The recent boom in ‘voice assistants’ such as the “Amazon Alexa / Echo” or Google Assistant has opened up a new avenue of technology which could have a significant impact on our work. It leaves us asking the questions;
1) What changes does voice search have on Digital Marketing?
3) What impact is voice search predicted to have?
2) What opportunities does this allow for our us and our clients?
The Growth of Voice Search
It came as a surprise to some experts in our field that voice search has taken off to the extent that it actually has. It came as even more of a surprise to these experts that Amazon has found themselves at the forefront of this revolution. However, this may have just been down to timing more than anything else.
Google noted in their annual conference last year that almost 20% of mobile searches are now conducted using voice search, which is up from 10% the previous year.
It’s predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice. Which is an enormous figure by search standards, given that we have only just seen mobile searches outnumber desktop searches.
So, we can see that voice search is growing, however, its predicted growth is hard to track. It seems, from a Google-commissioned survey, many young people who are taking up using voice search are doing it because it’s cool, new and makes them seem more tech savvy.
However, this doesn’t distract from the fact that 20% of mobile searches are conducted using voice search on Google. This does not take into account searches on Amazon Devices such as the Echo and Alexa, which uses Bing as its search engine. Bing states that 25% of its searches on Windows 10 search bar (Cortana) are voice searches.
Does voice search provide any value for businesses?
There is no denying that voice search could be a powerful marketing tool. People placing orders using voice assistants in their homes, finding out information that leads them towards a purchase in local businesses and searches conducted on a mobile device while consumers are ‘out and about’ could lead, from good voice optimisation, to find an increase in sales as the uptake of voice search increases.
What can you do to improve voice search presence?
The first task is to use voice search yourself, ask it queries relating to your business. If your competitors are doing better than you are, perhaps you should see if you can find the reasons why this is.
Would this content sound natural coming from a voice? – You should look into making your content on your website more voice orientated. This doesn’t mean a complete re-wording of your website. Give your website the once over and make sure it flows.
Target the conversational key phrases
If you’ve been focussing purely on phrases such as “Hairdresser Warrington” then what about your rankings when you search for “Where can I find a hairdresser in Warrington?” for example. These queries become more prevalent for voice search as that is exactly how users are using it. We’ve been trained to search for streamlines phrases such as “plumbers Liverpool” for some time, we haven’t transferred that over to voice assistants and I don’t believe people would be comfortable doing so.
Making sure that search engines can understand your content is a big deal, as it was throughout last year. Now with voice search, it becomes even more important.If you haven’t already tried to implement Schema Markup on your website you should look into it soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding, an FAQ to your website is a simple and easy method of making your website easier to understand. This is already ‘conversational’ content. Your FAQ questions should be aimed at genuine queries that people would have and might try to search for. It answers those “What, Where, Who, How and Why” questions that people will be asking for voice search.
Google My Business
Ensure your Google My Business page is up-to-date. If we all assume that the GMB directory is Google’s repository for all basic information about your business then making sure that it’s up-to-date and correct will be a good start. Any queries directed at “Where to find something?” or “When it is open?” the information is going to come from Google My Business pages.
I think Voice Search is still finding its feet and its place in the modern world. I can’t help but have the feeling that it is a passing fad. I can’t quite envisage a world, outside of Star Trek, where voice is used to interface with the internet on a regular basis. I’m sure if I used voice search for every query I made my co-workers would get very annoyed with me, not the mention the confusion that might cause.
However, I’m not discounting that Voice Search isn’t important. It has areas where it could be and is today, very useful. I regularly use Voice Search in my car to tell my phone to bring up navigation maps to places I want to go. I can also tell it to play songs while I’m driving without taking my hands off the wheel. I do this out of necessity and safety.
Voice Assistants in the home, these could be a tipping point for voice search. If they show longevity as a product, then it could be crucial for businesses to stand up and take notice of the possible marketing capabilities. As it doesn’t really take a huge amount of effort in order to make sure that your website is optimised for voice search then it would be nonsensical not to get ahead of the game.
What do you think of Voice Search? Will it take off or will it be a passing fad?