“Alexa, how many people received an Echo for Christmas?” 

 

While the December numbers aren’t in just yet, judging by the number of Amazon Alexa and Google Home app downloads, these smart speakers were one of, if not THE most popular items under Americans’ trees this Christmas. In Q3 alone, Amazon sold 10.4 million Alexa smart speakers and Google sold 3.5 million Nest or Home devices. The rise in popularity of smart speakers comes with vast implications and tremendous opportunities for marketers. 

As the New York Times recently reported, “Currently, native content developed for smart speakers is limited, yet the platform is ripe with opportunities to tell stories.” 

We couldn’t agree more. 

Within the scope of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a new reality is emerging and smart marketers are taking note. We’ve been monitoring this trend and in a previous blog post, we explained how marketers need to start thinking in terms of optimizing content for voice search—not just screen search—because what works for one may not work as successfully for the other. 

As we reported in a previous post, semantic search helps search algorithms anticipate the intent of the query to provide a more helpful result. In turn, voice search commands will seek and return the richest and meaningful content. This goes beyond keywords and includes a more conversational approach. What it boils down to is the difference between the way people type versus the way they talk. 

For example, if you’re on a road trip and you need gas (as the passenger of course) you may grab your phone and type “gas station near me” into Google’s search bar. On the other hand, if you’re driving and don’t want to reach for your phone you may say “Hey Siri, how far am I from the nearest gas station?” 

As you can see, the search query is quite different. We’d sound like cavemen if we talked like we type when searching. “Hey Siri, gas station near me?” isn’t natural or conversational. Voice search algorithms are looking for natural language to report back, e.g. “The closest gas station is in 15 miles.” Furthermore, voice search capabilities are changing how, when and why people search, such as asking Alexa for measurement conversions while cooking 

So what does this mean for small business marketing?


We see three straightforward implications: 

  • Be sure that your website and social media content is up-to-date, accurate, and well-written. 
  • Fully maximize the power of online directory listings such as Google My Business and Yelp.
  • Clean up any old, sloppy, or broken code on your website.

There is more to ensuring your website is ready for voice search in 2020 but these are the building blocks you shouldn’t ignore. If you do, your content will probably be ignored by the algorithms that decide how leads find you online. 

We understand that all this may sound like alphabet soup. You are focused on running your business and may not have time to figure out this whole SEO thing. The good news is that we happen to be SEO experts and would love to take this burden off of your shoulders. Let’s take a look at how we can get you optimized and ready for all these new voice searches set to come in 2020. We can make sure that your online content is fully optimized so that Siri, Alexa, or even the fingers of the less tech-savvy folks, can find it.

 

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