Study: 80% of Google Home results come from snippets

Digital agency ROAST has released a Voice Search Ranking Report (registration required), which seeks to categorize and understand how Google processes and responds to voice queries. It also tries to determine when Google Home uses featured snippets/Answer Box results and when it does not.
The company used keyword analytics to compile a list of “616 key phrases in the UK featuring snippet answer boxes.” It then determined the top phrases by query volume across a range of verticals (e.g., medical, retail, travel, finance). The tests were run in November and compared Google Home and traditional search results.
The study sought to answer the following questions:

How many of the key phrases were answered [on Google Home]?
Do the answers given match the answer boxes’ results?
Which key phrases prompt Google not to user answer boxes?
Can we compare visibility on voice search to answer boxes? Is there a difference?

In the majority of cases, the Google Home result mirrored the snippet/Answer Box, according to the

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Google adds keyword functionality to the AdWords app

We haven’t heard much about development on the AdWords app lately, but there’s a new update out today that makes the app more useful.
Advertisers can now add, edit and remove keywords from their campaigns using the AdWords app.

You can now add, edit or remove keywords on the go using the AdWords app. Learn more: https://t.co/CHjsn1uZHr pic.twitter.com/ZhMzM6IaiL
— Google AdWords (@adwords) January 18, 2018

To add a keyword, simply click the new round blue “plus” button that appears in the bottom right corner of the various Keyword views in the app.
To delete existing keywords, click on the keyword you want to delete and then on the trash can icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
From that same specific keyword screen, advertisers can edit the word itself or change the match type. That’s also where advertisers can pause or enable a keyword and change manually set bids.

For full instructions, see the help center page.
The AdWords app can be downloaded

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Survey: Smart speaker ownership steals time from smartphones, TV, radio

In a follow-up to mid-2017 research on US smart speaker ownership, NPR and Edison Research have released new findings indicating that nearly 40 million Americans now own the devices. That number is roughly double what it was in July 2017 and shows the impact of 2017 holiday sales on the market.
The new survey was conducted in two parts, online and by telephone, in November and then in late December. It reflects that satisfaction with these devices is high, and people are using them more frequently and gradually expanding the use cases. Another striking finding is that smart speaker ownership is impacting (read: decreasing) usage of other media and devices.

As one might expect, smart speakers tend to be placed in the living room and then the kitchen. Other research found that smart speaker ownership triggered smart home appliance and fixture purchases. In the NPR survey, a significant percentage (31 percent) of owners reported that they had “controlled household devices with

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Understanding AdWords keyword match types for manufacturers

In a previous column, I addressed the challenges paid search advertising can present to industrial manufacturers who sell capabilities versus stock products.
Another challenge is the AdWords help files themselves. As an advertising platform, AdWords is geared more to retailers — when a platform uses common retail products to illustrate keyword strategies, it’s often hard to see how the example relates to keywords for complex manufacturing capabilities.
For example, under Basic Tips for Building a Keyword List, AdWords uses the example of men’s shoes:

If you’re a manufacturer offering a capability or products manufactured to engineers’ specifications for use in unique applications, it can be tough to come up with multiple basic categories if you’re thinking in terms of clothing items. “Well,” you might think, “we make precision machined parts,” or, “we electropolish stainless steel parts. I can’t think of another category.”
This confusion then carries over into keyword match type. “If you sell hats,” says one of the help files,

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Smart speaker sales grew 103% last year

The latest in a growing number of studies on voice search and virtual assistants, Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), found that sales of “voice assistants” (let’s assume that’s smart speakers) grew roughly 103 percent in Q4 vs. a year ago. Most of these sales (79 percent) took place in the fourth quarter (lots of gifts).
Data from ADI and other third-party analyst firms justify the assertion that smart speakers became the fastest-selling consumer technology last year, dramatically outpacing wearables and VR.
ADI’s analysis is based on retail sales data and a survey of more than 1,000 US consumers. According to the study, more than 50 percent of consumers who own smart speakers use them at least daily, with 22 percent saying they also shop using voice commands.
Source: Adobe Digital Insights (2018)
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents, according to ADI, now consider voice recognition capabilities to be “good.” With only 4 percent saying they’re “poor.” In addition, only a minority of

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Looking back at 2018 in search: A time traveler’s year in review

Greetings from the future! I’m writing to you from January 2019. Since search is such a dynamic space, with every year bringing unexpected developments, I thought it would be helpful to use my knowledge as a denizen of the future to give you a glimpse into what’s to come in 2018. So for you, this is a look forward — but for me, it’s a year in review. And let me warn you, you’d best buckle up!
(Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Sorry folks, I can’t tell you which cryptocurrencies take off, as I promised some guy named Doc Brown I wouldn’t, but I can say that AI-investment programs sure do a number on it.)
The top stories in search in 2018
The big question for Search Engine Land readers, of course, is, What the heck will happen in search in 2018? Obviously, I can’t cover everything, but here are the top stories that will make

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YouTube SEO 101

Based on Alexa traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most visited site on the web, right after Google. Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketers still treat it like any other social media site. But success on YouTube isn’t about posting content, it’s about optimizing your content — just like your website.
It’s easy to find videos with millions of views and videos with almost none that are basically the same. The difference between success and failure often boils down to a few elements.
When it comes to YouTube SEO, a lot of the optimization work can be encapsulated into a process that you can apply to all your old videos and then to each video as you publish it. And you’re about to learn that process.
Here’s what you need to know if you want your content to rank number one on YouTube for the keywords you care about.
The basics
This section contains the essential background information you’ll need to understand

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Google removes addiction treatment ads from UK search results

Google has removed search ads related to addiction treatment in the UK, following an investigation by The Sunday Times (registration required).
The investigation revealed an ongoing issue with middlemen bidding on the terms and receiving large kickbacks from the private centers where the searchers are ultimately referred to, in a practice called “patient brokering.”
The companies frequently masquerade as impartial help lines without disclosing their business model to the searchers that encounter them. The move to remove them from UK results follows an earlier change in the US. Google began removing ads from addiction treatment-related query results in the US starting in September of last year.
The practice of patient brokering is illegal in several states in the US, but it is not illegal in the UK. Critics of the practice cite this as one of the reasons for the increased cost of care, pointing out the high commissions paid out to the referral agents have to come from somewhere. Those

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10 facts about rich results that all SEOs should know

As of December 19, 2017, “rich results” is the new name for all of Google’s special search result features and enhancements, including rich snippets, rich cards and enriched results.
As a marketer, those terms probably aren’t new to you. They’re intended to make search results stand out by incorporating additional information in the form of pictures, review stars and so forth.
Below, I’ll cover everything you need to know about rich results going into 2018.
1. Structured data is generally used to obtain rich results
Structured data is coded within your page markup and is used to provide information about a page and its content. In addition to helping Google better understand your page content, structured data is also used to enable rich results.
Although not all structured data leads to a rich result, marking up content with schema.org structured data (commonly called “schema markup”) can certainly improve your chances of obtaining a rich result in SERPs. Certain kinds of schema markup, such as

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Google says Assistant now on more than 400 million devices

Google said in a blog post this morning, “The [Google] Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices.” When Google says “devices” it’s including Android smartphones, tablets, TVs, headphones . . . and Google Home smart speakers.
What we don’t get from the post is how many Google Home, Mini and Max speakers were sold in 2017. Four hundred million is a massive number but it’s going to be mostly Android smartphones. If Google were really psyched about the Home figures it would have called them out specifically.
We can make a crude estimate of how many Google Home devices there are in US households. Based on a review of data from NPR, Strategy Analytics and Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, it appears that Google Home has roughly a 25 percent share of the US smart speaker market. Specifically, Strategy Analytics estimated that Google’s share of Q4 smart speaker sales was 24 percent.
Walker Sands (“Future of Retail 2017“),

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