Voice search – is your site ready to respond?

Once the preserve of science fiction, voice-based interaction with computers has exploded in the past couple of years, mainly driven by voice assistants and devices such as Amazon’s Echo/Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Home.

It’s estimated that there are 118m smart speakers in the US alone – and that’s not counting the recent Black Friday sales, which saw all the major players pushing heavily discounted devices.

Add to that the prevalence of digital assistants on virtually every modern smartphone, increasing numbers of laptops and a plethora of consoles, TVs and even fridges, and the size of the network becomes clear.

 

Voice search

As well as using these virtual assistants to play music, control Netflix or turn on the lights, people are increasingly turning to them for search.

40% of adults use voice search once per day, and the news from Google is that 20% of searches through the Android Google App are now voice searches. This is not a niche channel anymore.

Of course, depending on your industry, this may not be an issue quite yet. If you’re selling specialized industrial equipment, maybe voice search isn’t a big channel for you. But you might be surprised at how quickly it becomes the norm, even for complex queries.

And in some sectors, voice search is already overtaking text search – particularly ordering consumables, local business searches, and queries around store locations and opening hours.

 

Optimizing for voice

So how do you ensure that someone who asks Siri “Where can I buy bagels?” is going to hear about your bakery? As with all search engine optimization, there isn’t a single simple answer.

What we do know is that there are a few factors which will have an effect on your visibility (audibility?) in voice search results.

The first is simply your ranking. Voice search generally answers queries using the top three results only, and unsurprisingly, the top result most of the time. But ranking for common voice search queries differs from ranking for text search.

Search queries made via voice are much more likely to use natural language – rather than typing “bagel shop Brooklyn” users will say “bagel shop open near me” or “bagel shop near Franklin avenue” or “best bagels in Bushwick”.

So your keyword research is likely to be different for voice versus text. The use of natural language also introduces another complication, there are many more “long tail” search strings, because of the variation in how people phrase queries.

 

Voice ready content

Another strategy that isn’t specific to voice search but can give you an advantage is the implementation of structured content on your site. Structured content is basically the application of meta tags to every element of your page content to explain to search engines what it is.

It’s what allows search engines to answer queries like “How tall is the Eiffel Tower” with a simple “324m” rather than an article on the tower itself. The top result, in this case, is an Eiffel tower information page on which the height is not only mentioned in the text but tagged in the code with the description “height”. This lets the search engine know it has the right information.

Structured content is still fairly rare on the web, apart from specialist information sites or Wikipedia, mostly due to the increased workload in implementing it, but it’s something which you should seriously consider with the rise of voice search.

Similarly, adapting your content so that it crops up in Google’s “Featured Snippets” is not a new idea, but it’s one that figures prominently in how voice search selects and returns results. The simplicity and brevity of the information in a snippet is perfectly suited to the voice interface.

 

Seizing the advantage

Optimizing for voice is a developing science within digital marketing, but as relatively few companies are as yet incorporating it into their marketing strategy, there’s a good deal of opportunity to take the initiative and beat your competitors to the punch.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the work, we’ve done with businesses to get the voice ready, and the results they’ve achieved, you should book an online meeting with one of our advisors or give us a call today.

 

 

 


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We’re an experienced team here at Wolf Pack Media, and we didn’t get to where we are in our careers without witnessing a few horror stories along the way.

We were chatting in the break room last week and got onto the topic of the marketing mistakes we’d seen people make in our previous jobs – and a few common themes started to emerge.

We’re not naming and shaming, but we thought we’d share some of the worst examples of “marketing gurus” that came up in conversation. At best these guys will waste your time and money – at worst they’ll seriously damage your brand – watch out!

 

1  – The hummingbird marketer

 

Quote: “We need to refocus on social. No, print. No, wait, video.”

Boundless energy and enthusiasm for new marketing ideas one minute, totally uninterested the next. They lack the patience to follow through on their plans, preferring to skip to the next problem or opportunity and start over.

Marketing is most effective when it’s consistent and swapping between ideas at a moment’s notice prevents you from building a compelling campaign, and from analyzing and testing it thoroughly. Stay focused, and see your plan through to the end, before deciding on the next idea.

 

2  – The broadcast only marketer

 

Quote: “Let’s push this out across all channels now.”

From emails to press releases to scheduled tweets, the volume of text that flows forth from their MacBook is astounding. Drowning in a sea of notifications, their prospects are left bewildered and overwhelmed.

Multi-channel marketing is an important part of any strategy, but there’s got to be some structure to it, and it’s just as important to pay attention to inbound information as it is to push out your own message.

 

3  – The information overload marketer

 

Quote: “Whitespace is wasted space”

This is the person who always has one more strapline to fit onto a poster, one more paragraph for the landing page, one more offer that absolutely must go into the newsletter.

Trying to be all things to all people rarely works out well. It’s important that any campaign has a defined purpose and audience and the message doesn’t get lost in the noise.

 

4  – The fashion victim marketer

 

Quote: “It’s like YouTube plus Snapchat but in 4D”

Dazzled by the bright light of whatever new app comes next out of Silicon Valley, this marketer struggles to focus on existing channels, instead of betting the farm on the next big thing.

Keeping on top of emerging trends is vital in the marketing industry, but not at the expense of tried and tested strategies. Portion off some time for new ventures but make sure that business, as usual, doesn’t suffer.

 

5  – The copycat marketer

 

Quote: “Why reinvent the wheel, eh?”

Produces new ideas with surprising speed, until you find out they’ve just been ripping off the competition or recycling old work. They might call it “inspiration” but there’s a fine line between that and outright theft.

There’s a reason that the best ideas make you think “Why hasn’t that been done before?” Originality and innovation are vital to truly effective marketing, as is authenticity. Customers can tell if you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes, and they won’t reward you for it. Nor will your “inspiration’s” lawyers.

 

6  – The last-minute marketer

 

Quote: “Is it Black Friday again already?”

Constantly playing catch-up and reacting to trends that have already grown whiskers, the last-minute marketer exists in a flurry of deadlines passing by them at increasingly worrying rapidity.

Keeping track of your marketing output, and ensuring it happens on time is a challenge, but it’s vital to get it right. A properly defined marketing strategy should include a content calendar to ensure you’re ahead of the game when planning campaigns around key events, so you’re not left in a cloud of your competitors’ dust.

 

7  – The black hat marketer

 

“You can totally get away with it – everyone does it”

There’s always a shortcut – whether it’s getting 10,000 likes in a day, suddenly topping the Yelp review board or tripling your website visits overnight – but when you get caught out, it’s not pretty.

Unless you’re selling dodgy medication or suspiciously cheap designer goods, you should steer clear of any strategy that seems too good to be true. In the long run, your reputation is going to suffer when you inevitably get found out, and you run the risk of being penalized or blocked by search engines, social networks, and email providers, leaving you out in the cold.

 

Of course, these personas are exaggerated, and the list is just meant as a bit of fun. But there’s an element of truth to all of them. If you spot any of these characters pitching you their services or interviewing for a job you should probably take a step back.

Speak to the professionals instead – it’s the sensible choice. We can offer expert advice on how to develop a personalized marketing strategy that suits your working style while achieving your goals – with no shortcuts.

Book an online meeting or give us a call to talk through your options today.

 

 


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By

Voice search – is your site ready to respond?

Once the preserve of science fiction, voice-based interaction with computers has exploded in the past couple of years, mainly driven by voice assistants and devices such as Amazon’s Echo/Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Home. It’s estimated that there are 118m smart speakers in the US alone – and that’s not counting the recent Black Friday…

By
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