely do we see the updates coming, and depending on what he updates target, they could be detrimental to rankings.

Unfortunately, these updates are a reaction to the many SEOs that are trying to cheat the search engines by achieving high rankings without the quality content. Semantic search and semantically-related keywords are here to help divide the bad web pages from the good, and pair the right content with the right user. But what are semantic keywords, and how do they relate to you?

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What are semantically-related keywords?

Semantic keywords are words or phrases that are often used in concurrence with main keywords. The presence of these secondary keywords helps a search engine decide what, out of the billions of pieces of content optimized for a certain term, to show you.

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For example, a simple search for real estate in your city will yield a cavalcade of results that include real estate listings, real estate agents, real estate lawyers and others. However, it’s more likely that you, the user, are searching for the answer to a specific question or need some specific information. That’s what Google wants to know, “what are you actually looking for?”

In theory, by using semantically-related keywords, marketers can create, organize and publish content with the best possible chances of being seen by the users that need it.

Example: Real Estate Search

Imagine the following scenario:

A potential home buyer wants information on available homes in their area. They turn to the internet to start their search. Their initial search terms of “Real Estate,” yields results that include the following:

  • Links to the National Association of Realtors
  • Links to blogs that talk about how to buy homes and invest in rental properties
  • Links to articles about Donald Trump’s real estate holdings

Unfortunately, none of these things really help the couple. However, when they search “real estate for sale near me,” something different happens. The results they receive are exclusively real estate listings, albeit different websites, for addresses that are in their area.

Because the couple included the phrases “for sale” and “near me,” Google knew not only to direct them to real estate websites and databases, but they also knew to completely omit the search results that didn’t matter to them.

Now that we know what semantic keywords are, we can talk about how they fit into the larger SEO landscape, but first, let’s take a closer look at how things came to be.

We took this article, for example, and ran it through the SEO Content Template. This tool scours the web and pulls in the top 10 ranking pages for a particular term. Then it gathers what keywords they have related and returns suggestions that may be semantically related.

Semantically related keywords are not just a synonym or another way of saying the same word. They are words that also come up when discussing a topic comprehensively.

In this case, SEMrush suggested including the following:

  • Related Terms
  • Main Keywords
  • search results
  • search engines
  • anchor text
  • latent semantic indexing
  • SEO strategy
  • blog posts
  • keyword research
  • LSI keyword
  • list of keywords
  • social media


Google search algorithms: a story of progression

A search algorithm is like a big filter that’s used to make sure users see the search results that are most relevant to them, the same way a filter on a web page allows you only to see products that fall within your specifications.

If you’re looking for an in-depth history of each update of Google’s search algorithm, you’re going to want to clear your afternoon. There’s a lot of algorithm updates that span back to the very beginnings of Google. However, if you’re looking for an excellent summary of the most important updates, I highly recommend Search Engine Land. For visual learners out there, here’s a quick timeline that hits the highlights:

Graph of algorithms on Google over time

These are far from the only updates that Google has rolled out, but this timeline accurately shows the order of events. From eliminating black-hat SEO techniques to making search results more relevant to specific terms or groups of terms, Google’s clear goal is to eliminate the content that’s only there for the sake of ranking.


How do you find them?

Semantically-related keywords are generated based on latent semantic indexing (LSI), which uses mathematical techniques to identify the relationships between certain search terms and the content that’s optimized for those terms. By recognizing these connections, search engines can build schemas – a complex outline of search terms, secondary search terms and their connection to each other and the content as a whole.

You may be asking, “how do I find semantic keywords?” The answer to that question is not so easy. Keyword research tools return comprehensive lists, but the best way to find semantic keywords is to choose them yourself. Traditional keywords like “real estate” or “HVAC repair” will get you in the ballpark. However, it’s the terms you choose to go along with those keywords that helps add the context that search engines are now looking for.

If you truly are creating unique and useful pieces of content, your posts and articles will be stuffed with great semantic keywords that help search engines index your page. If you’re only focused on the rankings, and not the content itself, you may be wasting more time trying to figure exactly what the perfect semantic keywords are. Alas, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular places to scheme for keywords:

  • Google AdWords – You’ll need an AdWords account; however, you’re not required to spend any money for a list of keywords for a given geographic location. Unfortunately, you will need to spend money to see advanced features such as competition, bids and more. These are “related” keywords, yet not always true for semantic search
  • Moz Keyword Research Tools – Moz lets you search without an account and provides a range for the volume of monthly searches. It also provides a relevancy score for each term.
  • LSI Graph – This one is free but not as intuitive as AdWords or Moz. Although, it is the only free site that relies solely on latent semantic indexing to generate the list of keywords.
  • Google Instant Search – Easy, cheap and accurate – simply start typing in the Google search bar and see what comes up. You’ll gain great insight as to what terms people are using and what problems they’re looking to solve.
  • ⭐ SEM Rush – A Lori Ballen approved software that shows semantically related keyword suggestions in both the SEO content template and the On Page SEO Checker (shown in the video above).


What is Their purpose?

The answer to this question is rather simple – for better search rankings and more relevant search results, of course! More specifically, to satisfy the algorithms that rank our content. While Google’s algorithms have a long and unpredictable history, we’ve arrived at a point where traditional SEO techniques aren’t all that relevant (or relevant at all, depending on who you ask).

According to WordStream, at least 50% of searches are four words or more.

Content creators need these keywords to alert search engines hat their pages are valuable the user experience. For instance, how many times must we read the same articles about the five best tips for purchasing a home? Likely, if you’re buying a home, you’ve probably heard it all before – find the right agent, check out the neighborhood, visit the schools.

Instead, what adds value for a reader might be content geared towards helping people understand the finer points of buying a home. The ins and outs of loan applications, how to know the best interest rates based on your credit score and articles that really “dig deep” into a certain subject would be most helpful. Using keywords related to these specific topics help get those pages seen by users that actually desire to view them.


What’s the current state of SEO?

Currently, we’re stuck in this limbo between the old way and the new way – a transitional period, if you will. What the algorithms do is force honesty out of content creators. They consistently look to squeeze out those that are trying to achieve high search rankings in less-than-desirable fashions.

First, they cut down on keyword stuffing and duplicate verbiage, however, they’ve moved swiftly to target low-quality backlinks, link spammers and other tactics that simply try to “game the system.” It’s becoming increasingly evident that the only way to beat the algorithms is to play by their rules. That means thoughtful content that’s focused more on the audience than the search results.

While keyword density will always be one part of the equation, it’s been shown that keywords alone aren’t going to get your pages indexed as highly as a network of keywords and related terms that are relevant to the users’ needs. All in all, these constant algorithm updates are directly affecting the following groups:

  • Content Creators
  • SEOs
  • Users


How should content be adjusted?

For content creators, the role of semantically-related keywords makes the job more intuitive, albeit more difficult. Old SEO tactics are easy to understand and very easy to replicate, and that’s why they had to go. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to use the keyword planner on Google AdWords and pop out 300 words with a 2 percent keyword density.

New SEO tactics mean putting time and effort into the planning, creation, and editing of anything that’s posted. Before posting, the creator must think about the audience, the purpose of the post and the publication it’s being posted to, and they must keep in mind that the ultimate goal is engagement. We want people to comment and share – it means the page or post was thoughtful and engaging.

In fact, a July 2015 study by Moz, found that long-form content generally receives more engagement than short, low-quality content. Content creators should focus on three main steps when integrating semantic keywords into their approach:

Graph with 3 elements explained with Strategize, Create, and Edit related to content ranking on the search engines

The Internet is still relatively new, with internet marketing being an even more recent development. Content creation is undergoing a process that’s going to take a long time to complete. The digital age and utilization of search algorithms to pare down irrelevant content mean that improving quality should always be a goal.

Want to learn how to create Long-Form Content? Check out this video series where I invite you in to Watch me Blog. I cover everything you need to know about long-form content.


How does this change SEO?

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), nothing changes for SEO. The world of SEO can be volatile, unrewarding, exciting and plenty of other contradictive adjectives.

The truth is that nobody really knows what to expect with SEO. We know that if you’re willing to spend money, you can achieve high rankings relatively easily via Google AdWords. However, for those on a budget, it’s a constant balancing act between the quality of the content you create and the methods you use to get noticed.

In Short, it means that SEO companies have to remain vigilant in their research and adaptive to the marketplace. When pages and posts are ranking and receiving a lot of engagement, you’ll feel like a modern-day sorcerer. However, when they aren’t, you’ll feel clueless and confused until you figure it out again.

Semantic keywords give SEOs hope that they can rely on the strength of their content, but it also means that they should always be wary of the next update to come!


SEO Example: Real Estate Search, Revisited

Now, let’s look at the real estate search from the perspective of the local real estate agent – a business that’s exclusively targeting young couples that want to buy a property.

Conventional SEO tactics would stuff their content with phrases like “real estate.” However, to truly target the potential buyer, they’d want their content filled with all sorts of words and phrases that apply to the couple such as “new homes,” “near me,” “for sale,” “FHA loans,” “local agents,” etc.

Of course, they’d want their content to rank for the words “real estate,” but adding these extra keywords, or semantic keywords, help them get seen by people that want to buy homes and avoid people that want to read about Donald Trump’s real estate holdings.


What does this mean for the user?

For users, this means a couple of things. First and foremost, it affects the quality of the content that they’re seeing. When searching the internet, users should feel confident that they can find what they’re looking for using whichever search terms they deem appropriate.

Because of a large amount of content available, search engines are trying harder than ever to understand what we mean by the terms we put in the search bar, which is a good thing. When content creators compete for your attention, you win with high-quality content that enriches your life.

Also, the rise of semantic search means that you can (and should) make your searches wordy. Long-tail keywords and search terms are becoming more of the norm. The more conclusions a search engine can draw from your terms, the more likely it is that you’ll be shown results with something you can use.

Harkening back to a former example, “real estate” will yield a range of results that may or may not be useful. However, “real estate lenders va loans,” is more likely to bring a result that that can help you. Notice how it includes the main keyword, real estate, but also includes secondary search terms that help the search engines decipher what you really want.

Ideally, what these changes do is make information easier to find and access, which just happens to be Google’s mission statement.


What does all of this mean?

If your head is spinning with all of these terms and information being thrown at you, it’s completely understandable – trying doing this for a living. However, there are a few main points to take away from all of this.

Graph of what it means to do seo in the current year

SEO Guide

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How to Test Your Page Speed for your Website Pages

Today I'm going to show you two really cool tools that Google provides to any developer, or website owner, or SEO to test their website page speed and their page performance.

Today I’m going to show you two really cool tools that Google provides to any developer, or website owner, or SEO to test their website page speed and their page performance.

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Page Speed Tools

These are free tools and really helpful because they not only tell you what’s wrong with your website but tell you how you can fix it.

They even estimate how much traffic you’re losing by having these issues, which is very eye-opening.

I’m going to show you these two tools right now. One of them is called, PageSpeed Insights and the other is Test My Site at

It’s a great way to test your mobile speed compared to PageSpeed Insights, which kind of compares your mobile speed to your desktop.

I’ll just do a quick example for each. I’m gonna punch in Foot Locker, if you’re familiar with the brand that sells shoes online. We’re going to Google analyze it through PageSpeed Insights here.

It takes a couple of seconds for it to analyze.

[su_icon_text icon=”icon: comments-o” url=””]Here’s where you can get the best real estate agent website, and what you must know about the platforms.[/su_icon_text]

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Page Speed insights

What it’s doing is crawling all the pages, finding any issues, and comparing it to competing websites out there and best practices that they have.

It provides a really nice report.

Okay, so Foot Locker a huge brand that sells millions and millions of dollars online has a great looking mobile website, but unfortunately, the speed for it and just the overall site, in general, was rated poor by Google. Not just poor, but 38 out of 100 is their mobile website.

You can see that even a really big brand that should know how to be optimized properly for Google and for customers that are coming to the website, sometimes just completely drop the ball because they want to look really good.

You can see that you can distinguish between a mobile site and your desktop site, and you can see you get different scores for each. You can see what the errors are for optimization opportunities are, and you can actually see how you can fix these. They actually give you a step by step what’s wrong and how you can fix it.

[su_icon_text icon=”icon: star” url=””]The Knowledge Box, or zero position on Google is all the buzz. Learn how to earn these featured rich snippets. [/su_icon_text]

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Test my site

Again, really cool tool by Google here.  Test My Site, (Think with Google) is the same concept, but they do something that’s a little above and beyond.  This one usually takes a little bit longer to do but is well worth the wait. This one not only goes through all the websites, but it compares it to competitors.

It tests it on a standard connection. Even though you might have the newest phone and a really fast phone, 70% of connections are 3G or slower, so that’s what we’re going to test it on.

Then it runs through all the site data, and it will actually next compare it to competitors. Then at the end, it not only shows us our score and how to fix it, but it estimates how much traffic we’re losing because of our slow website.

This is really eye-opening to see, especially for any e-commerce websites out there.

It could be just as effective for real estate as well. I

If you’re paying for SEO services, or pay per click, or any way to get people to your website, but you’re losing a large percentage of them just because you have a slow website, you’re literally just throwing money down the drain.

Here we go, Foot Locker again, a brand that spends millions and millions of dollars and makes millions and millions of dollars online every year as a poor loading time speed, 16 seconds fully loaded page.

Google estimates they lose 33% of visitors due to slow loading time.

That’s a third of their visitors. If they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on PPC or on [su_tooltip position=”north” shadow=”yes” rounded=”yes” size=”1″ content=”What is SEO? Learn More”]SEO[/su_tooltip], on whatever, they’re literally just throwing a third of that down the drain.

They’re paying for the people to come to their website, and it’s just taking too long to load, so the people leave and they go to Champs, or down the street to their shoe store, or they go to Amazon or Zappos.

Again, this is a great tool, and with this one you can get a free report. They take your email address and they send you a bunch of other information, but it’s very similar to the PageSpeed Insights, and it shows you step by step how you can make improvements to your website to make it faster and keep some of those visitors on your website. Again, really awesome tools.

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Google Voice Search and SEO. Are you ready?

From Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, to Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Voice Search, voice assistant services are expanding all over the world.

From Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, to Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Voice Search, voice assistant services are expanding all over the world.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you should check out voice search options on your smartphone or tablet. You’ve probably come across it by accident, but millions of users rely on it to play their favorite music, search sites on the web, order dinner or to give them their favorite sports scores.

Electronic search assistants that utilize voice search recognition are gaining momentum.

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In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What Voice Search is and What it Does
  • What Businesses Should Consider in Relation to SEO and Voice Search
  • Voice Search Apps
  • The Voice Search Button and Turning Voice Search On
  • How to Use Google Voice Search and Okay Google
  • Funny Things to ask Google Voice Search
  • How to Access Voice Search History
  • Common Voice Search Commands

Let’s take a look at voice search…

What Voice Search is and What it Does

Girl is on the phone talking into it for voice search on Google

Voice search is an innovative way to use your voice to retrieve data from or perform actions on the internet. Because voice assistants are becoming more popular with simpler features, the trend is taking off. In the past, people scoffed at the idea of a voice assistant, but they can now use voice assistants to navigate through traffic, book appointments or have questions answered instantly without having to type online.

As voice searches become more sophisticated, they are becoming assets to people as they answer all kinds of queries. When programmed with smart home equipment, voice assistants can control the temperature, lights, remotes for the TV and music, and security system. While there are still kinks to iron out with specific wording and dialects, it’s a good start.

Ease of use, speed, and accuracy

Voice searches are trending because it gives people the opportunity to speak faster than they would normally type, so they’re able to get more done. For example, booking meetings is a breeze, checking for available flights, and hearing recipes online. These are just a few examples of how voice searches can assist you. Because you can use voice searches hands-free, you can get more work done with accurate and relevant results. There is no typing, misspelling, searching for the answer and hoping it’s right based on your query. You ask, and the voice search answers with instant results.

Growing voice search users

As more companies look to replicate Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, using your voice as the interface has never been more popular. It’s a context-based system with several components that give you proven results. In 2015, over 65% of smartphone users stated that they use voice search assistance. With improvements in technology, Google voice queries have also been on the rise. In 2016, 1 in 5 queries was voice activated.

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What Businesses Should Consider in Relation to SEO and Voice Search

For business owners and those wondering how to use voice search with their SEO or SEM campaigns, there are a few things to keep in mind. Voice search assistants use conversational search queries sent by the user to get an answer to their question. These queries are spoken in a natural language and full sentence, while the reply is a full sentence as well. This is going to be an important consideration with content SEO strategies.

A common question that a user might ask is “Ok Google, what is the weather today?” The answer might be “Today is sunny with a chance of rain. The temperature is 66-degrees Fahrenheit. Screen-based devices may then display an image of the forecast.

Changing Your Content to Match Queries

Voice searches are changing how we find information online. Because people are asking natural language questions, content for some businesses may need to be restructured to answer the questions accordingly. Another consideration is readability. To get an idea of how voice searches will work with SEO, look at conversational queries online.

Next, take a look at your competitors to see how they are answering questions. You may need to work with a marketer to put your answers on your site where search engines can easily filter and find them. Just don’t make the answers too long.

Your Content and HTML: It’s a Partnership

Your content and your HTML should link up to respond to questions in the fastest way possible. Optimize the content you think is valuable to visitors and offer search results they might look for. Bullet points are fine and you can use short answers. If you have 10 steps, for example, Google will list your link and the option to “read more” in the answer box.

Use long-tail keywords

To help with answering natural language questions, think about your target audience and use long-tail keywords. Spoken questions will use more words than typed search commands. For example, a user might ask, “Ok Google, what is the best restaurant near Madison Avenue and 59th Street in New York.” It might help to use phrases to help you rank higher. That’s where words like “best” or “nearest” may help you with giving the right responses as these are commonly used by users in their queries.

You can even add a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ to your website or optimize an existing FAQ. Just try to write short and relevant answers. Search engines can then use your response to help users with voice search commands.

Think Like a Human, not a Marketer

To help with keywords that you can use on your site for voice searches, keep the wording simple. For example, keywords might be Florida, Florida cruise deal, Florida vacation. Make these longer so they’re not disjointed: Cost for a Florida cruise deal, Best Florida vacation package. Florida vacation info. These use phrases that a user might naturally use in speech.

Use Microdata

With voice searches, microdata can help. Include a business address, phone number, menu items, the price of services, etc. That way your mobile content will be not only mobile-friendly, but voice search friendly, too!

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”noise” background=”#FF9966″ color=”#000000″ size=”10″ wide=”yes” icon=”icon: hand-o-right” icon_color=”#000000″ text_shadow=”0px 0px 0px #000000″ desc=”The Ballen Method At Home Lesson Plans” title=”The Ballen Method”]Get More Real Estate Leads[/su_button]

Why is Google still the best search engine?

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Voice Search Apps

Common voice search apps include Voice Search Launcher, Google Now Launcher, Google Voice Search and OK Google Voice Commands.

  • Voice Search Launcher: By Prometheus Interactive, you can search in your apps, on websites and in contacts for information you need.
  • Google Now Launcher: This let’s you use Google on your home screen to create reminders, find help with trivia and get answers to common questions.
  • Google Voice Search: This app let’s you use a simple voice search app for opening applications with your voice.
  • OK Google Voice Commands: This let’s you try out easy to use commands with Google Now Launcher.

Each is available for free in the Google Play Store.

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Features: The Voice Search Button and Turning Voice Search On

  • To turn on the Google Voice Search, open the Google app.
  • At the top left side of your screen, select the “Menu” option and then “Settings,” followed by “Voice” and “Ok Google” Detection.
  • Now your smartphone or tablet will be ready for a command from you.

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How to Use Google Voice Search and Okay Google

To help you get started with a new voice search, you can use your voice to ask for directions, set reminders, ask questions or make requests. With Google Voice Search on, you can ask, “Okay Google, will it rain tomorrow?” Google will then give you the weather forecast.

To start any request or question, just say, “Okay Google.” You can also touch the microphone image.

Some people ask: Where can I get the best real estate lead generation website?

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To Turn Voice Search Off

  • When you’re ready to turn Voice Search off, go to “Settings” and select “General.”
  • Then look for “Personal” and select “Language and Input.”
  • When you find “Google Voice Typing,” click the “Settings” button and select “Ok Google.”
  • Where you see the “From the Google App” option, move the slider left to turn the voice search off.
  • Another way to do this is “Settings”, then “Voice,” followed by “Ok Google” Detection to let Google listen to you or not.

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Funny Things to Ask Google Voice Search

If you’re ready for a little bit of fun with Google Voice Search, just try asking it a few questions:

  • “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”
  • “What is the meaning of life?”
  • “What is the best smartphone?”
  • “What is your favorite color?”
  • “What is the nature of the universe?”
  • “Lions, tigers and bears?”
  • “Who’s on first?”
  • “What is the airspeed velocity of a chicken?”
  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “What planet are you from?”

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Google’s Voice Search History

Google’s Voice Search is a useful function that stores all of your voice searches. You can retrieve the audio file from your Voice Search records so you can hear the actual audio that’s uploaded to Google servers.

Use these steps to access, manage, and then delete your Google Voice Search history:
1. Go to your history page, and you can view all of your Google Voice searches. You will see a list view with your voice commands saved by date.

2. To listen to your saved audio files in Google Voice Search, click on the play button next to an entry. You may notice that Google stores commands it didn’t identify correctly. That’s right, even the errors and accidental Voice Search activations have been recorded and saved to Google servers.

3. When you’re ready to delete your Google Voice Search history, select the three-dot. This is the ‘Menu’ icon. You’ll see it in the top left corner. Then select “Delete Options.”

4. When the menu appears, you can delete voice searches by day or a particular time frame. To delete all voice searches, press the option for “Advanced” and then select “All Time” from the menu.

5. Select the “Remove” button. Google will now delete your entire voice search history.

If you want to opt out of the data-collecting procedures, click on settings. If the slider is blue, Google is collecting and storing your voice searches. Deselect it and close out.

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[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Learning Google Voice search with Lori Ballen #SEO @loriballen_[/tweetthis]

Common Voice Search Commands

These are command commands that people are using in voice searches:

  • “Show restaurants near me in TripAdvisor”
  • “Set the temperature to [X] degrees”
  • “Listen to NPR”
  • “Where’s my hotel?”
  • “Show me the nearby [spa] on map”
  • “Navigate to [Manhattan] on car”
  • “How far is [Miami] from [Fort Lauderdale]?”
  • “Directions to [address / business name / other destination]”
  • “What are some attractions in [Rome]”
  • “Show me the menu for [Jean Georges]”


Voice search is not just a growing trend, it’s a new opportunity for users to get the data they need quickly. It’s also a way to get more information when you’re on the go without the need for all that typing. For businesses, it’s an excellent opportunity to optimize landing page content to help with voice search results. The main takeaway is to ask yourself if your content answers questions that people have about it. If you’re unsure, try asking Google questions about your business products or services to see if your site comes up with a voice search. If another site comes up, pay attention to their data so you can streamline your own.

How to get Google to Crawl New Content on your Website with Fetch and Render

In this short, 6 minute video tutorial, Lori Ballen, owner of a Las Vegas Real Estate Team shows you how to use Google's Search Console to submit a URL (new content), and to Fetch, Render, and then request indexing on new or updated content.

In this short, 6-minute video tutorial, Lori Ballen, owner of a Las Vegas Real Estate Team shows you how to use Google’s Search Console to submit a URL (new content), and to Fetch, Render, and then request indexing on new or updated content.

Google Fetch and Render Video Tutorial

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how does crawling work?

Creating new content is important for any great website. Updating content is equally important. In order to rank on the search engines, you must first be indexed by Google. This is the act of them sending Googlebot out to crawl your website, and then index pages that meet their quality guidelines.

Indexing is not the same thing as ranking. An indexed page, simply means that it is stored in Google’s database. Ranking is the position in which it shows up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a particular query (search).

Google doesn’t crawl all websites in their entirely or on the same schedule. Pages will be crawled or skipped based on their frequency of updates, traffic, page speed and other metrics Google uses to determine crawl frequency. The healthier your website is, the more crawls, indexing, and updating you will see.

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How do i ask google to crawl my website?

  1.  Log into your Google Search Console
  2.  Locate the CRAWL option
  3. Click Fetch as Google
  4. Add your URL of the page you want crawled
  5. Click Fetch or Fetch and Render if you want to see how it appears.
  6. Or click this link and select the blue button.
  7. Once Google has fetched your page, select the request indexing button.
  8. Congratulations! You have submitted your page to Google.

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In this video I’m going to show you how to fetch and render a crawl from Google to a new page … To an existing page on your website that you have updated. Now, in a previous video I did show you how to submit a URL. Google has a doesn’t crawl all websites with the same frequency. What happens is, Google bot comes out. It crawls your website and it crawls a certain amount of the pages and then it pulls in back for indexing. Depending on how often you’re updating your website, and the amount of traffic is going to make … Your page speed, is going to make a difference as to how much of your website Google actually crawls. You might make some changes to a website … To a webpage, and you might just be sitting there waiting to see those changes update, and they’re not updating frequently enough.

What you can actually do is use Google’s fetch and render to actually send it out to basically take a snapshot of what your new page looks like and then you can request indexing. Here, I’ve showed you in a previous video, if you actually go to Google and just hit submit URL, and you can also do this in your Google search console. Right here, this cute little cheat comes up here, and if you have a brand new page that you just posted, that you just created, you can paste that here and hit submit. You’re saying, “Hey Google, I’ve got a new page.” Now, this doesn’t guarantee any kind of indexing, or ranking, but it does say, “Hey Google, please come out and pick up this page.” Every time you create a new page, it’s a good idea to go ahead and submit this the URL.

Now we want to do fetch and crawl. We’re going to do Google, fetch and render, and then crawl, okay? What this is actually going to do, you can click here and read a little bit more about it, but we actually just want to go ahead and open it. You can also do this in your Google search console. Here, we’re going to select which one of our websites we want to pull a page from, okay? Now see here it opened a search console, so look at the left-hand side. If you were just to login to your search console, all you have to do is go down to crawl and then click fetch as Google. Now, we need to find a page on our website that we want Google to crawl. Let me go ahead and go over here to my website and let me just go ahead and grab a page that I want Google to crawl.

You take this URL up top, go back over to search console, and you don’t want … You don’t need that HTTPS in the front, or the top level domain. Just what comes after the slash there. Whoops, there we go. Okay, so now you can say, “Fetch and render on desktop or on mobile.” Let’s just do mobile and I’m going to do fetch and render. Now, Google goes out and it crawls the website and that allows you then to take a look at how it is indexing that page. Now, if you look down here. Here’s one we already did, because this one may take a minute. Here’s one I already did a little while ago and it tells me that page was redirected. I don’t want to actually index that page. I want to index the page that it was redirected to. Here we have another one, so request indexing.

Now, if I click on this little arrow here, then I’ve got details about the crawl and then I’ve got pictures of what it looks like. This is how Google bot saw the page and this is how a visitor to your website would’ve seen the page. This is perfect because they’re the same, okay? Now, let’s go ahead and go back to the one we just did. Okay, and now. Now, I have fetched it, I’ve rendered it, I say, “Yes, this is what it’s supposed to look like.” Now I can click this button and request indexing. It says, “You are submitting this following URL. Re-crawling happens a few minutes after you click go. At that time, the content of your page is what Google will index.” Now remember, it’s only going to index it if it meets the quality guidelines and it doesn’t have the no index checked off. Most of your website pages, as long as they’re set up correctly will index.

Remember, indexing just means Google puts it in the database. It does not mean you’re ranking in any particular position. This is just getting it into the database. Ranking happens after the analysis is done and it runs through its algorithms and determines where you should be placed in that position. Now you can also click here, crawl only to this URL, or crawl this URL and its direct links. I actually do like it to pull the extra links too, but as you can see here it says, “You have … ” I have nine submissions remaining of the 10 monthly quota, so I had to be careful about allowing it to crawl all the links on the page, because you can only do 10 of those in a month. I’m going to save that for my real meaty pages that have a lot of spinoff to them that I want to index all the links. In this case, I’m going to crawl only the URL and I’m going to click go. That’s all there is to it, so you can submit the URL for a new page, or you can fetch render and then crawl for a changed page.

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Google Images | How to SEO images for Google Image Search

How to use Google Imge Search

About Google Images

A keyword is typed into Google Images "Jennifer Lopez Green Dress"

First introduced on July 12, 2001, Google images allow online users to search the web for image content, at a time when most of the content on the World Wide Web was text-based.

Google Image Search allowed Keywords inputted into Google images to bring up results that were based on words and phrases in the filename of the picture.

The results also factored in the text pointing to the pictures, and also peripheral text.

Even though Google has positioned itself as the world-renowned authority in the network of search engines, the conception of Google images have origins that are a bit more questionable.

A Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt noted how entertainer Jennifer Lopez indirectly helped galvanize Google images.

In the first reiteration of Google, most of the contents was a page of text, broken up by blue links.

Like any successful inventor and entrepreneur, Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin kept improving the service.

Jennifer Lopez is in a green, plunging neckline (to naval) designed by versace
Image Credit: Business Insider

The need for images came into a point after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez’s infamous green dress caught the world’s attention.

At the time, research inquiries for Jennifer Lopez’s green dress were one of the more popular terms that the search engine has ever seen.

Google added tabs right above the search box, offering a way for users to search for images.

By 2001, a quarter million images were indexed. In 2005, the number grew to 1 billion images.

Other’s have asked: How do I do Keyword Research?

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Google Image Search

Google images allow users to explore the web in an entirely different way than other search engines.

There are several ways that online users are interacting with and using Google Image Search.

search by Uploading an image.

You can click on the camera icon in the Google images home page and select to upload a photo.

Example of using Google Images, Clicking on camera, and uploading a photo to perform a Google Image Search

Once the image is uploaded, Google takes it’s best guess as to what that picture is about.

Google Images example of an uploaded picture of Jennifer Lopez and suggested results

Online users will be able to pinpoint the origins of photos or if online platforms have used their images in unauthorized platforms.

Pasting the URL of an image to image search

Just like uploading an image, users can check up on more information on a particular photo by copying and pasting an image’s URL.

Using Google Image Search to find a picture by copy and pasting the URL of picture you want to search by

💡You can generally find the URL of a picture by right clicking on the image and selecting copy image location

[su_note note_color=”#f5ae9d”]For even faster search, users can download the Google Chrome extension or the Firefox extension. After the extension is enabled, all users can right-click on any image and complete a picture search.[/su_note]

For online marketers, they would need to be cognizant of how their target market is interacting with Google images and how that will fit into their marketing plans.

➡ Images, when used strategically, can help rank web pages.

Images can be used to showcase information in the form of an infographic, add visual value to a wall of text, and further illustrate statements made on a post.

Adding SEO optimized, complementary images to an article will add value.

When uploading any image to your website, the title of the image and alt text is going to be key for having it appear in Google Images.

💡Image Title is the name of the picture where Alt Text is used to describe what is happening in the picture. Only use your keyword if it naturally fits in.

Others have asked: How do I move my image higher up in the rankings?

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Google Reverse Image Search

Reverse image search tends to be used by online users as a tool to help mitigate “catfishing” – users who use dubious information on the Internet to create a fake online profile.

However, Google reverse image search can be utilized as a powerful tool for webmasters, bloggers, and online marketers.

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Techniques and the usage of Google Reverse Image

Reverse image search results will include similar images and websites that include the images in their posts.

Even though reverse image tends to be most effective for famous landmarks, it’s still a valuable tool for online bloggers, marketers, and designers who just want credit for their work.

Thankfully, there aren’t any special equipment or software needed for Google reverse image search to work – all you need is Internet Explorer 9 or above, Safari 5 or above, Firefox 4 or above, and the Google Chrome 5 or above.

You might also like: Where to get the best real estate agent website.

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Locating the original sources and potential duplicate content of photographs.

In many cases, many scam websites tend to steal content from reputable sites – including your own.

Google reverse image search helps you locate the original creator of most photographs and infographics.

If you want to find the source of a picture that you expect has been republished without permission, you can click and drop the image into Google images then find the earliest reiteration of the photograph by clicking on the “Tools” tab.

Google Images can sort images by time of post by clicking on the tools tab and choosing Time

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Tracking and monitoring the spread of infographics.

Infographics take a lot of time to design.

From gathering information, creating the actual infographics, and finally posting it on your web properties, infographics are time intensive.

If you want to see how your infographics are spreading, then you can complete a Google reverse image search to find where your original infographics are being used.

Don’t think that most online users will give you the decency of a proper credit – most will repost and republish your infographics without a second thought.

Gaining a backlink from a shared infographic is important for your search engine rankings. You don’t want people simply taking your hard work for their personal gain without credit back to you and your website.

Using Google Image Search, you can find these and reach out to the site owner giving them information on how to correctly share your graphic.

Sometimes there’s more to a cropped picture.

Google reverse image search also gives you the opportunity to find the original photo of a cropped photograph.

If you wonder what’s behind a cropped photo, a reverse search will typically reveal several examples of the original.

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Google Image Copyrights

Just because an image is hosted on Google Images, doesn’t mean that it is free to download and use it however you want.

Google Images pulls photographs from all over the Internet, so when the image is showcased on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), don’t just assume that Google owns the rights to the image.

Some have a common creative license, meaning that the owner and creator of the image have given permission for the picture to be used and shared for free.

Without the right licenses and permits, the image maker may contact you and ask you to take the picture down, or sometimes go as far as to seek legal action.

Some image creators recognize how rampant stealing is, with some going as far as using watermarks in their images.

It is one of the ways that image creators protect themselves and their work from being used illegally. It’s recommended to avoid images that are watermarked – not only because it designates a creator, but also looks unprofessional in your online work.

If you want to use an image on your websites, it is important that you obtain pictures that you have permissions to.

People often assume that they can just use whatever pictures are on the web on their website. This simply isn’t the case.

When you perform your image search, click on Tools and then Usage rights to find which images you are able to use and with what restrictions if any.

Always link back to a photo you are using from another website. Give photo credit in the caption category and link to the source.

Editing an image to give photo credit in the caption and in the url link back to original source of image

Here’s more on Google Image Rights and Usage.

Using images marked for reuse is ideal.

Google Image Search is shown, with tools and then usage rights selected to choose copyright free images

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Google Images Advanced Search

Basic image search is straightforward – simply enter a couple of keywords into the search engine, and your query will be met with a slew of images that are related to the keyword.

Google Images has Advanced Search options showing here search by type: face, photo, clip art, line drawing, animated

However, for more advanced searchers, you will find that the Google images advanced function to be effective at pinpointing the type of photograph that you want.

Advanced searching will give you the opportunity to fine tune your searching efforts by clicking on the advanced search menu under the settings icon.

Both options give you the opportunity to tweak the results of a search.

You can find photographs that are mostly a particular color, filter out explicit content, discover images peculiar to a website, as well as look up for specific file types.

The advanced image search is particularly useful if you are looking for pictures of a particular type, like looking for photographs that are only in a GIF or JPEG format.

Check the image quality. Google images also allow you to check the quality of the image before you download it and use it for your projects or website. If your image appears blurry, it’s most likely a low-resolution version of the original. In Google images, you will be able to pinpoint pixel ratios and image size.

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Mobile Google Image Search

The mobile version of Google images works just like the desktop version. I

n the upper left corner, there is a tab for images.

After clicking on that, you can insert your keywords, and you will be met with an answer by Google. It’s just as intuitive and easy as the desktop version.

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Can you do a reverse image search on mobile phones and tablets?

The short answer is yes.

Even though you may not be able to do so on native web browsers like Safari, Google Chrome for Android and iOS allows you to complete a reverse image search.

Open the Google Chrome app, and then touch the image you want to search. On the Google Chrome app interface, you will be able to press and hold the image in the box that appears and then select “search Google for this image”.

The Google Chrome app will then answer with related and similar images.

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Google Image Recognition

Visual Recognitions and Machine Learning

Google wants to enhance its image search engines by utilizing deep learning and image recognition.

In 2017, Google informed developers of mobile AI called MobileNets.

The premise behind MobileNets is to enable image recognition so that developers can use imaging recognition without using data intensive cloud computing.

MobileNets is open source so any developer can adopt it, change it, and integrate it into their applications and software.

It can perform tasks like detection, face attribute recognition, and even the ability to recognize specifics like dog breeds via a fine-grained classification.

The technology is enhanced by TensorFlow, Google’s deep learning model.

TensorFlow is another open source software that helps computers and devices learn quicker via AI.

Take note that Google image recognition and MobileNets still has its limitations.

In 2017. Google actually created 16 models of this program, so that it can be used in projects of all sizes.

With the difference between models at their disposal, app developers and software engineers have several options that they can pick to suit their processing requirements for a particular app.

For the everyday consumer, they’ll be able to see apps that can make basic image identification with more speed and accuracy.

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Google Image Search App

As of yet, there isn’t a dedicated image search app designed by Google.

However peripheral products can do a Google image search.

Google Chrome, the web browser by Google, allows users to complete a Google image search by clicking on the image tab on the upper left corner.

There are also several niche apps that allow you to do a picture search on Google’s servers.

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How to Optimize Images for Google SEO

Images will help readers understand your article much better.

They can be used to augment any points that you made in a blog post and showcase aggregated information in a format that is easy to understand. “A picture is worth 1000 words” really encapsulates the benefits and usage of images on the Internet.

As mentioned, it is important that you use images with the correct license and usage rights to make sure that you do not get into legal trouble later.

If you can, it is always best to use your own images.

Once you have found the correct image for your project or post, the next step is to optimize the image to use on your website.

The right file name.

Image SEO starts with the right file name, not with what the image depicts.

The filename is the first place where you should use your related keywords, especially long tail keywords. Use only your target keyword (not a string of them), and only if it is natural.

Google wants to know what you image is about, and it will use the filename in its first stop to help decipher your image.

You will then have to scale your image for SEO.

Google has underlined the importance of websites that load quickly, as this will help mitigate people from clicking back on their web browsers due to a slow website.

To ensure efficiency of your website’s resources, make sure that the entire image is scaled to the size that you want.

For example, you do not want a 3000 x 2000 pixels image just to have it showcased in a 300 x 200 dimension.

Popular platforms like WordPress allows you the ability to post your image in multiple sizes after it’s been uploaded.

You can make images load faster by further reducing the file size.

Responsive images.

Your online readers and clients will be on your website on their mobile devices, tablets, and home computers of different monitor sizes.

Responsive images accommodate these different platforms.

Responsive images will make it possible to serve different image per screen width.

There are plugins that can make photos responsive, with the WordPress 4.4 and higher adding this behavior by default.

Captions are important.

Your readers will use captions when scanning your article.

Elements that help enhance scanning like bold text, headings, and graphics are beneficial, since most online users aren’t dedicated readers, but tend to be scanners, looking for pertinent information. I

In 2012, a study by KissMetrics stated that captions used in images are read an average 300% more than the body itself.

Not using captions means you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage your online base.

Title text and alt text.

Sample of alt text being used in a bubble when hovering over the image.
When Alt Text is used correctly, someone can hover over the image to see (or hear) a detailed description.

Title and Alt Text attributes are tags that are added to the image.

Some readers will not be able to look at your images due to screen limitations or perhaps due to images being disabled – this is where the alt text and the title text gets to be used.

Alternative text ensures that no information is lost.

Make sure that your alternative text has your keywords and descriptors for the image.

When used correctly, browsers like Internet Explorer will showcase the alt text in a balloon when a mouse is hovering over it.

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The image XML sitemaps.

Yoast SEO settings for XMLsitemap inclusions
Yoast is a WordPress Plugin for SEO. It has advanced options for including media in your XML sitemap

The XML sitemaps provide Google with data about your images via specific tags.

You can use a separate sitemap for images, or you can add image information to an existing sitemap.

Adding images to your XML sitemap help Google index images faster for better SEO.

To submit your sitemap, you can use third-party tools to generate your site map, test it with the Search Console Site Maps tool by Google, and then finally submit it to the Google Console.

Yoast is a WordPress Plugin that can create your XML sitemap.

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How to Create Your Own Images for Google Images

Google images indexes virtually every major image format, including GIFs, JPEG, PNG, SVG, and ICO files. When creating your own images, you have the option to use any image format.

However JPEG tends to be the preferred format since it is a lightweight, easy to edit and process, and it can be used on most web hosting platforms.

It also has a relatively small file size when compared to other types of image formats.

The Benefits of Using Your Own Photography

Using your own images allows your web properties to stand out amongst the crowd, especially if you operate within a niche that has several authority figures.

Custom photography helps to establish your own online identity.

[eafl id=”11471″ name=”Shutterstock” text=”Stock photography has its use”], but there is more potential when creating your own photographs.

The problem with stock photography.

man is on his mobile device searching images.
Your own photos may pop on a Google Image search.

Stock photography has solved the issue of photographs being expensive to reproduce and create.

There’s a time and a place to use it, and a time to take your own photos (or screenshots) where you can.

Overusing stock photography suggests that you may not care enough to capture your own images.

It’s a borrowed reality, especially since you are using someone else’s creation.

Your own photographs humanizes your approach, making your online presence more relatable.

Take advantage of your smart phone with its high-powered camera.

Taking strategic pictures and editing them to make them available to your online content is an easy way to galvanize your online presence.

There are also software that allows you to edit and create your own icons, banners, infographics, and images to use online.

One of the more popular image editing software is Adobe Photoshop.

However, Photoshop is an intensive program that will have a significant learning curve.

Thankfully, there are online Photoshop tutorials that allow you to create anything you can imagine – if you’re willing to invest time in learning the program.

Thanks to his extensive learning curve, mastering Photoshop will allow you to pick up other image editing software quickly.

Learning the basics and refining your skills in Photoshop is an invaluable skill.

Third-party online classes allow you to learn Adobe Photoshop, with Photoshop creating a list of tutorials as well.

If you are interested in using copyright free stock art or video footage, check out [eafl id=”11471″ name=”Shutterstock” text=”Shutterstock.”]

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How to Watermark Your Images

Watermarking your images will designate your own creations as your own. It will help deter incredulous use. Most digital watermarks are a faint logo or a word superimposed onto the image.

Thankfully, many software and apps allow you to watermark your images in just a few minutes.

  • Adobe Photoshop. As mentioned, Photoshop tends to be the go to software for many designers. On Photoshop, you can use the type tool and place a text string over the photo in gray. You can change its opacity.

iWatermark Pro For a fee of around $30, you can download the Windows or mac version of this program that allows you to add watermarks to your photographs. There is also an app from this service, allowing you to add a watermark via your phone or tablet.

When it comes to actually creating a watermark, there are several ideas you can employ.

You can add a copyright symbol on the watermark.

For some, superimposing an image on top of the original image is a very clear, but necessary form of ownership.

You can also have text string as a watermark. You can include your business name, your name, or a description of the image.

Pick the watermarking software they want to use and decide if you want to watermark all of your photos or just one individual photograph.

Some software will allow you to superimpose your watermark in batches for convenience.

Consider the size of the watermark. You have the option of using a large, prominent watermark that can make it very difficult for online users to use your creations.

Alternatively, you can be more discreet and have your watermark designated to a corner of the photograph.

Apply the watermark and then upload the photos to your websites or social media pages, with a peace of mind knowing that most won’t steal your content

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Google Images and Voice Search

In 2011, Google images updated its interface and added the option to search via voice.

This feature is limited to Google Chrome v.2 and higher.

You will see a microphone icon in the search box.

To use this option, simply click on the microphone, say the keywords that you’re looking for, and Google will answer with images related to the words that you said.

The only requirement is that you have a built in microphone or one attached to your desktop or laptop.

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Google Images is a popular, rapidly growing search tool. In a very visual world, images help enhance a piece of content and open the readers mind.

A search can be performed on Google using the camera icon in the search box. The image can be uploaded or dragged and dropped to perform a search or the image URL can be used.

Optimizing images for search engine rankings is important and includes the Title, Caption, Alt Text and URL it links to.

Use of Google Images are not automatically permitted. Usage rights can be accessed using the Tools feature.

SEO SEM, What’s the difference?

Confused about SEO and SEM?

While both terms are used interchangeably, there are important differences between the two and how they are used. Use this information to help define SEO SEM for your business as you use them together to build successful ad campaigns, increase website traffic and search engine rankings.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) can be confusing and many people don’t know the difference. This article will:

  • Define SEO SEM and their components
  • Explore the similarities and differences and explain how each is used
  • Tie in Google search criteria and explain how SEO SEM show up on Google’s SERP
  • Weigh the pro’s and cons of SEO and SEM
  • Explore how SEO and SEM work hand in hand to help businesses rank higher in searches and increase traffic

Let’s take a look…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimizationGoogle Screen Capture, or SEO, can help to maximize the number of visitors that frequent a website by increasing the ranking organically to make the site appear higher in search engine results. When a site ranks higher, it can lead more users to a website because it will show up in search results. Businesses are always seeking out ways to rank their businesses higher to increase their web traffic and get more potential customers on their website. To help with this, search engine optimization can use codes in a website through the specific use of ALT tags, keywords, page titles, links and so much more. Google’s new artificial learning is now ranking pages to queries based on clicks on the page indicating a positive or negative user experience.

The goal of SEO is to attract users to a page and to rank higher in search results. That way when a person looks for a website, a business can have theirs show up ideally on the first or second page. The higher they can rank, the more business they will have to their sites. This can be especially helpful when you do a search that may give thousands of businesses offering similar products or services. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to rank higher in search results and SEO can help.

SERP - Search Engine Results PageSearch engines crawl thousands of websites every day looking for keywords and content to help give the person looking for a particular product or service the information they want. The search engine will display results that it thinks are relevant based on the search and the types of sites that the search engine has crawled and then indexed.

A search engine will rank a website based on the quality of the website’s code and usability as well as the quailty of content and how well it believes that page matches the searchers intent. It quickly reviews the content in the site to determine if it’s an appropriate match based on what a user may want in their search results.

That’s why keywords are important in developing an SEO campaign. When the content in a website has the specific keywords for a search, it can help the business to have their site found sooner online. To help businesses rank higher, every article, blog, description and landing page should be optimized to help it show up in search engine results so it can rank higher and be seen by more people.

[su_note note_color=”#cdff66″]Link building is an essential tool that can help with online searches as Google uses Penguin and Panda algorithms to block spam. When a business has articles and blogs that are shared, the links can help to promote the business. This form of link building through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can also help to a business. Once an item is shared, this is a link that can help increase your rankings with search engines like Google as it leads more traffic to your site.[/su_note]

You might also like: How to Search Engine Optimize a Blog Post

Components of SEO

On-Page SEO components include incorporating keyword into titles, meta descriptions, headings, and alt text. These are strategic ways to add keywords. Blog posts can be optimized with keywords and links. These can help pages to load faster and when these steps are used in conjunction with social media integration, it can help with search results.

Off-Page components include natural backlinks, social sharing and social bookmarking. Sites like StumbleUpon or Reddit can help with social media sharing. These are ways that a user can find a link to an article and share it with others. Backlinks can also be shared when a site owner posts on another page and lists their business and a link to their site.

[su_box title=”Tool Tip”]Google suggests that your pages should load in less than 3 seconds. Use the free tool at Pingdom to check your sites pages. You can load one page at a time. Hint: Choose a location close to you.[/su_box]

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SERP showing Google AdWords SEM resultsSearch engine marketing (SEM), is a form marketing online that uses paid advertising tactics to increase visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPS). This can be achieved through optimized and strategic ad campaigns and advertising. Search engine marketing commonly incorporates paid ads linking to blogs, videos, and articles to increase web traffic to a site.

Marketing techniques can incorporate paid advertising through Google Adwords, YouTube ads, Facebook ads and Twitter ads. This is a proactive way of drawing more traffic to a business to increase the “buzz” about products and services. Costs for paid advertising can vary and there is a host of different techniques to maximize content and increase clicks on a website.

Ideally, a business may set up a daily budget based on the number of clicks they want their ads to receive. Successful SEM ads can help a business to rank high in search results as these will target users specifically looking for a particular product or service based on keywords incorporated into the ads.

A popular way to rank higher is through Google Adwords and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Google will rank an ad by the amount spent on the specific keywords and the score the ad receives. The score is determined by the quality of the ads and the landing page triggered with a keyword that’s used in a search.

[su_note note_color=”#ff66c8″]Learn more about Google AdWords and the steps to getting started with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) here.[/su_note]

Differences between SEO and SEM

The main difference between SEO and SEM is that search engine marketing (SEM) is paid, and search engine optimization is the act of optimizing content to rank on the search engines organically. As previously indicated, SEM can include paid searches like PPC, as well as social media marketing (SMM). Never use the terms interchangeably. SEO and SEM, while working hand in hand, are not the same term. You’ll notice on Google that the paid ads have a small box that marks them as an ad.

How to use both SEO and SEM together

seo-semWhen done correctly, SEO and SEM complement one another well. SEO efforts will give you optimized listings and traffic through unpaid or free listings. SEM will help you to create effective and targeted advertising campaigns to help your site rank higher in searches when you buy traffic through paid search listings. Those are actually the pros of using SEO and SEM. The cons or downside to SEO and SEM are that both are only as strong as the site that’s being marketed. If a site doesn’t offer the quality that Google looks for, then the SEO and SEM efforts can lead to frustration as the ads go unnoticed and there’s no rise in traffic to a particular website. Focus on building a site that users will love and then optimize it from there.

Because advertising online continues to change, it’s important for marketers to monitor the data on their keywords and rankings. When SEO and SEM are used together, they can create successful online marketing campaigns.

[su_box title=”Tip” title_color=”#ffffff”]One of the perks with SEM is the data. When you run broad match or phrase match ads, Google will provide you with the search terms people used to find your website. You can then take this data and build content that is search engine optimized using these SEO keywords.[/su_box]

Which marketing tactic is better – SEO or SEM?

Many marketers debate whether SEO or SEM is better. Marketers may tell you that search engine optimization is the best approach, but as you can tell, true search engine marketing cannot succeed without the proper use of strategic search engine optimization.

Additionally, there are many ways in which pay-per-click advertising, an element of SEM, can give a business more traffic than standard SEO methods. For example, if you are first launching a new business or a new ad campaign and you want immediate traffic and buzz, it’s a good idea to launch a pay-per-click campaign because it takes less time with SEM than it will with SEO. However, it would be unwise to strictly use pay-per-click ad campaigns as there are several great ways to utilize search engine optimization as previously indicated.

Organic SEO may take longer to show up in results, but it is also less costly. It can help to establish a search credibility that a business might not be able to readily achieve with pay-per-click ads alone.

When it comes to choosing the best tactic – SEO or SEM, it is important to evaluate the needs and budget of the business and to fully understand how to maintain your efforts and long-term business goals.

SEO SEM Services

[su_quote cite=”Ballen Brands”]Pay Per Click Options Our marketing team will help manage your ads and ad spend starting as low as $200 a month. Contact us to get a quote on the best pay per click plan for your marketing needs.[/su_quote]

Ballen Brands is a digital marketing company helping business professionals rise above the noise. But we didn’t set out with that as our destination. Our original path, and one that now aligns with our bigger picture, is in real estate.

As a real estate professional, Lori Ballen entered the arena at ground zero. As a newbie in the industry, Lori fell haphazardly into marketing her business online. In fact, she lovingly refers to that portion of her journey as failing forward. Through trial and tribulation, she floundered until she found her way. But once she found her way (or should we say INVENTED?) her way became known as The Ballen Method and is highly sought after by other real estate professionals. The Ballen Method is a digital marketing curriculum outlining and detailing all of the DYI methods Lori applied when growing her real estate business organically. And yes, she still practices those methods to this day.

You see, we did not develop a product and then search for an audience to whom we could sell it. Quite the opposite, we evolved with the needs of our peers to provide a high quality experience. This is why, even when you look, you won’t find a sales team at Ballen Brands. We have trainers, coaches, business developers, creatives, and techies. But no salesman.

Dominate Search Engines

Use your PPC advertising to drive more traffic to your website. The more times your website is visited, the higher you’re able to soar in search engine rankings, particularly if your content is relevant to your viewers. We’ll target your PPC ads with demographic targeting to ensure that you reach the right audience.

Get More Leads

The right ads leading to the right pages with the right offers can generate plenty of leads. We design your ads around specific keywords to attract viewers who are specifically searching for what you have to offer.

Grow Your Website

With our PPC + content packages, you can grow your website with five new content pieces per month. That content can help you build organic SEO, and the ads we manage for you with PPC can help drive traffic to that content.

Save Time

Why waste your valuable time trying to learn the ins and outs of all the various ppc platforms, rules, and guidelines when we can do the heavy lifting for you? Save yourself the trouble of performing keyword research, creating content, and gearing your ads to drive traffic to your pages. We’ll do it for you.

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