Voice Skill Optimization – Learning to Build an Alexa Skill

Alexa Artificial Intelligence SEO

I’ve been in the world of digital marketing for most of my adult life. It’s always fit in a nice little box, namely, the computer box. Of course, that is changing rapidly. With a bajillion Alexa’s out in the world, voice assistants are quite popular. I think it opens up a whole new field for digital: voice skill optimization.

The field for this (right now) is limited. Not many people outside of developers are working inside this space and I want to understand it as a marketer.

As a result, there are some key things that I noticed.

This isn’t too far removed from App Store Optimization

This isn’t search engine optimization since you’re boxed in by a platform and what they allow as inputs to optimize. You’ll need to do research on what kinds of voice skills are out there and find your niche.

New Terminology Needs to be Added to Your Marketing Dictionary

#1 Invocation – It’s the command that gets your voice assistant to “do” something. It’s the word that finds your skill to do something.

#2 Utterance – This is the request you want your assistant to carry out

#3 Slot – If you want your utterance to do something more specific, you can

The tools to help build these are few and far between, technical abilities are required

I found a WordPress plugin and I’m still fiddling with the inputs to get it right. You’ll need to have some bravery and a little JSON knowledge if you want to chart a course in the voice skills arena.

It’s more than tweaking meta information

You have to think about whatever you’re bringing to Alexa as a voice product. This blog post? When spoken by Alexa, it’ll sound terrible. The headings and structure of this post, that make sense for Search Engine Optimization, don’t translate to speech. Alexa doesn’t care about Title, Tags and Descriptions, it cares about executing the request from the user. To truly optimize for Alexa, I’d need to write as if I were developing scripts for a radio broadcast. That’s an entirely different type of writing than most marketers who’ve specialized in digital content, have been creating.

It’s still early, but don’t wait too long

Most meaningful skills on Alexa have been utility. Turning on lights, opening doors or delivering status updates. The only other category that’s popular is voice-based games or entertainment. However, this mirrors the early internet. You’d check email or play a simple game of chess. This time, I don’t think there is the luxury of time since the speed at which digital media moves is lightening fast.

If using voice assistants for marketing is interesting to you, I’d recommend that you dive in. The cost is free and the learning opportunity is high. Let me put it this way, would you rather make mistakes early or be playing catch-up later?

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