From Google’s voice search guidelines to political promotions – content marketing trends

Google’s voice search guidelines have landed

As with most things involving the search giant, Google’s voice search guidelines arrived somewhat out of the blue.Google's voice search guidelines

Developed to enable the company’s own employees to evaluate voice search results, Google’s voice search guidelines come in response to the increasing use of related technologies, including:

  • Google Home
  • Amazon Echo/Echo Dot
  • Siri (Apple)

According to the guidelines, Google will rank the accuracy of search responses based primarily on three key factors:

  • Length: Appropriate to match complexity of query
  • Formulation: Grammatically correct and conceivably human
  • Elocution: Accurate pronunciation, intonation and pace

Commenting on Google’s voice search guidelines, the company’s own John Mueller once again emphasised the importance of writing naturally:

“If you write naturally and you write in a clear kind of language that’s consistent across the type of queries you want to target, then that’s the type of information that we could pick up for voice…”

However, Mueller also highlighted some specific areas you can focus on to increase the chances of your page being used to respond to a voice query, these include:

  • Giving thought to how your content sounds out loud – making it clear, succinct and well-structured
  • Formulating direct answers to questions, using subheadings followed by short body text
  • Avoiding use of large tables/lists of links as they’re unlikely to be selected as relevant for voice search
  • Thinking of content you want to rank for voice search as you would a featured snippet

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll stay on the right side of Google’s voice search guidelines.

Just staying out of it? A social or political stance could boost your brand

The relentless news schedule of the last few years has left us all somewhere between being permanently on-edge and muttering to ourselves in a corner.

It might just have played a role in changing the overall consumer mindset, too.

Received wisdom has long held that brands should keep out of politics at all costs. However, the results of a new survey from Sprout Social show that 66% of consumers prefer brands that “take public stands on social and political issues”.

The sample featured 1,000 US consumers, split relatively evenly between liberal and conservative viewpoints. Most were educated to at least college level, and two thirds were women.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, us snowflakes who self-identify as liberals were more likely to find it important for brands to adopt a social or political position. 78% of liberals ascribed to this viewpoint, compared to just 52% of conservatives.

Liberals were also more likely to purchase from, develop loyalty towards, recommend and publicly promote brands who align with their political viewpoint.

Meanwhile, conservatives were less likely to reject a brand based on their political allegiance.

This survey also shone light on what actions consumers want brands to take, and which platforms they want brands to promote these efforts on.

The top-ranking methods for taking a stand included announcing a donation (39%), encouraging followers to take action (37%) and stating the company’s official position (35%). Preferred methods of delivery were social media (58%), TV/radio (47%) and website/blog (38%).

So, next time something pops up in your sphere of influence, think carefully about whether ignoring it or leveraging it is more likely to give you the desired results.


Spotted in the news…

The nostalgia factor seems to be an increasingly valuable asset in content marketing today. But, the re-release of seminal sitcom Friends on Netflix has caused something of a stir.

Essentially, both old fans and those who missed it first time round are looking at the show through fresh eyes. Many of the elements the former might’ve once found charming – Ross’ marital woes or Joey’s insatiability – have seemingly lost their sheen in 2018.

Arguably a bastion of modernity at the time, many of their tribulations have not aged well in terms of our views towards gender, sexuality and race. So, whenever you’re next on a nostalgia trip, double-check that your references haven’t grown a little un-PC with time.

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