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Maggie Cassidy
August 24, 2017

Why the Talk of the Tech World is Voice Search

voice-control-2598422_1280.jpgI’ll admit that I used to laugh at the people who would talk to their virtual assistants loaded in their mobile devices and use voice search to find the nearest coffee shop or gas station. I used to think was typing your search in a browser not simple enough? I questioned vocal search’s accuracy, efficiency and its everything.

But as time went on, voice search technology developed and the frequency of voice searches increased. Infact, according to eMarketer, in 2017 alone 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month - which is an increase of almost 130% since 2016. 

And while voice search is far from overtaking traditional search, marketers have to worry about another search strategy and that new strategy is PASO. Personal assistant search optimization (PASO) refers to “the use of SEO techniques with the aim of positioning content as the answers are delivered by personal assistants” like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and the like.

Instead of just focusing on how many keywords your website ranks for, PASO will have marketers optimizing their websites to also activate conversations between users and their personal assistants.

You may be wondering, is this the end of SEO optimization? Not by far. PASO sprouted from SEO strategies, and marketers will still need to keep keyword ranking in mind. So, why should digital marketers care about PASO and voice searches? A few benefits include:

Personal assistants are portable
Our friends Siri, Alexa and Cortana are all readily available on the mobile devices that we keep glued to our hands. Granted, search browsers are also portable, but it’s far easier asking our phones where the nearest movie theater is instead of typing while walking.

Fewer results
We’ve grown accustomed to our searches on regular browsers yielding thousands of results with us really only paying attention the ones on the first page. Voice searches through personal assistants only yield one, highly concentrated result making it easier for us to make decisions.

Higher Click-Through Rate
Since results generated by voice search are highly concentrated, users are more likely to read through the results provided to them by their personal assistant, increasing click-through rates.

Despite that it’s still in its infant stages, markers are probably wondering how they can develop a PASO strategy, let alone optimize a current one. And while there aren’t many actionable methods yet, one thing marketers can do is pay attention to where personal assistants are getting their results from.

For example, if you ask Siri where you can get the best margarita in town, she will most likely pull her info from sources like Yelp, OpenTable, Yahoo! Local and other places. She’ll then segment that data and formulate a response tailored to the asker. If you’re a marketer for the hottest margarita spot in town, then you’ll want to make sure your website and establishment information can be found in those sources.

It’s going to be a lot of trial and error with developing and effectively executing PASO strategies for voice searches, but marketers should learn as the voice search develops instead of playing catchup.

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