Voice Search: Preparing For A Revolution In Search

Communicating with our technology has come a long way in a relatively short period of time and each next step is coming faster and faster.

The rise of Smart Phone as the dominant technological revolution of the 21st century has lead to the possibility of communicating with each other and our technology like we have never been able to do before.

In the short time since their emergence in the early 2000’s, smartphones have evolved, become more ergonomic, powerful and user-friendly all with the aim of making them as accessible as possible and giving the user a seamless experience. As a result smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. A survey by Tappable has revealed that 10% of millennials would be willing to lose a finger to keep their smartphone!

Now we’re taking our integration with technology further with the development of artificial intelligence in the form of virtual assistants and chat bots. Virtual assistants remove the need for a screen or the use of a keyboard, request a song to be played, a timer to be set, appointment to be put into a calendar and search the internet for answers are all possible without even lifting a finger.

Voice is the new method of communication with our technology and its growing in popularity. Virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana and Alexa and their accompanying devices have seen a large increase in use over the last year with a 438% increase in sales of the Google Home Smart Speaker alone.

It is estimated that by 2020 50% of all internet searches will be performed by voice search, so what does that mean for Search and Digital marketing and what can we do to prepare for the coming revolution.

 

Voice Search

 

How is voice search different to traditional search?

Well the biggest difference is the style in which people will communicate. A traditional search will typically be blunt, to the point and use only the necessary words required to resolve the query or find the desired product or service, voice search will see a rise in a far more conversational style search, with long tail keywords and plenty of filler words “what, how do, my, where is“. For SEO, this means that you’ll have to start thinking like a human again and start planning what kind of natural language might bring people to your site.

 

Here are a few SEO tips on getting Voice search ready:

 

  • Create Q&A style content. As a large majority of the searches performed will be in the form of a question it is important to have content that answers those questions. Keep the conversation going but keep it concise, the average voice search result is only 29 words long.
  • Featured Snippets. These are the answer box’s that appear at the top of a search result, which extracts content from a website. To be the single result of a voice search you content has to be the featured snippet result.
  • Consider the context. Like with the emergence of mobile search, queries like “near me” resulted in an entirely new type of phrase to be optimised for, voice search will be no different. Planning your strategy around the type of phrases people will use over search is a good start.
  • Utilize GMB (Google My Business) Voice search results are often pulled directly from a GMB page so ensuring that as much, accurate, detail is on there will really help to increase your chances of having a voice search result feature your business. GMB also has features built in that work well for voice search such as “Book Now” which will allow people to book appointments or make reservations all through voice.

 

Voice Search

Voice Search and PPC

One of the best strategies for optimizing for voice search is to target long-tail keywords. You’ll have a much better chance of matching queries if you target phrases that are conversational and mimic the way we speak in daily life. Long-tail keywords are usually cheaper to buy anyway and have a higher click-through rate compared to shorter queries. So, using this strategy, you could put you ahead of your competitors.

 

Gather insights from existing search term data.

Use your existing search terms report and scan through the long-tail queries triggering your ads. In order to assess how your ads are performing for voice search, you’ll want to consider the user’s intent behind the various searches. Are they looking to learn or looking to buy? You should bid up on keywords generating conversions and bid down or exclude keywords generating a lot of clicks or impressions but no conversions.

Voice searches can often turn up a whole host of results so making sure you’re negatives list is up to date is imperative. Conversely, if you have a legacy campaign you may find that keywords often included in voice searches such as the “where is” “near me” and “what are” are in your negatives list and you could be missing out on some good traffic as a result,

Currently Google do not offer reporting for voice search and it is therefore not distinguishable from a standard typed search. However, with the current trend of increasing voice search, Google have announced that they intend to make it possible to gain more in depth insights into how users interact with your business via voice search. Until then we’ll just have to do our best to make sure our SEO and PPC campaigns are ready to handle voice search.

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