Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… University of South Florida: Voice Search Optimizing… 9 February 2018

Voice Search: A New Imperative for Website Marketing Success

University of South Florida Voice SearchThe marketing impact of your website depends more on the ability of people to quickly complete their top tasks than on the “look and feel” of the site and the marketing messages it contains. And people are very impatient about the time it takes to do that. That’s always been true.

In that context, the growth of “voice search” is going to upend traditional website navigation. Potential students will expect to get an answer to “Do you have an online MBA program?” by asking that question rather than moving through two or three website pages to scan a list of “academic programs.”

Last year about 20 percent of website searches were done via voice search, primarily from mobile phones. That is expected soon to increase to 50 percent. That’s not just for mobile users. Voice search is coming to desktop computers as several firms including HP add Alexa-capability to new and current models in 2018. See “Alexa to live in new Windows 10 PCs launching later this year”

Send your most skeptical colleagues to “OK, Google, How Do I Optimize My Site for Voice Search

Today’s Link of the Week was created by the futurists at USF’s Health Information Systems department. After an introduction (“What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Voice Search?”), the IS folks recommend 3 areas for priority attention:

  • Keyword research… “keep natural and conversational language in mind…”
  • Answer Your Reader’s Questions… “a question and answer type of format…” for website content.
  • Have Solutions Readily Available… Visitors are “demanding… very clear cut and obvious solutions” to their questions.

And so these elements will become more important:

  • Content strategy… content valuable to visitors more than marketing-oriented brand messaging. Marketing messages must speak to questions actually asked rather than what marketers think people ought to ask.
  • Jargon slaying… root out with vigor internal labels that potential students don’t understand or use. Ask your admissions counselors and the people answering your phones to keep notes on how people ask speak to them.
  • Web writing… more than ever, “natural and conversational” words must prevail.

On Mobile…

Alas, the site is not well prepared for mobile use. Google Test My Site reports a “poor” 13 second mobile download time and projects a 31 percent visitor loss rate.

Follow the Link of the Week

To see how an Information Systems team at one university is alerting people to the impending change in web navigation, visit the University of South Florida “Optimizing Your Website for Voice Search.”

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