Do you remember the movie “A.I.” starring Will Smith, or going further back, HAL 9000, the computer in “2001 A Space Odyessy?” When I think how far we have progressed in making some things a reality that science fiction writers only dreamed and wrote about 17 years and 50 years ago, it is mind boggling.
Today we have a technology in our home, on our tablets and smartphones that is changing the way consumers search for information, perform their daily tasks, and shop, that is based on the technology featured in the two movies I mentioned in the beginning, A.I. technology and machine learning.
It is estimated that 50 percent of searches will be done by voice by 2020. Whether it is to find a local restaurant that specializes in Vegetarian food, looking to buy something online, or getting direction using the quickest route, by using the Gobal Positioning System (GPS) in our cars, smartspeaker in our homes or the virtual assistant on our tablet or smartphone.
As a Content Marketer to not be prepared for what is predicted for 2020 and beyond, is not wise and the likelihood of business failure is highly possible. That would be almost the same as living in Florida knowing a hurricane is coming and not preparing to keep you and your family safe.
Okay that is a bit exaggerated, but by not preparing your website for how consumers are changing the way they search for information, products to purchase, or how to do day to day routines, you stand the chance of loosing traffic to your website, and at the same time the potential of generating passive income. You would be committing the same mistake several brick and mortar business did when the consumer started to shop online. Their approach to marketing did not advance with the changing trends and today they are no longer in business.
To avoid that from happening, this article will identify several factors you need to take into consideration as you move forward writing content for your online business and adjusting previous posts to reflect the changing times.
I will focus on the smartspeaker because just about every major Internet player is getting into the game, but what I write about smartspeakers will also apply to the virtual assistant on the tablet and smartphone. One of the current trends is the increase use of the smartphone and tablet. An important change you should make is to ensure your online business is mobile friendly.
Smart-speakers What Are They?
The first time I saw a wireless voice controlled smart-speaker up close and personal was while visiting a friend in Maryland, in the United States of America. I had seen the Amazon, Echo Dot, at the time, on Amazon’s website and thought it kind of neat, but already having several speakers around my house, I had to question the need to have another one. Not realizing that it could do much more than play music. I of course already had the virtual assistants, Cortana on my laptop and Siri on my iPad.
Flash forward a few years and we have smartspeakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Microsoft does not have a smartspeaker to date, but it has partnered with Harmon Kardon to include its voice assistant on the Invoke.
What are voice searches? Well voice search uses voice recognition technology along with machine learning to allow you, the consumer, to search for anything on your smartphones, tablets or laptops over the internet, rather than having to type your query in to a browser.
Most of the major online players have developed Smartspeakers and voice assistance platforms to advance the consumer experience. With Amazon, we have Alexa, with Google we have Google Assistant, Siri with Apple and Cortana with Microsoft. I am sure as this continues to evolve others will get into the game, but currently these are the market leaders. They are also making their voice assistant technology available to work on each other’s devices.
All of them are pushing the music aspect of their respective smartspeaker and if that is your desire, then currently the Apple HomePod, has the best quality sound. While Alexa and Google give you more flexibility in terms of using music sources (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer) the HomePod is restricted to Apple Music for now.
When we speak of flexibility Siri and Google Assistant are dominating the availability on device with voice search. The following are the devices on which each is available:
- Amazon Alexa – Echo (Dot, Plus, Spot, Show)
- Apple Siri – iPhone, iPad, iPod, MacBook)
- Microsoft Cortana – Windows 10, Windows phone, Xbox, Harmon Kardon Invoke, Apple iOS and Android apps
- Google Assistant – Google Home, Pixel phone, Android devices, Apple iOS and Android apps
All of them, however, have so much more to offer in terms of consumer searching and from that aspect there is a huge potential for online businesses to take advantage of this ever expanding technology. That can only happen if you are mobile friendly, your content is of high quality and based on keywords, which the search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo use to respond to queries, and your snippets/Meta descriptions are adding value to your content. My only suggestion is to try and not be late to this marketing party and be proactive in getting your websites optimized.
What Is The Impact On Internet Marketing?
In 2017, Statista.com estimated the number of smart devices and smart speakers in homes in the United States to be approximately 36 million. By 2020 it estimates that number will rise to somewhere around 66 million. Now with that number of consumers with the capability in the home to do internet research while doing other tasks makes its impact huge. Imagine, you are in the kitchen and you notice that you are short a few items. You say to your smartspeaker, “add onions, bread and milk to my shopping list.” The voice assistant responds with “onions, bread and milk added to your shopping list. You no longer have to turn on your computer or smartphone, and make a shopping list.
You get the confirmation that the items have been added to your shopping list, while you are still in the kitchen and working at another tasks without having to leave your kitchen or use a sticky note on the fridge. The other thing you will not have to do is skim through the list of possible responses that Google, Bing and Yahoo usually generate based on the keywords you typed in the browser.
This is why the snippet or meta description you use has to be accurate in describing the content of your posts, if you want your post to be the one selected by the voice search. You see, as voice technology advances and gets better at recognizing your voice and understanding your search patterns based on previous searches. The closer they will be in finding the right fit to your question or search. The more precise your snippets or meta descriptions are the more you will have the advantage over your competitors.
How People are Using Voice Searches
The evolution of online searching continues. Mobility is causing more and more people to use voice search rather than the traditional browser. That is why you need to get your online business ready for those consumers who are increasingly moving towards voice when searching for products, information or services. The following are some ways people are using voice assistance:
- Streaming music from a favourite artist, genre or playlist
- Daily activities while hands and eyes are performing other critical tasks (e.g. driving, cooking, looking after another family member)
- Scheduling and as a reminder of daily priorities and providing alarms
- Searching for products, services and information
- Creating lists (shopping)
- Listening to eBooks, while driving or doing other activities
And the list is growing as the technology improves. Armed with this information, you should start to review your website and identify how to prepare your online business to be part of the evolution.
How To Position Your Website
There is a phrase used by people in the industry, semantic search. This is a search not only based on keywords, but includes a collection of other factors, such as previous searches, the types of search or patterns. In other words the search engines are improving on understanding how and for what the consumer is searching.
The old method of search is based on keywords and the accuracy of the results would vary depending on the keywords used. When using voice however, we tend to be more conversational when we ask for a search. This resembles what we call “long-tail keywords and that is what you need to prepare your content to reflect to maximize the probability of your site being selected.
Your content moving forward needs to speak to the visitor, rather than the search engines. In the content marketing community, to which I am a member, we are constantly reminded not to keyword stuff our content. Instead, we are coached to write in a friendly conversational manner, as if speaking with a friend or family member.
One of my friends recently visited my website and read a few of my posts. He had never seen any of my work before, so he was pleasantly surprised. One of the things he said to me is how much he liked the way I write. He felt like I was speaking to him, rather than at him. That was a compliment that I hope I will continue to live up to. When people comment on your posts, observe the language and wording they used. More than often that is the same wording or language they will use when searching by voice. Incorporate that language and wording into your posts.
Being mobile friendly is becoming increasingly more important. Although Cortana debuted on Windows 10, and Siri on the iPhone 4S, the increase in voice searches has happened on mobile smartphones and tablets and does not look like stopping anytime soon. The majority of people using voice search are doing so when they are driving. The next large group of users are those who are occupied doing another activity. Should your website not be mobile friendly, it is almost certain that ranking on page one in the search engines will be nonexistent.
At the end of the day snippets or meta descriptions will be one of the factors used to respond to voice searches. Any website or post ranked on page one, that has a clear response to the question or the information, product or service being queried will be a part of the search engines response to the voice searches. Those featured snippets or meta descriptions will be how questions are answered and help people find direction, purchase products, gather information, or find a service.
Ensure your content is easy to read and understandable by the search engines. Make sure you are using long-tail keywords in the first paragraph and in tags.
If you have not figured it out yet I am a movie fan. I love to watch most genre of movie. I especially enjoy science fiction and movies like 2001 Space Odyssey, A.I. The Terminator, and The Matrix are especially of interest to me because they spoke of a technology that did not exist at that time or if it did it was in a rudimentary stage.
Today that technology is real and with the concept of machine learning, people are asking whether machines will surpass the human race. This is not the place to respond to that question, but in terms of getting your online business voice search ready, I would recommend you check out Wealthy Affiliate, the community to which I am a member. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned content marketer, Wealthy Affiliate can assist you in getting prepared for the 21st Century.
I could list the benefits being a member of Wealthy Affiliate gives you here but that would not do them justice. One of the benefits of being a member is access to a state-of-the-art platform that is always evolving to make its members’ experience exceptional. Click on the button below, take a tour and then take advantage of the free subscription.
Thank you for reading my post. If you know of someone who this information can help, please share. If you have any questions or a comment I would love to hear from you. Please leave either or both below. I will get back to you.