Voice search and SEO: Why B2B marketers need to pay attention now

Voice search is commonly discussed in the context of local and B2C SEO, but it’s being used for more than just getting directions to nearby restaurants or hearing the next step in a recipe while cooking. Voice search is being adopted for a variety of purposes, and its influence on B2B decision-makers is growing as well.
By looking at who’s using voice search, why they’re using it, and where they’re using it, it becomes very clear that the impact of voice search on B2B SEO is inevitable. Adoption of the technology is on the rise, so it’s time for brands to begin optimizing for voice search.
Who’s using voice technology?
As early as 2014, 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults were already using voice technology daily. Adults use it to dictate texts, illustrating a desire to avoid typing on small devices. Teens use it to get help with homework, demonstrating an early adoption of voice technology for

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Voice search becomes voice action: A key talking point at SMX London

From combining search and social to leveraging moments that matter, last week’s attendees at SMX London gained a deeper understanding of the numerous ways they can optimize their search strategies.
Described as the “ultimate survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing,” SMX  — run by Search Engine Land’s parent, Third Door Media — is a conference series designed to highlight the reach and opportunities that can be achieved through search advertising and outline search’s position in the wider marketing mix.
From my own perspective, one of the more enlightening sessions of the London event featured a presentation by Pete Campbell, founder and managing director of Kaizen, on the subject of voice search — a prominent theme given the ongoing battle of the AI assistants.
Despite existing for half a decade — Siri has been around since 2011 — voice search has only recently surged in popularity, with over a quarter (27 percent) of US smartphone users now utilizing voice

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Why the future is all about PASO — personal assistant search optimization

Personal assistants (PAs) aren’t just digital assistants that can be used to perform routine tasks. They’re also the future of SEO.
Consider two of the most popular PAs: Siri and Google Assistant. People often use those assistants to retrieve information.
And where do you think those PAs get that information from? Somewhere on the web.
Here’s what you need to know about how PAs will shape the future of SEO, and why I’m calling this a new category, personal assistant search optimization (PASO).
They’re on smartphones
Personal digital assistants are great because they’re portable. The reason they’re portable is that they’re on smartphones (though they can also be in home devices, computers and any device connected to the “Internet of Things”).
Siri, of course, has been part of the iOS smartphone platform for several years now. Likewise, Google Assistant is available on the Allo app, Google Pixel and other Android phones and Android Wear.
Portable PAs give people the ability to use their assistants, hands-free, to

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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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What marketers need to know about Google assistant and Google Home

What started with Siri in 2010 is quickly leading to an age where consumers engage with the internet using only their voices, in much the way Captain Picard engaged with the computer on the USS Enterprise.
Google’s foray into voice search has been calculated and planned for years, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. It currently appears to be based on a closed system owned and overseen by Google, not on an open system like the trillions of websites that populate the internet are built on (i.e., HTML). I predicted this eventuality more than two years ago, after the Nest acquisition.
These are the problems and challenges brought by Google’s new assistant that marketers and SEOs alike need to be aware of.
Google I/O 2016 announcement
On May 18, 2016, Google announced Google Home, a speaker that houses the new Google assistant (Yes, it’s Google assistant with a lower-case a, not Google Assistant) platform and that resembles the Amazon Echo. The Home device seeks

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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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3 upcoming trends in paid search

Recently, we’ve seen some fairly significant changes on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Right-rail ads have disappeared, and on mobile, we’re seeing more prominent placement of Google Shopping ad units.
In this article, I’ll cover some upcoming trends in paid search and speculate on where the trends will lead. Though I refer mostly to Google, these predictions apply largely to all the major search engines.
The only absolute certainty is that there will be more changes in the paid search landscape!
1. More “shopping” ad units
Google Shopping has been very successful for Google, and retailers’ share of clicks from Google Shopping ads (aka PLAs or Product Listing Ads) continues to grow. In fact, according to data from Merkle, “Across all devices, PLAs overall accounted for 38 percent of retailers’ Google search ad clicks in Q4 [2015], up from 30 percent a year earlier.”
PLA growth stemmed from a couple of very recent changes, the first of which was better visibility of Google Shopping results

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Etsy Boosts Search For Better Content Discovery, User Engagement

Etsy has more than 30 million items for sale from more than one million sellers globally. There are no SKUs and most of the data is unstructured, creating a messy and massive discovery challenge for both Etsy and its users.
Accordingly the company is today rolling out more sophisticated search functionality, after a month-long beta test in which it saw increased engagement from both desktop and mobile users.
Etsy has always had search but at a basic level — it was described to me as a “one size fits all approach” — that didn’t do a good job of showcasing the site’s products. The company is now doing a better job of recognizing user intent and delivering more tailored results.
The top image below is a “before” screen and the second image below is the “after” screen. These screens may look similar but there’s now a great deal more going on “under the hood” to make results both more relevant and to expose more

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