The rise of voice-enabled devices, including Google Home, Homey, and the Amazon Echo range. Has led to an increased presence of these devices in Western households. In today’s world, anthropomorphic assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have become ubiquitous, and seamlessly integrated into smartphones, and cars. Even household devices like vacuum cleaners. This growing trend is a result of the convergence of increased mobile use, advanced machine learning algorithms, and the symbiotic relationship between humans and technology. In this article, we will explore the implications of voice search for brands and provide valuable tips on how to integrate voice into your marketing strategy.
Voice Search: A Natural Extension of Semantic Search
Traditionally, the evolution of communication has progressed from speech to written language. However, search engines have experienced the reverse. Incorporating human nuances such as intonation or contextual understanding into search engines is challenging. For instance, when we ask a friend for smartphone recommendations based on our preferences, they can tailor their response accordingly. Achieving such personalized insights on a larger scale requires powerful natural language processing and information retrieval technologies capable of analyzing vast amounts of data.
The complexity of voice search becomes apparent when considering user behaviour. As marketers, understanding these behaviours is crucial for effectively reaching and connecting with our audience. Brands play a vital role in guiding consumers from their queries to the desired answers, while search engines act as intermediaries facilitating this connection.
Semantic search, facilitated by Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, leverages the Google Knowledge Graph to comprehend the relationships between entities and enable conversational search experiences. This shift towards conversational search impacts how we approach content creation and promotion through search engine optimization (SEO). We can now engage in conversations with search engines, rather than relying on isolated interactions.
Semantic search is transforming how people access information and raising their expectations. As search engine capabilities evolve, marketers must adapt their strategies accordingly. This development aligns naturally with the rise of voice search, as evidenced by the increasing use of personalized pronouns like “me,” “my,” and “I” in voice queries. These queries indicate that modern consumers expect personalized and unique answers tailored to their specific needs. Moreover, voice searches are predominantly conducted through digital assistants rather than text-based input.
This distinction between voice search and traditional search highlights the fact that consumers perceive digital assistants as personal helpers, designed to streamline tasks and provide convenient solutions. The assistant is expected to possess knowledge about the user and their preferences, emphasizing the need for brands to deliver personalized experiences through voice interactions.
The Commercial Opportunity of Voice Search
Many businesses wonder about the true potential of voice search as a commercial tool. A study conducted by iProspect in 2017 revealed that while people primarily use voice search for information retrieval and task execution (e.g., checking the weather or controlling smart devices), they also utilize it for finding stores, conducting research, and making purchases. It is worth noting the distinctions between voice search on mobile devices and smart home devices. Mobile devices offer screens that allow for displaying multiple options and detailed information, while smart home devices typically provide a single authoritative answer.
Recognizing the vast potential of voice search, major players in the e-commerce sector have made strategic moves.As part of its strategic initiatives, Walmart completed the acquisition of Botmock, a conversational AI startup, and forged a partnership with Google to provide customers with the capability to conveniently add items to their virtual shopping cart using Google Assistant. Similarly, Target, Carrefour, and Ocado have struck deals with Google and Amazon to enhance the voice-enabled shopping experience for their customers.
These developments illustrate the rapid growth of voice search and the motivation behind it, both from a technological standpoint and in response to human needs.
Voice Search Best Practices
To optimize your online presence for voice search, it is essential to focus on several key areas:
– Prioritize speed and mobile-friendliness: Research conducted by Backlink on 10,000 voice search results indicates that voice search responses have significantly shorter time-to-first-byte compared to average web pages. Given that Google’s “speed update” has been rolled out for all users. Ensuring fast-loading mobile pages should be your primary concern for both mobile and voice search strategies.
– Implement structured data: Digital assistants face the challenge of sifting through an enormous number of pages to find relevant information. By incorporating structured data derived from the Schema.org standard, you facilitate easier navigation and comprehension of your content by search engines.
– Embrace new data formats: Google supports the Speakable structured data element, which aids in providing specific topics and news relevant to a brand or event. While the application of this format is currently limited, envisioning a future where digital assistants read content directly from landing pages is not far-fetched. Early adopters of this format will gain a competitive advantage.
When it comes to voice search, content marketing can have a profound impact. Consider the following practices:
– Create conversational content: Voice search naturally lends itself to dialogue. Incorporate this aspect into your content strategy by identifying common industry questions or pain points and providing comprehensive and engaging answers.
– Voice search queries exhibit greater diversity than typed queries. To optimize your content, prioritize understanding and addressing user intent rather than targeting specific queries. Help people achieve their tasks quickly and effectively, as search engines prioritize satisfying user intent over keyword matching.
– Develop a consistent brand voice: Voice search’s future will involve brands speaking directly to their audience. Consider how you want your brand to sound when it interacts with users. Whether through audio clips embedded in content or text read aloud by digital assistants.
Additionally, Google provides the following evaluation areas for voice search:
– Information satisfaction: Ensure that the content of your answers meets users’ information needs.
– Length: Provide a helpful amount of information, avoiding excessive verbosity or lack of substance.
– Formulation: Strive for grammatical correctness and clarity in spoken answers.
– Elocution: Aim for proper pronunciation and prosody to enhance the delivery of spoken answers.
For businesses with physical locations, optimizing for local search is crucial for voice search success. Consider these tips:
– Maintain accurate and consistent business information: Ensure that names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) are up-to-date across all locations. Accurate data is essential for voice search results, especially when partnering with platforms like Amazon and Yext.
– Utilize local listing management platforms: Leverage specialized tools to manage your local listings and analyze local search performance. Numerous SEO ranking and mobile SEO tools are available to assist you in these tasks.
– Enable seamless action-taking: Make it easy for consumers to act on their intentions by providing clear calls to action and directions to additional information. Given the limited attention spans in voice search, optimize the short time you have to engage users.
To fully integrate voice search into your digital marketing strategy, consider the following:
– Extend optimization beyond your website: Recognize that voice search queries are surfaced through various channels such as chatbots, apps, and social media. To maintain a strong and cohesive brand identity, it is essential to consistently uphold the brand voice across various platforms.
– Leverage voice queries for product and service planning: Apps allow for tracking and storing voice queries, providing valuable insights and ideas for developing new services based on proven demand.
– Optimize based on available data: While it is currently challenging to segment voice queries within Search Query Reports or Search Console, make the most of the data at your disposal to extract maximum value.
Voice search represents a significant opportunity for brands to enhance customer engagement and refine their marketing strategies. By understanding the unique characteristics of voice search and implementing best practices. Businesses can stay ahead in an increasingly voice-driven landscape. Prioritizing technical SEO, creating conversational content, optimizing for local search, and expanding SEO strategies beyond traditional channels are all key steps towards harnessing the power of voice search. Embrace this transformative technology to establish a competitive edge and drive success in the digital era.