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“Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

Those words, uttered countless times by Captain Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” perhaps sum up what the vision of the future was even just 20 years ago. It was a concept of a world in which we could directly speak to our computers and receive immediate feedback – a reaction to meet our needs in real time. As we roll into 2017, we move forward, as well, with the voice-enabled revolution, bringing our homes one step closer to having the conveniences of the 24th century in the world of today.

So What Are Voice-Enabled Services?

iPhone users perhaps know voice-enabled services better than most, with the launch of Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, as part of iOS 5 back in 2011. This “virtual assistant” allowed users of the latest iPhones to speak to their phones to complete a number of basic commands, ranging from composing text messages to asking about the weather – along with a smattering of joke responses. Perhaps you remember saying “Open the pod bay doors” to your iPhone, harkening the assistant’s response to the famous line from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

While cracking smart responses was one of Siri’s strong suits, its arrival to the scene in 2011 perhaps had a far greater impact in bringing the concept of speaking to our devices to life and in the hands of millions of active smartphone users. It wasn’t long before many felt comfortable working with Siri and communicated by talking TO their phones instead of through them. Since then, numerous other applications have appeared on the market, most notably Google Voice Search, Microsoft’s Cortana, and in recent months, Amazon’s Alexa.

Let’s Talk Talking Hardware

Of course, voice-enabled services only work if there’s a proverbial ear listening, and that’s where hardware comes in. We’ve already covered the iPhone, and in the years since, Siri has found a home on Apple’s other devices, including the iPad, the Apple Watch, Apple TV in 2015 and – late last year – moving to the company’s computer line as part of macOS Sierra. This has made it ubiquitous for Apple users and means help from the digital assistant is only a “Hey, Siri” away at nearly any time.

Google Voice Search

Google Voice Search made the next play, rolling out and evolving from its earlier incarnations to become a similar personal assistant for Android devices. As with Siri, users ask questions for Google to search and receive answers in real time. Stuck at the airport in Cancun and need to learn how to ask “Where is a taxi?” in Spanish? Pull out your phone and ask Google Voice Search to get the answer you need in seconds.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s voice interactivity truly came into its own with the launch of the latest console, Xbox One. When connected with the Kinect – “Kinected,” perhaps? – owners can ask the entertainment system to control a wide variety of functions, including watching TV – even a specific channel – switching to a specific game or app (like Netflix or Amazon Video) or to record a highlight gameplay clip. This functionality brought voice control out of our phones and into the living room. Voice activation’s place in the home only expanded with Siri’s addition to the Apple TV and our next entries – Google Home and Amazon Echo. Like Siri, Microsoft’s digital assistant has been further upgraded as well, developing into Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant that has become an option not only on the Xbox, but also on PCs, allowing spoken interaction and engagement on a range of topics.

Google Home

Google stepped up voice recognition with the introduction of the home-centric hub, Google Home. This networked home device is capable of listening to your questions and providing a range of services without requiring any manual inputs. This includes all the capabilities of Google’s voice search – “OK Google, how many tablespoons are in a cup?” – and receiving spoken answers in return. It’s also capable of integrating other useful features into your life, including your daily calendar and task lists, managing your entertainment – music and video playback, for example – as well as controlling internet-connected devices throughout your home, like thermostats, lighting or smart TVs.

Amazon Echo

Finally, Amazon has introduced the Echo, a similar home hub device powered by Amazon’s new AI – Alexa. Like Google Home, the Echo is designed to offer a number of resources to owners. Whether you’re looking for information on a particular topic, need to place an order, want to play music or even control other aspects of the home – more on that in a minute – the Echo listens and responds, placing your order with the ecommerce giant for delivery or pumping out the latest hits from your favorite artists. The Echo and Home perhaps mark the latest high water mark and the next step in the greater evolution of search and shopping.

What Does Voice Search Mean for Business?

Cutting through the chatter – quite literally – the burning question now is what does this all mean? And the answer may seem as confusing as this cycling interaction between Siri, Alexa and Google Home.

Voice capabilities further expand upon something that has been trending in SEO for the past few years – a push toward more natural content. From a writer’s perspective, this has meant putting copy online that not only provides good information, but also engages the reader, entices them to read more and provides details – whether fact-heavy topics or casual knowledge subjects – in an easy to understand way.

The same concept now advances on to voice. As people start having conversations with their devices on search topics, we need to begin adapting our search optimization approach in kind. Let’s use a hypothetical case to illustrate.

Searching for Answers for My Clogged Sink

At my home, my sink has clogged, and now I’m in need of a plumber. While screaming expletives at the backed up pipe – which hasn’t solved the problem – I remember my Google Home is on the kitchen counter and say “OK Google, what plumbers are nearby?” My Google Home hears my request and searches online for plumbers near my home and gives me a list of options, providing phone numbers for me to call, as well, to request some help.

This example illustrates several key aspects of the changing nature of modern search. Before having a Google Home, I would probably have gone to my computer or pulled out my smartphone and typed in a relevant search phrase (probably something like “Plumbers near Buffalo NY”). Instead, I’m asking my home device for plumbers nearby, which relies on a second key aspect of search – location.

Making sure your business’ location is accurate, properly classified (in this case, as a plumber) and searchable in Google and other search engines is incredibly important for anyone looking to be found in this context. If I live a block from the fictional plumber Buffalo Backups, but they haven’t listed on Google My Business as a plumber, I’ll likely get the number for Nickel City Pipes and Clogs two blocks away instead, since they have updated their location information and classification for Google Home to identify them when I asked for plumbers.

Natural Context

Finally, that brings us to the context of my search – most notably, I’m not using a robotic approach to search any longer. Before my Google Home I would have searched for what I needed with a few keywords – “plumber,” “Buffalo” and “near.” Now, though, I’m having more of a conversation with search, using natural language to find what I need instead of using the search patterns I’ve been using for years.

This also means content and SEO needs to respond in kind. Now, it might be better to write a blog that seeks to answer those questions more clearly. While I review my options for a plumber to come give me a hand, finding a blog titled “How Did My Sink Get Clogged?” from a local plumber might be exactly what I’m looking for – and can perhaps help me prevent this from happening again.

Listening to what new technologies are bringing to the table is the key to succeeding in the evolving marketplace and the adapting world of search. By understanding how people are finding you – and how best to make sure you’re found – you can make your business’ voice heard and customers will listen.


Author : Ryan Yaeger

Source : http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/mainstreethost/ok-google-voice-search-01766080#hp8VmVOGfTyJYH0g.97

Categorized in Search Engine

Are you prepared for the rise in voice search? Columnist Sherry Bonelli discusses how voice search will impact local businesses.

There’s one thing that remains true about SEO: it’s always changing. One of the big changes that we’re experiencing now in local SEO is the increasing popularity of voice search. Voice search used to be a novelty — now it’s a necessity, especially when you’re on the go with your smartphone or tablet.

If you’re a local business, how do you optimize your business for this new personal assistant-type search? Here are some tips.

Voice searches are on the rise

According to Google, 20 percent of searches on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. The total number of voice searches overall is actually much higher when you take into account personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo (aka Alexa), Google Home (a direct competitor of the Echo), Siri and Cortana — tools that are solely based on voice recognition.

Why the uptick in voice search? First, using your voice to search is getting more accurate. Not too long ago, voice recognition simply wasn’t accurate. In many cases, it was more frustrating than helpful. Now, according to the KPCB Internet Trends 2016 report, the accuracy rate of voice search is up to 92 percent. That’s a huge improvement. As voice recognition becomes more and more accurate, the capabilities of voice search will expand, and consumers will reap the benefits as its popularity continues to rise.

Another reason voice search is becoming more mainstream is that these new devices (like Alexa and Google Home) are bringing voice search to the everyday consumer — and are actually living in your home. (If you tried to find an Amazon Echo to purchase around Christmas time, you know what I’m talking about. There were none to be found.) Consumers have more voice recognition technologies to choose from, and there are sure to be more on the horizon.

So, if you’re going to stay ahead of local search, you need to start thinking about voice search as you optimize your site — starting now.

Optimizing your local business for voice search

Many people use voice search to get information about local businesses they want to go to. They might say something like, “Where is the best pizza restaurant in Chicago?” (Now that’s a tough one!) In this case, you’d want to make sure that you optimize the content on your pages for “best pizza restaurant in Chicago.” Adding natural language to your site’s content will only help you with voice search results.

Another way to add natural language to your website is by creating Q&A pages — using words and phrases that people actually speak (versus words they type into a search box). Make these Q&A pages more conversational in tone, and the keyword phrases you use will probably resonate more with a person performing a voice search.

You also need to make sure that it’s easy for the search bots to crawl your site and know what your business is about. This can increase the chances that your content will show up in response to a voice search question. Make sure you submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. Additionally, start incorporating microdata, schema, rich snippets and so on. These little pieces of code give the search engines even more information about what your business is all about.

If structured data still scares you a bit, check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, where you can see the different kinds of content you can mark up. It will also walk you through the process and make sure you’re including the right HTML on your site.

Now, if a person uses the common local search phrase “near me,” then your on-site optimization probably won’t impact the results much. Instead, the device will look at where the user is physically located when they perform the search and pull up listings that are on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business or other online directories. That’s just another important reason to make sure your business is claimed and optimized — and that your listings are accurate with regard to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP).

Also, when you’re setting up Google My Business or Bing Places for Business, be as specific as you can when you pick your business category — that can increase the odds of showing up on voice searches that are targeted to your local niche.

In addition to Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, you also want to make sure that your online business directories (aka citation sites) are accurate as well. For instance, if your old address is listed on Yelp, and your new one is on Citysearch, the search engines won’t know which address is the correct one and will be less likely to pull your business up in voice search results.

Small changes: start today

Voice search doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire SEO strategy or the content on your site, but it does mean that you’re going to need to make some subtle changes that can help make you more successful in the voice search world.

First, consider the intent behind a voice search. Mobile voice searches will use natural language, which means long-tail keyword phrases are more important than ever. So start brainstorming about what naturally spoken questions may be asked about your business, product or service.

There are some helpful tools that make this brainstorming process easier. Try Answerthepublic.comStoryBase or Question Samurai (developed by the makers of the great SEO tool, Market Samurai). These tools give you some great natural language keyword phrases that you can incorporate into the content of your site.

Another trick is to take a look at your analytics. Google’s Search Console reports show you what queries are bringing people to your site. At this time, you can’t tell if the search query came from voice search or the good old-fashioned way — but the way voice search is going, that may change. Regardless, you can get some good ideas based on how people are finding you right now.

One final thought

Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, you MUST have a mobile-friendly site. If a person does a voice search, goes to your site and has a bad experience, you’ve lost! This not only impacts that individual searcher, but a high bounce rate because your site is difficult to use on a smartphone can also (indirectly) negatively affect your rankings on Google. Go mobile, if you haven’t already.

What are your thoughts on voice search? Are you preparing now? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make your site more voice-search-friendly.

Author: Sherry Bonelli
Source: http://searchengineland.com/essential-voice-search-strategies-2017-267054

 

Categorized in Search Engine

Voice search has become popular in recent years. As of the end of 2014, 55% of US teens and 41% of adults used it more than twice a day.

The technology was a novelty when Siri first came on the market, but now we have Google Voice Search, Alexa, and many other voice recognition technologies to choose from. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that more than half of queries will be voice search by 2020.

If you want to stay ahead of the game and make the most of voice search for your search engine optimization, it’s time to start today.

Optimize Your Local Listings

Most people use voice search to get information about physical places they want to go.

They might say something specific, like “find pizza takeout in Austin.” In this case, it would be worthwhile to optimize your pages for the keyword “pizza takeout Austin.”

But more importantly, they might say something general, like “find pizza takeout near me.”

Voice Search can recognize “near me” and refer to the mobile user’s physical location to get results. And they’re not correlating that search with your on-page keywords.

For most of this information, the search engine is going to turn to Google My Business listings.

image01

Make sure yours is set up and accurate.

Add all your business information and select relevant categories. Try to be as specific as possible with your categories to increase the chances of appearing for the right voice search.

For example, if you have a pizza place that doesn’t offer on-premise dining, skip the “pizza restaurant” category and select “pizza takeout” instead.

You should also cross-check how your name, address, and phone number appear in listings across the web. Google uses this information to rank your pages in local search.

If you have three different addresses listed, Google will have less confidence in your business.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

People don’t use voice search the same way they do regular search.

If I’m typing something into Google on my phone, I’m not going to type “How to improve my on-page SEO.” That takes too much time. Instead, type the exact keyword “on-page SEO” and choose from results.

With voice search, though, it’s basically a conversation with your phone. Long-tail keywords are a given.

So here’s what you do:

Think How People Speak

Start brainstorming what kind of natural language spoken questions might bring people to your site.

This is a different kind of long-tail — it’s less about keyword variations and more about real speech. Move beyond regular long-tail keyword research tools that pull up every variation under the sun.

Answer the Public is a great tool for this. They append search terms with words like “for” or “with” to dig deeper into searcher intent:

image08

Another great way to do this is by using voice search yourself. Ask the questions you brainstormed and see what kind of content comes up.

Look for Opportunities in Your Analytics

Google’s Search Console reports will tell you what actual queries bring people to your site.

At the moment, there’s no way to tell if a query came from voice search or regular, although Google is hinting that might change.

Even as-is, this is a great opportunity to brainstorm long-tail keywords, so hopefully you’re already using it.

Create Q&A-style Content

Once you have some natural language keywords in your arsenal, put them into action on pages around your site.

A lot of people limit Q&A-style content to their FAQ pages, but it’s time to branch out. See how you can revamp your blog posts and product pages to optimize for these queries.

Beef up Your Microdata

Make it as easy as possible for Googlebot to crawl your site and understand what it’s about. This increases the chances the search engine will pull up your content to answer voice search questions.

To do this, make sure you submit a sitemap to Google. Also include any important information people may ask about using voice search, such as:

  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Store hours
  • Prices
  • Directions from major highways

Next, you should use microdata to help Google understand what these elements are.

You can create markups for all kinds of use cases. For example, here’s a rich snippet Google returned when I searched for: “What’s the population of Croatia?” by voice command:

image09

Google knew what to display here because of a microdata markup on the World Bank site.

Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and see the different kinds of content you can markup. It will also walk you through the process and help you create the right HTML.

Concentrate on Mobile

People use voice search almost exclusively on mobile. If they click on your site in search results and find it poorly optimized for mobile, they’ll probably head back to results and try again.

This can increase your bounce rate, and hurt your PageRank in the process.

According to Google’s own research, mobile bounce rates are 9.56% higher than desktop. So if you’re focusing on voice search optimization, mobile user experience should be a priority.

Google has already rolled out two Mobile Friendly algorithm updates. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your website makes the cut.

But mobile friendliness is a lot more than just a responsive design. You should also work on:

Improving Your Site Speed

Voice searchers are usually on the go, so the faster your site speed, the better. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find new ways to improve your mobile site speed.

image03

Make It Scannable

People using a mobile device are less inclined to read giant articles on such a tiny screen. Make sure it’s easy for them to get the gist of your content.

Use informative headers to break things up. Make your sentences simple and your paragraphs short.

If there’s a way to illustrate your point visually, do it.

The space “above the fold” on mobile is very small. So make the most of it.

Thinking in Thumbs

Most mobile users will navigate your site using a thumb. If you’re lucky, they’ll add an index finger.

Put elements (like buttons or links) on your page too close together and people can accidentally click the wrong thing. This frustrates site visitors and can increase your exit rate.

Use a tool like MobileTest.me to see how your site appears on different mobile devices.

image07

Or better yet, try navigating the site on your own phone, and take note of any user experience issues.

Monitoring Performance

Watch analytics closely to see if there are differences in performance for mobile versus desktop traffic. This could mean there’s a user experience problem you need to fix.

Google Analytics has some detailed mobile vs. desktop reports built right in to help you monitor your efforts.

Those are my current recommendations on how you should optimize for voice search. If analytics tools become more granular in the future, it will be interesting to see some real numbers on how well a site is optimized for voice search.

Author:  Aaron Agius

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/are-you-optimized-for-voice-search-heres-how-to-do-it/179562/

Categorized in Search Engine

Google Assistant vs. Siri looks into how well each program answer questions faster and more accurately in a test performed by asking simple to more complex questions. Moreover, Google Assistant is designed to be more than just a voice search with Google opening up the "Actions on Google" API to developers in order to enable third party support similar to Amazon's Alexa.

Google Assistant in the Pixel is compared to Apple's Siri, which is now being integrated into the MacBook and not just limited to smaller handsets. A test was performed by a YouTube popular figure, Marques Brownlee, who compared Google Assistant vs. Siri by simultaneously asking questions

The test began with a simple question progressing to more complex ones requiring conversations. With simple questions, Siri is faster by a split-second, but the Google Assistant offered a more accurate, detailed and relevant answer.

Moreover, the Brownlee test shows that the Google Assistant is able to hold better conversations and has even revealed an understanding of context used in the question. This is why the Google Assistant has outperformed Siri, which ignores context and merely gets information from Bing and other search engines.

The Google Assistant is able to answer better than Siri because Google has put in new and enhanced Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Google Assistant can gather information about the context behind the search to answer relevantly, earning its true role of an assistant, according to xda.

The Google Assistant can even produce better one-liners than Siri, which is known for its ability to crack jokes. However, the Google Assistant has its limitations for it can only respond to questions if the answers can be gathered from simplistic Google search queries.

When the questions become even more complex, the Google Assistant will bring the user to the search engine page were the user will have to make searches manually. When this happens, The Google Assistant just like Siri appears to be nothing more than a simplistic voice search mechanism, according to The Next Web.

Hence, Google is launching the "Actions on Google," which is a platform for developers to create conversational answers to queries to the Google Assistant. By tapping into third party developers, the Google Assistant will benefit from third party plug-ins especially for complex nearly-impossible to answer questions.

Google may be rolling out the "Actions on Google" API this month and developers with API can join and participate. Rumors say that Google is now working with Spotify, Uber, CNN and OpenTable, which could further put the Google Assistant way beyond eyond Apple's Siri in terms of providing accurate and more relevant answer.

Auhtor : yasi bilangel

Source : http://www.universityherald.com/articles/54745/20161212/google-assistant-vs-siri-faster-more-relevant-answers-voice-search.htm

Categorized in Search Engine

When the world shifted from desktop to smartphones, one thing didn't change: the existence of a screen on both devices.

The screen shrunk, but it remained the medium through which we interact with computers.

For Google, that meant its core online advertising business — visible search ads on a webpage — remained intact and lucrative.

Today, Google may be at the beginning of a new shift — one toward artificially intelligent virtual assistants, in which we use our voice to interact with technology instead of our eyes.

The problem with voice assistants is they don't have a screen on which to display ads.

And analysts have noticed. On the last earnings call for Alphabet, Google's parent company, analysts repeatedly asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai whether voice searches would be harder for the company to monetize with ads. Pichai didn't have a specific answer, although he reassured investors that he believed the new medium would expand Google's business.

Virtual assistants, which are basically voice-activated mini computers, are becoming increasingly intelligent and accessible. A spokesperson for Google told Business Insider "mobile voice searches have tripled in the past two years," between 2014 and 2015.

Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google's Assistant are competing to become the most intelligent digital helpers in the virtual assistant race.

The hardware surrounding this technology is expanding, too — Amazon and Google have each released a mini Wi-Fi speaker for the home. You can tell the Amazon Echo or Google Home to play music, look up recipe ideas, find local restaurants, and do a variety of other tasks.

The side effect of all of this is that in the short term, the available real estate for ads will shrink. You could insert sponsored suggestions into a voice assistant's answers, but it would never offer as many ads as a Google search results page.

It's a side effect that analysts want to know more about.

Brian Nowak, Morgan Stanley's internet analyst, asked Pichai on the earnings call to talk about what the company might need to put in place to "monetize search in a voice world as well as you do in a phone or desktop world."

Pichai responded without directly answering the question, saying "we are in very early days," that one team "talked about" ways to integrate third parties, and that he thinks "we will evolve it a lot in the coming years."

Peter Stabler, a senior research analyst at Wells Fargo, asked Pichai if voice queries are "much more skewed to less commercial activity"?

Pichai said that instead of replacing search on desktop and mobile, voice search provides an additional way for people to interact with Google. "The sum total of all of this: It expanded the pie," he said.

Google HomeGoogle Home Google

While voice search might indeed expand the pie, history shows that legacy media businesses are often vulnerable to new media tech.

The newspaper business has struggled to adapt to the internet. Many newspapers have closed, and entirely new digital news organizations have flourished in a business once dominated by paper products. Similarly, the television business is fighting fiercely against video-on-demand over the internet.

From that perspective, screen-based search starts to look like a legacy media business, and voice-based search like a vast, open arena with no dominant players. That is exactly the kind of market that new tech startups seek to disrupt.

Google, of course, has a track record of solving complex problems and monetizing products. Four years ago, there were worries it might stumble on the transition from desktop search to mobile search. In 2012, the company actually warned that mobile was hurting revenue growth. Since then, Google has gone from strength to strength, and it remains the dominant search engine on mobile screens.

Google is no doubt thinking about these issues already and developing plans to enhance its dominance. But until those plans are unveiled, these are the three questions analysts would really like Pichai to answer:

  • How big a slice of consumers' internet time will voice search take?
  • Will that slice be big enough to significantly reduce the number of searches done on mobile and desktop screens?
  • How easy is it to generate revenue from voice assistants?

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/

Author : Hannah Roberts

Categorized in Search Engine

It’s never too early to look ahead. In just five short years, SEO has encountered plenty of changes that definitely caught some experts off-guard. From algorithm updates, content quality, to best link practices, if you’re not ready for them, your web traffic – and everything linked with it (e.g. leads, clicks, sales, etc.) – could suffer.

With the speed at which changes occur online, there’s no telling which trends will win in SEO. But two strong contenders are video and voice.

Video alone gets millions of viewers daily thanks to its entertainment value. From funny cats to SEO tutorials, you can watch and learn anything, from anywhere. Plus, it’s easier to craft a compelling story in video format.

But the future isn’t as one dimensional. Aside from video, audio is not that far behind. According to the latest podcast statistics, podcast listening grew to 23 percent between 2015 and 2016. That means more and more people are downloading audio shows (podcasts) on various devices (e.g. PCs, iPods, mobile phones, tablets, etc.).

That’s not the only interesting bit about audio content. In one study, about 41 percent of respondents have used voice search when looking up something online. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Google are also refining features for voice capability. Partnering with third-party services, such as restaurant or travel apps for instance, helps make voice a more visible aspect of the future.

But what do these have to do with SEO? How will experts respond to a growing community of voice search users?

Voice Search: Why It Matters for the Future of SEO

It’s the job of digital marketing experts to be on top of trends – long before they become trends. This can be done by paying attention to rising patterns in user behavior and/or preferences. For instance: even though 20 percent of searches through the Google mobile app are vocal, it’s still not a very popular method. This means that:

a) experts should watch the numbers closely and start developing strategies; and

b) you shouldn’t focus on voice queries just yet.

Again: it’s a growing trend, but the figures are still hazy. It needs to be monitored still. However, it shouldn’t be devalued either. If you don’t give it the right amount of attention, you’ll be missing out on opportunities from voice search.

But why are these numbers growing in the first place? There are two main contributing factors. First, is the refinement of voice assistants or services like Cortana and Siri. Instead of just presenting results, they can now ‘converse’, too. You’ve probably encountered one or two funny responses from Siri at one point. This makes them fun AND easy to use.

Second factor is convenience. Why type when you could get the answer by simply ‘asking’ your phone? This is also highly practical when your hands are full (literally). Imagine cooking a dish in your kitchen, when you suddenly forget how many grams is 10 tsp. of flour. Instead of grabbing your phone with soiled fingers, you can just ask for the baking conversions. It’s quick, simple, and leaves your phone mess-free.

Aside from convenience and the obvious advancement of technology, SEO experts should do well to pay attention to voice search because it’s highly action-based. Unlike traditional searches, people who use voice search have the tendency to take action. Take the example of the baking conversions. You searched for them because you will use them immediately.

Okay Google, What Do I Need to Prepare for Voice Search?

As voice search is still young, you only need the basics (at least for now). Along with watching the numbers, try to incorporate these elements into your SEO campaign to cater to voice queries:

  • natural language queries
  • hard-to-aggregate content

Natural language queries are basically ‘normal terms in the person’s language’. This became an integral part of content marketing campaigns when Google introduced RankBrain, its AI that helps the search engine process new, vague queries.

Unlike the earlier years of search engines, when people needed to separate specific keywords, today, you can simply enter your query in the way you’d normally say it. Modern search engines like Google have more complex algorithms that can understand this and give relevant results.

For example: instead of typing the keywords ‘video, wedding, Kate Middleton, Prince William’, you can simply enter ‘I need the wedding video of William and Kate’.

Voice Search and SEO

The same goes for voice search. No need for machine language or special syntax. Just talk or ask in the way you normally would in everyday life.

If you want to take advantage of voice search, make sure to wrap your keywords around natural language queries.

For instance: if your keyword is ‘wedding photographer’, make it ‘where can you hire a good wedding photographer’ OR ‘what are the top tips that a wedding photographer can give’. Make sure these are actual questions your target market is asking. Use surveys or analytics tools to find this information.

Second, you would want to focus on hard-to-aggregate content. What is this? This is content that can’t easily be grabbed by search engine algorithms. According to Moz, investing in hard-to-aggregate content is one of the best ways to a) get ready for a rise in voice search usage, and b) create a sustainable campaign.

Hard-to-aggregate content includes complex information such as cooking recipes, in-depth product reviews, and human interest stories. Easy-to-aggregate content are usually numbers and figures, such as: sports scores, product ratings, conversions, and price comparisons.

Voice Search and SEO

These can be easily grabbed by search engines, making your content possibly obsolete.

Preparing for upcoming trends not only helps you maintain your authority as an expert, you also pave the way for sustainable digital marketing campaigns. Sure, we might not be using Siri as much, especially in public – but that doesn’t mean it will stay this way.

Who knows? In years to come, voice search would be so refined that it can even talk back or give intelligent suggestions. Maybe we might even be cracking jokes with Cortana or Siri in the near future.

Source : http://www.business2community.com

Author : Al Gomez

Categorized in Search Engine

It turns out Google's new hands-free voice-based assistant has a way to let users click to the answers it gets from publishers. That's via the companion app

Think of the new Google Home assistant as a voice-only search engine. You ask it questions by voice; it gives back answers by voice. If you’re a search marketer, that immediately raises a big concern: How do I get traffic and visitors from this thing, if they can’t click to me? Turns out, they can.

The key is the Google Home companion app for iOS or Android. For certain questions, especially those that are drawn from web-based sources rather than Google’s Knowledge Graph facts database or Wikipedia, Google Home will give a voice answer and send a link to the source of that answer to the companion app.

 

Someone probably can’t remember everything in a recipe delivered by voice, so Google Home smartly sends a link to the recipe to the Google Home app, for reference

Clicking on the “Visit Website” words does exactly what you think, takes someone to the source site. Enjoy those mince pies!

It’s easy to scroll through all the links that have been sent by sliding through the cards presented in a carousel format, under the “Related to your activity” heading. Currently, I have 14 cards with links showing, based on recent Google Home searches that I’ve done.

Links from these cards open within your default browser, in my testing.

“Google — My Activity” search history

I’m still testing, but it seems that over time, some of the links may disappear from the carousel. That leads to the second place where they are stored, as part of the “Google — My Activity” area in the app. You reach this by clicking on the clock icon that’s just above the “Related to your activity” heading.

The “My Activity” areas lists every search you’ve sent to Google. If it has come up with an answer from across the web — a featured snippet answer — then a link will also be shown along with the query that was made:

Links from this area, unlike with the activity cards, will load within the Google Home app.

How you can optimize for Google Home

If you like the idea of being an answer in Google Home, the solution is pretty easy. Become a featured snippet for queries you care about. And to do that, have a good read through Eric Enge’s past article here on Search Engine Land, How To Get Featured Snippets For Your Site.

Can you measure your Google Home traffic?

If Google wants, it could certainly report through Google Search Console how often a site is showing up in response to Google Home searches, as well as how often clicks are actually happening. SEOs would be keenly interested in this data.

Right now, that’s not happening. It’s something that Google has said it is discussing about voice search generally.

I certainly hope Google makes a real and fast effort to provide Google Home-related metrics to publishers. The product is very nice. See my review of it today: For answering questions, Google Home bests Amazon Echo & Alexa. But unlike traditional search engines, it upsets the unofficial contract with publishers where Google takes answers in return for traffic.

As it turns out, the links within the Google Home app do promise to deliver some traffic. But Google should be transparent with publishers to know exactly what that is in relation to how often they are showing up, so publishers themselves can assess if they feel they’re getting a fair exchange.

Source : searchengineland

Categorized in Search Engine

Technology evangelists have been predicting growth in voice search for years, but new advancements in natural language processing are creating an acceleration in the market that few could have imagined. In just two years, voice search volume has grown from virtually nothing to accounting for 10% of online searches. That figure is continuing to rise, spurred by technology improvements that are making it easier for smartphones to accurately capture complex commands.

Voice search is changing the way people interact with their mobile devices, as well. Sixty-percent of smartphone users say they’ve started using voice search within the past year. These increases are easy to see when you look at search query volumes in Google as well. When consumers search with voice commands, they’re more likely to use natural language than when they type in search keywords. For example, rather than typing “dentist Brooklyn, NY” into a search engine like Google or Bing, people are more likely to use conversational phrases like, “My son chipped his tooth and he needs a dentist right away”. Natural language phrases tend to be longer and more nuanced but they also reveal greater intent, which is useful for marketers trying to capitalize on voice search technology.

Part of this shift away from the keypad is the result of improved word recognition accuracy. Back in 2013, Google’s voice platform accurately recognized just 80% of words. In two years, that rate has increased to 90%, with some technologies, such as Baidu, reaching accuracy rates of 95% and above. Experts believe that improving word accuracy rates will play a key role in the continued adoption of voice search technology. Speed issues are also likely to be a factor, as humans can speak 150 words per minute, while they can type just 40.

All of these improvements have made it easier for people to use voice search technology in their daily lives and as it’s gotten easier, voice search has become more ubiquitous. In September 2014, just one-in-10 queries came through speech (via Baidu). Less than one year later, in June 2015, Apple’s personal assistant Siri was handling more than a billion requests per week through speech. As of May 2016, one-in-five searches on mobile apps in the U.S. are voice searches.

At the same time, there’s been an increase in localized search volume. Local searches consist of 22% of all queries and according to Google, the number of “near me” searches has increased 34-fold since 2011. Eighty-percent of those local “near me” searches now occur on mobile devices.

What do these numbers really mean for the future of local search? For one, the acceleration of voice search queries opens the door for a continued rise in more wearable devices, such as Google Glass and Android Wear, as well as GPS devices and smart objects, like the Amazon Echo. Driverless cars will also rely heavily on speech search technology. By bringing together natural language processing with databases of business and location information, technology providers are helping to make some of these ambitious projects a reality.

In the coming years, technology influencers like Mary Meeker and others expect voice search to surpass all expectations as far as consumer growth is concerned. In fact, within just five years, Meeker anticipates that half of all searches will fall into the voice search or image search categories.

In order to meet those expectations, technology vendors will have to continue ramping up their voice search offerings. Already, vendors like Soleo, a local search and digital media company, are combining intuitive search technologies with natural language processing to better understand search context and intent. To do natural language correctly, Soleo came up with 10^22 possible search query combinations for the U.S. market. Its latest Local Search API version brings together natural language processing with a database of more than 20 million business listings.

Business listings are an important part of voice searches, particularly when “near me” searches are involved. Localized searches may see an even more rapid shift to voice than other searches, based on consumers’ increasing comfort with using hands-free devices in the car or when their eyes are otherwise occupied while outside the home. When this ultimate shift takes place and voice searches match or surpass text, it will be even more important for businesses to have a firm grasp on local and natural search, to avoid being left behind.

Source : streetfightmag

Categorized in Internet Technology

The fact that Google gathers personal data on its users using a variety of their services is in no way recent news. It has long been known that this internet giant has a database where various search patterns and habits of their users are stored.

These are even publically accessible using said user’s Google email and password. The explanation, or rather excuse, for doing this is that the data being collected is carefully guarded and that ultimately it cannot be used to compromise the user in any way.

They continue to explain that the data is used to better the services provided by Google and to further enhance Google’s advertising capabilities by offering relevant ads during internet browsing.

They heavily negate claims that said data is shared with third parties, mainly law enforcement agencies, without the user’s knowledge or approval. All of this shows quite a considerable lack of interest in their users’ online anonymity.

If all of the above is true, then why are our voice search queries recorded using their virtual assistant on both Android and Windows 10. Every time somebody uses voice command to search for something on the web, it is recorded and later even transcribed and saved in that database.

Every time somebody uses voice command to search for something on the web, it is recorded and later even transcribed and saved in that database.

Luckily, this database is also readily accessible by the user and can even be altered; deleting it completely is the recommended course of action in order to preserve our online anonymity. After that, there is a way to turn off the permission for recording any further voice commands.

After that, there is a way to turn off the permission for recording any further voice commands.

Turning off Google Voice Command Recording

  • First of we will have to follow this link in order to log into the recordings database.
  • After entering our email and username, we will be presented with the list of recordings that represent our voice commands to Google’s virtual assistant and their transcriptions.
  • In the left sidebar, there is a “Delete Activity By” button that will allow us to delete entries from the database.
  • After clicking on it, we should choose “All Time” from the “Delete by Date” dropdown menu.
  • By clicking “Delete,” the process will be completed and all of the records, including our voice command recordings, will be deleted.

Turning off Further Recording

While this has deleted all off the records that Google has acquired about us since we started using their services, it still does not prevent them from continuing to collect records. Luckily, this can be disabled as well and here is how:

  • Again, we will have to visit this link.
  • Instead of clicking the “Delete Activity By” button, this time, go to “Activity Control.”
  • Here you will be presented with several switches that you can turn off, turn off all of them.

By following above steps, you have successfully denied Google permission to track and log your online activity and in turn increased your online anonymity.

Google and Entering the Dark Web

While we should already be aware that it is not possible to access the dark web using Google Chore, there are still some ways that Google can record our dark web searches, which are mentioned on Tor’s official webpage.

As it stands, while using Tor, it is important that other browsers, like Google Chrome in this instance, is turned off.

It is also advisable not to use Google search engine with Tor and to log out of any accounts connected to Google, like Gmail or YouTube to make sure that our online anonymity is secure.

One last thing to note is that some search queries, like information regarding hidden services, will “mark” us to the law enforcements and in extreme cases make them actively monitor our internet usage and online activity.

While this is not tied specifically or solely to Google and its services, it is still advisable to consider using other browsers or at least a strong VPN.

Secure Alternatives to Google Chrome

Tor

tor
Many people believe that tools for online anonymity like Tor are used only be a select few, usually assumed to be hackers.

For quite a long time now Tor has been the #1 browser for people looking to increase their online anonymity. It is also the only way to access hidden services located on the dark web.

Tor uses an ever-expanding network of nodes, computers which are mostly owned by people volunteering them for use in building up the Tor network.

This network serves as an intermediary between the user and the internet making it hard to connect their IP to the searches.

The downside of Tor actually lies in its popularity making it the most heavily monitored secure browser.

Despite this, Tor’s security is hardly compromised, and it will continue its work uninterrupted as long as there is a community to back it up.

Epic

Epic
Epic is an awesome browser if you want to keep your web browsing as tightly secure as possible.

There are as many routes taken to ensure online anonymity as there are browsers specializing in it. Epic is one of the more popular choices, and its philosophy is offering security through minimalism.

It is based on Chromium and if we had to compare it to anything it would be a heavily stripped down Google Chrome. An interesting feature about Epic is that it reroutes all their user’s searches through their company’s servers.

While this does increase online anonymity by making it harder to connect our IP to our specific searches, it also slows down our search speed, but not so much to make it not a very worthwhile exchange.

Another downside is the lack of malware and phishing prevention systems, but these can be avoided anyway but using a bit of common sense.

Cocoon Browsing

Cocoon Browsing
Cocoon makes the Web a better place by protecting your online privacy,

While not technically a browser, but rather a browser plugin, Cocoon Browsing offers some of the best online anonymity features on the web.

Aside from offering online anonymity through secure browsing, it also has built-in features like anti-Facebook tracking and end-to-end encrypted connection.

The only downside to this service is that it requires a monthly or yearly subscription. There are two versions of the service, Cocoon and Cocoon+, costing $1.49 and $2.49 per month respectively.

Conclusion

With every passing day, big corporations are gathering more and more data on their clients, and while said information is kept secure and confidential it is only a matter of time before it falls into the wrong hands.

In the end, many people will find that being monitored on the internet is intrusive to their online anonymity, despite the fact that the data logged is not accessible to the public.

While this data may provide some increase in comfort and utility when searching the web, it is still advisable to at least turn off all the tracking permissions on our browsers, if not using an online anonymity based alternative.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Search Engine

High expectations made me want it to do more and be more naturally conversational. But that will come.

You want it to do more. That was my feeling about the Google Assistant after using the new Pixel XLfor several days.

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The Pixel is a very nice phone with a great camera and a beautiful screen. It’s going to be a hit. But an iPhone killer it is not.

Google is promoting the Pixel as “The first phone with the Google Assistant built in.” The Google Assistant is useful and holds great promise, but in this “1.0” version, Google has oversold it. What you get is a user experience identical to what Google is delivering in Allo, but with voice playback. Allo’s version of the Assistant is mute.

Danny Sullivan discusses what he feels are shortcomings around Google Assistant usability on MarketingLand. He focuses on the fact that you can’t manually type a question into Google Assistant; it can only be initiated by voice. My frustrations were not focused on that issue so much as the fact that you can’t hold a true “conversation” with the Assistant.

Pixel__Phone_by_Google__Made_by_Google.png

 

To invoke Google Assistant, you can either use “OK Google,” as you can today to trigger a voice command or search query, or you touch the microphone icon or or one of the “follow-up” buttons (image below).

My greatest frustration was that each command or query had to be separately initiated. Putting the buttons aside, users need to touch the mic or say “OK Google” again before each new search or follow-up. And while the Assistant understands pronouns and context, you can’t have the kind of multi-step interaction with the Assistant I had hoped.

I wanted to just keep talking, without these “manual” search interactions. To be clear, however, my criticisms come from very high expectations. If your first experience with voice search were to be the Google Assistant on the Pixel, you’d be impressed and very pleased, I suspect.

Google-assistant.png

 

With Amazon’s Alexa Kayak “skill,” you can carry on a guided multi-step conversation around travel (e.g., rental car reservations). This is the kind of thing I was hoping to be able to do with Google Assistant: do a search and ask several follow-ups without interruption.

Without consciously doing this, I found myself formulating queries and commands in a much more conversational style than with current voice search. I wanted to talk to Google Assistant much more like a human.

It’s also something of a disappointment that so many voice queries are “answered” with web links. This won’t be a problem for most people (especially SEOs), but I wanted voice answers and more cards, rather than links to websites. I found myself disappointed when Google pushed links.

While it will become more interactive over time, right now Google Assistant isn’t much different from the voice search/command experiences you’re already used to on Android phones.

voice_search.png

 

In the coming days and weeks, we’re going to see a bunch of “Google Assistant vs. Siri” articles. Generally, Google Assistant can do more and offers more functionality because of Google’s search index. Yet there are some things that Siri can do (right now) that Google Assistant cannot.

Siri has some third-party integrations that Google Assistant doesn’t yet have. Those will come to Google Asssistant. For example, you can order Uber or Lyft using Siri right now, whereas you cannot with Google Assistant.

Again, my criticisms of Google Assistant mostly come from high expectations and wanting it to do more and be less a speech-to-text voice search tool. One can start to see how Google Assistant over time will become a doorway or gateway (just like Google search on the web) for everything on Android phones.

There are some dramatic implications for content discovery and SEO, which is what we’ve been talking about in the various articles and SMX sessions on voice search and content optimization. We’ll explore those more in the future.

What’s fascinating here with Google Assistant on the Pixel (less so with Allo) is that you can really see the transition from more traditional “search” to a next-generation capability that is much more comprehensive, intuitive and interactive. Bring it.

Source : searchengineland

Categorized in Search Engine
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