All Posts By

Steve Chisholm

Alexa, How is Voice Search Shaping the Future of SEO?

Voice search is no longer the work of science fiction. It’s real, it’s here and it stands poised to transform the search game as we know it. What’s driving this trend? What does the future have in store for voice search? And how can businesses and marketers prepare themselves for the revolution?

The Rise of Voice

SEO Company

Voice recognition technology might seem like a modern innovation, but it’s actually been around in one form or another for more than 60 years. Back in 1952, Bell Laboratories designed a system known as Audrey, which could recognise spoken numbers. A decade later, IBM introduced Shoebox, a computer that could understand 16 basic words. And in 2008, the technology finally went mobile, when Google released the Voice Search app for iPhone.

Fast forward to today, and consumer adoption of voice search is skyrocketing. Between 2008 and 2016, the volume of voice searches increased 35-fold, according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report. In 2016, about 20 percent of Google app searches were voice searches. And in 2018, 91 million people in the U.S used voice technology at least once a month, according to figures from eMarketer.

Looking at the timeline, it’s clear that voice search didn’t arrive overnight. So why are consumers only now starting to get interested in voice search? There are two main reasons:

1. It’s Everywhere

The explosive growth of voice search mostly comes down to the fact that the technology is now supremely accessible. Voice search has been successfully integrated into a huge range of mainstream consumer products, with smart speakers (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo) leading the charge. In fact, smart speakers sales grew 300 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to figures from Strategy Analytics.

Of course, it’s not only smart speaker manufacturers who are getting in on the action. Just about every major tech company is leveraging the power of digital personal assistants and voice search. You can ask Siri to send a text message for you while you’re driving, tell Google Assistant to read you the news, use Cortana to update your calendar and command your Xbox to start streaming Netflix. Voice search is no longer about the novelty factor; it’s a useful, efficient and convenient feature that is quickly becoming a normal part of everyday life.

2. It’s Getting Better at Understanding Us

The way we communicate verbally is very different from the way we write and type. We’re less formal, less specific and more verbose, which stands in stark contrast to the keyword-laden,  ultra-concise queries we’d usually type into a search engine. This has been a bit of a sticking point for voice search, as the technology has traditionally struggled to separate meaningless human chit chat from user intent (i.e. what we’re actually searching for).

Thankfully, this is (mostly) a thing of the past. The AI that powers voice search has become exponentially smarter in recent years and is constantly getting better at understanding context and user intent. In 2017, Microsoft’s voice recognition software achieved an error rate of just 5.1 percent, which put it on par with human error rate. Consumers are feeling more inclined to use voice search because they can use natural, conversational language and still get accurate results.

How Can Businesses Prepare for the Revolution?

    1. Use schema markup: Schema is a type of on-page data markup that helps search engines better understand your website and content, and therefore the services your company offers. This type of structured data can be used to increase the chances of your business being found for local voice search queries.
    1. Focus on long-tail keywords: Short-tail keywords fell out of favour a long time ago, and voice search may well be the final nail in the coffin. As we’ve learned, users are more likely to ask long, complex search strings when using voice search. With this in mind, focus on using long-tail keywords that are very specific to your business.
    1. Incorporate FAQS into your content: Voice search is conversational. An easy way to naturally replicate this style is to use FAQs to answer common questions that your audience might have about your business, services or industry.
  1. Rethink your SEO strategy: The world of SEO is constantly changing. This might be the perfect time to audit your current strategy and rethink your current digital marketing spend.

Curious about what you need to do to optimise your business for voice search? Book your free strategy session to get a better understanding of how the voice search revolution is going to affect you.

Top 3 benefits of Facebook advertising for Kiwi businesses

Facebook Advertising for Business

Facebook was once little more than a junkpile of pointless memes, poorly framed selfies and needy updates from your attention-starved friends. Okay, so if your feed’s anything like mine, Facebook is definitely still home to all those things, but it has also evolved to become one of – if not the – most powerful digital marketing tool for New Zealand businesses.

Regardless of which industry your company operates in, there are very real benefits to leveraging the power of the most popular social media platform on the planet. Here are three of the most important:


  1. Marketing AudienceHighly targeted audiences

With almost 2 billion users (and 2.5 million users in New Zealand alone), there’s no denying Facebook’s potential for getting eyeballs onto your brand. However, while these figures are impressive in their own right, I think it’s important to note that the real power of Facebook advertising lies in its ability to segment audiences right down to the nitty gritty – and I do mean nitty gritty!

For example, Facebook advertising enables you to target your campaigns by:


  • Location: Ensure your messages are reaching relevant markets by targeting your audience by country, city and post code. You can also choose to exclude certain locations.
  • Demographic: Further refine your audience by age, gender, relationship status, education, career and income.
  • Interests: This is where Facebook advertising really starts to get good. Define your ideal audience according to their hobbies, interests and pages they engage with on Facebook.
  • Behaviours: Get a more complete picture of your customers by diving deep into their buying habits, travel preferences and more.


These segmenting options allow you to really drill into your market base and create tailored campaigns that are targeted towards a very, very specific audience. For instance, a jewellery company could target Auckland women aged 18-54 who are in a relationship, earn $40,000-$100,000, have an interest in beauty and fashion, and have recently shopped for fine jewellery. When executed correctly, this type of highly targeted advertising can drastically boost your chances of conversion.

Brand Influence

  1. Enhanced brand influence

Social media has democratised marketing in many ways. In years gone by, building strong brand influence was often only possible with million dollar marketing budgets, but thanks to Facebook and other social channels, businesses big and small can now cultivate long-lasting, meaningful relationships with their audiences.


Well, Facebook advertising removes many of the layers of traditional marketing, allowing you to connect with customers in a way that is transparent, honest and human. With some strategic planning and a healthy dose of empathy, Facebook advertising allows you to establish your company not only as a thought leader in your niche, but as a brand that customers actually like and want to engage with.

In this regard, Facebook advertising is less about cramming your product down people’s throats and more about fostering trust and loyalty through honest communication.


  1. Visual nature creates demandVisual

Humans are highly visual creatures, and few things resonate with our sense of desire as much as a well-placed image or video. Consequently, visual content is very much the name of the game in the modern marketing world. In fact, 95 percent of marketers say their visual content is at least twice as effective as their text content, while almost 1 in 10 report it be 10 times more effective, according to figures collated by Chute and Digiday.

Simply put, bang for buck, there is no better platform for your visual content than Facebook. More than 350 million images are uploaded to Facebook daily, while 100 million hours of video are watched every single day.

How can you get in on the visual action?


  • Images: Create demand and strengthen your company’s brand. Image carousels can be used to showcase new products, while infographics are an effective way of condensing data-heavy reports into easily digestible tidbits.
  • Videos: Take your storytelling to the next level. Educate your audience with how-tos and demonstration videos, create excitement for new products or take your customers behind the scenes. Facebook’s algorithms tend to favour video content, so a well crafted video can have excellent results.
  • Live videos: Candid and spontaneous, Facebook Live gives customers a transparent window into your business that can further build trust.



I’ve worked with a number of Kiwi businesses across a variety of niches, all of which have seen fantastic results from Facebook advertising. Get in touch today to discuss how targeted Facebook advertising could work for your business.