Between Siri & Me – Conversational Optimization for the Voice-Command Search Market

Written by: Heidi Miller   Austin, Texas

Posted on: June 1, 2016


Search Engine Optimization has never been accused of moving along at a snail’s pace. Thankfully, audience saturation and acceptance of a new technology usually takes a bit longer than innovation, giving us time to adjust our strategies to provide the most effective, informative marketing strategies available.

We are beginning to see the necessity of adjusting our methods to effectively reach talk-to-text and voice-command searching over a variety of devices. Apple’s Siri is turning 5 years old and a 3rd party developer kit for Siri is on the horizon, opening her up to manipulation by the greater world developer community.

Little sister Alexa from Amazon’s Echo voice-command speaker-device is just shy of 2 years old and Google Home has just been announced, piggybacking Echo’s success. We may be speaking to A.I.’s (artificial intelligence) more often, but what these interactions with humans tell us about the future of search is invaluable for the future of SEO.

What’s New in SEO?

Long-tail keywords have been the bread and butter of the SEO industry for longer than most trends that have fallen in and out of the Big Engines’ favor. This isn’t going away any time soon, but as people speak to search more often, through smart phones, in-home devices and tablets, the best research we have is ourselves.

How do you talk to your virtual “personal assistant”? I have an obnoxious habit of saying, “Hey Siri, what’s the temperature right now?” or “Hey Siri, where’s the nearest DMV?” I’m surprised she hasn’t stopped me yet to let me know I don’t need to be so polite.

I’ve already welcomed her into my mental concept of being polite to service providers (a concept not shared with the entire human race, I’ll admit.) I speak to her personably, using full sentences and query words I never use when typing searches into Google. Who, Where, When – I ask Siri as I would ask a friend, neighbor or colleague. This gives us significant clues as to how we can structure website, blog and social content to provide relevant answers to these fully realized questions.

How do we write to promote our brands in voice-search results?

(See what I did there? There’s your full sentence query word question.)

We ask the simple, focused questions asked by our audience and answer in similarly simple, informative ways. We have a conversation with our audience, providing material more as a publisher, less as a marketer. We follow natural language patterns, making our writing reader-friendly, interesting and, depending on your topic, even inject some humor into the writing. We provide authoritative information in an increasingly opinionated online world.

The only way we move forward with our audience is by connecting with our audience. Their interest and trust is paramount, and the literal conversation between users and their virtual personal assistants provides us with the newest opportunity we have to transfer that trust onto our brands.


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