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A Guide For Enterprise Marketers

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A Guide For Enterprise Marketers

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Smartphones put the world at our fingertips. People have questions that need answering and services or products they need.

All of these things are just a search away and now, we’ve seen a cosmic shift to voice search.

Statistically, voice isn’t something that enterprise marketers can ignore because:

  • 33% of people in the U.S. use voice search.
  • 71% of consumers prefer voice search.

Voice optimization at scale is what every business should be doing. For enterprises, the challenge is scale due to the wealth of content assets they control.

In this column, we’ll take a look at specific tactics and optimizations that will support your voice strategy including schema markup, keyword research, site speed, FAQs, Google Actions, and more.

Here’s how to begin optimizing for voice searches, with a focus on enterprises.

Voice Optimization 101

Create Content And Voice Search Guidelines

Marketing teams should sit down with the content team or send guidelines outlining the importance of voice search optimization, incorporating these keywords, and protocols to ensure optimization.

Enterprises should have SEO governance in place already.

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However, you’ll need to revise your existing governance and protocols for voice search. In fact, you want to add entire sections that focus primarily on voice.

Why?

Content creators and teams are bound to make mistakes.

It’s up to your protocols to find issues with content by performing thorough content checks.

Analyzing content before it’s published should be part of your processes already.

If it’s not, you can add in:

  • Thorough content review before posting.
  • Optimization analysis.
  • Comparing content to researched keywords and questions.

Guidelines are a key part of every aspect of enterprise marketing because team members can come and go so often.

Redefine Your Keyword Research To Incorporate Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes and are less of a priority for enterprises that target high-value and high-traffic keywords. However, voice search is natural and longer than just one- or two-word phrases.

Your pages need to answer questions (just like featured snippets do) and should include:

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  • How do I use XYZ product?
  • How much do XYZ products cost?
  • How do I fix XYZ problem?
  • Where.
  • Who.
  • What.
  • Etc.

People using search are asking questions, and you need to answer them. Redefine your keyword research process to include more long-tail keywords and question keywords.

Create processes and procedures for SEO teams – internal and external – to incorporate questions into your current content creation process.

Optimize For Site Speed And Mobile Experience

Voice searches come primarily from mobile and assistant devices.

Every enterprise must optimize heavily for mobile with:

  • Responsive designs.
  • Fast site speeds.

Periodically, your team should run Google PageSpeed Insights to find issues slowing down your site and to improve load time.

See 10 Enterprise Page Speed Optimizations & Implementation Tips to learn more.

Optimize For Local Search To Boost Business

Local and regional optimizations are huge for businesses that operate locally.

Over 50% of people search for local businesses via voice search.

For example:

  • Where is the nearest Subway near me?
  • What grocery stores are open nearby?
  • Where is the closest pharmacy?

You’ll want to review the enterprise’s Google and other local listings.

Listings should always include the company’s operating hours, short blurbs, and photos.

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Complete listings make it easier for searchers to reach out to your business or visit it in person.

Terms may include “near me” phrases, or they can be specific, such as [car manufacturers in Detroit.]

One tip crucial to an enterprise’s success when optimizing for local is to account for regional or area slang.

Your research teams should understand local slang and dialects that may be used in a search.

For example, [where can I get the best soda in Boston] will change to [where can I get the best pop in Ohio] due to regional slang.

Internal teams should help you create these distinctions before moving into new markets to help content creation and search engine optimization teams maximize local voice search potential.

Master Schema Markup To Add Content Context

Leveraging schema is crucial to help search engines make sense of an enterprise’s site content. Review and incorporate schema markup guidelines to help boost voice search.

A few tips that can help you master schema are:

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  • Start using Google’s Speakable Schema (beta) for sections of your text best for Google Assistant and voice search.
  • Use analytics to help understand keywords and phrases customers are using.
  • Find speakable snippets in new and old content to add schema.
  • Think of your content in a conversational way to enhance context.

Schema markup, when used properly, can help add context to the content on each site and allow for greater voice search potential.

Add FAQ Sections Into Key Pages

Remember how you need to add questions to your keyword research?

It can be challenging to find ways to add questions to pages without interrupting the natural flow of your content.

How can you overcome this? Frequently asked questions.

FAQs can add immense value to your pages and help you start improving your voice search optimization.

One way to begin incorporating this is to:

  • Perform a full content audit on the site(s).
  • Identify pages and blogs where you can answer questions.
  • Start adding FAQs to the most important pages and pages with the most potential.

Since you’re optimizing for voice search, answering questions in conversational tones is crucial.

Begin The Transition To Conversational Language

Content creators have heard about tone and consistency for decades.

“Speak the customer’s language” is often repeated across industries.

However, when dealing with voice search, a shift toward conversational tone is emerging.

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As it turns out, the stuffy “business tone” isn’t how most people use their Google Assistant or Amazon Echo.

You’ll need to ensure that content teams are on board with these changes.

A quick meeting to reinforce conversational tones and maybe an update to briefs sent to writers can help drastically.

An excellent way to adjust content to be conversational is to have:

  • Editors review all content.
  • Read content aloud.

Small changes, and if you can add in spoken words and slang, can make a world of difference when trying to create more conversational content.

Use Google Actions

Google Actions can be a major perk for anyone trying to optimize for Android devices.

If you build actions for your web content, you’ll need to use structured data.

Google has a lot of great tutorials on how to use actions for creating:

  • FAQs.
  • How-to guides.
  • Media.
  • News.
  • Podcasts.
  • Recipes.

Depending on the type of content created, Google recommends using a theme or plugin to add in schema.

Teams should learn how to use Google Actions to optimize their content properly.

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Actions will help ensure that anyone using Android devices or Google Assistant will have an easy time finding your content.

Voice search is quickly becoming the go-to way for people to search.

While there will always be traditional typed searches, enterprises and marketers should focus on the possibilities that voice search has to offer.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.

The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:

  • Visualization
  • Personalization
  • Sustainability

After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.

The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).

The Struggle With Images

Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.

Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.

Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:

  • How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?

Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.

More Uses Cases, Please

Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.

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The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.

Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.

Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.

The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.

  • 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
  • Focus less on verticals
  • Provide more use cases

Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.

Google Product Managers Weigh In

The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:

  • It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?

Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:

  • Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
  • For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page

However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.

Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.

Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?

The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.

Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.

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Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.

Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.

Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.

The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.

Closing Thoughts

Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.

However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.

Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.

A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.

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Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M

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