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The Surprising Ways Alexa, Siri, and Cortana Are Changing SEO

The Surprising Ways Alexa, Siri, and Cortana Are Changing SEO

As many as 20 million of us have a voice assistant in our homes and just about all of us have access to Siri or Bixby on our smartphones. Current research shows that up to 73% of businesses carefully map out content strategies. In order for these strategies to remain as effective and fruitful as possible, companies need to think about the ways searches are changing. Namely, they need to think about voice search engine optimization (SEO).

What is voice SEO? Voice SEO is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of optimizing pages and building backlinks for rankings on web and mobile pages only, the top SEO services and digital marketing services now take searches conducted using Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and other voice assistants into account.

Learn the critical and necessary steps to make content and web pages voice assistant-friendly.

Consider How People Speak

Moving forward, content and web pages need to focus on a conversational style. Consumers using voice assistants ask short questions and expect equally conversational — but fully-formed — responses in return. Think about it. When you ask, “Alexa, what’s the weather?”, she answers succinctly but in complete sentences, avoiding one-word responses or just two or three keywords. Before posting any type of web copy, read the writing out loud. It should sound natural and organic, the same way someone would speak.

Don’t break out the thesaurus. According to Forbes, most voice searches can be ranked at a ninth-grade reading level or below, so skip big words. Forbes projected that as many as half of all searches would be voice searches by this year, so make any necessary changes or adjustments to your strategy right away!

The Surprising Ways Alexa, Siri, and Cortana Are Changing SEO

Know What The Customer Is Looking For

Consumers generally use voice search for four main reasons. They are looking for factual information, the location of a business, restaurant, or place of interest, specific products to purchase, or things to do. All of these searches translate into opportunities for businesses, if they play their cards correctly. While purchases are an obvious goal, it is possible to target customers looking for information, addresses, or consumers hoping to complete a task. For example, when you take particular care to show up in local searches, your company is more likely to rank when consumers use voice search to find nearby businesses or restaurants. Similarly, if you have genuinely useful content on your website, you may be able to be a source for customers to turn to when using voice search.

For now, long-form content ranks best! Most content should be at least 1,000 words. Content up to 2,000 and 3,000 words ranks well, too. However, when people query voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Bixby, their questions tend to be just 29 words long. What can you do about this discrepancy?

Quick answers, featured snippets, position zero, or answer boxes are the solution, according to Forbes. These featured snippets are the blurbs that appear on search engine result pages, typically giving a quick summary of your web content and the value your business can provide to consumers. To target voice assistant users, keep these snippets under 29 words, use concise language, get right to the point, and use lists, bullet points, and H-tags.

Tailor Products to Amazon SEO

Less than one-quarter of companies report satisfaction with their conversion rates. This is only likely to get worse if businesses do not carefully plan for changes in searches and search rankings thanks to the growing, widespread use of voice assistants and voice-assisted technology. While it is wise to optimize your website and content for Google, it may be best or at least equally prudent to prioritize Amazon for products and online purchases. Do this by using high-quality images, Amazon’s specific format for product descriptions and titles, and writing a succinct, accurate, and appealing product description.

Voice assisted technology is changing the way we search in our homes and on our devices. Stay competitive, optimize pages for voice search, and do not forget about Bing, Alexa’s chosen search engine.

Image courtesy of James Yarema