Due to the growing popularity of voice-enabled products, consumers are using voice search to ask questions, research items, and order products.
The rising popularity of voice-activated assistants is important for businesses because online searching is the most common activity performed by people using voice-enabled technology. Products like Google Home and Alexa have become another way for your company to be found. 53% of people using voice-enabled technology use it to find information on a product that their interested in1.
This means that a growing segment is becoming used to speaking any question they have, instead of typing it out on their device. Industry leaders have dubbed this action “voice searching”. This separates the action from standard searching, which involves typing a query on desktop, tablet, or mobile keyboard. As voice-enabled products continue to grow in popularity among all demographics, voice search and its spoken queries should be treated differently than other search methods.
In order for businesses to capture consumers who are using voice-enabled products, they will need to take advantage of targeted strategies. To ignore voice search would be to miss out on a growing segment of online users. Since voice search involves an organic query given by a user, businesses can develop voice search tactics within their greater SEO strategy. Almost all voice-enabled devices use either Google or Bing as their default search engine, which means that a standard SEO strategy may capture voice searchers on its own. However, the following recommendations will help target voice search queries more precisely than a broader SEO strategy.
Voice searchers may also be looking for a direct answer, rather than the ability to browse through different website offerings. Most assistants aim to provide a single answer before providing further search results, which gives websites a stronger motivation to be the top answer. Google Assistant and Google Home pull from “position 0,” otherwise known as featured snippets or the answer box for any given query. This means that informative, timely content continues to be an important factor for search, especially when voice-activated. Ensuring your website content provides direct answers and comprehensive content that displays your expertise, can increase your chances of being the top source pulled by a digital assistant. To take advantage of voice-originated queries and provide the answers your audience is looking for, longer queries will become increasingly important to target.
When we ask questions to each other we usually begin with an interrogative word, and the same goes when we use voice search since we treat it as a person. This means the number of informational queries and other long tail queries will rise as voice search becomes more popular. Queries like, “How do I change the light bulb in a ceiling fan,” might seem specific, but if you can create the most informative piece of content around it, you can increase your chances as being the go-to answer that voice-assistant provides to its user. Targeting long tail keywords requires a widespread strategy that may include an updated FAQ page, blog posts, individualized location pages, and more.
These voice-specific strategies don’t go against any long-standing SEO strategies, instead they’re additional ways to target and capture your audience. Voice-enabled digital assistants are not the latest tech gimmick. According to a 2017 survey on US Connected Home data, the smart speaker category has hit a “critical adoption threshold”, and in 2018 there will be an estimated 45.5 million smart speaker users in the U.S.4 This is on top of the millions of users who use voice search on their smartphones every day. Judging by the growth they’ve seen in the past few years and the positive forecasts for adoption in the future, intelligent digital assistants (and by default, voice search) should be treated as an important component to your digital marketing 2018 plan.