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Digital assistant search engine results pages are altogether different from what you will see on a browser. Assistants try to streamline and simplify tasks and searches as much as possible. On Google Assistant this generally means only showing the top result.
To understand how search works on digital assistants, it helps to understand a bit of their history.
At this moment, not every online business needs to be found on Google Assistant. However, awareness of how it is changing the future of search is necessary to develop content with a lasting impact. To stay competitive online, contact a future-facing search marketing agency today.
How to Rank on Google Assistant Searches.
Many of the skills used to rank on voice search apply to creating SEO for Google Assistant. One of the key elements for this is in the use of keywords and phrases. We learned with Siri that users word their search queries differently when they are spoken than when they type them into a browser.
Digital assistants are redefining the rules of SERPs and SEO. For search, digital assistants are definitely playing by their own rules. As their popularity continues to grow they will impact all of search. Today, we’re going to take a look into how you can rank with digital assistants.
Trying to rank for search with voice activated requires thinking about how people phrase spoken questions and using this for in-depth long tail keyword research. Long tail keywords are keyword phrases three to five words long. They often have a lower search volume, but also have less competition and the most relevant search traffic.
A staple of all effective content is knowing your audience. To rank for digital assistants you should know where your audience goes for reviews. You need to own that channel. If someone searches reviews through Google Assistant, they will only receive the top review from their most used review source.
When Google Assistant & Google Home were released last year they took on elements of both voice search and the Echo. Unlike Google Now, however, the assistant wasn’t meant to be used just for voice command, but to create a conversation. Google assistant opens up a 2-way dialogue with the user.
As digital assistants evolve it is possible that this could expand to two or three options provided. But it is unlikely that 10 results will be used, as it is simply too much information and too many options. You must rethink what a SERP looks like to rank on Google Assistant Searches.
The Rise of Voice Activated Search.
In creating featured snippets it is okay to be promotional. As long as the snippet content is informative and useful, you will not be penalized for promoting your product within it. For digital assistants, this can be especially important if you are hoping to make an immediate sale. Promoting your brand, service, or product can help encourage people to continue on to the page.
Digital assistants have, arguably, seen more dramatic change in the past year than any other search tool. With the release of Google Assistant & Google Home we are witnessing a new role technology is playing in our lives, and in search.
Featured snippets are designed to answer a specific question directly. The short answer format can mean that they can suffer low click-thru rates. Be sure to make them enticing, and offer more information, so that users will click-thru to the page.
Digital assistants like Google Home require a unique SERP approach.
To rank on Google Assistant searches you need to understand how users interact with the software. We can apply knowledge of how to rank on predecessors like Google Now. As well as through the functionality of Google Assistant.
As discussed with rethinking SERPs, getting the first position is critical to being shown by digital assistants. Local SEO is just one element that can be used to influence ranking. Businesses that cannot or do not rely on traffic need not worry. As the most effective way to be shown first is through featured snippets.
Unlike Google Now, Google Assistant is designed to be a conversation. The conversation actions for digital assistants help to find the most relevant response to users’ exact query and intent. As a result, specificity in writing is critical to rank with digital assistants.
With the advancements in speech recognition, early iterations of digital assistants like the Amazon Echo were created. The Amazon Echo’s functionality has a lot of similarities to Google Home and Google Assistant. It is based on voice interaction, plays music, streams podcasts, plays audiobooks, can make to-do lists, set alarms, and give updates on weather and traffic.
If your customers primarily use Yelp for reviews, then you should try and own your category in Yelp. Putting an emphasis on location and specific categories can help to own your review channel. For digital assistants, you want to cast a smaller net to reach a more direct audience. For example, an Asian-Fusion restaurant should compete in the ‘Asian-Fusion restaurant’ category, not the ‘restaurant’ category.
This is perfect for this writing for other clients and/or working with other writers.
You create the Google Doc template for them to use, then share that link. From their end, they just install the SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant add-on to their Google. This is a lot easier than sending them a Word file of the SEO Content Template.
If you click on any one of those dimensions, you can see the individual metrics that is part of it. Here are them below.
One quirk that you have to know, which I learned the hard way is if you are planning to write an article yourself, I suggest using SWA on your chosen platform—in most cases, that’s either inside WordPress or Google Docs.
As the name suggests, this metric helps you follow on-page SEO best practices for the particular keyword you are targeting. It helps you add semantically-related keywords which are essential to helping Google understand more about your page.
2. Use SWA in WordPress.
This last metric here won’t have any scores unless you use it. The originality checks your content against potential plagiarism issues.
At a high level, here’s how it works:
You’ll also find your recommended word count here and an estimated reading time. Below that is a section for your title . This primarily looks at the length of your title since search engines cut off or truncate your title if you exceed a certain character/pixel length.
You’ll also find recommendations on alt attributes . These are the ones you add to your images. Below that are your link issues which looks into internal and external links. It also performs an automatic link check to ensure none of the links you add are broken. Pretty neat, huh?
You can easily do this by clicking on Add-ons , then Get Add-ons . You’ll see the Google Marketplace. Or, click here to install it directly.
That’s why I recommend getting the guru plan if you’re planning to use content marketing in your business. This way, you’ll have 800 units to use. And from my experience, it is more than enough.
You’ll be able to visualize whether you’re writing is leaning towards casual or formal.
What’s great here is that as you write your content and use the recommended keywords, the keywords light up as green. If you use it too much, you’ll see it show you a warning to help you avoid keyword stuffing:
Finally, if you are a fan of Google Docs, you can install the add-on, sign-in your SEMRush account, and the SWA can show you recommendations here.
3. Use SWA in Google Docs.
That said, you don’t have to worry about this if you are using the guru plan as it gives you enough units at a monthly basis. But if you subscribed to the pro plan, you only get 1 template in total.
Depending on your accounts, you only get a limited number of these checks per month.
The SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant is the perfect companion tool if you want to write a blog post that will get you a ton of traffic. Follow the recommendations in the SWA as you write, and you’re one step closer to an article that has a high likelihood of ranking on page one of Google.
The beauty of this is they don’t need an SEMRush account to access your SEO Content Template and use the SEO Writing Assistant in their writing.
In the interest of transparency, this post may contain affiliate links to the tools mentioned. At no additional cost to you, if you click through and decide to purchase, I will earn a commission. Regardless, I only recommend products I use and believe will add value to you.
You can also use SWA to scale your content marketing. Create a Google Doc, configure the SEO Writing Assistant, then share it with other writers.
The SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant (SWA) is a tool that checks your blog posts or pages if it follows the best practices in search engine optimization.
Just like the SEO Content Template, there are two main uses for the SEO Writing Assistant.
The default view for SWA is it’s at the bottom of your editor, so what I do is click on the float mode so it can appear as a sidebar.
Once you do that, it will show up as a floating side bar.
The last part is about issues with your content . Some recommendations here would be to split long paragraphs, avoid hard-to-read sentences or too complex words.
Finally, you’ll see another title recommendation here. In the readability, it checks for your length. Here, it checks if you used your main keyword in your title.
It shows you your scores across 4 different dimensions: