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Is “virtual assistant” going out of fashion?

virtual assistant alternativesThe USA tends to be about 5 years ahead of us here in the UK when it comes to the virtual assistant world… (Check out the history of the virtual assistant! https://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/2013/07/08/the-history-of-the-virtual-assistant-2/)

But one trend I’ve noticed is that increasingly VAs are distancing themselves from the term “virtual assistant”.  A variety of words are now being used instead of VA:

Perhaps it’s because it is being associated with virtual helpers like Apple’s Siri or Android’s Cortana, or maybe too many cheap offshore VAs are sabotaging their reputation…  But a lot of people are switching how they market themselves.

Why are virtual assistants using alternative ways to describe their services?

Rachel Sefain, rachelsefain.co.uk:

I usually present myself as a freelance (bilingual) administrative assistant and then I “elaborate” by mentioning something like “it is often called VA..” something along these lines.  Why? people are not necessarily aware of what a VA is or even should be whereas people would know what an admin support/assistant is.  It says Bilingual VA on my business cards and website but I tend to hand these personally so by that time, they would know what I do… Also “virtual” seems to imply that you work remotely whereas I do have a client I work for and I go to her home office once a month, so I personally want to keep that as an option, i.e. work on-site.

SVA’s latest research in the UK VA survey lists 92 different terms used to describe “virtual assistant” – you can access the list here.  Using different search terms will undoubtedly help your SEO delivering better targeted traffic and raising you outside of those simply Googling “virtual assistant”.  e.g. Let’s say you do transcription and are based in Newcastle – someone looking for those services might not necessarily Google “virtual assistant” but they might very well type in “transcription service Newcastle” looking for someone who can do what they want and cope with the accents! 

How to use this virtual assistant list:

Look at the frequency of the alternative word for “Virtual Assistant” that will show you how many other VAs are using it to describe what they do… and potentially what clients are typing into Google to find them.  Look at the different services and words that are used throughout the list – is this a better way of describing what you do?  How would your ideal client describe your services?

See also  Top tips for Working from home - from the UK's VAs

You might want to write a blog using this new term or add it into your Meta Description for some of your web pages – you’ll be surprised by the results!

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