Digital Assistants: How They Affect Searches and the SE

08 Aug 2018 20:32

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These days, some people find it more convenient to search with digital assistants. Leading SEO insiders and publications even predict that the rise of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now is the start of artificial intelligence. For now, search engines are noticing this trend and factoring voice searches in their results.

If you are about to start your own website, how do you take advantage of this trend? Well, it helps to start with your own domain name first. When you come up with a domain name, make sure it is:

a. Marketable

b. Concise

c. Catchy

d. Pronounceable

That last factor is especially important with voice searches. If free directory submission sites list 2018 has all these aspects, better hurry and find out if it is available. So that when you register on a registry or any hosting site (such as Crazy Domains), at least your domain name is unique.

Aside from your domain name, you also have to be mindful of your content. Before posting the About Us, Contact Us, Homepage, News, blog articles, and all other pages, make sure each of them are peppered with long-tailed and phrasal keywords. For those who are not familiar, these are keywords that are longer and often times grammatically correct.

Usually when people search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, they just type in the relevant keywords in no particular order (e.g. cheetah, speed). With voice search, on the other hand, the searches queries are much longer. This is because users can get away with being more conversational, which means more complete sentences and longer phrases.

The use of longer keywords is not the only thing that sets apart voice searches. As their name suggests, these apps are meant to assist users. With the right configuration, these assistants could help out users without being prompted.

Cortana, for example, is about to get integrated in Microsoft Edge (the company's new web browser.) One of the neat tricks it could pull off is finding the opening hours of restaurants and reveal the coupons for e-commerce sites. Cortana could even find the exact address of whatever establishment you are looking for (right down to the floor number). For laptop users, this feature can be activated when you open the Microsoft Edge browser. Afterwards, simply highlight a word, right click the mouse, and then select the option "Ask Cortana". And, voila, you get a list of info that you might find useful.

Another interesting feature is to analyse the context of any query. Cortana even has a "notebook" of topics that might interest a user. Similarly, Google Now creates a set of cards for the same purpose. Even Siri, who was the butt of jokes, has improved its search metrics. So even if users ask for just one thing, these digital assistants would provide answers to other related questions.

Let's take Cortana's info cards as an example: If you ask it to search for your favourite musician, not only will Cortana provide that singer or band's background, but also concert details (such as date, venue, and ticket price.)

These digital assistants are designed to provide comprehensive results, and this predictive and analytical behaviour is what sets apart digital assistants from regular search engines.

Now that you understand the nature of digital assistants, how do you make your website friendly for digital assistants?

As mentioned earlier, one trick is to include longer and phrasal keywords. However, you can take this a step further by determining how people would most likely phrase queries that include your keywords in a conversational way. Once you have determined what these phrases are, pepper them throughout your site.

Design also plays a huge factor, too. For any content posted, make sure there are links for related content. These links have to be featured prominently, as well. This can work for sites that rely heavily on article-based content.

Speaking of content, you can get away with writing articles that sound more conversational. You can even insert colloquial (and even slang) terms. More and more digital assistants analyse this to pinpoint specific locations and deliver geography-based results. And since these digital assistants are mostly used in smartphones, it doesn't hurt to make your website mobile-friendly, too.

Of course, in order to get a real idea of the impact of digital assistants, it helps to try them out. If you can, try all the leading ones and analyse the results of each one. From there you can figure out how to tweak your site based on what you found.

Without a doubt, digital assistants are here to stay. Pretty soon, they'll affect more than just the SEO industry. There are even predictions that these digital assistants would have their own crawlers. This means it would no longer rely on search engines to find answers. It is only a matter of time until these virtual helpers could help run the household: and even businesses.

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