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Archita Sharma on September 1, 2020 (last modified on September 3, 2020) • 20 minute read
Ever wonder how visible your website is in comparison to your competitors?
Understanding which metrics to track in order to fully understand your search engine presence can feel a bit complicated.
In this article, we’ll go through what the Share of Voice metric is, how it is calculated and what are the best practices (from our experts) to increase your company’s share of voice.
Use this table to navigate the guide easily:
It means how much you dominate in either the paid advertising, social media, PR, or organic SERPs. So, when you say ‘Share of voice’, it might mean the following:
Understanding the ‘Share of Voice’ can help you with understanding your business overview. Specific campaign metrics can give you an idea of that particular channel, but if you want an overview of your brand & business – this is the way.
So when you know where you stand over others, understand where your company is lagging and then ultimately work on those areas to captivate more share on the web.
It’s a simple formula that you can apply to different categories:
SOV = Your brand’s measures / Total market measures
This could mean social media mentions, organic search, PPC, and more. So, if you’re looking for your company’s share of voice in social media, marketing tools can come handy to help you.
These tools will give you data on the number of mentions of your brand & competitor. Apply it to the formula and check your share. Say you have X mentions & your (only competitor) has Y mentions:
SOV = X/(X+Y) * 100
“Keyword rank trackers allow you to upload a list of hundreds of keywords, and share your website’s ranking in Google search results each day. Some tools like AccuRanker, actually include a share of voice reports built specifically for this purpose”, suggests Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit.
Now that you’ve learned the importance of share of voice & how to calculate it, let’s dig into the MAIN part – how to improve SOV?
Buying users or leads can give you a one time result. But if you wish to create an ever-growing engine, focusing on earned media is essential.
Our expert, Itai Elizur of InboundJunction explains this: “With the right strategy in place, encompassing PR, SEO, product marketing, and thought leadership, you can ensure, with precision, that your brand message blankets the SERPs – or at least the ones that matter most to your ideal audience.”
Why? “This level of results is simply impossible when you focus on owned and paid media alone, which is the exact mistake that I see too many companies making, over and over again.”
Digital PR can be a great channel to get your company’s voice out there.
Luke Budka of TopLine Comms shares an interesting hack here. “If you want to compete for search engine real estate but you’re struggling with a low authority site, then piggyback on someone else’s instead.”
Let’s understand how:
“For example, a client of ours wanted to rank for keywords related to data center migrations. But they couldn’t compete with the editorial sites that ranked, so we pitched a rival editorial site an opinion piece on how to perform a data center migration, and ensured the op-ed was optimized for the target keywords. Lo and behold, almost instantly on publication, that op-ed and our client by proxy, ranked second for the desired keyword and then first shortly afterward. The tactic generated some very valuable referral traffic!”
Remember, whatever you do in marketing – content is what is visible on the ground. So make sure you simply create good content. Whatever your channel is, creating content that your audience can resonate with, will make a huge difference w.r.t to your competitors.
Andre Oentoro of Breadnbeyond emphasizes this. “Our content marketing team constantly creates engaging, share-worthy content to make it stand out among our competitors. We make sure that we only create meaningful content or ads that our target audience wants to see and are interested in.”
“We don’t really talk about our features and try selling our services. Instead, we help our audience recognize and understand the problems they’re facing and offer them an easy solution. This way, our audience can feel understood and interact with the content we offer. This is where the interaction keeps our brand incrementally more top-of-mind, translating into an increased share of voice on search engines.”
Isn’t it pretty simple? Create good content.
The mission & vision set for your company should reflect in the type of content you produce so you’re more recognized. It’s an alignment thing – you’d want your brand to be associated & known for your vision.
Tatiana Gavrilina of DDI Development shares, “The more valuable content you share and spread, the more recognizable and trusting you are. To come up with it, you must first establish your brand’s mission, vision, and values. They will determine the way you are communicating with the audience. Moreover, your messages will become crystal-clear and are more likely to be delivered to the right people.”
Well, if you have to dominate your % share in the market, analyzing & outperforming your competitor is a good place to start. Check for areas that your competitor has missed, & those that your brand can fill in.
Nate Tsang of WallStreetZen shares an interesting method to do this. “My strategy for improving voice search in Google is to “match and exceed” – you want to match what your competitors are doing in terms of on-page optimization and content quality – and exceed them by looking for gaps that they may have missed.
I start by doing a full audit of the keywords my competitors are ranking for using Ahrefs, and I screen for the opportunities that I can rank for based on my domain authority. Then I look to exceed them – I look for gaps where my competitors have either under-optimized their page, meaning just by adding keywords in the right places I can already gain an advantage, or where I can produce higher quality resources for searchers.”
Creating good content does help in increasing your share of voice, but where do you start from?
Often, the major content marketing strategy game is keyword analysis. Once you understand what would help you come up with SERP best results, you can start writing that content.
Use high search volume keywords
Samuel Hurley of NOVOS suggests, “It’s pretty simple, rank higher for search terms that have higher volume. The way we’d use the metric to understand if the keywords we’ve improved/declined for are actually valuable or not. e.g. if you increase 10 places for a keyword that has 10 search volume per month this won’t have anywhere near as big an impact on your share of voice as a term that increases by 10 but has a search volume of 10,000.
The ‘share’ part of the metric is just taking into account your competitor ranks e.g. if you did increase by 10 places then you are taking share from a competitor so their share of voice will naturally decrease.”
Apart from that, use keywords that you want to associate your brand with. Kristel Staci of Blogging Tips adds, “Have your brand name in the title, but also the niche product or service you are selling as well. This is often seen in the world of SEO and online marketing. Don’t just brand your business name, also associate it with whatever it is you do or offer… and then focus on ranking for those relevant terms as well.”
How do we research the keywords?
Robin Nessensohn of Really Good Innovation explains, “One strategy for strongly improving our share of voice in search engines is definitely to use tools such as Moz. We researched strategically which keywords have a high search volume but are not used too much. We then generated whole pages/articles around each of these keywords in order to be recognized by Google as an owner of relevant content for a specific topic.”
Not just new keywords, you can check your competitors’ keywords for instant ideas. Tony Mastri of MARION Digital Marketing explains “By creating a keyword map using competitor research, then systematically blogging about each mapped topic, you can build the largest share of voice for your company in the search. This strategy is an extremely long term play, but over time it will pay dividends for your company.”
Utilize ‘people also ask for’ for topics
Google’s algorithms are based such that it aims to provide the most relevant & specific results to a search query. So try utilizing all those queries you want your brand to rank for.
“The best way to do this is by asking questions and answering them with extensive and detailed responses. This way, your company appears for the question and under responses for the “People also ask” section of Google.” says Sam Olmsted of Fort Worth SEO.
Oksana Chyketa of BreatheWeb.com adds, “There are many tools that come in handy when searching for the relevant question keyword phrases. Personally, I really like to use Answer the Public tool for this purpose.”
Use Long-tail keywords
Junaid Ahmed of LambdaTest Inc suggests, “Increase Focus on Long Tail Keywords.”
What’s a good approach to this? Get to know what your audience questions the most.
Ahmed adds, “You have a product and it caters as a solution to a certain community. Blend with that community first, get into social media groups, discussion forums, and listen to the problem statements related to your use case. Then draft a problem-solving content around keywords with decent volumes.
They are generally going to be long-tail keywords and they do a lot more good than harm in terms of website traffic as well. You get high intent traffic who has a problem which can be solved with your product.”
Create content clusters
Creating content clusters help you to rank for the maximum number of keywords.
Kamil Drazkiewicz of LiveSession adds, “We have recently decided to introduce content clusters, starting with a comprehensive usability testing guide. By creating content clusters you can compete with brands with higher domain authority, who haven’t prioritized the right, SEO-friendly URL. But it’s about more than just how the link is structured; you need to carefully choose your keywords and write copy that truly resonates with readers and stands out from the crowd.”
Editor’s note: Struggling to keep track of essential analytics like your keywords and source? Use this basic Google Analytics dashboard.
In Google’s SERP results, there is a wide range of snippet options – Featured Snippets, ‘People also ask for’, video carousels, etc. So the more content formats you try, the better chances to come up in SERPs easily.
Tanya Wigmore of CRO: NYX Digital suggests, “Anytime you’re producing new content consider how you can include other mediums to support it; make sure you have written content, custom imagery, a video snippet, and even audio to capture more SERP real estate for that specific topic.”
What type of formats will perform well?
Nikola Roza of SEO for the Poor and Determined says, “My one strategy is to include mini-FAQ sections at the end of all, or most of my blog posts. Almost all topics that I cover on my blog have a bunch of questions people ask about them. And FAQ sections are a perfect way for me to naturally include them in my content. What’s more, those “voice” queries are also normal search queries that people type in Google, so one really long tail question can rank for several long-tail variant questions too.”
Pro Tip: When targeting questions people ask, and your aim is to show up in voice search, make sure you use stop words (I, for, the, to, of the, on the,). These act as triggers for the voice algorithm, because in normal search people avoid using stop words as it’s easier to type without them.
Next, understand from your customers what they want to read more about.
Scott Gardner of New Media Advisors says, “Execute against a customer-centric Q&A content strategy that is tailored to your audiences’ primary needs, mindsets and pain points unique to your industry. Completely answer questions, link to relevant resources for supplemental info, optimize the UX of the page, and leverage schema FAQ markup. This strategy boosts brand visibility, trust, and customer sentiment when discovered in organic search.”
One of the biggest tips that a lot of companies usually miss out – using structured schema markups.
“Adding structured data tags and microdata to your site will help search engines categorize and “understand” the content of your website, which improves user experience and allows you to deliver information-rich search engine results. It also increases your chances of appearing in Google’s Knowledge Graph,” explains Andrew Latham of SuperMoney.
What’s more, William Chin of PickFu shares, “Try to write content well over 2000 words, that has a lot of different topics embedded in the content. The more content that is on your page, the more ranks you can capture (and therefore, a higher potential to have an increased share of voice).
Alternatively, if you’re trying to optimize your share of voice for current ranks, consider structured data mark-up or trying some different content formats. Both enable you to capture structured data and rich snippets, which can increase your visibility.”
When you search on the search engine, there’s a natural tendency to click on the result that’s on #1 spot. Capture the maximum users by getting your content on featured snippets.
James Canzanella of IMNights says, “First and foremost, this is going to be possible if you’re already on the first page of Google, and the higher the position the better. Next, grabbing the featured snippet will give you the maximum share of voice because it puts you in the number one spot. Lastly, this technique is beneficial because it’s one of the quicker ways to see results in the search engines, compared to waiting for longer periods of time for your keywords to rank.”
How to get on featured snippets?
“Providing information that is pertinent to the search intent and molding content to the be clicked, e.g. meaty content that covers multiple angles of a topic or related topics is a good way to increase voice through a featured snippet, but also have users click through to your content” explains Ben Johnston of Sagefrog Marketing Group.
Lee Savery of Ricemedia adds, “With keyword research, you can find the questions that your audience is asking and tailor content to answer those questions. If there’s a snippet there that you could answer better, then target it. This could be done via a new piece of content or the optimization of old content that is already ranking for that keyword.”
“Page speed is often overlooked, yet it is very important. The users are more likely to stick to your site, to enjoy it when it is fast. How long would you wait for a page to open? You wouldn’t wait at all. You would move to another website. Remember: slow-loading pages have much lower conversion rates”, says Agnieszka Cejrowska of Pulno.
Stephanie Carone of Lionbridge says, “Ensure your website is optimized for speed and mobile usability, use structured data to ensure content is easily understood by bots, and provide a secure environment for your users. This will increase your share of voice and help you stand out from the crowd in this emerging technology.”
When you create great content, and it reaches the search engine’s top positions, other brands recognize this and include your content in their content as well. It’s done to maintain a healthy balance between the number of inbound & outbound links of a website.
And sometimes, you have to reach out to make sure your content is distributed enough & gets the exposure it needs. Anna Tolette of Synthesio adds, “Improving your link building strategy by earning backlinks from reputable sites helps in increasing rankings and reach.”
One effective way to do it is “Capitalize on ‘Best’ and ‘Top’ Searches,” says, Carla Dewing of Copyhog.com
“A lot of discussions happen around early buying stages when someone is trying to find the most appropriate product or service for their needs. These terms often include ‘best X product’ or ‘top X service’ and the SERPS always delivers a number of list posts (from bloggers and authority sites) offering visitors a number of recommendations.
If your company has a legitimate spot on these lists, draft a quick optimized paragraph, mimicking the style from the original article. Email the post author, and tell them you have an update for their article (good for their SEO) and tell them why (briefly).
Give them the option to use your existing paragraph. If you get this formula right, often you’ll be added to these lists, and will immediately experience organic traffic, better brand reach and sales improvements for your trouble.
By getting yourself included on these lists, you’ll improve your share of voice for a number of excellent terms that convert for your brand. The impact is higher brand visibility, more discussion around your products/services, and more content opportunities down the line”, says Dewing.
“Create a referral program to increase cross-linking, increasing your domain authority and page authority to get positioned at a higher level in search engines,” says Rodrigo Mayen of Accointing.
Alex Rausch of Whistle says, “Earned media is a great way to get backlinks, but a more reliable way is to provide insightful answers to media and blog questions through services like HARO”
Editor’s note: Keep an eye on all the internal links among other essential metrics using this free Link Analysis dashboard.
“Be strategic about internal and outbound links. Linking appropriate internal resources and external links will not only provide smooth user experience, but it also strengthens the credibility of the site to search engines,” says Osiris Parikh of Lilius.
Jenna Alburger of Outlier Creative adds, “Always make sure to link back to cornerstone content and practice internal linking.”
“It’s also vital to give your customers someone to talk to in different channels, reflecting a great customer service. That way, you let them know that you’re not just about making profits and offering products, but you’re a human-centered brand who takes the time to talk to customers and make their experience smooth-sailing”, says Mollie Newton of Pet Me Twice.
When the brands do not engage with their people, it disconnects them from brand activities and customer expectations.
Shannon Denton of Total Girl Boss says, “Engaging with customers is the best way to improve your company’s share of voice. A lot of potential customers might find you and come across your brand when you actively engage. Plan, publish relevant content, and engage in order to increase your share of voice in search engines.”
Peter Regan of Moving Authority adds a tip to improve customer engagement.
“Engage in Social Media with more than just broadcasting. As a marketer, I believe that it is the biggest miss-concept spread among the brands that social media is for posting promotional content every day. Social media is an opportunity to engage and interact deeply with your audience.
The brands should be very active in responding to upset customers, thanking the buyers or followers for sharing UGC or in making any engagement. It makes the brands more likable and is in more talks and online searches.”
Another interesting tip – use customer surveys.
Rameez Ghayas Usmani of PureVPN says “Create surveys and ask specific questions relating to what the customer’s perspective or opinion is towards your brand. Include questions about demographics. Blast the surveys out on social media, send them to your mailing list, and put it in a widget on your website. Include an incentive for participating, such as a chance to win something, or a discount on your product (if applicable).”
On top of that, utilize your brand advocates: “Another way you can do it is by simply searching for your brand on social media platforms. On Twitter or Facebook, type in your brand or keywords into the search bar and see what people are saying. Reply to everyone that mentions you. Give them a shout out or ask questions,” says Usmani.
“Since social signaling is an influential ranking factor, our strategy for improving our company’s share of voice in search engines is to cultivate strong brand recognition and authority in our field”, says Pam Mareghni of INK.
But what does this social proof mean? “Social validation like positive reviews, comments, industry awards, and other community engagement illustrates the success of our efforts. These all draw in and retain users. When users recognize and back your brand, it helps lend a competitive edge to your company. Building authority can increase the level of trust that your client (and potential) users have in your business” says Mareghni.
Wrapping up, the share of voice for a company is a metric calculated differently for different channels. But above all, it helps you understand where your company stands in the market.
These were a wide range of tips from understanding your brand’s mission, focussing on earned media, creating good content, utilizing featured snippets, engaging with your customers, and above all — understanding your competitor’s gaps and outperforming them.
Our experts shared their best practices, so use tips that you’ve not been doing already and amplify your share of voice.
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