Is Your Content Ready for Virtual Assistants?

is your content ready for virtual assistants

Is Your Content Ready for Virtual Assistants?

In the ever-changing landscape of search optimization, crafting the ideal website is a bit like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Completing one side is easy, but a single wrong move and the entire arrangement is suddenly out of sync. Virtual assistants are one of the newest wrenches thrown into traditional SEO strategy.

You’ve probably heard of Siri for Apple, but Cortana, Alexa and other assistants are not far behind. A virtual assistant is any voice command system that lets users ask a direct question out loud – such as “Where is the closest hair salon?” – and get an immediate answer.

Leveraged correctly, virtual assistants cease to be a thorn in your SEO strategy’s side and emerge as a tool to bring in new traffic. From Siri to Alexa, virtual assistants are becoming more popular with users by the year. Here is how to make sure your content is ready to be found.

Related: How To Build SEO Strategies Effectively

As of 2016, about half of all web searches occurred on a mobile device. And today, you’d be hard pressed to find a smartphone that isn’t equipped with a virtual assistant. Voice search via virtual assistant is convenient, fast and hands-free, making it appealing to users.

According to Google, 20 percent of all searches are conducted using virtual assistants such as Siri or Cortana. The advent of home systems like Alexa are rapidly increasing virtual assistant activity and creating a race to the top between companies such as Google and Apple. Everybody wants the best virtual assistant, and you should want your content to be found by them all.

Think Like a Real Person

Your traditional SEO training has probably taught you to use phrases like “car rentals Atlanta” in your content. But that’s not how people actually speak in real life. In the age of virtual assistants, it’s important for your search keywords to target natural speech. In other words, your keyword phrases must sound more natural than ever before. Google calls this “semantic search.”

Phrase things like you would in conversation, sticking to the most commonly used terms and vocabulary. No one says “affordable plane flights San Francisco” out loud – they say “Where can I book a cheap flight to San Francisco?” Search phrases can be longer when you’re aiming to reel in voice searchers. For example, your target for “seafood Boston” can broaden to “the best seafood restaurants in Boston.”

Related: How To Get To The Top of Google Search Results

Use Keywords in Question Form

“Who” and “how” phrases are up by a significant percentage since the invention of voice assistant. In other words, people use voice assistants to ask questions. If you’re content doesn’t clearly answer a question or include keywords that relate to question phrasing, it’s time to change that.

Include your target phrases like “Kohler toilets,” within longer phrases. For instance, where you would have previously said “eFaucets is the best site to buy Kohler toilets,” you might now want to include “Where can you get the best Kohler toilets? eFaucets.”

The best prefaces for targeted phrases start with “who, what, where, when and how.” Depending on your industry, it might also make sense to begin semantic keyword phrases with “Can I?” For instance, “Can I install a new toilet seat myself?”

Remember that most virtual assistant searches are happening on mobile, especially when people want a quick resolution or set of directions. Provide an answer as thoroughly and quickly as you can within your content. The intro should provide at least a basic answer to the question, because mobile users will bounce within seconds rather than scroll down and search for the information they need.

Get Local

What are people searching for with virtual assistants? For the most part, as it turns out, they are looking for things geographically near to them. In fact, many Siri and Cortana searches include the term “near me.” People may also search for the “closest” store or the “nearest” restaurant.

What does this mean for you? More than ever, you should naturally integrate your location into your copy and blog topics. On top of updating your NAP (name, address, phone number) across all channels, discuss your role in the community and mention your location whenever it’s natural to do so. Having your physical address in your metadata and on your page footers helps you come up in more mobile voice searches.

Related: SEO Predictions for 2018

Virtual Assistant SEO Checklist

Think you’re ready to update your content to meet the work of virtual assistants? As you’re making updates, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can mobile users find my business?
  • Does my website answer the most commonly asked questions about my products/services?
  • Are your keywords integrated into question-and-answer form?
  • If I read my keywords out loud, would I sound like a human or a robot?

Updating your content to accommodate voice searches will help your website thrive. Not only will Google reward you with better placement on SERPs, but you may also have an advantage when it comes to being placed in featured snippets. That’s what you call a win-win. The time to optimize for virtual assistants is now, so start creating great content that meets the needs of voice searchers today.

Related: 8 SEO Mistakes You’re Making in 2018

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