Voice search is becoming the norm

Voice search might seem like it’s in its infancy, but with devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home proving to be the most sophisticated voice assistants that consumers have ever used, voice search is proving to be the next big disruption. 

Voice search is powered by conversational AI and it’s constantly improving. Google has reported that its word recognition accuracy increased from 80% to 95%. This kind of progress is achievable only if there is an increase in the use of voice assistants and if devices are becoming increasingly easier to use and interact with.

“Your brand needs to have its own agents that can talk directly to customers and to converse across multiple digital assistants.”
—Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

As long as smartphones, mobile devices, and social media remain as fixtures in this digital world, voice search too will endure as an engagement platform for brands and consumers. In fact, 48% of consumers are currently using voice for “general web searches”. If you want your brand to remain relevant and visible to consumers, you need to find a way to incorporate voice search in your marketing plan.

Why you should incorporate voice search in your marketing plan.

Voice has become the new touchpoint for consumers today. Customers find voice search appealing because it is faster and more convenient than typing a search query into a device. Since most customers use multiple devices at the same time, voice search makes it easy to multitask hands-free.

On the other hand, as an emerging technology, the impact of voice is bound to only get bigger. For marketers, this means voice search will change the way you do search engine optimization (SEO), drive traffic to your digital profiles and website, showcase your products to consumers, and engage with your customers. 

Voice search and SEO

SEO enables websites to rank accurately on search engines so that consumers can quickly find the best information for their search queries. Due to the prolific use of voice search, search engines such as Google are now focusing their efforts on voice search optimization. 

Since voice search and traditional search are different, the factors that affect your website ranking may differ. 

  • Since voice search queries tend to be longer than text searches, incorporate longer keyword phrases into your content. For example, when searching for a bar, customers might type “Bars in New York”; however when spoken aloud, they might say “What are some of the best bars in New York?” 

Similarly, voice searches tend to be posed as full questions instead of short phrases or keywords. Hence, add relevant question keyword phrases.

  • Unlike text searches, users are presented with only the top result for their voice searches. This means that while a consumer can choose to go onto the next option via voice assistant like Siri, if you are not actively pursuing your brand to be position zero, the likelihood of you being chosen is slim and none. You need to focus on optimizing your featured snippets.
  • Develop a FAQ section that provides answers to frequently or commonly asked questions by customers.
  • Include a structured data markup that includes rich snippets, breadcrumbs, and site links.

Google’s emphasis on local SEO

Given how the growth of voice search has skyrocketed, it has a great impact on how local businesses are found. Most people using voice search today, use it to look up local content or information. 

“Data shows that voice search for local information accounts for nearly 22% of all voice search queries.” 
-Search Engine Land

If you are a local business, you need to take advantage of this opportunity and build a local voice search optimization strategy into your marketing plan. By adding local business schema to your website, you increase your chances of being found through voice search. It makes it easy for search engines to crawl your website for information about your business. This, in turn, helps drive up your website traffic and sales.

Pro tip: Use a schema generator tool to create a local business schema, upload it to your website and optimize for local SEO in no time.

Voice search is prioritizing micro-moments

Google has been encouraging marketers to think about micro-moments. Micro-moments are “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey”. This new mental model for online marketing is influencing voice searches. For example, if a customer asks, “what is the best bar in New York” you will not be able to give them 100 different answers. 

“The biggest challenge when it comes to voice search and Micro-Moments is that there is really one answer, one result, that a consumer is getting.”
—Joshua Lowcock, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, UM Worldwide

As consumers turn more frequently to their mobile devices or use voice search to find answers, you have a chance to be there and deliver that information. By being there for the consumer, you can build a competitive edge for your brand. 

As a brand, you need to step up your voice strategy for micro-moments because

  • Most consumers are not committed to a brand. When they look for information online, they are not sure of the brand they want to buy from. 
  • Smartphone users tend to buy from a brand other than the one they intended to buy from, simply because the brand was able to provide information right when they needed it. 
  • By being present and showing up in mobile searches, you can improve brand awareness by 46%. Additionally, 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new product by using a search on their smartphones.

Voice search is poised to have a big impact on how consumers look for information on the web. Hence, it’s important for brands to actively design voice search optimization strategies into their marketing plan, to rank better, be present for the consumer, and augment their digital presence. 

Don’t know where to start? 

Begin by checking if your brand is voice ready.

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