Siri, where’s my book?
With the revolution of blogging, podcasts and internet marketing, something fascinating has happened to writing — and that is the switch from conventional writing standards to ‘conversational writing.’
By not preparing for this type of ‘conversational writing’ authors and publishers stand to lose millions this year.
Conversational writing is based on the way we speak and the way we ask questions to each other.
Below is an example of the difference between VOICE SEARCH and a regular WEB SEARCH.
Today, if you wanted to find a good Sushi restaurant in NYC, you’d likely type in and search for something like: “Best Sushi in NYC.” This works great for a WEB search and based on SEO.
But this isn’t how you’d ask Siri or Alexa is it? You wouldn’t press your phone button and just say, “Sushi in NYC” or else she might reply with a “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
Instead you’d say something like, “Alexa, what’s the best sushi place near me?” and she would go to all the available food review sites, business listings and websites looking for all the places that have the search terms “best sushi place” and match it to your location. The strategy to optimize your content for VOICE BASED SEARCHES is called VOICE SEARCH OPTIMIZATION or VOICE SEO.
VOICE SEO is different from traditional SEO, the practice of making your content available on the web at the top of search engines. (Interested in a SEO cheatsheet that will help you get found read and followed? Click here).
What makes this crucial to know and for you to harness the power of VOICE SEARCH is that by end of this year in 2020 30% of all searches are going to be conducted without a screen, meaning through voice activation.
And by 2022, it’s predicted that over 50% of all searches will be done through voice commands and prompts.
If your website, blog, Amazon listing, social media and landing pages aren’t additionally optimized for voice search, you are going to be on Google’s chopping block and get lost in their black box.
So, how can you leverage VOICE SEARCH to your advantage as an author?
Just like with regular search engine optimization (SEO), there are things you need to do to get your book optimized for voice search SEO.
What you can do right now to prepare for voice search
In fact, there are a couple things you can do right now to make sure you’re prepared for the voice search revolution.
1. Update your meta description.
Having a meta description for your home page is especially important for voice search and voice assistants. The meta description is what voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google use to describe your website.
2. Make sure your book is available in audiobook format:
Because smart speakers can play audiobooks, they give preference to books that are available in audiobook format when delivering search results.
That means that if there are two books with the same title and only one of them is available as an audiobook, that’s the one that will be at the top of search results.
To see how this works, if you have an Amazon Echo or Dot device say the following prompts:
“Alexa, read (book title).”
It will demonstrate why you want to make sure your audiobook is available on Amazon and Google Play. That way, the smart speakers can purchase, read, and recommend your audiobook to potential readers.
As an author, you need to be prepared for the VOICE SEARCH revolution. It’s already here.
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Miral Sattar runs author SEO training series on LearnSelfPublishingFast.com. Over 500 students have taken her tech training courses designed for writers and authors. Miral has worked in the media industry for 15 years, most recently at TIME Magazine where she developed and implemented the digital SEO strategy that enabled TIME to be one of the most trafficked sites in the industry. Miral has lectured at Yale, NYU, CUNY, Pace, and other universities across America and helped numerous authors market their books. She and her writing have been featured in TIME, CNN, WSJ, NYTIMES, NY Daily News, among other media publications. She has a MS in Publishing (Digital + Print Media) from NYU and a BS from Columbia University in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.