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How to optimize your website for voice search

(MARKETING) With the use of voice searches and digital assistants on the rise, it is more important now than ever before that your website be optimized for voice searches

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Voice control’s effect on web content

One-in-five mobile users rely on voice searches to find information or control their device according to a recent study. Considering many cars now enable you to control your music, messages, and email through voice, this isn’t too surprising. What does it mean for web content though?

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With the rise of digital assistants and talk-to-text, should web content be re-evaluated to ensure it is compatible with Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and others?

Deep learning

Digital assistants have certainly contributed to the rise in popularity of voice searches, talk-to-text and deep learning. Deep learning is an artificial intelligence (AI) process that imitates the workings of the way the human brain processes data and creates patterns for decision making. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning in AI that has networks which are capable of learning unsupervised from data that is unstructured.

Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses complex systems to carry out their “learning processes.”

Given the complex algorithms and “learning” involved for deep learning to be fully functional and optimal, it’s not surprising that voice searches are on the rise; the more it’s used, the better it “learns.” Every day more and more people are choosing to say what they need, rather than type it out. With this rise, also comes the need for entrepreneurs and businesspeople to optimize their SEO and web content for voice searches. How can you ensure your site is compatible and flawless optimized?

Phrases instead of key words

The first thing you should keep in mind regarding your content is how voice users search for content. Instead of searching for one or two keywords, voice users typically ask a question in the form of a complete sentence. For example, you might hear someone say, “Hey, Siri. What’s the best way to make chocolate chip cookies?” Then, Siri might respond with a recipe. How does Siri know what you what? Deep learning.

How does Siri know what to show you? Deep learning and website optimization.

Soon, instead of focusing your SEO on selected keywords, you may be focusing on key phrases (also called long-tail keywords) which will likely answer the questions a voice user would ask. By humanizing your content through thinking about your answers in full sentences, you’ll be one step closer to optimization. For example, think, what would a consumer likely ask in order to find me? Do I have the answer to these questions on my pages and SEO? Not sure what to ask or answer? Answer the Public is a great tool for helping you dig deeper into your content and gets things optimized. In addition to re-evaluating your SEO, you may want to develop questions you think searchers might ask and then include the answers in your Q&A content (thus, making your site higher up in the result ranks).

Mobile friendly/Covering your bases

Another way to make sure your site is ready for voice searches is to make sure it is also mobile friendly. Google recommends responsive web design, along with several other points you may want to consider to ensure your website is mobile friendly. Wondering if your site is mobile-friendly? Google developed a test to help you. Simply click here, and enter your site’s URL in the box and it will let you know if your site has passed the test.

If your site does not pass, Google will suggest what could be changed to make your site more mobile friendly.

Also, keep in mind mobile users will often reference microdata, like a business’s location, phone number, price and more (think: when people speak the phrase “find near me” or “nearby.”) You can ensure voice searchers can find you by making this information easily retrievable for digital assistants by creating a comprehensive sitemap for your site, including your address, relevant contact information, directions from main highways, etc.

Understanding digital assistants

One final thing to keep in mind: Siri and Cortana are not search engines. They default to Bing to collect and collate web-based results. Google Now, will of course, collect from Google. Given the popularity of both Siri and Cortana, is there a possible that Bing will outpace Google?

Probably not, but you do want to make sure that you are optimized for both search engines or your business might lose out on voice searches.

If you want to ensure you do not miss out on Siri and Cortana users, you may need to do a bit of research on what works best on Bing. For example, Bing prioritizes local results, whereas Google gives the most popular topic priority. Google is better at semantic search, while Bing is better with specific keywords. Again, both useful search tools, but if you want to ensure maximum traffic, you should be aware of the difference. (Side note: some tech savvy users know how to re-program Siri and Cortana to pull from their favorite search engine, but I do not thing the larger majority of users choose to do this).

The future of voice searches

Technology enthusiasts are absolutely going to continue to use their keyboards for some things, however voice searches are on the rise simply because they are more convenient. If the trend continues, and I think it will, it is a worthwhile step to have your site already prepared and optimized because as the capabilities and value of voice continue to grow, so will the need for marketers to evolve. Emphasis will need to be placed on sentences, phrases, and topics rather than keywords.
And the demand for mobile friendly sites will be paramount. What do you think – is your site optimized for digital assistant and voice searches?

#VoiceSearch

Senior Staff Writer at The Real Daily, Jennifer Walpole holds a Master of English from the University of Oklahoma. She has long been a dedicated business and technology writer, and she holds real estate close to her heart, as she comes from a family of brokers.

Real Estate Marketing

LinkTree is one of many tools social marketers need

(MARKETING NEWS) When it comes to social media marketing, there are ways to get more coverage than just your feed — linktree is one of them.

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If you’re a marketer, especially in any sort of lifestyle or cultural space, the benefits of Instagram are undeniable. From its visual format to its fast-growing user base, Instagram is becoming a go-to visual media platform in an era where audiences are eager for it.

There’s just one problem; turning that attention into engagement is difficult. Links back to stories can only be shared in your profile bio, instead of within specific posts. For content marketers and publishers, changing out links at least once a day can be a hassle.

Thankfully, there are tools out there to help overcome these issues, no matter what your budget might be. We can look at LinkTree and LikeShop for two distinct examples of that range.

Both tools offer a standalone web page, with its own URL, where users can access an assortment of articles from a publisher. Each article is linked using a picture that a user would see on the publisher’s Instagram, and the user can access a historical archive of all articles in one place.

Best of all, you never have to change out a link in your profile; much like a custom URL shortener, your users can access the content you want them to see through one single URL.

Logistical benefits aside, publishers also enjoy data feedback through LikeShop and LinkTree. Depending on the tool used, you can see traffic numbers broken down by article, by day, etc.

These tools also allow you to customize the visuals and templates of your landing page, so that your brand experience is more consistent across these social media touch points.

LikeShop has been around for a while as an enterprise solution.

You can find its technology employed by Conde Nast publishers, such as Pitchfork and Vanity Fair, along with a host of others. As such, pricing isn’t openly disclosed, either on or off their website (that’s code for “it’s probably really expensive”).

However, it does have the most features of the two solutions. Mainly, Instagram publishers who push product can insert commercial links directly into their posts, to help increase conversions.

LinkTree is a newcomer to the game, and they are looking to bring a more affordable solution to market. In addition to offering a standalone free tier of service, they also offer a pro package for $6 per month. The pro plan gives you more customization and tracking options.

Whichever one works for you, these tools are a great investment for making your social media following engage with your website content, be it educational or commercial.

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Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to your locked potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Small business owners have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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Real Estate Marketing

NAR’s ad campaign about Realtors must be better because it’s on a roll

(MARKETING NEWS) The NAR’s Get Realtor ad campaign has been live for a few months now and though there aren’t concrete metrics, overall reception is A ++.

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) wants you to not only just choose their members to sell you a home, but to change the public perception of who a Realtor is through their newest ad campaign. The NAR communications team says that the aim of the campaign is to “reimagine the R®” and to bring brand awareness to Millennials in particular, as the next generation of homebuyers “in today’s hyper-connected world.”

The Real Daily wrote about this advertising campaign launched in June, so we thought it would be great to check in with how the campaign is doing so far. Sara Wiskerchen, Managing Director, Media Communications at NAR told us that due to the campaign’s launch in June, the NAR does not have many hard metrics on it. However, they did say that first impressions of the campaign from Realtors and consumers alike was very positive and that there was a “significant lift in brand awareness and consumer intention to use a Realtor.”

The Real Daily reached out to several of our readers (7 Realtors, 3 brokers, and 11 consumers) and the response was extremely positive. One reader expressed that the campaign does more to modernize the Realtor and their line of work more so than “brand than any other in the past, and they were pleased with it.” A different consumer said watching them made Realtors more “relatable” instead of uptight and “unapproachably buttoned up.”

Throughout these spots, there is a theme of making the consumer aware that a Realtor is helpful for achieving the American dream of homeownership and that while homebuying is challenging, a Realtor can go above-and-beyond for making it happen.

“This campaign demonstrates how Realtors bring endless enthusiasm to the whole home buying ordeal.”

Big changes are sweeping the NAR, from the attempt to modernize their association through this campaign to the appointment of new CEO Bob Goldberg, still fresh in his first 100 days in the corner office. This trade association is committed to integrating itself into the American home buying process and is listening to the consumer to do it. “Getting Realtor” has never seemed so hip.

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