Looks like the summer weather is finally here! Before you go catch some rays, here are the three top news stories in search and social this week:
1. Voice Search Ballooning in the Digital Realm
Voice search was the subject of much chatter this week on Moz and Search Engine Land. New player Viv a.k.a the Son of Siri is coming out to play and major investors like Google are taking a keen interest.
What are the implications? Moz has more:
“Search is finally growing up. Take the latest announcements from Microsoft (my employer) at their recent Build event. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about a world where “human language is the UI layer” and developers build for “conversational canvases,” a new term applied to any app where people are conversing, from email to chat to SMS.
Slack, too, has written about “conversational offices” where computer systems — such as expense reporting software — are made more convenient and user-friendly via an interface we can talk to.
All those times you’ve wished for a better way to understand intent and personalize more effectively? Natural language could be the key.
Voice-activated technology is going to switch things up for us marketers, in many beneficial ways. That’s what I’m going to cover here. Specifically, I want to dig into voice search.
What do I mean by voice search?
When I say “voice search” I’m referring to your smartphone or desktop computer that has a digital personal assistant or an entry point that uses voice, like Google’s microphone or Amazon’s Echo.
In most cases, if you’re using a personal assistant and activating with your voice, you’re doing some kind of voice search. And that is the element of voice command I’ll be referring to.
I’ll cover the three big questions:
- Who’s actually using voice search?
- How is it different from text input?
- What can you do to prepare for these differences?
Who’s using voice search?
Most of us reading this article are likely to be regular users of digital personal assistants.
In one of the very few studies published on the topic, Thrive Analytics showed a compelling number of people using digital personal assistants:
We’d expect the high volume of 18 to 43 year olds, since statistically they fall into the early adopters bucket. But to me, the higher usage numbers for 44+ age ranges were pretty surprising. Perhaps it could have something to do with usability? Tiny screens and even tinier buttons can be difficult to navigate — voice search is easier.
The Thrive Analytics study was from late 2014 and, given the speed at which this technology is advancing, the adoption numbers have grown dramatically.
It appears we’re all feeling less silly talking into our phones and are rushing to embrace the convenience of these digital personal assistants. According to a survey conducted in October 2015 by MindMeld, most folks only just started using voice search and voice commands within the 6 months prior to when the survey was conducted.”
2. Airline Rich Snippet Privileges Revoked
Google came down hard on airlines using rich snippets in search results because the snippets were misleading users. Search Engine Land has more:
“Google has taken action against airline deal web sites, such as Expedia, TripAdvisors and others, for misusing product rich snippets in their structured data markup. Essentially, Google took manual action against airline sites by removing their rich snippets in the search results, for using this markup when showing price data for flight destination pages.
Google’s John Mueller confirmed it yesterday morning while on a Google Hangout. He said, “So that is kind of what the team took action on there. We noticed that these pages were making up multiple different types of products in a way that you would for one product.”
Here is the full transcript:
I double-checked about this just before the Hangout, actually. We didn’t actually change anything. What we did notice was a bunch of sites were using this as a way to kind of mark up a variety of products instead of just one product. So we hope that the price markup on a page is specific to one product and you are talking about a page like flights to Berlin, then that is like tons of different products, essentially. Like different flights from different locations going to Berlin, so it is very hard to say, well, it makes sense to mark that up with price rich snippets to show that in the search results because it is essentially all different kinds of products on the same page.
So that is kind of what the team took action on there. We noticed that these pages were making up multiple different types of products in a way that you would for one product.
Google has taken action against rich snippet spam for many years now. This seems to have been applied widely to the airline travel web sites across the board.”
Speaking of airlines, we found some cool correlations between flight searches and the low loonie you might find interesting.
3. Fake Mobile Redirects Get Slammed
Companies who are taking the easy way out in terms of mobile optimization are facing the repercussions. Search Engine Land has the details:
“Google takes action on mobile sites that trick users into being redirected to an unwanted website from the mobile search results page. This Twitter post was just to remind webmasters not to use sneaky redirects.
In October 2015, Google warned webmasters not to trick mobile users by redirecting them to an unsuspecting website. Well, today, Google announced on Google+ and Twitter that they have been “taking action on sites that sneakily redirect mobile users to spammy domains.” Google issued a correction with Search Engine Land that they did not issue any new manual actions recently, that this post on Twitter was just to remind webmasters not to use sneaky redirects.”
That’s all folks! Have a wonderful weekend,
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