4 Ways Voice Search Will Alter The Marketing Landscape In 2017

Voice search is most commonly used by AI (artificial intelligence) enabled personal assistants, installed on Google, Apple, and Microsoft devices. Think Cortana and Siri. Alexa, from Amazon, has also entered the market, clearly demonstrating that everyone is looking to corner this market.

Siri, Cortana, and Google Now are smarter than they ever have been before. They employ machine learning algorithms that allow them to get better at what they do based on user behavior. Already they are better at understanding context, interpreting intent based on past queries, breaking down multi-step queries, and more.

Keyboard users are a dying population, and it’s important for businesses to recognize the next generation of searchers – voice users. If you spend time with young kids, and even many adults, you’ll notice that they favor voice assistants over keyboards. Those of us who grew up texting on our flip phones are probably the only die-hard keyboard users left! Think about it – whether you suffer from fat thumbs, the keyboard is too small to see, or you simply look for the easiest and faster way to accomplish something (GenX!), voice texting solves all of that.

Marketers need to be thinking about this shift because voice search will have a significant impact on content discovery. Although currently there is no simple or precise way of identifying voice vs. non-voice queries, “Okay Google” queries are becoming far more common in search query reports, and they’re even showing up as rising terms in Google Trends.

For the longest time, we have all talked about ‘content is King’. Voice search won’t change that fact, but it will change the nature of the content. Google has been diminishing the relevance and power of keywords because too many search marketers fell into a habit of over-optimizing their content by stuffing keywords into content and as anchor text for backlinks, and not enough webmasters were focusing on content that delivers value. The Panda algorithm update, which started rolling out in 2011, started to eliminate keyword-based search results in favor of broader and more sophisticated means of populating relevant pages in search results.

Voice search makes keywords even less relevant; rather than typing individual words into a search bar, users speak their query, usually into a phone. Doing so naturally encourages users to speak in a conversational way, creating unique and different queries to be processed by search engines, bypassing the need for keywords and instead rewarding sites with content that falls in line with the user’s request.

What’s Changing and How To Take Action for Voice Search

1. Query Length

The length of a keyword search on a keyboard is, not surprisingly, very short. For example, “marketing firm, Atlanta, GA”. However, when using voice search, the search query is much more natural and will look like “Give me a list of marketing firms are in Atlanta Georgia.”

Take action by testing out longer keyword phrases that are more conversational. While broad or phrase match targeting may help account for these longer keywords, it’s not necessarily conversational and may not cover the way people search with voice.

2. Intent

Natural language more clearly defines the intent of the user. As opposed to searching the shortest keyword “dishwashers”, I will now more clearly define my intent with voice search by saying “where to buy dishwashers in Atlanta, GA”.

Take action by identifying your highest value phrases tailor keywords, ad copy, and landing pages to these phrases.

Voice Search Intent

3. Quick Results With Quick Actions

Voice search will continue to trigger more quick answers on the search engine results pages. Users will see reviews, call now button, etc., right on the SERP. They no longer have a need to visit your website to take action.

Take action by ensuring your NAP (name, address, phone number) listings are always up to date. Many sites aggregate that information and they have a great deal of power when the user never leaves the search results page.

4. Voice is Local

Mobile voice search is 3x more likely to be local-based than text search. This is closely related to the fact that most smartphone searches are also local.

Take action by ensuring your local physical presence is a key part of your marketing strategy.

Bonus Voice Search Related Takeaways:

  • Businesses need to create a consumer-centric approach to marketing which frames your business through its products and service areas, language, its context, and the intentions of its customers.
  • Businesses should be thinking about how to create content that answers questions using voice search and optimize for longer keywords and semantically related keywords. The most important thing to remember as we move toward a bright, new digital future is that these changes will be for the better. They are going to provide more ways to connect with consumers and more opportunities to gain exposure in searches.
  • Another area that will have an impact on voice search will be the ‘Internet of Things’. Between wearables and connected household objects, we’re communicating more with objects using voice commands. One of the biggest expectations we have from this specific use of technology is the expectation that it will anticipate our needs – or predictive response.

It’s clear that the marketing and technology industry is undergoing a massive seismic shift. For businesses, staying ahead of (or at least with) the technology curve will be paramount to capitalizing on these positive changes.

Internet Marketing Strategies That Will Always Be Relevant

When it comes to running small businesses, internet marketing can be an integral component of the overall marketing strategy. Every small company needs effective internet marketing strategies whether it is doing online business or not. However, it is imperative to note that strategies that were effective in the past may not work in the future. Every business owner has to be aware of how dynamic the online marketing environment is. Relying on out-of-date online marketing strategies is going to be costly and futile. Below is a rundown of proven digital marketing strategies that are not only highly effective but also timeless.

Relevant Internet Marketing Strategies

Email Marketing

Email marketing has been proven to be one of the strongest internet marketing strategies in today’s world. Powerful email messages could stir the hearts of customers into supporting business and make purchases for the benefit of your company. The primary purpose of email marketing is to develop brand awareness through transmission of advertisements or to solicit sales and get donations for business recommendations. This can be achieved by sending emails to selling lists or the existing customer base.

Email marketing can take two distinctive forms: direct email and transactional email. Direct email marketing has to do with sending emails intended for communication through promotional messages. An example of this approach is when a company sends a catalog of products or email information concerning a special offer. The email addresses may be known to the company or may even be rented from service companies. On the other hand, transactional email marketing strategy makes use of the messages produced through customer’s reaction to a company. In other words, this type of communication is to customers who have agreed to receive emails from your company. The message can be in the form of forgotten password resets, reorder emails, basket messages, and order confirmation emails among other forms.

Content Marketing

Content marketing has to do with providing valuable information to potential customers. The information can be about your product or general issues of interest. Your articles, website, videos, blog posts, photos, and other forms of communicating must deliver high-quality content material that is useful to your target audience. When you deliver excellent content, people will get to know, like, and even trust you. They will use it, share it, and eventually buy from you.

Social Media Marketing

Whether you like them or not, social media platforms cannot be ignored. Some of your customers are obviously using social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among others. It is imperative that you integrate your business to social media sites and ensure that you post regularly. It is also important to engage your audience and ensure that the content you post is not only relevant but also great in quality. However, you have to analyze your audience to know the social media sites they are on to avoid wasting time on the sites they hardly visit.

Search Engine Marketing

People use search engines when they want to find something on the web. Hundreds of millions of searches are conducted every day on search engines such as yahoo.com, google.com, and msn.com among others. Some people will be looking for your website or for a product that you deal with. So, how can you capture the people that are searching what your business has to offer? This is achieved through a technique known as search engine marketing.

The idea is to make your company more visible when people search for products that you offer. The aim is to rank highest or make your website appear on the first pages of the main search engines when people search for products your company sells. To achieve this, you might need to seek assistance from experienced internet marketers offering search engine optimization (SEO) services.

Local Search Marketing

Although the internet allows us to interact with anyone anywhere in the world, we do not always need the worldwide part of the web. In fact, the number of local business searches done on the Google is on the rise as more and more people realize how adept the major search engine can be when it come to providing more localized search results when required. To take advantage of this, it is imperative for you as the business owner to understand the value of local search marketing.

The greatest advantage of local search marketing has to do with the quality of the traffic you are likely to attract. Most of the people searching for goods and services are looking for local. Thus, defining your location will give you exposure to the people that matter most.

In conclusion, it is apparent that there are several effective internet marketing strategies you could integrate into your overall marketing strategy whether your business is online or offline. Discussed above are the online marketing strategies that will always be relevant. Whichever strategies you choose, always emphasize quality before quantity.

internet marketing strategies

Online Reputation Management and It’s Importance in 2017

Online business is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Most people do not visit bricks and mortar stores anymore. Therefore, for any business or personal brand, most people will get a sense of your reputation through the internet. Thankfully, a firm or a person can do online reputation management so that whatever people find on the internet does not damage, or better yet, enhances their reputation. Managing your reputation online in this day and age is not a choice one has to make, but a necessity and here is why:

Search Engine Results

Over 90%of those who search for anything on Google will not go beyond the first page. Therefore, your reputation is key to potential customers even finding you in the first place. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the strongest online marketing strategies you can utilize. You want your reputation to work in your favor and to accomplish that you have to be proactive. You have to be willing to take steps that will help you rank higher in search engine results. It will lead to more traffic on your site or page which will lead to more business or a stronger online presence.

More Social Media Traffic

Social media is the most powerful tool for online advertising ever created. You can reach millions of people using a single Facebook page. More social media traffic almost invariably leads to a higher conversion rates i.e. conversion of potential customers to paying and loyal customers. Online reputation management involves managing your influence across all social media platforms. As of 2016, it is likely that 80% of the business you conduct will have come to you through social media, in one way or another. Social media also offers the chance to interact with people so that you can improve your reputation further or repair a damaged one.

Developing a Brand

There is no greater use of online reputation management (ORM) than pushing a distinct brand. What people associate with your name or business name is your brand. If you are trying to create a certain type of brand, ensuring that what find about you online is exactly what you want will go a long way in securing your brand. However, this is no easy task. You can only do so much such as offer impeccable customer service or be yourself. Other things are beyond your control such as the reviews you get on Yelp. Avoiding negative influences is a big step in setting up a brand.

Damage Control

No matter how much you try to keep your reputation squeaky clean, a reputation that is too perfect raises a red flag. Moreover, something bad that is beyond your control is bound to happen at one point or another. Online reputation management will help a lot with damage control. You will be able to curb the negative spread of news about your brand before it all goes too far. You can do much to keep it from getting worse, and if you do a god job, you could even turn it around. It will take time, but that is the power of ORM and its vital use.


Online reputation management gives a brand owner whether a company or a person the chance to see what others think about the brand. Monitoring such feedback presents the brand owner with an incredible opportunity to take corrective action or to improve the goods or services offered. As part of online reputation management, monitoring suggestions is vital. You can take such reviews into consideration and take steps to provide customers with what they want. Such swift reactivity is crucial in online business.

Sales and Profitability

The ultimate measure of the effectiveness of your online reputation management will be the number of sales and the profitability of your online business. In the case of a personal brand, the reach you have should be the measure. All the steps taken to improve your reputation lead to this goal. Therefore, online reputation management that is done well will lead to more revenue and eventually larger profits. Given that in a capitalist society profit is the ultimate end, online reputation management should be taken very seriously. It could prove the difference between the sustainability and the demise of your business.

Online Reputation Management

Google Penguin 4.0 Announced and Rolling Out

Google has officially announced that Google Penguin is now part of the core algorithm. What most consider Google Penguin 4.0, this will be the last announced Penguin refresh to the algorithm because it’s now considered “real-time.”

Here are the two major bullets provided by Google when discussing the Penguin update:

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed refreshing. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, and not affecting the ranking of the overall site.

The Google Penguin real-time announcement is a welcome change, especially to anyone who is now under the cloud of a Google penalty. Basically, this means that sites that were once affected would be periodically refreshed and your website would then be checked to see if it is still “spammy” or not. The old process could take months to recover a website. Now, this Google Penguin update is checking your website in real-time. This makes visibility changes to your website occur much faster, allowing to recover from Google penalties faster.

Granularity is also a key part. Instead of an entire site being affected by a Google Penalty. I assume, that they’re now only penalizing specific sections or pages that they believe are using “spammy” tactics to increase their visibility.

edit: “No, it means it affects finer granularity than sites. It does not mean it only affects pages,” a Google spokesperson confirmed to The SEM Post.

Is your site affected by Google Penguin 4.0?

Google Penguin 4.0 Real Time UpdateThis roll-out reportedly has not been completed yet. I would expect to see ranking fluctuations in the coming weeks until the algorithm / updates settle themselves down before coming to a conclusion that it’s been penalized and figuring out how to recover from the Google Penguin update.

If you feel that you’ve actually been penalized, check for messages in webmaster tools, or start doing a linking analysis on your website to measure for “spammy” links that are impacting the visibility performance of your website.

As always, if you feel you’ve seen negative impacts and have identified those “spammy” links. Google recommends that you reach out to those websites asking for link removal, and if all else fails – send a removal request to Google.

Google Penguin isn’t everything…

Remember, Google Penguin is one of the many updates to the algorithm used to measure rankings overall. Penguin is just one of more than 200 signals Google uses. While links are a HUGE part of ranking, Google also looks at things like specific words, freshness of content, region, and even PageRank. If you’re looking to learn more about those kinds of signals, visit Moz’s breakdown of search engine ranking factors in 2016.

Making Progress

Yea, I took a week off. Sue me. The holiday made it incredibly tough to get any time down to actually collect my thoughts and put them within a Google document. I also sacrificed some time to continue advancing forward in FreeCodeCamp.io.

I basically wanted to get past the HTML and CSS stuff and get right into jQuery. I’ve also made it a personal goal to knock out 10-15 learning challenges a day, and so far so smooth. The actual jQuery stuff has interested me so far. I’m really looking forward to getting into more advanced lessons with it and seeing what I can actually walk away from it with.

I really can’t recommend FreeCodeCamp enough. It’s been a great jump-start into learning and helping remember what I learned a long time ago. It really does feel like I needed to shake the cobwebs off. Either way, it’s exciting, and I’m going to continue pushing forward.

Another interesting thing that I came across this week, was the announcement that ClickZ was closing their events business.Kind of huge surprise because of how many events they put on a year. They always seemed like one of the first/bigger companies to put on a continual event cycle, so it will be interesting to see what else may come of it, if anything.

Oh well, another quick-ish update – but it’s progress right? I’m really trying to hold true to at least consistently writing once a week and publishing it. I have already seen a slow improvement on visits as well as Google Search Console data. A few more weeks, and it may be something I get to write about!

Mobile-Friendly Tag Removed By Google

The “mobile-friendly” label became synonymous with “mobilegeddon” for many enterprise companies in 2014. On Tuesday, Google announced that to declutter search results it would be removing that label. The ranking signal your website gets from having a mobile-friendly format though remains unchanged.

Another change that Google has announced, is the limitation of intrusive interstitials on a mobile experience. Sites that are gaming the mobile experience to grab clicks to their advertising partners will garner the most scrutiny and rightfully so.

As a personal user, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link from Facebook only to be barraged with an advertisement. It is dishonest and is likely followed by an immediate block from my Facebook timeline.

While this is a welcome change, websites will have until January 10th, 2017 to fix the following issues, or face reduced rankings within mobile searches:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

I have mental flashbacks in writing documentation on this specific tag and the potential headaches it could cause if a VP would see this in the search results and wonder why their website didn’t have that tag. Coming from an agency, you get conditioned to find certain words that the business could recognize; and in turn, you could use that to get projects within their queue. Mobile-friendly was one of the few words on various occasions across multiple companies that executives would recognize and understand changes were needed to comply with Google.

Another note, I thought this was supposed to publish last week, but I must have not scheduled it. Either way, the challenge continues and I’ll work on getting a second post up here by the end of the week. I’ve done a bit more work in the freecodecamp.io stuff, and want to give an update on that. So far, so good.

Keeping To The Commitment

Week 2, we’re holding in there! I’m in Boston for work and seeing that I have time at the hotel, I want to write a bit about what I’m going to start working on. Partially because I have to, but I think more because I’m excited for it. I’ve started using freecodecamp.io to start refreshing and learning more about web development.

After reading up on it, I think it’s a great way to start learning – and if it goes well enough I spend a ton of time learning things that I can use in the future.

I don’t know how far I’ll get with it, but I do intend to make it a consistent thing like I’m trying to do with my writing. Even though I feel like I work a ton already, I haven’t been progressing with learning as fast as I’d like in the past few months. I really want to make sure that I’m not trying to sprint right away. Burning out isn’t ideal and it’s something I’m striving to be hyper-ware of.

Back to Boston. I’ve been here for the week working with a great group of people on an SEO PPI charter to expand SEO within the company that I work for. While I thought it was intense (3 straight days in a conference room working on issues), I learned a ton about the company. There were also a lot of solid things I can take back back to the office and try to apply for the sites that I work on.

I love that I’ve been able to go to places that I never imagined in my life that I’d go. Yes it’s a ton of work and stress, but it’s a fantastic feeling knowing I’ve been able to travel as much as I have. It’s a really cool feeling, and I want to continue to work as hard as possible to continue to do what I love.