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Just when you thought optimizing your website for search on desktop browsers was becoming tough, then comes optimizing your website for mobile search. Once you were almost at peace with the fact that you might have mobile search engine optimization down, then along comes optimizing your website for voice search. Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are just the start.
In this post, I am going to look at how you can optimize your website for voice search. Because, as of 2014, over half of teens, and over 40% of adults were using it on a daily basis. Or more importantly, we’re going to look at the differences between preparing to optimize for search engines that let users search via the spoken word versus the typed word.Know Which Search Engine You are Optimizing For
While Google may dominate the desktop and mobile search world, could Bing take over voice search? When iOS 7 arrived, Siri began using Bing as its default search engine, meaning that all iPhone and iPad users have to specifically ask to search Google. Otherwise, their queries will go to Bing. And Cortana, obviously, will use Bing by default since it’s Windows.
You might think this means Bing is the winner of voice search. But even though it feels like everyone is an iPhone user in certain circles, the data speaks for itself.
According to the IDC’s latest findings, the 2023 Android market share (world-wide shipments) equals 83.7%, while the iOS share is only 15.3%.
Thus, Android devices – powered by Google – are still winning. The percentage is significantly higher than iOS users, likely due to the high cost of an iPhone or iPad. Hence, Google still likely wins in the voice search world as it does in the desktop and mobile search world.Read the Official User Guides on How to Use Voice Search
It may sound a bit silly, but start at the ground floor (user-level) of voice search. Pretend like you have just bought your first iPhone, Android, or Windows mobile device. Read guides that an average smart phone user would on how to get the most out of voice search for the first time.
Yes I know, you’re not your average smart phone user or your average searcher. But for just a moment, pretend to be. Because that’s who you are optimizing your website for – the average voice search users.
For example, Apple has a great guide on ways users can use Siri to guide them to personal information on their phone to general information on the internet. It’s quite visual and fun to go through. Even as an experienced iPhone user, you still might learn a thing or two from it.
Overall, the goal is to give you an idea of how each brand behind voice search teaches their users to use voice search. You can use these voice search-specific questions and phrases when you start optimizing your website for voice search, or specific pages for voice search.Understand the Funny Ways People Play with Voice Search
Some people might think you’re goofing off in your office if they catch you reading articles like 60 Funny Things to Ask Siri, 140 Questions Siri Has Hilarious Answers For, 70+ Awesome Ok Google Voice Commands, and 131 Questions to Ask Cortana. But these are the exact articles you should be reading next, after the general user guides to voice search engines. Here’s why.
You should read them because they are funny, and funny lists like these are ones that people will share with their friends. One of those was shared over 34 thousand times, to give you an example. And because they are funny and shared so often, there are likely a lot of voice search users who learned their voice search tactics from one of these lists, or ones like them.
Hence, you will likely learn more about the ways that people talk to Siri, Google, and Cortana. While some things you read will be irrelevant to your business, other things might be useful regarding questions and phrases that could be applied to optimizing your web pages for voice search. You may even find a way to inject some humor into your business content that could attract your customers and engage them in all new ways!Listen to the Way People Reference You When Speaking
When optimizing your website for Google search, people typically go to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find out what keyword is typed into search engines most. But when you think about it, most people don’t say things the same way they would write them. The same is likely to occur when they search for things verbally via voice search.
This is why you need to listen to the way people reference you, your business, your products, and your services when you are talking to prospects, customers, vendors, friends, family, or anyone else who might inquire about your business. Listen to the words they use.
These might very likely be the words that people use when searching for you via voice search. Think about your keyword phrases in a more conversational context than a written one. Where someone might type Chinese takeout near me into Google, they would say where is the closest Chinese takeout to me in voice search.
If you don’t normally talk to your customers on the phone or in person, try attending a local business networking event. This will give you a chance to explain your business in person with others who will ask questions and paraphrase what you say in terms they understand. Or terms that people outside your industry would potential use in a voice search query.Get Mobile-Friendly
Since most voice search is happening on a mobile device, it should be pretty obvious that if you want your website to be found by voice search, it should be mobile friendly for the voice search user. As always, remember that Google, in particular, is a fan of responsive web design, so that should be your first choice.
Also, remember mobile-friendly is not just about design. It’s also about speed. You need your page to load as quickly as possible. Thanks to technologies like Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP, and others, mobile users are becoming accustomed to websites loading faster and faster. Therefore, if you want to win in voice and mobile search, your website needs to fast and mobile friendly.Get Local-Friendly
Similar to being mobile friendly, it’s important to be local friendly, considering that a lot of people will be using voice search while driving, particular to find local businesses, get directions, or find phone numbers. Hence, you’ll want to make sure your mobile-friendly website also follows the basic local optimization rules of having all of your basic information in text format as opposed to having it in image format.
This includes the following:
Your business name
Your physical address
Your local phone number
Directions from popular interstates / roadways
Help voice search guide people to you. If regular Google search can’t crawl an image, you can rest assured that voice search isn’t going to be able to display an image of your address and phone number to someone driving in their car either.Test, Test, and Test
As you start to optimize your website or specific web pages for voice search, be sure to test the queries you are optimizing for on each voice search platform. Yes, you might have to invest in an extra, no contract device to get Siri and Cortana, depending on what you own now. But usually they are cheap, and they’re always worth it.
Then start testing your queries just like you were an average person and see what happens. You may find that your website starts to rank in voice search, or you may find the following happens instead.Be on the Top Networks Voice Search Directs Users To
While we’d love to believe that we can get visitors directly to our website from search engines, that’s not always the case. If you test out voice search for your top queries and find that they lead to networks like Yelp, Facebook, or others, then it’s your job to ensure your business is on those networks.
In some cases, thanks to personalization, you may not have very much control over the situation, like a search for what restaurant do my Facebook friends like the most (if that’s even a search). But if your queries lead you to specific categories on local review directories, then try to get to the first page of those categories and, if possible, the top of the first page.In Conclusion
As the world of technology evolves, marketers must learn new strategies to keep up with the changes. The same goes for search marketers and the world of voice search. If you follow the tips in this post, you should be a step ahead of your competitors who might not even be paying attention to the growth in voice search and the potential it has to be a game changer.
Featured image: Image by Aleh Barysevich
In-post images: screenshots by Aleh Barysevich. Taken June 2023.
You're reading Optimizing For Voice Search With Siri, Google Now, And Cortana
When it comes to targeting search engines to reach international markets, we’re going to have to do things a little differently. As we expand our horizons we begin to form connections with those who not only speak different language but bring a whole set of different cultural expectations to their business dealings online.
There are two broad approaches to meeting the needs of our international customers. The first option is to focus on languages. Alternatively, we can consider our foreign markets on a country by country basis.Optimizing by Language
While getting the words right is key to international communication, the SEO strategies at your disposal will not vary widely from one language to another. Bear in mind, though, that when you switch language you also gain the attention of those search engines designed with speakers of that language in mind. It’s worth taking some time to get to know which search engines you need to optimize for.
Approaching your SEO on a language basis can be an affordable and time-efficient option. You can focus on finding the best possible keywords, which may not be the direct equivalents of those that perform well for you in English.
On the other hand, you might not want to optimize by language if you have an interest in promoting your business to certain countries only. For instance, Brazil could be a key market for you while your business is not well-placed to serve Portugal.
You will want to consider too whether some languages benefit from being delivered on a regional rather than global basis. If you are selling fine leather purses, your customers in the US will expect to see a selection of bags but your British customers will be looking for somewhere to store coins. Similar miscommunication can happen with any of the major world languages and can be frustrating for customers.Optimizing by Country
Opting for your content to be visible to a specific country is known as geo-targeting. Although SEO targeting of this kind can initially seem daunting, the fact that it is more specific can make it a more effective marketing strategy. Use geo-targeting to deliver your online content to the markets that matter to you, without having to worry about those that don’t.
It also gives you the flexibility to deliver locally relevant content to different countries who share a common language, without having to mirror your content on more than one top-level domain. With different pages geotargeted for different countries, linguistic and cultural differences can be allowed for and you can confidently quote local times, currencies and holidays.
Carefully geo-targeted content can help you by reducing the number of visitors who don’t find what they need and hit the back button. This will in turn bring down your bounce rate. Your overall visitor numbers may not increase but you are more likely to see visits that convert.
There will be times when geo-targeting is worthwhile but it is not going to meet the needs of every business or situation. Customers will only be delivered geo-targeted content if they opt to search for local results. Also remember that marking content as relevant to one specific country will mean that potential customers speaking that language in other countries are unlikely to see it.
Another consideration is that many countries have more than one official language, for instance if you want to target Switzerland you would be ignoring around a third of the population if you opted for German-only content.Get to Know Your Markets
Optimizing Flash for Search Engines – Can it be Done?
Since the inception of Flash, it has been the programming medium of choice for many companies. Most professionals recognize the superior visual aspects that Flash has to offer. Unfortunately, Flash is also very hard to optimize. Many SEO firms would rather tell you Flash can’t be optimized than to try and optimize it. No, optimizing a Flash site is not simple by any means, but it is entirely possible. The absence of quality content that cannot be indexed is a huge factor regarding any flash presentation. You can add META and keyword tags. Unfortunately, many search engines such as Google do not use these tags.
Large companies shell out big bucks for Flash sites. They don’t want to hear that their site can’t be optimized because of the format. They love the effects of Flash, but more importantly require search engine optimization for their content. Here are some things you can do to increase a sites ranking when dealing with a flash format:
Ideally, you want to get in on the ground floor of a Flash site being developed. Try to persuade the client to have flash headers and the rest of the site HTML based. This would be the most cost effective option. The other option is to create a duplicated HTML. If neither of these is an option, move on to the next step.
Add your META, keyword and description tags to the opening page to be displayed while flash is running. While some may feel that it can clutter a page, the results are hard to argue with. Follow standard SEO protocol. Use keywords in your TITLE tag. Build your link popularity to boost your client in the search engines. Try to link with sites that are pr 4 or more. Never link to sites that have more than 100 links on their link pages. Also, link to sites that allow you to use descriptions. Use keywords in your description. Stay away from sites that only allow banners or no description in linking. Those types of links do not help at all. Remember, links pointing to your site are more important then links going out, so concentrate on those first and foremost.
and follow the directions. You will need to download the .htaccess file in the root directory of the location where all your web pages are stored.
That is all you need to do. Save the file and upload it. Typically you would type in the old url (old domain name) and it would take you to the new url (new domain name). But, in this case we will change the old index file to another name. Create a new optimized HTML page. Then, name it as the old index page. Google will index the new page that is redirected to the flash page. It will look like this
redirect 301 (the instruction that the page has moved)
/old/old.htm (the original folder path and file name)
Basically, we are just forwarding one page directly to another. Not to another domain name. This sounds more complicated than it actually is. This is usually the best way to utilize a redirect. You could also use a java script redirect.
Never use the META tag redirect. Those have already been recognized as a blacklisted move.
I cannot guarantee that these will not get you banned. But, from my research, the 301 re-direct is the best bet. If your site is 100% Flash and you need to rank higher, this will get you results. These are your SEO options for clients with Flash sites.
While it has been noted that most of today’s computer and Internet users utilize a screen resolution of 1024×768 or above, there are still some who will visit your website in the 800×600 resolution, and many in the web design industry believe that sites should still built with these users in mind. Submitawebsite customers are typically more sophisticated computer users who would benefit from the larger screen resolution, but in order to make sure that we aren’t alienating a significant amount of potential customers, we’ll use tracking software to discover what screen resolutions users view our site with.Using Google Analytics to Track Screen Resolutions
In this example we’ll be using Google Analytics, the most popular free tool on the market today. We’ll use information from our website, chúng tôi paying specific attention to our web stats from January 1, 2007 through May 1, 2007. These statistics will allow us to see how our users navigate to our site, as well their physical location and what type of resolution they have their screens set to.
In order to get the best results for your own site, you’ll want a good range of web stats with which to work. I would recommend looking at a minimum of 6 months, although 90 days should provide an adequate amount of statistics for you to look at.
I would say that you want at least 95% of your users to be able to view your site properly according to their resolution settings, keeping in mind that designers generally create websites around the size of the lowest common denominator. Looking at these statistics, we find that 10.42% of Submitawebsite viewers utilize the 800×600 screen resolution, which is a bit more than we would want before we redesign the site for 1024×768 users. Though the remaining 89.58% utilize a 1024×768 or higher resolution, it would seem that we have a significant enough number to cause us to refrain from upping our site’s resolution.
Looking at the top 100 results, which will give the most accurate representation of user location, we can see that the top two regions for 800×600 users on our site are Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Both of these locations are in India, which is a region we’re not too worried about at this time. As you go down the line you can see that while there are a significant amount of people in the United States, the vast majority of the referrers are from parts of the world we aren’t particularly interested in targeting, especially the top three which are in India or labeled as “no data”.
What this tells me is that the top 96-97% of people that I want to target visit Submitawebsite with a 1024×768 or higher screen resolution, and because I know that my customer base is slightly more sophisticated than the average user, this exercise proves to me now that I can and should move over to a 1024×768 website. Again, the increased real estate on the user’s screen will allow for bigger images, larger font and a richer experience with more information, which has been proven statistically to increase conversion rates on my website and gives us more presence.
Joe Griffin is a Vice President at Website Pros, and is the current acting President of chúng tôi a company he co-founded in 1997.
Google Project Glass: Siri or Clippy?
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could” Jeff Goldblum memorably said in Jurassic Park, ”that they didn’t stop to think if they should”; has Google done the same with Project Glass? Initial reactions to the wearable computing concept shown off publicly yesterday were predictably gobsmacked, the eye-catching demo video showing an idealized and alluring view of augmented reality. After the dust has settled, though, comes the question: is Project Glass Google’s Siri, or is it actually more like Microsoft’s ill-fated Clippy?
Some of us were quickly on-board, offering to open up our wallets to whatever Google wanted to take in order to get our hands on the wearable display. Others have been more reserved, wondering whether the AR system can deliver what Google has promised, and if so whether that’s something we’d actually want in our everyday lives.
Tom Scott, for instance, recreated Google’s concept video with a rather more cynical slant (be warned, some moderate profanity in the first couple of seconds), warning of what might happen if our reality gets just too augmented:
More serious, though, are the questions around practicality and privacy: can Google really deliver a user experience anything like its glossy promo, and even if it can, do we really want the search giant piggybacking on our everyday lives even more? Technical details, as we’ve already observed, are in short supply from Google; the slender prototypes in Google’s press shots are described as “design studies” with no indication as to whether the test hardware is anywhere near as minimal.
Practical experience with actual wearable displays from Lumus suggests Google’s UI mockup may not be quite what we can expect from the real deal. Single-eye overlays aren’t the issue – it’s actually relatively straightforward to incorporate extra information from one eye into your overall vision – but the amount of light coming through from the outside environment. That could potentially wash out the sort of pale, detailed graphics Google has shown us; bold strokes and wireframes generally work better.
Google Project Glass concept demo:
It’s speed and accuracy that is prompting the most questions, however. Microsoft’s maligned Clippy incurred the wrath of Office users because most of the time it got it wrong: sluggish, unhelpful and generally annoying, it failed the primary benchmark for a digital assistant, by actually detracting from usability.
In contrast, Apple’s Siri digital personal assistant on the iPhone 4S is useful because – although its palette of commands is relatively small – it generally gets things right. It adds to the usability of the device because it adds a new avenue of interaction, unlike Clippy with its attention-distracting and lackluster functionality.
Google needs to make sure Project Glass reacts swiftly and accurately if it wants users to don specialist eyewear. It also needs to make sure that user-expectations are in line with what’s capable of being delivered – not showing outlandish concepts if the practical implementation is significantly different, something which can turn off even the most enthused of early adopters. Finally, it needs to be upfront about legitimate fears around privacy and data protection, particularly when the reality that’s being augmented consists of plenty of people that haven’t signed up to the Project Glass terms of service.
Google Planning Desktop Search for Mac Computers
Google announced plans to offer its Google Desktop Search to Mac computers on Friday, introducing Google technology to a loyal group of computer users who are not using the Windows operating system. Reuters reports that Google’s chief executive did not lay out a set schedule for the Mac ready desktop search, but did confirm that it would be on the way soon when asked. “We intend to do it,” Schmidt said at a University of California-Los Angeles conference celebrating the Internet’s 35th anniversary.
Rueters reports that Schmidt added that the Google Mac Desktop Search “had to be rebuilt from the ground up because of the fundamental differences between the Mac OS and Windows.” Google desktop search currently works with only computers running off of Windows and comes as a 450 KB download file and installs locally on the system. It places a system tray icon, which runs consecutively in the background indexing files on the system. The background-running crawlers monitor the files and internet/chat sessions and keep the index up-to-date by indexing the system when the system is not busy.
Knowing Google and its other services, I had little doubt that the new tool from their stable would be incredible. A week using it and I am not disappointed. It consumes manageable system RAM, gives me results in a format I am most used to watching (Google’s web results) and best thing of all it will only improve from here.
Agreed, the software support is limited. You can search through only the most popular file formats. PDF and many other formats are currently not supported. However, it is just the beginning. Google learns fast and we can be sure an update would cover-up most of the requisitions. But one thing is for sure, they need to start realizing that there are browsers in the market other than Internet Explorer and some people do use email clients which are not from Microsoft’ stable. They seem to have taken the popular approach in the first beta supporting what an average computer user would be using in day-to-day life.
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