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15 Nov 2019

Speaker Interview: John Campbell

Why have you chosen to specialise in voice-search SEO?

I had worked in SEO for over ten years so fancied a change, and a number of clients had started to ask about the rising interest in voice. I started to research the platforms, how adoption was growing and the opportunities surrounding voice search and voice app development. It didn’t take long to realise that voice is going to be big, so we decided to set up specialist voice agency Rabbit & Pork.

What recent developments have you seen which point towards a voice-based future for search?

The sheer number of voice enabled devices out there is amazing. Pretty much every android phone has the Google Assistant built in and in the UK the rise of smart speakers means around 20% of adults have a smart speaker in the home.

The devices being there is one element but what points toward longevity is that users are ditching the old way of performing tasks once they have a smart speaker. For example, simple tasks such as setting an alarm are so much quicker via voice than using your phone, and once a user starts to use voice they don’t tend to go back. I can see more and more searches and tasks going this way.

How would you describe the main differences between traditional and voice SEO?

There are a number of considerations, the top three to think about would be:

  • There is only one result – many voice searches will return one result to be read out. Compare this to traditional search where there can be ten organic results and multiple paid options. So the risk and reward of voice search are much higher than in traditional SEO.
  • Google and Alexa use different methods, resources and ways of returning results. So if you gain a voice search on Google you may still have work to do to gain a similar result on Alexa. We’ve run tests using voice search ranking reports and seen Google use as many as 25 different repositories of information to answer questions and then Alexa use different sources to answer questions. On traditional SEO with Google having such a high percentage of traffic many SEOs will just concentrate on optimisation for Google.
  • Voice searches by their nature are longer and more conversational, compared to typed searches which tend to be a little shorter and more to the point (most of us can talk faster than we can type). The impact on this includes having different sets of key phrases to track, creating content that targets the longer tail conversational features.

igaming is an extremely competitive industry; what advantage will affiliates have if they begin concentrating more on voice search now?

As per traditional SEO the websites that spend time on getting the fundamentals right earlier on will reap the rewards later. Also, gaining results now will give you access to data that others might not have, those learnings could allow you to adjust and optimise your strategy. Google is also looking at using schema such as “faq” and “how to” schema to drive voice results, affiliates that are nimble might be able to add this to their website quickly to huge benefit.

What are the first steps one can take to move towards a voice-optimisation strategy?

First step is an audit of voice results. Start asking a smart speaker questions and see what the speaker can answer and where the information comes from (we use custom built tools to speed up this process allowing us to run daily reports).

Using the results from the audit create a plan of content optimisation. This may be split into optimising existing content to make it more conversational and a schedule of creating brand new content.

The next step is tracking and optimisation; once you make those changes re-run checks both on traditional SEO and voice search to see if your website starts to be the website referenced.

A final step would be to generate ideas for a voice app. Alexa Skills and Google Actions are voice apps that users can use on their smart speaker which allow a brand to create a more conversational experience. For example it could be a voice app that helps people learn the rules of games or daily tips information. We are already seeing brands in the gaming industry launch voice apps.

Hear John speak at his session on Day one of iGB Affiliate London 2020: OK, Google. How can I rank #1 for Voice Answers?

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