8 Ways You Should Prepare for the Takeover of Voice Search
First of All, What is Voice Search Exactly?
Put simply, voice search is voice recognition technology that allows you to conduct searches by speaking into a device. These devices include smartphones, computers, and home assistants (Cortana, Siri, Alexa).
Poised to Takeover
Voice search is catching on in a big way because it’s the easiest, quickest, (laziest?) option for searching the web and getting what you want from your devices.
It’s easier to speak your questions and queries out loud than to huddle over your screen and type out each phoneme.
While we type about 38 to 40 words per minute on a mobile device, we can speak at least 150 words per minute!
Human beings talk out loud effortlessly and naturally, so it makes sense that voice is the next frontier to conquer.
According to Voicebot, 20 percent of US citizens already use digital voice assistants regularly.
Comscore predicts that over half of all search queries worldwide will be voice searches by 2020.
Voice is projected to be THE WAY we will search in the very near future.
Top Ways to Optimize for Voice
Big changes are afoot, and you want to stay ahead of the curve. Follow these simple steps to help prepare your marketing strategy for success.
1.Clearly answer basic questions about your business
When people talk into their phones or devices, they are usually asking an explicit question (think The Five W’s! Who, what, where, when, and why).
Where is a supermarket near me?
When is the pharmacy open?
These are the kinds of quick, factual questions that voice search gets most often. The voice technology scans your website for answers to those questions and then reads them out loud, so make sure that this information is up to date and easily found (not embedded in an image, not buried at the bottom of a page, not lost in an unindexed section).
2.Use a question and answer format for information and blog posts
The “Five W’s” rule applies to longer-form content as well. When you develop writing for your blog or website, first think about the questions your audience is asking. What are they wondering about, and how exactly will they express it out loud?
Once you figure that out, you can put that exact question in your post as a header, then answer it concisely and clearly below. This question-and-answer structure makes it more likely that search engines will serve up your post to searchers.
3.Use natural language that mirrors how people talk
People speak in a casual, conversational way, so you need to write content in the same pedestrian style.
When people type their search, they may write something like “best restaurants Chicago.”
When they speak their search, they’re more likely to say, “Hey, Siri, what are the best restaurants for dinner in Chicago?”
Semantics are important! Start writing like people speak.
4.Earn the most important search result – a featured snippet!
Voice search devices don’t read off the top 10 results you usually see for a touch search. They provide one answer from one lucky winner.
Where do devices look for that one and only answer? The featured snippet.
The featured snippet, also called “position zero” by marketers, is the highlighted answer that appears below paid aids but above organic search results, taking up prime real estate on the results page and presenting information right there, no need to click.
Voice technology finds that featured snippet and reads it out to awaiting ears.
How does your content get chosen for a featured snippet?
To win featured snippets for your target keywords and phrases, use the three strategies above to optimize your content. Then make sure that you are taking advantage of schema markup and structured data within your site to provide signals and insights to search engines that help them pick your content to rank and read out to the world.
5.Can your business talk? It needs to!
While you’ve already thought long and hard about your brand voice, now you need to consider your brand’s literal voice as well!
If you haven’t already, start developing an audio component to your content that people will hear when conducting voice searches. As voice search increases, your sonic signature will become an important part of your brand identity.
As for who is speaking the words on your site, you can choose from synthetic voice, AI voice, or human voice options. Also think about developing audio logos, brand scores, and ‘soundscapes’, or a variety of background sounds that are designed to enhance customer experience and increase brand recognition.
6.Keep updated about paid advertising for voice
Bad news for advertisers: Google says it’s years away from being able to monetize voice searches. Right now, their focus is on growing people’s confidence with voice search and making sure they enjoy the experience, because it’s still new. This means that they don’t want to throw a bunch of annoying ads into the mix right away.
Leading voice services like Amazon’s Alexa limit advertising and have strict standards for the same reason.
Eventually this situation will change, because companies like Google and Amazon want to profit from your advertising investments. So stay tuned!
7.Tap into Alexa Skills and Google Actions.
These are the special services that voice assistants can perform for users, like turning on the lights or telling them the weather. It’s becoming increasingly easy for businesses to build a skill or action that Alexa and Google will accept and start using. It’s a new way to target customers and win them over by helping them complete an action.
Many big brands have already jumped on this train. For example, Campbell’s soup created an Alexa Skill that answers the common question, “Alexa, what’s for dinner?” Campbell answers that question by finding out what you’re in the mood for, and telling you their top five recipes of the day.
Many smaller brands have not taken advantage of this new marketing avenue yet, so if you do you’ll enjoy less competition and be ahead of the curve.
8.Being mobile-friendly is more important than ever
More than 50 percent of the internet’s traffic comes from mobile devices, and voice search is only going to keep increasing that percentage.
People will be turned off by your brand if you don’t provide an easy experience for them on mobile. That means no weird formatting issues, no glitches, no long loading times… you have to make sure your website caters to mobile searches.
50 percent of consumers are less likely to buy from a company that does not have a mobile-friendly website. Make sure you don’t lose half your customers just because you haven’t made the move to a responsive site.
Our desire for the easiest user experience possible means that voice search is only going to continue increasing in popularity. Make sure your brand is ready for the shifts that voice is bringing to the marketing world, and take steps now to come out on top, ahead of the pack.