More than 12 million people in the UK will have an extra member of the family by the end of the year. Usually s/he is called Echo. Sometimes it’s Alexa, Google Home, or Siri. How will voice search impact home life and work life for you?
By 2020, it is predicted that 30% of internet searches will not involve a screen. And according to readwrite, 50% of adults will be using voice activated tech instead of their fingertips to find the answers they seek. By the end of last year, 100 million voice search speakers had already been sold globally.
Voice search is here to stay and will likely keep scaling its place in our lives for some time. The ability for us to talk into the ether and receive a largely accurate, instant response is something many people take advantage of. But to make this work for your business, it’s time to rethink content marketing. Company websites of all sizes are undergoing their next evolution to make sure they’re not left behind.
Voice search and SEO
How do I make my website voice search friendly if I’m not an SEO whizzkid?
Think longtail. That is, think colloquially, not like a computer. We speak to our voice assistants almost - not entirely - as if they are real people.
We speak to our voice activated devices in sentences. Whereas we have become accustomed to typing single, disjointed words and phrases into a browser search bar.
The good news? It’s not just the rise of the machines, it’s the revival of the preposition! Children are even being rewarded by Amazon’s Echo for saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
If I couldn’t remember which voice assistant was rewarding children’s politeness, I would type something along the lines of ‘children reward voice assistant’. But I would verbally ask ‘Which voice assistant rewards children for saying please?’
Top tip: thinking aloud helps here!
What do your customers want to know about your business?
It’s time to think in natural language question phrases. That is, take time to find out how your consumers talk about your business, products or services. And their most common questions.
This is back to basics marketing stuff here. What actual questions are your real-life customers asking about you? And which precise words and phrases are they using? Answer these directly in your content and you’ll soon reap the rewards in terms of website traffic, sales and consumer comprehension. While there isn’t yet a tool to find voice search terms specifically, we’re fans of Answer The Public.
Voice activated devices serve one search result
A challenge we face is that the amount of information the consumer receives for their voice search is far less than on screen. Instead of being served pages and pages of related articles and documents, the voice assistant returns just one result.
For marketers this means we’ve got to be precisely helpful. That is, to consider not only what questions will our customers be asking, but how, when and where too.
The advantage of this is that you can interpret these questions to make more sales. When a consumer uses ‘how’, ‘who’ or ‘what’ questions you can be confident they are in the early stages of their research.
When they use ‘where’ and ‘when’ you know they’re close to bringing out their wallet or stepping over the threshold. Make sure they’re served with content that makes that sale happen.
Consider your sales funnel alongside your FAQs and those most commonly queried topics.
Think local search
At the moment, 21% of voice searches are for local content as people use their phones to find restaurants or doctors “near me”.
So it may make sense to use the phrase ‘near me’ in your content, title tags, meta description, internal links, and anchor text.
But most importantly claim your Google My Business Listing. Complete this fully, selecting appropriate categories so that your business can be indexed. A voice search is unlikely to lead to a hit on your site, so help Google share your crucial information first hand.
Technical SEO for voice search
This is the more complex end of SEO. Your site should be structured to include behind the scenes metadata, which helps Google understand what category the information is classified under to help it find it more quickly (for example, your opening hours).
If you aren’t comfortable with coding, we recommend consulting an SEO consultant for an audit of the backend of your site.
Machine learning (and listening)
Be aware that artificial intelligence (AI) powers the algorithm behind voice search, and your device will start to learn your speech patterns too.
Amazon Echo has filed a patent to read how the consumer is feeling when they ask their question. If they sound excited, bored, or even have a sniffle, the voice assistant will know, and will serve them information that not only suits their consumer needs but also their personal needs. So they might ask if you want to buy throat sweets while they answer your otherwise unrelated question.
Slightly more worrying for those more concerned about how voice search impacts everyday life, is that another Amazon patent request seeks to listen to users all the time, not just when you call Alexa to action. It’s a brave new world indeed...
For a real-life chat about how we can provide content so that voice search impacts your business positively, drop us a line.