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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The AdWords 2017 roadmap is loaded with artificial intelligence

Google recently shared their 2017 AdWords product roadmap at Google Marketing Next. Because the audience is primarily comprised of executives at big agencies and big brands, and Google is doing its best to get them excited about all their capabilities, the event sometimes skims over some of the details that matter to those of us managing accounts day-to-day.
I’ll share my take on the announcements and what excited or frustrated me the most. Even though it’s now been five years since I left Google, all but one of the presenters are people I used to work with, and they were kind enough to invite me backstage to get a bit more detail than what was covered in the keynote.
Custom in-market audiences for search
I’m a PPC geek, so I obviously love better targeting. That’s why the announcement of in-market audiences for search got me so excited. How often have we all wished for a way to look beyond the query

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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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The future of voice-related SEO for local business

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On May 18, Google brought hundreds of developers together for Google I/O, its annual developer conference. Hot topics included artificial intelligence, natural language processing, voice recognition, translation and new product announcements — Google Home, Google assistant and Allo.
Maybe you’ve heard about some of these, but I’m going to share thoughts on how you should adapt your local marketing to these developments. But first, a brief recap of some of these announcements.
Google Home is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo. It’s a voice-activated speaker-like device that can intelligently listen to commands, return answers to queries from Google Search, control home automation, play music and set appointments using a new platform called Google assistant.
Allo is Google’s new messaging app. It uses integrated machine learning and continues to learn your style over time, making it more convenient for users to get things done — make reservations, list tasks, schedule meetings and so on. It also features Smart Reply,

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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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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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How To Build A Customer-Centric Keyword Strategy

It’s no secret that keyword research is an integral part of crafting a successful SEO strategy. After all, keywords provide us insights into our users and help drive our content strategy.
The challenge is that our keyword strategy must evolve as search evolves. Along with the changes in the search results themselves, we as search marketers must also account for the various ways users can search (voice, mobile, desktop), query length changes, and user expectations.
Query Length & Voice Search
Blue Nile Research released a study at the end of April that looked at how individuals searched. While there is a ton of great data in the report worth checking out, what stood out to me was this:
Blue Nile’s research shows an exact 50-50 split between users who search in fragments (e.g. “swollen ankle”) and those who search in more fully formed terms (e.g. “causes of swollen ankle during sleep”). When it came to questions vs. statements, 27% of respondents phrased

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