3 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
We’ve seen how much voice as a channel is growing and how beneficial voice marketing can be for consumers and marketers, but if your company isn’t in a position to invest in voice marketing tools quite yet, there are still plenty of ways to keep up and optimize your website for Voice SEO.
What exactly is Voice SEO? It’s the optimization of keywords and keyword phrases for searches using voice assistants. According to research by Semrush, on average voice assistants can answer 93.7% of all search queries. And based on research from PWC, 90% of people think voice search is easier than searching online, and 89% think it’s more convenient. From the same study, 71% of people would rather use voice search than physically type a search query. With a voice as a search channel continuing to expand, your website needs to account for this new channel of search, too. So what’re the best ways to optimize your website for voice SEO? Let’s dive in.
1. Featured Snippet Optimization
Featured snippets are the selected search results that appear on the top of the search result page as the best answer to a query. Because of its location, a featured snippet is also often called position zero, since it’s above the first result. That sounds like the ideal position, right? Well, you can’t buy your way in if that’s what you’re thinking. Google generates featured snippets organically by checking the relevancy of the information pulled from web pages in Google’s index. Common formats of Featured Snippets include descriptions/definitions, steps/lists, and tables. Featured snippets are especially crucial in voice search since the voice assistant will reply to the answer to a user’s question with the position zero content.
According to SEMrush, “70% of voice search answers come from SERP features”, Featured Snippets being the most important. And a lot of this process can be AI-driven. Check out our tips on how AI could be an aid to SEO. Another Featured Snippet tip – don’t use your brand name in the featured snippet text. Replacing the brand name with general language will give the content a higher chance of receiving a featured snippet since adding a brand name could make the response too specific for the listener.
2. Structured Markup
Structured markups (added to the HTML) help Google and other search engines better understand and process your content and help optimize your search results. You can use schema.org structured annotations to allow Google to reliably retrieve up-to-date information directly from your website. A common and effective schema is FAQ. Adding FAQ schema to your FAQ page can expand your Google result with the most frequently asked questions. And the schema can be added to any place on your site that has FAQs, so to better optimize for voice search, add quick answers to the top of highly trafficked pages and top blog pages.
The more search engines better understand your content, the better. In fact, there’s even a specific voice-search markup by Google called Speakable that’s currently in beta that marketers should definitely keep an eye on.
3. Conversation-Based Navigation
Voice search equalizes access to information through conversation. Users can ask for what they want, in their own voice/language/literacy level, etc. But they’re asking, and most websites aren’t written or structured for questions or conversation-based navigation. Voice search is direct; people aren’t looking to explore a ton of search results. They’re looking for a reliable, comprehensive answer that doesn’t require further searching. So re-write your headlines as questions, not statements, for a more conversational format. An easy way to do this is by adding “What is” to the heading. Be sure to summarize the answer directly below the header so it’s easy for a voice assistant to read aloud.
Other basic SEO factors like page speed, good domain ratings, having quality long-form content, and being HTTPS secured, all also play a role in optimizing your website for voice search. Follow these tips to help optimize your website for the rapidly-growing voice search, or contact Bluetext today to learn more about our search engine optimization and content marketing services.
Sound as a Brand, Voice as a Channel
We know sound plays a pivotal role in brand marketing. Sound helps your brand tell a story and feel like something real and memorable. But the power of Sound exceeds bolstering brand identity; it also introduces a world of more inclusive opportunities and easier ways for users to communicate, search, consume, and transact via Voice as a channel.
Voice marketing has been booming the past couple of years and for good reason. What exactly is voice marketing? It’s a channel of marketing that utilizes voice technology to reach customers. Think the Alexas, Siris, and Google Assistant’s of the world that seem to have taken over our homes, cars, office settings, and more.
Voice enables increased information accessibility, and effective task automation, and populates quick results in a hands-free, interactive way. Voice is intuitive, fast, more efficient, and easier for our brains to process compared to reading/typing text. NPR and Edison Research state 57% of “voice command users used voice commands daily in 2022.” From Siri to Google Assistant, to Alexa – AI (Artificial Intelligence) and voice search has been infiltrating our lives, and there’s no sign of it slowing. It’s expected that by 2024, voice marketing will reach 8.4 billion people. With this explosion of voice as a channel, let’s take a minute to voice our thoughts on the benefits of this rapidly growing channel.
Why might Voice trump Keyboard?
Nearly everyone in the modern world has a voice assistant in their hand or pocket, and likely a smart speaker not too far away. But aside from easy access, voice as a channel helps more people with disabilities (both physical and language based) to use technology. For example, dictation software enables people without vision or the function of their hands to operate a computer by using their voice. (Of course, voice marketing can create challenges for people who are hard of hearing or Deaf. Provide a transcript with your audio content to be more inclusive). All markers should aim to be as accessible as possible, and Voice can be a huge aid in the quest for accessibility.
- Improved CX = Increased Engagement
With text-to-speech and AI tools, the process of content creation becomes more manageable and allows companies to reach consumers in a new, engaging way. Voice marketing content captivates, converts, and retains customers, especially customers that don’t like to consume long-form written content. It’s not just more engagement in personal audio books or articles, consumers are using voice as a means of education and communication for business-related research and transactions. It allows users to multitask; it’s efficient and more productive for the user, and more manageable for the content creator, making for a digital marketing strategy that is results-driven and prioritizes the customer.
- Lead Qualification
Voice can be used to ask prospective customers questions like “what’s your name and email” and then populate the responses on the form. It can also help answer customers’ questions. Customers now don’t have to sift through lengthy FAQs and knowledge bases to get the exact information they’re looking for quickly – they can connect with a voice assistant to get their questions answered. This approach of course can’t answer every question, but it is a great starting point to help guide users to the content they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Sounds great right? Voice as a channel is still constantly evolving and as we’ve seen has huge benefits for both companies and consumers, but we know our old friend Mr. Keyboard isn’t going anywhere any time soon, either. So how can marketers optimize their more traditional marketing strategies to better accommodate voice as a channel? Contact Bluetext today for help on improving your digital marketing strategies, and check out our tips for optimizing a website for voice.
Marketing moves fast. And while brand identities are created in the safe, static space of a style board, they must survive in a high-stakes environment of attention. They need to keep up. They need to animate. We experience brands across so many channels – as an interactive app, a 6-second bumper video, a tradeshow booth, a virtual reality space, a hover state button, or even the way a webpage loads. Without even realizing it, however, the biggest impression brands make on us is often in the way they sound.
Yes, you heard that correctly – we’re asking what your brand sounds like.
Enter sonic branding, the acoustic brand identity that is subliminally making a massive impact in today’s cluttered ad landscape. In particular, the audio logo, a brief melody or branded sound design that often plays at the beginning or end of a video or audio spot. For audio-only mediums, like radio or podcasts, sonic branding is especially crucial for awareness in the absence of any visuals.
Even as you read them here, the melodies of sonic branding champions like Aflac, Duracell, This is Sportcenter, Tacobell, Old Spice, Intel, Playstation, or T-Mobile are echoing in your head.
Every Friday night, the hallways of apartment buildings around the world turn into a cacophony of audio logos, as streaming apps like Netflix, HBO, Prime, and Hulu boot up for a night in.
In one of the most competitive marketing arenas, insurance brands battle through sound. Can you picture the visual logo of Nationwide, State Farm, Farmers, or Liberty Mutual right now? Probably not. But can you sing each of their brand tunes? Most definitely.
These audio brand dynasties are evidence of audio’s effectiveness within the brand zeitgeist. There are even brands that have infiltrated your attention in subliminal ways without you even seeing their logo. Take for example the boot-up of a Macbook, the thump of a Volkswagon door closing, the scritch-scratch of a Sharpie moving on paper, the pop of a Snapple lid, an idle Harley Davidson, or even the lack of sound when spraying a Method household cleaner. This is all very intentional (and industrially expensive) sonic branding.
As digital habits evolve, we can’t rely on eyeballs on screens in order to communicate our message. For a brand to be remembered, it can’t just be seen, it must be heard. It must be felt.
Harvard Business Review’s What Does Your Brand Sound Like? states “With our increasingly audio-enabled media environment, the strategic use of sound can play an important role in positively differentiating a product or service, enhancing recall, creating preference, building trust, and even increasing sales. Cognitive studies show that relevant sounds and musical cues can truly influence people in ways marketers want.”
Now, you may have some jingles coming to mind as well. Examples like Mcdonalds’ “I’m Lovin’ It”, Kit Kat’s “Give Me a Break!”, Folgers Coffee, Chili’s, Kay Jewelers, or Lucky Charms. People can recall the Meow Mix brand whether or not they have a cat. Even Jim Gaffigan pokes fun at the Hot Pocket marketing team when he jokes “I do love that jingle. Do you think they worked hard on that song?”.
Brand jingles are the epitome of sonic branding. Some of those brand earworms we just mentioned are decades old but still stuck in your head right this very instant. Yet these are all established brands, with existing brand awareness, and deep pockets to design (Mcdonald’s had over 3,700 final mixes of “I’m Lovin’ It”), test, and translate their jingle before pushing it out to market with a massive media spend. For brands that are just trying to gain momentum organically or with short-form video, a sonic logo can still do wonders.
The reason is that hearing is innate. We internalize sound quickly. An audio logo stays with you after you experience it. You may not be able to remember what a logo looks like, but you’ll remember what it sounds like and the longevity of the recall is powerful.
Further, sonic branding adds another level of brand storytelling into the mix, connecting with the viewer audibly and visually. In the case of an audio logo, this emotional connection happens in a few short seconds. The audience doesn’t have to follow a story or listen to an explanation – they just absorb the brand. Since this subliminal brand narrative is experienced with two senses simultaneously, the brain stores that experience twice as much as it would if it was only seen.
One of the most cunning tactics is incorporating an iconic sound into the audio logo that isn’t even unique to that business. Take Southwest Airlines’ “You Are Now Free to Move About the Country” example, with a seatbelt fastening click and overhead ping used in every airline are now tied directly to a specific brand. People who recall the Southwest brand would do so even when using Southwest’s competitor airlines. What about Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me Now?” that makes you think of them when you have a bad signal, and therefore remind you to switch to their service for a more reliable connection? Sneaky, sneaky. If you can capture the distinct sound of your industry and distill it into a mnemonic within your sonic branding strategy, not only will you be memorable – you’ll be unforgettable.
Whether B2C, B2B, or B2G it’s all about attracting and connecting with your audience through as many senses as possible. Maybe that’s through a blockbuster TV ad, a podcast, the tangible sound of your product in use, or even a quick, organic social snackable. There are countless ways to embed sonic branding across your landscape, so listen up! It’s time to make sure your brand feels like something. Let our animators, audio designers, and creative minds help you tell your sonic brand story in a way that is rewarding for your business in years to come. Get in touch with Bluetext, and give our soundtrack of super sonic brands a listen!
Have you been searching for the best way to compete in the new frontier of web design? Do you need to stand apart from your competitors in a big and bold way? Well, here’s your answer: motion design.
Motion design refers to anything from an animated logo to subtle motion on a website. But why is it worth investing in? Let’s take a look at how custom animation can yield much stronger ROI than static graphic design or leveraging stock animations.
Motion is Memorable
People are more likely to remember something that moves. People spend 2.6 times longer on webpages that have videos than ones that don’t. Motion design is ideal for marketing because it’s design + messaging + memorable movement, all in one piece of content. It’s a golden trifecta for a brand’s first impression. Think kinetic typography in hero zones, micro-interactions in UI and CTA buttons, explaining your tagline through an animated logo, or even a full segmented-explainer-video-landing-page experience. These motion integrations will not only catch a user’s eye, but sustain their attention on page long enough to peak interest.
The PLASTICS Industry Association turned to Bluetext to develop a full new brand system for their triennial trade show, NPE®. Within the new CVI, Bluetext developed a logo animation that could be incorporated into the new video assets and onto the new website. The logo, which leverages a globe design, animates each individual element of the globe to form into one, highlighting how NPE brings together plastic industry professionals from around the globe.
Motion Helps Tell Your Brand Story
While, yes, motion design gets (and keeps) attention, it also tells a story. If a user is watching and absorbing, they are tangibly engaging in your message. A static design doesn’t allow you to express your brand to its fullest potential.
For SonicWall, Bluetext incorporated a parallax effect that follows the user’s cursor as they move it across the page. This subtle movement brings the visuals to life, making the focal point really feel like it’s floating, or in the case of SonicWall, boundless. SonicWall used this effect to bring their metaphor of Boundless Cybersecurity to life and fully engage users in a big way.
Motion Brings Your Brand to a New Level
Motion design brings your brand to life in ways you could never imagine. Take static brand elements and transform them into tools for storytelling. When Appgate turned to Bluetext to establish a new brand and help bring the company to market, we took their new brand and created a 30-second product video marked exclusively with animated brand elements. It was memorable, clean, and told the story of who Appgate is and where they are heading. Appgate truly got the most out of motion design by also integrating subtle animation into their website. Pairing a memorable and exciting video with recognizable animated elements on the website truly reinforces the branding and creates a memorable experience for the user.
Interested in getting the most out of motion? Contact Bluetext to learn more about our video and animation services.
It’s no secret that after a year of virtual, well, everything, people have entered into a phase of “digital fatigue”. Dr. Alexander Aizman, a New York-based physician and surgeon has coined this term to describe “the physical discomfort that is experienced after prolonged exposure to a digital screen”. Ever been shocked when your iPhone sends your weekly screen time report? It’s no wonder people are growing weary of the time spent on digital devices…
When COVID-19 forced the world online a little over a year ago, device use increased as many calls, events, and other in-person interactions became video conferences. Everything from professional networking, to personal tasks like ordering groceries, quickly pivoted to digital platforms. With people rejecting increasing screen time and looking to alternatives that allow them to avert their eyes, designers must establish a way to create enticing experiences in the midst of digital fatigue.
Cut Down on Blue Light
One way to switch things up is to create an alternative, dark mode experience for users. Dark mode isn’t just a trendy aesthetic, it is actually backed by UX research and health studies to benefit users. The majority of websites we interact with on a daily basis leverage white or light color-dominant backgrounds and excessive exposure to this can cause eye strain, dry eyes, and even disrupt our sleep cycles.
Allowing users to choose their experience, or programming a design that is time responsive, and will automatically update to dark mode for evening and nighttime hours based on the user’s location, can provide a break from all of the white space.
To learn more about ways you could incorporate dark mode into your designs, read our previous blog post.
Break Up the Monotony
Spending the majority of the day on screens and devices of various sizes can become exhausting for a number of reasons. Particularly if you are reading large amounts of online text content. When designers approach a new interface or even just a new landing page, it’s important to always keep the audience, and the environment, in mind.
Think of a trip to the museum…it can be a great outing until the initial excitement wears off when each exhibit feels the same. Walking around and reading long content labels, in every roped-off section can only retain attention levels for so long. Yet when there is an interactive exhibit, the interest returns, and the learning and engagement experience offers a higher reward. The same concept applies to online businesses, websites that receive more engagement and interest offer a higher ROI.
Utilizing interactive content, whether it be diagrams, comparison tables, or even simple graphics, can break up long walls of text. Inviting users to interact with content and bringing in visual elements that convey information in easy to grasp and easy-to-understand ways will improve the users’ overall experience.
Introduce Motion and Movement
One notable way to make sure your users connect with content and accompanying design is to create experiences that introduce motion. Static content requires the user to continue scrolling or navigate to other pages and can quickly become repetitive and uninteresting. Incorporating movement into your design as users interact with the page can create a unique experience that will build interest and encourage interaction.
All of the techniques mentioned above bring exciting alternatives to custom designs, and avoiding digital fatigue will ensure users have positive online experiences.
If your website could benefit from a boost in online engagement and website interaction, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Bluetext to learn about our services in UX design, motion graphics and interactive website development.
If your digital marketing agency team doesn’t have a SMAC roadmap, you may find your company drifting off-course in 2017 and beyond. Here’s brief refresher course on SMAC.
Social Media continues to evolve. Platforms rise and fall by the year vs the decades of old. Some new trends we see emerging that we see potentially continuing to gain momentum.
1. Snap’s Evolution Will Result in Interesting New Opportunities.
2. Twitter Fatigue Will Worsen.
3. Users Will Crave More Vicarious Experiences.
4. New Areas of Communication Will Emerge.
Mobile devices are the cornerstone of how new business is being built and legacy businesses are reinventing themselves. Mobile devices allow users to constantly update their profile, stay aware of deals and promotions, and track locations and buying habits by virtue of connecting to various wireless signals and near-field communication (NFC) devices.
Some new trends we see emerging that we see potentially continuing to gain momentum.
1. Consumers redefine purchase boundaries; mobile marketing, brand partnerships deepen
2. Department stores, mobile marketing partners tackle the ‘Amazon Effect’
3. Programmatic accelerates: brands, tech, marketing continue to invest
4. Next-generation creative, video redefine mobile engagements
As databases have grown larger and processors and memory have become capable of chewing through hundreds of millions of records in a short time, we have begun to see how analytics can do more than just track clicks. Analytics can establish links between entities and make intelligent predictions about customer behavior based on knowledge a system has about a customer — knowledge that has been informed by social networking.
To keep up with the explosion in Big Data, companies and corporations are beginning to invest in BI projects and more and more sophisticated analytics infrastructure. Some new trends we see emerging that we see potentially continuing to gain momentum.
1. Multi-channel Attribution
2. Focus on ‘Return on Analytics Investment
3. Monetization of Data
4. Exciting new players in the MarTech arena to complement the core analytic platforms
The cloud element of SMAC refers to the capability a business has to spin up vast amounts of capacity that are paid for by the minute or hour. Businesses do not need to spend millions of dollars building another data warehouse – they simply rent it from a cloud provider, do their work and turn it off. When the business environment changes, they simply spin up another cluster in the cloud, pay another few hundred dollars and continue building insights.
Some new trends we see emerging that we see potentially continuing to gain momentum.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI) will make personalization a reality in 2017.
2. Self-service will be the new normal.
3. Enhancing the Buyer Journey
4. Google Tag Manager and other granular analytics modules being the norm
With buyer sophistication growing daily, marketers need to deliver increasingly smarter strategies and campaigns. Are you taking the time to measure how your efforts are working and think about how you might enhance your efforts, or do you find yourself quickly moving from one campaign to the next?
MediaPost saw the need for an event focused solely on Augmented and Virtual Reality as these new mediums have taking the marketing world by storm. The event will explore how marketers can take Virtual and Augmented Reality from the novelty phase into an opportunity to enrich branding and deepen consumer relationships.
Jason will be part of a panel discussion titled “Retailers Follow Pokémon Go”, which will examine the overwhelming success and influence of Pokémon Go, and how retailers can learn from this case study and incorporate AR or VR experiences into their marketing strategy to appeal to in-store shoppers.
Other topics the event will cover include:
- How different types of VR/AR experiences map against specific brand goals.
- Where do you start…small?
- How to distribute experiences efficiently and connect VR/AR campaigns to other marketing platforms and programs.
- Who are the players and how should marketers and agencies vet them?
- Storytelling in 360 degrees
Make sure to tune in for the conference live-stream on September 28th at 4:00pm EST here. And to learn more about Bluetext’s VR work, contact us today:
If Dunkin’ Donuts plasters ads on the inside of city buses, it is because they believe riders exposed to the brand – over time – will be more inclined to stop for coffee and a donut at DD rather than at Starbucks, McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme, what have you. Or even that a consumer getting on a bus not thinking about coffee or donuts will exit the bus with these items at the forefront of their consciousness.
If Dunkin’ Donuts continues with this line of thinking, they will ask themselves what else could persuade riders beyond “seeing” an ad of the brand logo and pictures of the products? Would riders be further compelled if they could “smell” the coffee or glazed donuts on the bus?
Over the past few months, we’ve been talking a lot about augmented reality marketing and virtual reality marketing – two important pieces of the sensory marketing puzzle. Effective marketing requires engaging all or many senses, however, so CMOs must identify the right multi-sensory mix to positively impact the target buyers (whether they are consumers or business users).
Sensory marketing and experiences have been around for decades and examples abound. Much of it comes down to the effects of a desensitized audience. A theme park visitor who first rides the tallest roller coaster in the world will have a thrilling experience, but what happens when the visitor rides the coaster a second, third or tenth time? So theme parks might try and activate other senses through smoke, sound, lights, etc. If you want to know where theme park attractions are headed by the way, Legoland’s new Ninjago 4-D attraction offers a hint as the first ride in North America that uses hand gestures in place of physical devices to control a ninja warrior battle. The attraction also adds sensory experiences such as heat, smoke and wind for the virtual journey.
In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, a pair of professors shared results from four studies they conducted on when sensory marketing works and when it doesn’t for brands. The studies focused on taking product brands consumers were familiar – Nokia and Apple phones – and adjusting the product and packaging to gauge impact on brand perception. Prior to showing research subjects the new phones and packaging, the researchers first determine that Apple was viewed as the “exciting” brand and Nokia the “sincere” brand. This was important, because according to the study, brand perception impacted the amount of leeway Apple and Nokia had to fundamentally alter the product, packaging, and promotional experience.
The bottom line, according to the authors, is that consumer preference can be altered by sensory marketing tactics, but how well the tactic works depends on the brand’s personality. Apple as an “exciting” brand may be able to get away with surprising consumers with unexpected sensory experiences without undoing positive brand perception, whereas Nokia may risk alienating loyal customers if radical changes run counter to its brand sincerity.
The researchers went on to conclude from the four studies that overall, individuals prefer sincere brands (hallmark, Ford, Coca-Cola) over exciting brands, “when the brand’s packaging or promotional accessories felt and looked the same, but they preferred exciting brands (Mountain Dew, BMW, Pepsi) when the brand’s packaging or promotional accessories did not feel and look the same.”
As sensory options for marketers extend from see and hear to smell, touch and immersion, a host of new opportunities open up for CMOs – opportunities that become risks if the CMO overlooks some key takeaways from these studies. Creating a virtual or augmented reality experience in and of itself will not necessarily turn off users of a sincere brand, but marketers must be mindful of risks if the experience itself does not stay true to sincerity of the brand. To learn more about the importance for VR marketing, reach out today: