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How Will Paid Search Work for Voice?

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Google Home Smart Speaker from Chipin

Amazon and Google have already hinted that they are thinking about allowing paid voice search.

If voice search is going to work anything like how current paid search works, then chances are, there is going to be a ranking system similar to Google Adwords’ that checks the relevancy of a brand to a certain question as well as how high the bid for a keyword is. But due to voice search’s lack of visuals, people won’t be scrolling to read all the results returned. The number of results that will pop up through Alexa or Google Home will most likely not go above three. Maybe five, if Amazon or Google finds that it is not detrimental to a user’s experience.

Either way, brands are going to have to get smart if they want to make it onto the “voice shelf.” Assuming paid search for voice-operated devices is similar to paid search now, long-tail keywords are going to have a lot more demand and be more expensive as voice search grows. Bids for keywords like “who, what, where, when, why and how” are probably going to skyrocket. Brands will need to look more into conversational words and everyday slang.

But no matter what, the key to getting onto the voice shelf is going to be relevancy. Whether or not paid search for Alexa and Google Home becomes possible, SEO will be more important than ever with voice search because most consumers won’t be interested in ads but in organic answers to their questions. 60 percent of all questions asked of AI assistants are simply general questions. This means that not only do brands need to be relevant to consumers, but they also need to be proven experts.

If a person asks, “Alexa, how do I adopt a cat?” Alexa will pull her answer usually from the “answer box,” the box that pops up at the top of the search results, according to Search Engine Journal.

The best way for a pet brand to capitalize on that person’s question would be to polish their FAQ section and be the best answer. If a person follows up with questions asking about pet food, then that brand is already in a good spot to lead the consumer to purchase from them.

For now, the future of paid voice search is a mystery. If it comes to fruition, that will invite another era of experimentation for the best paid voice search strategy.

How do you think paid voice search will work? Is there a certain strategy that you believe will be effective?

Comment what you think below!

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Some Thoughts on AR

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Image from Digitaltrends.com

What was once a cool new thing now seems to be settling. With Pokemon Go, Snapchat filters, and now iPhone X, augmented reality is very close to being mainstream. What I mean by “mainstream” is that AR is less of a novelty and more like a matter-of-fact part of life.

People use Google in their everyday lives to search for things without ever stopping to think about how impressive a search engine is in general. Without thinking about how millions and trillions of results are neatly sorted and presented to the searcher in a matter of seconds. If the all the pages on the Internet were put into books, I would bet that it would be enough to cover Earth in a layer thick enough to touch the moon.

A while ago I talked to an SEO expert named Damian who was around for the birth of SEO – which, if you think about it was not that long ago – and he told me stories of how the very first search engines were awful things that spit out results about five football fields away from what you asked for. I can’t imagine typing in “how to make creme brulee” and getting “toenail fungus” because I do not remember a world without the Internet and without a sophisticated search engine like Google.

In that same way, I feel like AR is at that point where there are elementary-schoolers that can’t imagine not being able to point their cameras and drag and drop virtual items onto the real world around them. (Kids nowadays already believe that an number/octothorpe/pound/sharp symbol has always been called a hashtag. Oh, the horror.)

One thing that stops me from outright saying that AR is mainstream is that the medium and technology hasn’t expanded much past phones. I’m sure there are out-of-home pieces that incorporate AR. But I’m always wishing for an augmented reality GPS that can be displayed on my windshield instead of using an awkward phone stand. Or I’m hoping that more AR games would incorporate not just real world locations, but also a 360 camera effect. What I mean by this is that at the moment, the games consist of walking around outside while you stare at a little tiny figure that is supposed to be you. There is not really any functionality that allows you to explore the virtual environment of the area you are in.

AR seems to now be at the point where it is not a marvel anymore. But there are still so many possibilities and improvements that could be made with the medium. Just thinking of what fun ad campaigns can be made through AR – like “brand scavenger hunts” – gets me excited. Overwatch’s Alternate Reality Game used to reveal the character Sombra comes to mind, but that simply involved in-game and online clues. I genuinely hope that as the cool-factor of AR wears off, that new ideas and innovations will continue to be made with it.

How to Optimize Voice Search

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Mobile Voice Search, image from Search Engine Land

Also posted here, at Millennial News Today.

Voice search has been a hot topic lately, and for good reason. The largest living target market, millennials, are already using voice-operated devices in their everyday lives. According to Search Engine Land, 37 percent of millennials always or often shop online via voice-controlled devices and 43 percent made a purchase using voice in the past year.

To optimize voice search for the web, businesses must create relevant content for consumers, utilize more long-tail keywords, and clearly mark their locations if they have one.

Creating relevant content is important because of how most people use voice search. Tina Mulqueen of Forbes says 60 percent of everything asked of AI like Alexa and Siri are for simple questions like, “who is the president of France?” If a brand can answer those questions by creating a FAQ or writing articles, then that will make them more likely to come up as the answer box at the top of Google’s results. This answer box is what is usually used as the one simple answer given by Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Being “the answer” is important when considering that the number of search results that an AI will give through voice commands will most likely be limited to three.

This way of popping up in search could be useful for making breadcrumbs for the consumer to lead them to a purchase. For example, if a consumer asks how to put a chair together, then a hardware store can answer that through their own website, recommend a couple of tools needed to do the job and then secure a purchase.

Another practice that brands must start taking advantage of are using long-tail keywords. People rarely ask, “okay Google, friendly cat breed?” Instead, they’d probably say, “okay, Google, what is the friendliest cat breed?” This is why the words “who, what, when, where, why and how” are going to be so important. Conversational words and slang also need to be considered, because people speak to AI as if they are another person. Once Amazon and Google come up with paid search models for voice, brands will have to invest heavily in these keywords to make it onto the voice shelf.

Finally, if a business has a physical location, they need to be making that very clear in the form of an address in a very visible place on their website or addresses on social media like Facebook. Why? The number of people who search “near me” “has increased 34 times since 2011” and “50 percent of consumers performing a local search for a product end up visiting the store in the same day” according to Getstat.com. V-commerce has made it easier than ever before for consumers to search for pizza places near them while in the car, or search for delivery while sitting at home.

Do you have different ideas for optimizing voice search? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!