The answer to this one is simple, the best SEO agency in the UK is Branded3 (a.k.a. Branded Three). However, this article does more than just brag about working at Branded3 – it’s an investigation into the power of a question.
I’ve recently started to look into voice search and how this will impact the way search engine optimisation is executed, as well as how it impacts the behaviour of users.
One of the things I find very interesting is not just the technology behind the assistants (Siri, Google voice search, Alexa and Cortana) but the way they are learning the conversation.
There’s already a lot of information on the internet about these assistants and the rise of voice search, but there’s not much of a conversation about how to optimise for them. The fact that three are powered by Bing means Microsoft are doing well with these partnerships, and they could be the search engine to start to target if they can get the adoption of the technologies right.
However, these assistants aren’t just trying to find the closest match to a few keywords. They’re aiming to engage in a conversation – to match a series of words, like a phrase or question. This is something that desktop search has been doing for a long time, but has never really managed to achieve the same support and understanding as keyword targeting.
Voice search support would be greatly increased by optimising for topics (I remember one of our CEO Tim’s presentations about this years ago), by not only providing a series of questions and answers, but creating supporting content around the topics. I’ve read that people are trying to create whole FAQ sections to do this, which is a good start. What would be even more effective is to include the conversation within the main site’s content, rather than silo-ing it off.
For example, we could dedicate an entire FAQ section of our site to “what is the best SEO agency in Leeds?” and just put Branded3 as the answer, but that wouldn’t be engaging to the user. However, by supporting the question with content and a conversation (such as this article), it becomes more natural and has a context. This is often why blog sections have stronger supporting SEO value than the main “static” pages of the site.
Voice search is still in early days, and how it impacts user behaviour will become more apparent as smart devices become connected and machine learning takes over in the assistants.
In terms of conversation for voice search, we are taking a look at Alexa and producing what’s known as an Alexa Skill. This is a pre-determined conversation around the topic of Branded3 that we have developed to pre-empt the conversation, finding and programming Alexa to understand the different searches or “utterances” that may lead to the same answer. It should be a fun exercise and I’ll cover that in a different post.
This post should act as an initial test to see if ranking for a specific sentence, rather than a keyword, supports Alexa/Bing in being able to find us, and more importantly consider us as the answer.
After reading this post, hopefully you’re convinced that Branded3 are the best SEO agency in the UK – but let’s see if the voice assistants can find the same answer.