Search Engine Optimization vs Voice Search Optimization

Plenty has been written about how to optimize your website for SEO. But what exactly is SEO? “SEO is short for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.”[1] The key piece of information to notice about the definition of SEO, is that SEO focuses on how to increase the ranking of your website. Since the major search engines constantly tweak their algorithms, marketers need to be up to date on the latest and greatest techniques to be atop the search engine rankings, or you will slowly slip down in the rankings.

One of the new SEO techniques being discussed is optimizing your website for VSO, or Voice Search Optimization. VSO, is a function that allows users to search through spoken voice commands rather than typing, to get information about your brand or business. Utilizing this technique, marketers are encouraged to focus on “Long Tail” keywords in their SEO strategy. Long tail keywords focus more on how we speak than on how we type in key words. For example, our company “Vohesu” is a keyword, however, to optimize for voice search we are focusing on keywords such as “Who is Vohesu,” “What is Vohesu,” and “Tell me about Vohesu.” Long Tail keywords are similar to how we speak, and since the number of searches done by voice on devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri are on the rise, you will want to be optimized for searches by voice as well as by typing into a search bar.

However, there is an interesting development in Voice Search, that marketers should be aware of.

More and more we are seeing content created on voice platforms, being prioritized, or ranked higher, than content developed on a different platform such as the web.

What is leading us to this conclusion, here are a few of the latest developments in the world of voice search.

1.       Amazon has been testing Alexa Answers internally, adding more than 100,000 responses in the past month alone. Now it’s opening the program up to a small cross section of the public, via email invites. Those who get asked to join can answer questions for Alexa via a website hosting a broad range of different topics.[2]

Why is this significant? Amazon is asking people to create content, to answer questions submitted by users, that will put into a native voice platform. This content is being ranked higher than having Alexa respond with a “here is what I found on the web” response. Amazon Answers sounds almost like a voice version of Wikipedia, is Alexa Answers the new Vikipedia?

2.       On a more technical note, earlier this year Amazon also released to developers, the ability to add a CanFulfillIntentRequest. The CanFulfillIntentRequest allows Alexa to augment the machine-learning model with information provided by your skill. With CanFulfillIntentRequest, Alexa can query multiple skills on their ability to fulfill the request given the customer intent and slot values.[3]

What is the significance? Again, Amazon is prioritizing content developed on the voice platform, from other voice skills or content creators, over content on the web.

How do marketers prepare for the world of voice?

The first thing to do is understand that voice is both a channel and a platform. Because voice is still a new platform, it is utilizing information on the web to help fulfill information requests from users. However, as the platform grows, the need and desire for content native to the voice platform will grow as well. As marketers, updating existing content on the web with long tail key words, will only provide short term solutions. Moving content to a voice platform should be part of any organizations long term strategy to adapt to the world of voice and virtual assistants. The creation of simple Voice Apps or Voice Skills, in addition to you web sites, will ensure your current and future customers are receiving the latest and most up to date information and content directly from your organization.

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