How do you optimize content for a voice-first world?

For years, the use of voice search and voice assistants to answer questions has been on the rise. According to Google, 20 percent of all mobile search queries are voice search, and that number will only go up.
Voice recognition technology is getting better and better: Google’s technology is now 95 percent accurate.

Yet for most SEO professionals, not much has changed in the way they optimize content for this new way to search. Now is the perfect time to pay attention to voice search and to start incorporating SEO strategies that can increase your chances to show up in voice results.
Gary Vaynerchuk agrees. From his book, “Crushing It”:
It’s called Voice-First, and anyone currently building a personal brand needs to learn about it fast and early. Its platforms are the equivalent of yet-to-be-discovered Malibu beachfront property, much like Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010 and Snapchat in 2012.
Voice search and personal voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Google

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Bing announces AI-powered new ‘intelligent search’ features

At Microsoft’s AI event yesterday in San Francisco, the company showcased its vision for AI-enabled computing, as well as its AI differentiation strategy. The latter essentially boils down to three big ideas: making AI-supported software broadly accessible to people to improve “everyday” experiences, the seamless combining of work and personal functionality in the same tools and the intention to be an ethical AI company.
Microsoft showed how AI and machine learning are now supporting its marquee products, from Windows to Office 365 and Bing. The most impressive demonstration of the day (from a self-interested perspective) featured AI-guided and automated design suggestions in PowerPoint.
There were several Bing-centric AI announcements, all under the heading of “intelligent search“:

Intelligent Answers
Intelligent Image Search
Conversational Search

Intelligent Answers
Think of this as a kind of “next-gen Featured Snippets.” But what is different and interesting is that Bing is often summarizing or comparing multiple sources of information rather than just presenting a single answer.
If there are competing perspectives on an

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Siri is Google’s nearest mobile search competitor [Report]

A new study from Fivesight Research, “US Consumer Search Preferences Smartphone & Desktop: Q1 2017,” finds that Siri is the mobile “search engine” of choice after Google. The study was based on a survey of 800 US adults split roughly evenly between iOS and Android users.
Google was by far the dominant mobile search engine, with an 84 percent aggregate share among respondents. Among Android users, Google’s search share was 90 percent. Among iPhone owners Google had a 78 percent share. After Google, however, Siri was named by more respondents as their “primary search engine” than Bing or Yahoo. (However, this doesn’t reflect query volume, just identification as the primary engine of choice.)

Siri was the primary search engine of 13 percent of iPhone owners. This finding is significant because it suggests the long-term, potentially disruptive impact of voice and virtual assistants on traditional “query in a box” results. It’s important to point out, however, that these responses reflect

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Why retailers shouldn’t overreact to the voice search revolution

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If recent accounts on the rise of voice search are anything to go by, the volume of long-tailed queries with more natural language and searches with a question is heading nowhere but up and to the right. This, the argument goes, should in turn impact our digital strategy as we strive to account for the inherent differences in typed search vs. voice search.
Taking a look at the search queries triggering paid and organic results for retail brands using Google’s paid and organic reporting in AdWords, however, there hasn’t been much movement over the past couple of years for a few key query attributes that would indicate a major shift in search behavior.
This makes the excitement surrounding voice search sound a lot more like those way-too-early “year of mobile” declarations than anything that needs to be rapidly addressed by all sites and brands.
And while the research presented here is far from the be-all, end-all in

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Google says 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches

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Earlier today Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. He spoke about this in the context of introducing Google’s new Amazon Echo competitor Google Home.
This 20 percent figure is actually lower than one mentioned by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in September 2010. At that time he said, “25% of Android searches in the U.S. are voice searches.” Regardless of the precise number, it’s clear that voice searches are growing.
In December, we reported on survey data from MindMeld that found that there has been a significant increase in voice assistant and voice search usage, with 60 percent of survey respondents saying that they had started using virtual assistants and voice search in the past 12 months.

The range of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa and now Google Home are

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Son of Siri: Viv aims to go way beyond today’s digital assistants

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There’s a confluence of technology advancements that are dramatically changing “search”: mobile, artificial intelligence, big data and natural language processing. From Siri and Alexa to Facebook M and Jibo, voice UIs and virtual assistants are the future.
Ahead of its public unveiling on Monday, the Washington Post ran a story on next-generation virtual assistant Viv. Viv could be described as Son of Siri or Siri 2.0, with much more focus on AI and commerce. It’s built by the same people who launched Siri before Apple acquired it, including co-founder Dag Kittlaus.
Believe it or not, Siri launched way back in 2009 with the goal of advancing the search experience using a natural language interface and delivering actionable/transactional results rather than a SERP. The Post article uses the example of ordering pizza from a nearby restaurant to showcase Viv’s conversational-transactional potential:
“Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” one of the engineers said into his

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Cortana For Android Is Officially Available For Download In US Beta

A month ago Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana became available for download in a pre-beta release. Now an official US beta version of Cortana for Android is here. An iOS version is coming soon.
The full Cortana experience and functionality are available to Windows 10 and Windows Phone users. But because Cortana for Android doesn’t access your email or read your calendar it can’t deliver the same depth of functionality and features on Android. Nonetheless I was able to use Cortana in its beta form today for a wide range of tasks:

As a voice-enabled search engine for web queries
To initiate texts and calls with voice
Set alarms
Create reminders
Create meeting and calendar entries
Get driving directions (it uses Google Maps)
Conduct local searches near me (this was a standout feature)

From a technical standpoint I don’t know what prevents Cortana currently from reading my email (Gmail) or Google Calendar. On the iPhone I actually rely more heavily on the Outlook mail app, which presumably

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