Mastering SEO For Digital Assistants

Businesses everywhere have spent their time mastering the concept of keywords and the game of SEO. From keyword trends to their common misspellings, businesses worked to match their site’s content to the shorthand search queries of users. Then a new player was introduced to the field: digital assistants with voice search. With more and more consumers rushing to the ease and novelty of voice-activated query systems, brands have to tap into the growing number of users who want their answers from digital assistants.

To prep your business for 2017’s biggest SEO change, we spoke to the team at 180fusion for tips on how to ensure your brand doesn’t get lost in a sea of search queries and instead makes it to the top of a result page. Here’s what you should know:

 

The User Profiles Are More Mature Than You Might Have Thought

Most marketers are shocked to learn that the most active digital assistant users are in the 44 and over age range. But it makes sense – small screens and even smaller fonts and features can be difficult to navigate, and seem foreign to those who started using them later in life. Digital assistants make operating tech-heavy smartphones more seamless for the generations that grew up with telephones instead of texts.

Keep this group in mind when developing content. But don’t go rushing off to completely override your millennial targeted content and whitewash it with the lingo of older generations. While millennials and younger generations are slower to convert to digital assistant searches, know that new studies show the number of users who convert to the trending search system is climbing. It’s only a matter of time before younger generations follow suit, but for now, safeguard your SEO site by accommodating for users already making the crossover by incorporating their interests into their posts. They’re an important audience for your business, are completely underserved and they have a lot more to spend.

 

Use Proper Grammar – And Expect It

Users keep query length for text searches simple—at about 2 words. The funny thing with voice search users, however, is that as silly as they might feel talking to a computer, they still talk to it like it’s a person. Instead of saying “grocery near me,” they are asking “Alexa, where can I find the closest grocery store?”

You’ve gotten used to keeping SEO in mind when writing up content, now it’s time to get verbal with it. As your brand makes way for digital assistants consider the conversational style of your queries. Make configuring more natural, conversational language into your content a priority and include content that provides direct answers to user questions. Identify sentences and phrases that will connect to the actual words people use in searches and incorporate those common phrases into your copy.

 

Users Want Immediate Answers

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that most online users have short attention spans. Instead of clicking to a full article, they gather their information from headlines, prefer pictures over stories and are getting pulled into short videos. Most users multitask and are on the go. They’re looking to their mobile phones for answers while they’re in their cars, watching TV,  and  at work. In such scenarios, users are either pressed for time or distracted. That means your posts have to truly impress to get even a fraction of the attention that went into creating them.

Stuffing answers to common questions and providing accurate information in a short post that also abides by SEO demands can seem like a daunting task. But it’s not as difficult as you might think. Draw in your readers with colloquial language that’s concise enough for a search engine to detect and easy enough to understand and you’ll be well prepped for victory.

 

Digital Assistants Are Here To Stay

The next five years are expected to see a 50% increase of crossover to voice and image searches. That means that as more users regularly incorporate digital assistants into their mobile habits it will become a preferred method for searches. While no one is expecting digital assistants to overtake typical browser-based search engines entirely, marketers – especially restaurants, retail and services brands – should start hedging their bets by getting on board with changes as soon as possible. For marketers, that means investing in your online presence and content. The advice to have a conversation with your customers still stands, it’s just gotten more literal.

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David Wither

Expert marketing consultant in VR and AI.