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Personal Assistants and Their Impact on SEO

Updated on January 8, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


A basic infotainment center provides turn by turn directions to a destination, plays songs upon request and reads off the basic stats of a ball game. A personal assistant goes even further by recording to do lists, shopping lists and reminders. It allows you not only hear the top five pizza places near you but place an order. It remembers your prior purchases and lets you order it again via a voice command. How are personal assistants and related technologies affecting search engine optimization of websites and content?

Personal Assistants and Voice SEO

The attraction of infotainment centers is the ability to give commands and have everything from a new destination added to a map, answer a phone call through the car’s Bluetooth system or play a favorite song list.

With its spread into every other type of transaction, voice search engine optimization grows in prominence. You now have to tailor your business directories to show up on conversational natural language queries one would say while driving or walking, not simply the short key term search they’d enter into a browser. You also have to have enough latent semantic indexing that the voice search will come up with a detailed query like “what hours is X open today?” and “when does it close?” after someone has already queried about your business’ location.

Personal assistants are now part of the infotainment centers in many new cars.
Personal assistants are now part of the infotainment centers in many new cars. | Source

Personal Assistants Showing Up Everywhere

As of this writing, Amazon is at the head of the personal assistant movement through Amazon Echo. Apple’s Siri is as advanced with regard to information delivery and directions but doesn’t yet have the same integration with product ordering, service delivery and other purchases one could make. Google Home is not as advanced, though it stands out for its degree of home automation integration. Apple’s Siri is starting to move into home automation control via voice command instead of just apps.

The immediate impact of this is that you need to improve your Amazon listings, whether you sell electronics or allow someone to order meal kits or pizza through Amazon’s marketplace, with fully fleshed out product directories with an eye on voice SEO (pun intended).

Because Ford’s Sync Connect is set to connect with Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, companies that offer products or content should investigate whether or not they want to tailor their listings for voice search even from people on the go, such as letting someone order fresh groceries or dinner while on their way home for delivery around the time they get home. It isn’t just Ford, either, since BMW is planning the same connectivity. Note, this type of integration with the key industry leaders (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft)

Which personal assistant tools you want to optimize your product directories, sales channels and content for depends on where your customers are located. At a minimum is getting your product or service on the sites where the personal assistants search by default when the customer asks for recommendations.

Growth of the Information Ecosystem

An information ecosystem refers to the network of apps, bots and secondary software applications available through a main website or platform.

For example, Facebook offers content, purchasing options through its marketplace and increasingly chat bots integrated into Facebook Messenger. The chat bots can help someone select the ideal item off of the store front’s list – and it can direct people to higher profit margin items or inventory you really want to move. Or use the chat bot to help someone identify when their technical error requires service instead of do it yourself jerry rigged solutions.

The chat bots and apps often work within platforms like WeChat to give traffic updates, account balances, automated order status messages and advice. Don’t forget to put links to your company’s home page or related content in these bots’ messages to bring them back to your site. Or have the bot suggest they create an account with your company or sign up for a subscription.

Some bots are used to deliver aggregated news to consumers. Your company may be able to offer this consolidated and convenient information source to customers with a referral to your website, the same way electronic newsletters can be used to improve your SEO and customer engagement. Or work with a company that provides an industry newsletter or niche topic news feed and seek mentions of your company with relevant backlinks to improve your SEO.

Microsoft is trying to add bots to Cortana and Skype. When this has not only occurred but matured, SEO for Bing will evolve into SEO for chat bots using Skype, conversational queries for Cortana and bots promoting your product or service within the Microsoft ecosystem.

The side benefit of bots and apps within a major information ecosystem is that it usually costs as much or less than the price of designing an app. And unlike a smartphone app, you only have to design it for one chosen platform and maintain it for that versus designing an app for Android and another for Apple, then applying SEO to each app store page and trying to keep the apps up to date with the device operating system versions.


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