Many marketers are still concerned about how to reach their target groups on the mobile web, and the next big turning point is already in sight: voice search and voice assistants. The short, purposeful interactions with Alexa, Siri and so on hardly leave any room for advertising messages. On top of this, many conversations do not require a display.
SEO in times of voice search
Search engine optimization in this world means delivering the best responses. Google’s assistant doesn’t want to return the famous “ten blue links” as a result, but correct, understandable and helpful information.
So it is no coincidence that Google’s search results pages have been transforming more and more into response pages in recent years. Often you don’t even need to click on a website at all. The “Knowledge Graph”, for example, provides information about people, places or institutions. The “Featured Snippet”, on the other hand, presents the response to a question right at the top of the results page.
Google is not yet smart enough today to formulate such responses itself. Therefore, pages with frequently asked questions and the answers to these (“FAQs”) are a useful tip for gaining the edge here. Backlinko has shown, for example, that Google likes to draw on such templates.
You don’t need to create a separate page for each possible question. Google will find the answers even if they are embedded in a larger text. Rather, it is about keeping such naturally formulated questions and answers in mind when creating content. And every webmaster should address the matter of structured data to make work easier for Google and so on. For example, Google has just initiated a new specification which can be used to mark parts of the text as “speakable”.
At the same time, Google’s developers are already working on becoming more independent of what they find on the Internet: in a paper, Google describes how they could evaluate different content and provide an automatically generated summary from this.
Marketing for a world without displays
Voice search is already an important element for stores and other local companies. Increasingly, users are demanding results close to them. Here it is important for companies to be present in the relevant directories such as Yelp, which search engines like Google often make use of. It is also important that all essential metadata such as specific location information is stored on your own website in machine-readable form.
However, how advertising content can be integrated into this new world is still an unresolved problem. A mixture of responses and ads is an irritating experience for users. Today, it seems most promising to add features to the assistants – similar to an app. “Skills” can be developed for Alexa. Apple’s Siri offers individual “shortcuts” with the next version of iOS. In both cases it’s about adding features or making them easier to access. If you already have an app today, you should certainly take a closer look at this. This is particularly useful as a customer loyalty tool, because it is another way of making use of the company’s products and services.
Closing remarks and outlook
The voice assistants from Google, Apple and Amazon are still in their infancy today. They haven’t had their “iPhone moment” yet, like the mobile Internet a good ten years ago. For example, it was recently revealed that the assistant Alexa isn’t really paying off for Amazon yet: only one percent of users have tried to order something from the online department store by voice command. And 90 percent of these users only did that the one time.
However, usage is generally increasing. Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report already established in 2016 that 20 percent of all mobile searches were performed by voice command. ComScore estimates that by 2020 half of all search queries will be made by voice command.