The way we search for information is changing as we increasingly use voice search on our smartphones, tablets and voice assistants.
Google, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa have become a part of many peoples day to day lives, being relied on to connect smart appliances, control TVs and speakers as well as providing useful functions when travelling and on the move.
50% – of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (Source:ComScore)
30% – of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020 (Source:Gartner)
72% – of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines (Source:Google)
The increase in voice-activated search is due in part to ease of use as well as the handsfree aspect. You can be at home or on the move with the ability to command your voice assistant to answer a question or solve a query. Whether it is to find the nearest petrol station, a recommended place for lunch or to ask what local stores close by stock the item you are looking to purchase, it is quick, simple and easy to use.
Hey Siri, Where is my nearest barber?
Voice-optimised content, as a natural consequence, is a hot topic amongst content creators and SEO professionals.
It’s important to understand how search engines provide predictive answers to our questions. This way we can adapt our marketing strategies to be visible and provide answers to questions across all formats from text to voice search.
Here are our top tips to consider when navigating the world of voice-optimised content…
Create a Conversation
When you type in a query into a search engine, you choose the best possible phrase and keywords to get a list of relevant and accurate results. With voice search, you ask a question or give a command and you receive a response – a conversation has started.
When considering your strategy it is important to keep the conversational element of voice search in mind, providing a useful and relevant experience for the customer.
Keywords are Crucial
Your keyword strategy needs to be re-thought as we move away from the traditional SEO focus. Keywords must be conversational in nature and mimic how real people talk.
In addition, certain keywords will be used more often via voice search, rather than traditional searches. The following words are key when optimising for voice search: “when”, “how”, “what”, “who”, “where.”
ME: Where is the MTM office located?
GOOGLE: The MTM Agency office is based at Saxon House, Saxon Wharf in Southampton.
Think Like a Customer
Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and remove yourself from your position as a marketer. What do you need as a customer and what are your expectations?
Think about the type of queries you might get from customers (and potential customers) over the phone and collate these as a basis for creating content focused on longer, more conversational search items.
Keep it Local
Around 22% of voice searches are centered around finding local content and information, so if you rely on local trade, you can increase your chances of being found by simply keeping your business listing up-to-date and by claiming your business listing on Google (if you haven’t already done so).
FAQs Are Your Friend
Once you have established the typical questions being asked about your business, you can either create or amend your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page using this data. Switch the focus from traditional SEO-keyword phrases to more natural-sounding questions and phrases.
Provide Value to Your Customers
Deliver utility, simplify the journey and make it memorable. Creating a voice led journey must deliver true value to your customers and deliver a unique value proposition that only voice can deliver. Careful management of your content will ensure you deliver this.
When using voice assistants we have high expectations of the devices’ understanding of our queries. Consumers want searches to be seamless and expect their questions to be understood without having to rephrase or ask the question in a different way to get the relevant or correct answer.
When typing a search query, search engines such as Google often pick up on typos and offer a suggestion of what you are really looking for, which is proven to be helpful and accurate 95% of the time. This way of searching also means that issues such as accents, slang, and pronunciation are not an issue.
Many still turn to traditional text searches due to being in a public space, at work or in an environment they don’t feel comfortable ‘speaking’ to their voice assistants. Therefore a mix of voice and text searches are likely, so a marketing strategy will need to apply to both.
Voice search isn’t as advanced or developed as traditional search, which has been documented in viral hashtags trending on Twitter such as #alexafail which showcases people’s voice search bloopers!
ME: Alexa, turn on the porch lights.
ALEXA: You don't own a Porsche. I've tearned on the Dacia Duster lights instead.
As with any emerging tech, it will rely on machine learning and data to perfect the art of answering a voice search query. Voice search is evolving to understand user intent and behaviours through available data and information to help consumers take action.
Voice search is an important part of a marketing strategy for 2019 and onwards, with the use of voice search predicted to continue to rise. Contact us at The MTM Agency to discuss how we can assist you with your efforts to be found in voice search queries.