The emergence of virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant will change how we approach search engine optimization. While SEO is no stranger to fluidity, prior landscape-shifters, such as the mobile revolution, were less fundamental. Although access level and medium changed drastically, the user’s objective remained consistent. Voice search’s influence is more uncertain and the industry is still learning how users interact with these devices, and what it should mean for search engine marketing strategy. Factors will include:
The question for Dallas-based small businesses is; how will virtual assistants impact search engine optimization? Based on projections, the answer is; significantly. From Google’s knowledge graphs and local 3-pack, to schema.org and structured data markup, digital marketers should prepare to embark on a philosophical shift from SEO as we know it. Here’s what to consider at the mid-point of 2018:
Actions on Google / Amazon Skills
Since virtual assistants’ usage expands further beyond search queries, the phrase “voice search” is somewhat limiting. Consumers are using these devices for everything from commands to conversations, which widens the volume of digital interactions. Both Amazon and Google have empowered businesses to develop signature applications to interact with consumers. Through Actions on Google, companies can:
- 1. Design a Conversation
- 2. Define Actions
- 3. Build & Deploy Fulfillment
- 4. Publish Custom App (Pending Approval)
The process for Amazon’s “Alexa Skills” is similar to Actions on Google’s, and includes a direct avenue for profit with Amazon Pay. For small businesses in Dallas – Fort Worth, investing marketing dollars into voice recognition apps could prove a worthwhile resource allocation. With voice searches expected to eclipse 50% of all searches by 2020, the time to stake your claim is now.
Voice queries should impact content marketing strategies. Adding conversational content to each website section helps improve voice search visibility. One aspect of content marketing that has become increasingly important is the featured snippet which we will detail in greater length below. Rethinking how we market content will be important in seizing the opportunity voice search presents. Behaviors once considered commonplace will be rendered obsolete, which should influence various components, including:
- Information: Most content should be informational in nature, which increases the likelihood of being pulled by an assistant
- Keywords: Content should move away from exact keywords since voice queries will be posed with more conversational language
- Navigation: Content should facilitate a voice user’s journey from consumer to customer
“Alexa, find me a Dallas SEO company” is how a dialogue might begin. Once our service is pulled by Amazon from Google, the next question might be “Alexa, what kind of SEO do they do?” and our content will be expected to provide that answer efficiently. As you might imagine, failure to fulfill a user’s request at any point throughout the buying journey can result in a lost conversion.
An estimated 41% of voice queries come from featured snippets. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a featured snippet is a block of text pulled by Google from a website, and highlighted for display atop a search engine results page. Featured snippets are most often displayed on informational queries like “how, who, what, where, when, why, etc.” There is no way to designate content as a featured snippet since text blocks are chosen programmatically by Google. There are however steps one can take to give their content the best chance to be featured:
- Answer Questions: Ask a question in an H1 or H2, and answer it in the subsequent paragraph
- Fulfill Needs: Ask yourself what consumers need from your website, and provide it through content
- Organize Information: Make it simple for Google to identify important pieces of content, such as contact information
Featured snippets hold value exclusive from voice search because their presence functions as a de facto #1 Google ranking from a traditional SEO perspective. Their inclusion in many voice results multiplies that value exponentially and transforms them from a point of consideration, to the top priority. Organizing your website with FAQ sections helps generate plenty of questions and answers that address potential user queries and increases search visibility moving forward.
How DFW SEO Can Help
If you run a small business in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, DFW SEO can help you transition into the next phase of search engine optimization. From content marketing, to structured data markup, we combine innovation and skill to produce the ultimate internet marketing strategy for 2018. Furthermore, you can count on us to continue to monitor trends and keep your business ahead of competitors in every area of digital marketing.
Day-to-day operations consume most business owner’s regular schedule. Performing digital marketing tasks is a challenge in of itself, not to mention staying up-to-date on the latest trends. Outsourcing your online presence to DFW SEO alleviates much of the burden and keeps you involved with the approach and vision of your marketing campaign. Call 800.231.4871 for search engine optimization services in Dallas, TX and the surrounding area.