The Rise of the Voice-Activated Digital Assistants

Hi, I’m Paul Steinbrueck and welcome to OurChurch.Com’s monthly SEO Update for June 2016, keeping you up to date on what’s happening in the world of search and how it affects you.

This month most of the big SEO news involves mobile search and the rise of voice-activated digital assistants.

So, let’s get to it…

1) Google Has Launched Mobile-Friendly Update 2
Google has been saying (and we’ve been reporting) for months that it would be rolling out another mobile-friendly update in May. Google confirmed that this update was fully rolled out last month. The update gives sites that are mobile-friendly another boost in Google’s mobile search over sites that are not mobile-friendly.

Google also updated its tool which you can use to check to see if a site is mobile friendly. We’ll include a link in the blog post below this video.

Once again, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you really, really, really need to redesign it. You are giving half your visitors a poor experience and you are also losing visitors due to lower search rankings.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm boost has rolled out

2) Introducing Google assistant
Recently Google introduced its digital assistant, which is simply called Google assistant. It’s like Siri for the iPhone except that Google’s plan is to put it into lots of devices. The first example is Google Home, which is a voice-activated device that can be used to control devices in a home as well as send messages, check calendars, and lots more.

We have definitely entered the post-screen search era. Microsoft has launched its digital assistant, Cortana, and is working to put into other devices like xbox. Amazon has launched Alexa, which it’s put into its home assistant called, Echo. And then there’s Apple, which started it all several years ago with Siri, which leads into our next news item…

Meet Google assistant: A new search platform, rather than a gadget or an app

3) Apple to Open Siri to 3rd Party Apps
Think for a moment about a human office assistant. She can listen and understand what you ask her to do, but she can’t do a task unless you give her the tools to do it. For example, if I ask my assistant to hang a painting on my wall, she can’t do it unless I give her a hammer and a nail.

Similarly, Siri, can only do the things it has the tools to do. If you ask Siri to order a pizza for you, it can’t do it because it doesn’t know who to order it from or how to place the order. But that will be changing as Apple is opening Siri up to 3rd party apps.

This is significant for search marketing because right now if Siri doesn’t know now to do something, it gets info about it from a Bing search. In the future, we may be able to select the search engine Siri uses.

Apple building Amazon Echo competitor, will open Siri to third-party apps — [Report]

4) Google showing ads on maps
Google is always looking for new ways to increase its ad revenue, and the latest is by placing ads on Google Maps. It’s now showing what it calls “promoted pins” on Google Maps. For most of us, this will be another mildly annoying distraction. However, if you do marketing for a local business, school or church, it may be something to experiment with.

Saying a third of mobile searches are local, Google brings “Promoted Pins” to Maps

That is all for this month’s update.

Remember, we live in this internet age, so it’s important that you stay strong in the search engines so you can live out your mission online. We here at OurChurch.Com are here to help you do that, so if we can answer any questions for you or do anything else to help you improve your search engines and live out your mission online, please give us a call or send us an email.
Thanks for watching!

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