Smart Speakers, Online Reputation, and What to Do About It


Smart Speakers are posed to bring unexpected challenges to online reputation management and repair. Here’s how.

Just after waking up and usually still in bed, I usually say, “Hey Google, what is the weather?” I then follow up with checking the time (also in a HAL 9000-like voice), where my first appointment is, and info on the place I’m going to. A friend of mine uses smart speakers to listen to music, but also does almost all her searching with them; I’m starting to ask questions that I used to type in Google.

Searching for information is changing dramatically and quickly. Opening a browser and typing in Google was the normal thing to do for the past decade or so. Now with the advent of “smart speakers,” asking questions in your own voice is now being used by 15% of households.

Sales of Google Home, Amazon’s Echo, Apple, Samsung, and others are exploding and the smart home speaker market is expected to be a $25 billion industry in only a few years.

Searches made through smart speakers, and understanding how this might work, is crucial for a business. So, what does this mean for your online reputation management and repair? A lot. Here’s why.

Search Results Become Much More Limited

Search results through smart speakers are much, much more limited. Google Home might read out either only the top five answers, or more likely, just one; there is no time to read more than this, and based on my personal experience, I rarely make it past the first or second answer given.

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This, of course, means the results are extremely restrictive compared to traditional text-based searches.

Because of this restriction, a business has a much lower chance of being discovered and must find ways to boost their presence through spoken searches.

If You Have a Negative Online Reputation, You Have Even More of a Problem Now

If a business has a negative online reputation, the way to manage it is to add positive content–blogs, whitepapers, social media posts, presentations, videos, etc.–which eventually suppresses the damaging links down off the first page of Google search results.

However, spoken questions made through smart speakers are extremely limited. Since only a a few responses are given, a business must be ranked very highly. If a personal or businesses online reputation is either negative or not optimized for this, will be invisible, and this is a major problem.

1. The Antidote to to Building a Positive Speech Reputation: Go with the Long Tail

To improve or build your reputation for smart speaker searches, be very specific, targeted and even verbose. In Search Engine Optimization parlance, this is called “long tail search terms” because they are much more detailed and are made up of a phrase or phrases, rather than just a few words, unlike text based searches which are more general.

2. Craft Descriptive Phrases

Crafting very descriptive phrases is a great way to be found through smart speaker requests. Think of how people will asking for you or your business, then create commonly asked simple phrases or answers to basic questions. The verbiage should reflect unique aspects of the business or person.

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3. Use Variations Of Locations And Diverse Attributes

Expand existing search terms to create new variations. Make options centered around specific states, cities, and neighborhoods. This will have a better chance of a business being found through smart speaker searches when some asks “what is near me” type of requests.

For example, instead of, “Financial advisors NYC,” make several more detailed and targeted versions, such as, “Financial Advisors NYC Upper West Side,” “Financial Advisors New York City Upper West Side,” “Financial Advisors Post Road Greenwich.”

Or add additional attributes. For example, “Trusted Financial Advisors New York City Upper West Side,” “Best Financial Advisors New York City Upper West Side,” “Experienced Financial Advisors New York City Upper West Side,” etc.

4. Integrate Into Content

Once the long-trail search phrases are identified, develop content centered around these. Write blogs, presentations and whitepapers on these, and include them in blog titles, and sprinkle them throughout the article itself. Then add the updated long-tail search terms to web pages, metadata page titles, image names, and elsewhere as part of the regular SEO and reputation management process.

Bottom Line

As more smart speakers are sold, spoken search requests will greatly impact online reputation management. These new online reputation trends bring new challenges, making it more important than ever to repair a damaged reputation before it gets worse or build a positive presence to be a proactive “thought leader”.

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