Mobile-First Indexing Explained: What You Need to Know

Google has been working on mobile-first indexing for some time, developed in response to the drastic shift in the way people search (and browse) the web, and the widespread adoption of mobile devices in pretty much every part of our lives.

It is safe to say that we now live and work in a truly mobile-first world.

The first announcement that Google was moving away from their algorithms typically looking at the desktop version of a site towards a mobile-first approach came in 2016.

At the time, Google announced that:

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

But between 2016 and today, we have seen an almost full shift by Google to mobile-first indexing

By March 2021, Google will have switched ALL websites from desktop-first to mobile-first indexing, having been through a transitional period of moving sites over when their systems recognized that they were ready to do so. 

Any new websites launched after July 2019 automatically went to mobile-first indexing, but some existing sites have yet to be moved over. 

And, while many of you will have had your sites crawled by a smartphone Googlebot for some time, it is something that every SEO and digital marketer now needs to be paying close attention to. 

Over the coming months, Google will be 100% mobile-first, and that means you need to make sure you understand what this means and how to optimize for it.

And in this guide, we will help you to do just that, specifically looking at:

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile isn’t going anywhere, and, as of 2019, a staggering 63% of US search traffic originated from a mobile device. This means that a website’s mobile version is the one that should take preference, and Google acknowledges this with mobile-first indexing.

While it might sound complex, mobile-first indexing is actually pretty simple to get your head around.

Google themselves refer to it by saying:

Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

In the past, Googlebot primarily used a website’s desktop version to determine a page’s relevance to a search query, but this has since shifted to mobile variants.

And for many businesses, this won’t cause any issues as the site that is served to mobile users is a responsive version of the desktop site, with no other changes to the actual content that’s served. But if a website serves different desktop and mobile versions, there are things that need to be considered.

If you are still one of the few businesses that don’t have a mobile-friendly website (sadly, there are still a few of these that exist), you can expect to see a negative impact on your search rankings across both mobile and desktop searches. 

A well thought out mobile-friendly website could drive a noticeable increase in organic visibility.

But even if you don’t think it is something that you need to worry about, it still pays to understand what mobile-first indexing is and how it works, as well as the considerations you need to be making, not just now, but in the future, too.

A 2019 study revealed that “only 13% of websites get to retain the exact same position across devices,” showcasing in itself the importance of getting your site’s mobile experience and search-engine-friendliness right. 

In simple terms, mobile-first indexing means that Google’s algorithms are using the content from your site’s mobile site when ranking your pages on the SERPs. – Read more

PPC and SEO Effective Together? How-To Guide With Rank Tracker

Typically, blogs and forums dedicated to SEO and PPC discuss what’s better. While these two marketing methods are really different, it doesn’t mean you can’t implement them both. And even if you’ve chosen only organic or only paid search to target, you surely need to investigate the other side. Both SEO and PPC share a few common features, and mastering them will help you make the right decision in due time. So, let’s touch upon a few SEO techniques and tools that help make this choice well-meditated.

1. Keyword research

Keyword research is the cornerstone for the effectiveness of your campaigns in PPC and SEO alike. Typically, an advertising platform provides a keyword research toolbox of its own, as it is the case with Google Ads Keyword Planner. If you’re using this tool for keyword suggestions and traffic predictions, you should keep in mind the keyword matching type and when to use it.

For Google Ads, there are four types of keyword matching: broad match, modified broad match, phrase match and exact match.

  • Broad match includes all the queries containing your keyword or parts of the keyword phrase and their variations in any position.
  • Modified broad match type will trigger your ads if the specified keywords are present in the search query in the exact or close variant form. You simply add the + symbol before the most wanted word in your keyword phrase (without a blank space before the keyword). Modified broad match is something between a phrase match and broad match. The modified keyword will match the search queries with exact or close variants of this word in them (single and plural forms, acronyms, derivatives, and close synonyms). The remaining part of the phrase will work on broad match.
  • Phrase match covers the search strings which may contain additional words but where your target phrase appears as it is.
  • Exact match sets to match queries with your target phrase as it is, without variants or additional words.

Which type of keyword matching to use

15% of daily Google search queries are new. Certainly, you can hardly predict them all, however large your keyword list is. The only way to target these unique queries is by using the broad match (or modified broad match as a variant).

On the one hand, broad matching will bring tons of impressions and clicks. On the other hand, you should not expect that the conversion rate will be really high. The problem is that broad match often drives a lot of irrelevant traffic. Do you want to pay for clicks that will never convert?

So if you want to profit from the broad match, you need to monitor carefully your search query reports and exclude all irrelevant keywords by adding them to your negative keyword list.

Try to predict unwanted queries ahead: explore your Google Analytics data to detect keywords that bring useless traffic which increases the bounce rate on your site. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels, and review the keywords under the Organic Search and Google Ads tabs. Filter the keywords by Behaviour > Bounce Rate, pay attention to other stats as well, and spot which terms deserve to be added to the negative keyword list.

To test the type of match and see if it works for you, clone one of your ad groups and adjust to use broad, exact or phrase match and set the keywords in it on modified broad match. Run both groups for some time, and then compare the search query reports to see what match type performs better.

2. Keyword mapping

Experienced PPC marketers know that the success of their campaigns relies on keyword management. Break down keywords into relevant groups and map them to landing pages. This way you will have all your stats structured and analyzed, and your top pages gaining weight and effectiveness fast. Tight keyword grouping, creating groups and subgroups, ensures that your ad is relevant to the user intent which results in higher CTRs and more conversions.

This approach works exactly the same way in SEO. Your one top-ranking page most likely will include several search strings close in their theme and intent. You will map a group of keywords, with several long-tail keywords among them, for which you will map one landing page to optimize.

3. Search volume

When you explore the search volumes to decide whether to optimize for a certain keyword, bear in mind that you will not get as many search traffic as it promises. You will rank only for some exact keyword phrases that are the most relevant to your site. And a couple of more diverse queries containing this keyword with lesser traffic.

And even on exact matching, the search volume data you will get in your Google Ads might be inaccurate. You can invest a lot of resources into optimizing for a traffic-heavy keyword only to find that the search volume it gains is not even close to the one you’ve got in your keyword tool. So the best way is to consider launching a small PPC campaign to test your performance and see how many impressions your keyword gets before you start optimizing for it.

Search volume and competition is the core factor to decide whether you can use this or that keyword to rank up in SERPs as soon as possible. There is the keyword difficulty score which you use to estimate your SEO optimization expenses.

3. CTR Optimization

No need to tell, the higher you rank, the more traffic you will get. High CTR is something that helps search engines to guess that the page is valuable to users, so with time, ranking position and CTR correlate. You need to try hard not only to show up on the top search engine result pages, but also to entice users to click on your pages, and further, to stay, engage, and perform conversions. This rule works for both SEO and PPC campaigns. Google rewards advertisers with high CTRs with cheaper clicks and higher placements. That is why PPC marketers take ad testing seriously. They constantly test new titles, ad texts and banners to offer the best-performing ad design. You can try similar testing with your organic pages, by optimizing titles, tags, and meta descriptions. – Read more

Better conversion measurement for video ads on YouTube and the Google network

From sparking an idea to helping people make that final decision, online video plays an important role in helping consumers make purchases. In fact, 70 percent of people say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube. For advertisers, measuring video campaigns and conversions accurately has never been more important—or more complex—given all the different paths the consumer journey can take. 

That’s why we’ve been researching engaged-view conversions (EVC), a more robust non-click conversion metric. EVCs measure the conversions that take place after someone views 10 seconds or more of your skippable ad, but doesn’t click, and then converts within a set amount of days. EVCs are a more robust way to measure conversions than view-through conversions (VTCs), an industry standard that measures the conversions that take place after a person views an impression of your ad, but doesn’t click.

We’ve heard from advertisers that it can be challenging to assess the impact of video ad campaigns on conversions when you can’t compare across ad formats. That is why today we’re announcing that by the end of the year we will make engaged-view conversions a standard way of measuring conversions for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, Local campaigns and App campaigns. Our vision for the coming year is to give you more transparent reporting across both click and engaged-view conversions, aggregated and anonymously, and new configurability options for conversion measurement to make data-driven media decisions for your business.  

Engaged-view conversions are informed by incrementality studies

Our teams have run large-scale incrementality studies over the years that confirmed the causal impact of video ad campaigns were undervalued when considering clicks alone. Based on these studies, we found that most incremental conversions come from engaged users who are given the option to skip, but choose to watch your ad. In fact, over 60 percent1 of all skips on YouTube direct response in-stream video ads happen before 10 seconds. Therefore, the decision to watch 10 seconds of a skippable ad is a user choice that signals an ‘engaged-view’. When these engaged-views result in conversions within a set amount of days, engaged-view conversions are included in the conversion report. – Read more

Adwords campaign management Tips

Do you want to ensure you have a dominant presence on Google and other search engines? Are you currently in the middle of looking for professionals to help you get there? Are you interested in learning more about Adwords campaign management and how this increasingly popular strategy can help you win potential customers and increase your sales? Today, from OPT Media, we present to you our analysis on Google Adwords service and everything it can do for you to help grow your business.

Activating a Google Adwords campaign is one of the fastest ways for a business to have a presence in search engines, that is, as long as a certified person creates and manages it properly. The way things work, broadly speaking, are as follows:

– Search for relevant keywords . After analyzing the market and determining which audience we want to reach, some specific terms, known as keywords, are determined. Once chosen, they are incorporated into the advertisement. In turn, when a user enters those words in the search engine, the ad will appear at the top of the page, thus reaching a large number of people.

– Establish a budget . AdWords areone type of paid advertising, so your budget must be invested in wisely in order for it to work effectively. The goal of a good campaign manager is to get the most clicks on the ad at the lowest price.

– Configuration of information of interest . To reach a larger audience that is targeted towards your product of service, a good campaign manager will take in account geographical area, age or type of device, all of which can be incorporated into the campaign. Again, conducting a market and sector study is essential to achieve the best results.

– Analysis and monitoring of the campaign . Maximizing the performance of the budget is very important in these types of ads. To obtain the best possible CPC (Cost Per Click), you must be very attentive to the campaign and its results and make the necessary adhocimprovements.

The management of Adwords campaigns encompasses much more than simply triggering an ad on a budget. What is known as “paid advertising” can be very beneficial for a business, as long as it is designed, created and managed by professionals. Do not forget that only those people who are certified by Google can take care of Google Adwords, so always engage a trusted personnel.

Tips for optimizing your AdWords

1.- Create exclusive campaigns

In this way, you can manage your budget independently and, if it works, you can always recycle it for next year.

2.- Improve the quality of your ads

How? Stop and think: what are your potential customers looking for at this time? Consider designing relevant and clearly focused campaigns that contain keywords and targeted landing pages. It will be more likely that users will click on your ads.

3.- Adapt your message to the type of buyer and at the time of purchase

Some customers are very organised and ensure they have bought their gifts and products well in advance. On the other hand there are customers who are known as ‘last minute buyers’, those who leave their purchases to the last minute. (Quick tip – Express delivery type offers work very well with these.)

There is also a third list: saving consumers, those who cannot resist an on the spot bargain when shopping on the Internet.

4.- Use different advertising options

Connect with your customers, make yourself known and make them remember you. Increase and generate content about your company. – Read more

11 Statistically Proven Methods To Increase Your Website Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is a function of your website usability, trust in your brand, relevancy of the incoming traffic, and a myriad of other factors. To ensure you are getting the most bang for your marketing buck, continuously optimizing your website for improved conversions is a no-brainer. However, you might often find yourself in a pickle when it comes to devising a step-by-step strategy that actually delivers worthwhile results. To help you get started, this blog post shares 11 statistically proven tactics that you can use to steadily increase your website conversion rate and improve your top line.  

1. Define your site’s goals

Before setting out on your conversion rate optimization journey, it is important to set website goals that you want to measure conversions and optimize for. These goals could be any particular action that you want the visitor to take on your site that generates certain value for your business. Once you have created them, you must assess visitor behavior against these defined goals. 

Below is a list of some of the most common conversion goals that you could set for various web pages:

  • Page visits
  • Form submits
  • Click on links
  • Clicks on elements
  • Custom conversions

VWO Insights allows you to create goals as per your unique requirements and track visitor behavior for them so you can direct your website optimization accordingly and aim for improved conversions. For instance, if you want to assess how a CTA button on a particular landing page is performing, you can do so by simply assigning a goal for it.

Screenshot Of Vwo Insights Dashboard

2. Collect and analyze visitor data

When it comes to CRO, it’s best to avoid assumptions and estimations, and rely solely on data for all decision-making. 

Constantly track and analyze your website data to learn more about your visitors and their preferences. It’s this data that should inform you where to direct your optimization efforts. 

Following are some key data points that you absolutely must track to understand your visitors: 

  • Data on traffic and traffic sources
  • Details of user behavior on your landing pages
  • Bounce and abandonment rates for web pages and forms
  • Click-through rates of adverts and marketing campaigns
  • Information on return customers and average order values
  • Net promoter scores (NPS) or other customer feedback

Once you have collected quantifiable data, use it to create your user persona, which is a representation of your ideal user. This must highlight all valuable information about your target prospects and users, including their interests, likes, dislikes, goals, and pain points. 

Customer Persona Visual Representation
Example of a customer persona

The combination of quantifiable data and your ideal user persona will help you devise hypotheses to run insightful tests to better understand what works and what doesn’t on your website.

3. Perform competitor analysis

To have a competitive edge over your rivals, you need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You can then use that information to highlight your USPs and strengths over your competitors’ weaknesses. 

Also, keep in mind that people research their options before making a purchase. They’re going to check out your competitors and how you measure up to them. By performing competitor analysis, you also get to step into your customers’ shoes and pit yourself against your competitor just the way your potential customers would. You can then focus your efforts on ensuring yours is the best site and product range they’re going to find. 

4. Assess your current conversion funnel

Before you set out to fix what’s broken, be sure to understand in detail what a typical user journey and conversion funnel on your website looks like. This will help you gauge where visitors are hesitating and dropping off and the plausible reasons as to why that may be so. 

You can use VWO Insights to track conversion rates across your funnels and identify specific stages in the journey where users might be losing interest so you can accordingly optimize them. At each stage of the funnel, you will have a natural drop off resulting from people failing to take the next step in the funnel for multiple reasons. You can then decrease that drop off by devising solutions to those probable reasons to nudge people down the funnel, thus boosting your conversion rate. 

For example, one of the stages where eCommerce stores focus their optimization efforts is checkout, where an average of 69.23%[1] shoppers are known to abandon their carts. A higher conversion rate, however marginal, will be a significant contribution towards tackling this pressing issue. A prominent example of a site that has improved its eCommerce conversion rate by simplifying its checkout process is Amazon with the one-click checkout.

one click checkout on Amazon

To understand and optimize your funnels, you need to assess what your site does to move potential customers through the set stages. How are you leading them to a conversion? Where do you lose most visitors? By learning these answers, you know where to focus your efforts to increase conversion rate.

5. Define and clearly highlight your value proposition

Your value proposition is a concise explanation of why a user should buy from or subscribe to your products/services over your competitors. Therefore, the first step towards getting visitors to convert is to clearly convey to them what sets you apart and why buying from you is a good decision. Clearly stating and reinforcing your value proposition through multiple site elements can work wonders for your conversion rate.

Your value proposition should come across through your headlines, images, and copy and should primarily feature your Unique Selling Point (USP). Repeated marketing experiments recommend that your USP should be summarized in 10 words or less[2].

Let’s take Evernote as an example of how they redid their value proposition to bring out their product USP. 

Their original tagline was “Remember Everything.” It nicely described the benefit that users could gain, but not the functionality of the tool they offered. Below the tagline, they highlighted 3 product features that illustrated how their tool works.

Benefits Of The Product Features In Evernote

Here’s a look at their redesigned page:

Product Value Proposition Highlighted By Evernote

It’s a succinct tagline that arguably better describes the functionality of the tool, while the text underneath the tagline further builds upon the value proposition. Before deciding which one to go with, be sure to craft multiple headlines, and A/B test them to find out which resonates the most with your target audience and influences conversions.

6. Optimize layouts of your critical pages

If your conversion rates aren’t improving despite repeated efforts, it’s a sign that you need to introduce a radical change in your page. Try altering its design and layout based on insights from visitor data and best practices to see if your conversions get impacted. The principles of high-converting page design are based on a body of material and case studies that reveal how people use websites. Tools like eye tracking, scroll maps, mouse tracking, and clickmaps can provide you with insights on how visitors are browsing through your website. Use these to create a page that visitors love to engage with.

7. Apply sales copy best practices

Improving conversion rate is often about making your website sales copy more persuasive. Repeated case studies have shown that making even small improvements or tweaks to your copy can influence your conversion rate. 

There are many elements of sales copy you can and should test; the most important one being the headline. David Ogilvy, the founder of the global marketing firm Ogilvy, was famously quoted as saying[3],

Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents of your dollar.

Therefore, start by testing your headline and see if you can drive a noteworthy improvement in your conversion metrics. 

Here’s an example from imsider.ru where they ran a simple test on the headline of their sign up:

Original Vs Variation In Ab Test On Imsider Ru

By merely stating the time-specific benefit of their services, the headline on the right helped generate 9.52% more conversions over the one on the left. – Read more

Track These 5 Conversion Funnel Metrics To Identify Areas for Growth

You’ve spent many hours building a sophisticated sales funnel.

Now it’s time to analyze the conversion funnel metrics to figure out if it’s working to meet your business goals. There’s only one problem. There are so many metrics you have to keep track of that you’re getting overwhelmed.

So how about we make it easy by focusing on only 5 conversion funnel metrics that directly impact your bottom-line?

Track the data these 5 metrics provide to find out where funnel leaks are and to decide what to focus on to meet your sales goals.

These 5 metrics are:

  1. Sales conversion
  2. Desktop vs. mobile conversions
  3. Sales velocity
  4. Visits by source
  5. Cost per acquisition

1. Sales Conversion Metric

Imagine meeting a friend who looks pale and disorientated. Your immediate thought is most likely that there’s something wrong.

That’s what it’s like when you look at the sales conversion metric. You see the numbers and you immediately get an idea of the state of things. It tells you how many of the leads that enter your funnel have turned into paying customers.

Here’s the formula to measure sales conversion:

sales conversion rate = (number of sales / total number of visitors ) * 100

Track the sales conversion metric every month instead of waiting until the end of the year. This way, you can immediately see any dips or rises in sales. Check its trajectory every month and you get an overall idea of your funnel’s health.

Apart from the overall sales conversion metric, also keep track of the conversion rate for each stage of the funnel. This means gathering data on how many of the leads turn into qualified leads and then into paying customers.

Doing this allows you to see where the possible bottlenecks are. This then gives you actionable insights to optimize your sales pipeline.

2. Desktop vs. Mobile Conversion

There’s a good reason why mobile conversion is not at the same level as that of desktop devices. User intent is different. Desktop users are more often in the buying state of mind than are mobile users.

But just because most mobile users aren’t ready to buy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your site for them. A good percentage of these users will convert if you lessen friction points and give them enough motivation to buy.

So here’s what you do.

Go to Google Analytics and compare the desktop vs. mobile conversion in your funnel. You’ll likely find that visitors on mobile devices do not convert as much as the visitors who visit your site through their desktop devices.

But here’s where this becomes useful to your business. Study the journey that your mobile users take from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. Where do most of them drop off?

When you have this data, you can then make educated guesses on possible reasons why mobile users are leaving without converting. This will help you identify the direction of your next optimization tests.

This was what we did when we worked on Matthew Woodward’s agency which led to mobile conversion increases as high as 48%.

mobile conversion rates

Are you excited yet? Great. Here’s a video on where to find the data for mobile conversions on Google analytics and what you need to look out for.https://www.youtube.com/embed/7WBJcRZ_iVY?feature=oembed

3. Sales Velocity

It’s easy to get confused by the word sales velocity. You’d think it’s going to show you the speed at which a lead turns into a sale. Yet sales velocity is expressed in terms of dollars. Not speed.

Let me explain.

Here’s the formula to calculate sales velocity:

Sales velocity = (number of opportunities * Average Deal Size ($)* Conversion Rate) / Sales Cycle Length

And here’s an example of that equation using real numbers. – Read More

How to Determine a Bidding Strategy for Different Types of Ads

My Post (26)When I first learned how to ride a bike, I remember being scared. It was a daunting process because I’d never done it before and was terrified of falling.

I actually remember feeling similarly when I first started getting into paid advertising campaigns at the marketing agency I worked at. The first time doing anything can be an intimidating process.

But as a marketer, it’s important to understand how to set up your paid advertising campaigns so you get the most out of your budget.

To do this, you can use several types of bidding strategies for different types of ads.

Below, let’s review the bidding strategies that will drive results when you use Facebook ads and PPC/Google Ads.

Facebook Ads Bidding Strategy

When you’re just getting started with Facebook Ads, it’s not easy to figure out what strategy to use.

Luckily, Facebook has a guide that explains the different bidding strategies you can use. Let’s dive into those strategies and figure out how to determine which one is right for you.

1. Lowest Cost (Auto Bid)

With this strategy, you won’t have a lot of manual work to do. In fact, Facebook is the one who sets up the bid automatically.

If you want to spend your full budget, this is a good choice for you. It’s a hands-off strategy and you can get more bang for your buck while spending your budget.

So, how do you know if this is a strategy you’d want to implement? Well, this is a good idea if the goal of your campaign is brand awareness, impressions, traffic, post engagement, or lead generation.

2. Bid Cap

This strategy is slightly different because of the manual processes. For this one, you’ll be the one who sets up the bidding.

This is a good option if you want more control over the cost. In fact, with this strategy, you might not even spend your full budget.

This type of strategy works for the same types of ads as the lowest cost strategy, it’s just more manual and gives you more control over your spending. Plus, it can help you increase competitiveness against other advertisers.

3. Cost Cap

If the goal of your ads is traffic, event responses, offsite conversions, or lead generation, then this is a good option as well.

With this strategy, Facebook sets the bidding while you determine the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.

You could use this type of bid strategy if you want to maximize cost-efficiency and keep cost within a certain threshold.

4. Target Cost

Another semi-automatic option, this strategy will allow Facebook to choose the bid while you set a target price. This is the price that you’d like to strive for, but Facebook could over or underspend slightly.

If you want to maintain a consistent cost, this is a good strategy to look into. You’ll be able to predict your cost and get the most conversions possible at your target cost. – Read more

What Are the Differences Between a Customer Journey and a Sales Funnel?

My Post (19).pngThe primary difference between the customer journey and sales funnels is that sales funnels work to turn visitors into leads and leads into customers while the customer journey is a representation of the entire overall path a person takes from interest and awareness to consideration and conversion.

Depending on your marketing strategy, the customer journey might be very simple or it might be rather complex. Here’s an example…

Of course, not everyone’s journey is going to be the same.

A customer journey is just a representation of averages — it’s a representation of the way that you expect and/or intend people to become loyal customers.

And the goal of mapping your customer’s journey is to better understand how your target market learns about your business, what catches their interest, when and why they decide to buy, and ultimately, how you can guide them from beginning to end more effectively and efficiently.

In a sense, the customer journey is a more detailed depiction of your marketing funnel — of how you take people from awareness to conversion…


But what’s a sales funnel?

Put simply, a sales funnel is a series of pages intentionally crafted to encourage visitors to take one specific action.

That action might be opting into your email list, downloading a free resource, or purchasing a product.

And there are different sales funnels for different things, depending on what goal you’re trying to accomplish.

Our Tripwire Funnel, for example, is designed to turn cold traffic into paying customers… and it’s extremely effective at doing so.



And our Product Launch sales funnel is crafted to build anticipation for an upcoming product so that launch day is a big success. – Read more

Leveraging Voice Search for Local Businesses

My Post (18).pngEach year, voice search increasingly becomes a more dominant force to reckon with. 20% of the global online population is already using voice search, and 58% of voice users employ it to run a local business search.

Last year, we undertook a study that focused on uncovering factors that influence voice search rankings in 2019. This year, as search results vary depending on location-specific queries, we decided to check how questions about local businesses and services alter the voice search results.

The 2020 study provides unique insights into the search algorithms that are behind various voice assistants to help businesses leverage the power of voice search.

About the 2020 Voice Search for Local Businesses Study

As voice search expands, the market keeps introducing more and more virtual assistants. If the previous year’s study focused exclusively on Google devices, this year we’ve added Siri and Alexa to cover almost 100% of the voice assistants market:

https://static.semrush.com/blog/uploads/media/75/a4/75a41bb47ded8be27af8e4a75a2243ee/infographic-02.png” data-source-height=”1026″ data-source-width=”1845″ data-gtm-vis-has-fired-9025619_57=”1″ />

To run the study, we employed the following devices:

https://static.semrush.com/blog/uploads/media/2f/e5/2fe503162bf2086f3ec1daf0d10141e5/infographic-03.png” data-source-height=”1126″ data-source-width=”1845″ data-gtm-vis-has-fired-9025619_57=”1″ />

The main goal of the study was to understand how different voice assistants compare to one another when it comes to returning local results and to uncover the algorithms behind them:

  • By comparing all voice assistants in regards to basic parameters like answer length and number of questions they are able/unable to answer.
  • By analyzing factors that affect how voice assistants choose what local results to return.

Key Takeaways From the Study

There are a few key insights we’d like local businesses to take away from our findings to integrate them into their overall SEO and marketing strategies:

  • Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa take up comparable market share, so businesses should aim to adapt to all three assistants whose algorithms are drastically different.
  • The average answer length for all analyzed assistants is 23 words, and Google Assistant devices return the longest answers, at 41 words.
  • Alexa cannot return results for each fourth question, implying that this is mainly a home-based device that understands voice commands but is not intended for running search queries.
  • With Google-run devices, businesses can apply the “regular” local SEO logic by polishing their Local Pack presence and tweaking their content to match the more natural language of voice search queries.
  • To be present among Apple’s Siri replies, businesses have to aim for higher Yelp ratings and more positive customer reviews. Having a 4.5/5 Yelp rating with the biggest number of reviews will turn any business into the most popular local spot in Siri’s eyes.

Comparing Various Voice Assistants

Now, diving deeper into the findings, we will reveal the specificities of different voice assistants and uncover how they choose to return certain results over others.

1. What’s the Average Answer Length?

The average answer length returned by a voice assistant for a local-intent query is 23 words:

https://static.semrush.com/blog/uploads/media/41/3d/413d69d3f0bbec6af6ee78e1300c7366/infographic-04.png” data-source-height=”1001″ data-source-width=”1845″ data-gtm-vis-has-fired-9025619_57=”1″ />

With Google devices, the presence of a screen explains the difference in word count – the Google Home/Mini’s average answer length is 3.7X of the Home Hub.

2. Do Various Google Assistants Give the Same Answers?

Google assistants do not return the same results despite having similar algorithms. The average answer match between Google Assistants stands at a mere 22% across all devices.

  • Despite the difference in the nature of the devices, the Google Home Hub and Android phone have the highest percentage of matching results at 66%.
  • Only 0.33% of the answers match between the Google Home Mini and Android phone, despite the high match between the phone and Google Home Hub.

3. The Similarity of Answers Between Google Assistants

As Google Assistant devices run on similar algorithms, namely Google search, they essentially return the same answers, using different wording.

The main reason why we see any differences has to do with screen presence/absence. A screenless device typically returns a more detailed answer, whereas those with a screen often answer with ‘Here’s what I’ve found…’ or similar, and display the information on the screen.

4. How Many Queries Voice Assistants Couldn’t Answer

Our research confirms that voice assistants are getting better at understanding users.

The average percentage of questions that are unable to be answered across all devices is just 6.3%. This is a positive trend, as Forrester’s study suggested that, just over a year ago, this figure was as high as 35%.

Of the six devices we analyzed, five of them struggled to answer only five or fewer questions out of every hundred asked, whereas Alexa struggled to answer almost one in four. – Read more