Voice Search Optimization – Yeah, we’re living in the future.
We’re sure you can recall a time where you’ve come across an article about new-fangled technology that made you think “no way this is really happening” and shrugged it off. With the influx of technological advances and smartphone innovations, information is traveling quicker than ever before. In fact, data is moving so quickly that it’s now possible to get answers without typing or even picking up your phone. We’re talking about voice search and the integration of speech recognition into our everyday lives.
Speech recognition technology has come a long way since it was first introduced in the ‘50s,when technology was only able to (barely) comprehend spoken digits. This went on for nearly half a century until developers hit a major breakthrough in speech recognition. In 2011, Google changed the game when they developed an app called ‘Google Voice Search’ where voice queries were literally sent electronically to virtual data centers to be deciphered.
Flash forward to present day, and it’s still Google who’s making strides in the tech community. Their cloud-based system can effectively translate over 230 billion words. The only problem holding them back is contextually understanding you. However, this is all about to change.
The digital landscape is changing: why voice search trends matter and how this impacts the future of digital marketing
The digital market is changing and soon you’ll need to prioritize Voice Search Optimization before SEO. According to comScore, it’s projected that 50% of all online searches will be done via voice search by 2020. This is a profound statistic and quite a departure from how traditional SEO has worked up until now. We will outline below some of the current research on Voice Search Optimization, and how you’ll need to tweak your marketing efforts to stay competitive online.
Voice searching and locality
“Alexa, what’s the weather like in Birmingham?”
“Siri, bring me to the nearest auto parts store.”
Since 2012, we’ve had access to voice search (literally) in the palm of our hands with the integration of Siri to the iPhone. Since then, we’ve been introduced to numerous new speech recognition assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. Other than the ability to answer random facts, a majority of voice search users are using these technologies to find local restaurants, events or information about things going in their area. Nearly 22% of voice search queries are seeking location-based information, and 51% of those are looking for restaurants (BrightLocal).
If this sounds like your business, you may want to get ahead of the game and take advantage of building up your local SEO strategy. If you’re still not sure what an SEO strategy is, read more about it here.
SEO and what you thought you knew
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) there’s no question who the dominant player in the game is. Google is responsible for nearly ¾ of the world’s search engine traffic. Google determines your ranking by “crawling” through your site for high-quality, relevant information. Be sure you develop (and implement) a carefully-planned SEO strategy to ensure that your business is being seen. Making sure that your website is putting out meaningful and accurate material is one of the best ways to rank up in the SEO race.
- Create, update, and optimize your Google My Business Account
- Gain consistent and positive reviews from customers
- Incorporate local keywords in your content
- Use location pages or create a location specific “About Us” page
But SEO is more than owning your reputation; it’s about utilizing every available option to help searchers find your content easier. To learn more about optimizing your SEO, bookmark this article.
Optimizing for voice search: tips and tricks
Now is the time for businesses to make the big changes to optimize their interfaces, digital platforms and web copy to keep up with the evolution of voice search.
We’ve all heard the term “optimize” when referring to digital marketing, but do we fully optimize our media to satisfy the true definition? You might not realize there are better ways to improve your digital marketing strategy to get your content out there. We’ve put together our own version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Let’s kick it off with the basics:
Change your voice
No, not your speaking voice – your marketing voice. To reach out to your voice search users, you’ll need to integrate voice search speech into your current SEO strategy. This means optimizing your strategy to not only include single keywords, but conversational keywords as well.
People using voice assistants aren’t saying, “Hey Alexa, pizza.” Instead, they’re asking, “Hey Alexa, where can I find pizza near me?” In addition to “pizza” for search bar users, you’ll also want to utilize “pizza near me” for the voice search users. By optimizing your voice search methods, you’ll be able to tag team both platforms at the same time.
Voice search trigger words
Lastly, 20% of all voice searches are triggered by 25 keywords. Use them! By integrating these simple words, your likelihood of being found through a voice search can be increased exponentially.
Optimize your platforms for mobile traffic
- Improve your webpage loading time
- Utilize vertical content and larger text
- Redesign pop-ups for mobile device users
- Resize buttons and CTAs (Call to Actions) for mobile use
- Organize information so it’s easier for people to find
- Work with your teams to develop mobile-friendly interfaces to stay ahead of the game.
Organize your content for SERPs
Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are the equivalent of striking gold in the digital world. SEO specialists and PPC advisors around the world are striving for their chance at this prime digital real estate.
SERPs are the web pages that are served to people once they input what they’re looking for into a search engine. Every result is unique and customized to each user, depending on a number of factors such as the user’s physical location, browsing history, and social settings.
In laymen’s terms, these are the quick results you see when you begin typing keywords into the search bar and the content you find on Page 1 of your search.
- When users are utilizing voice search, they often use a more conversational tone. While some users are typing “Birmingham weather” into the search bar, they may ask, “What is the weather in Birmingham?” during a voice search.
- Voice search is naturally more conversational, and it prioritizes the semantics of your search query. As a result, this will affect the digital marketing landscape, and marketers will need to reevaluate the keywords used in their content and overall marketing strategy.
Featured snippets: the Holy Grail of digital search
When your content is chosen as a Featured Snippet it’s like hitting the jackpot on your first bet – except your first bet took a lot of planning and strategizing. Locking down your place as a Featured Snippet (aka Position Zero) could be the difference between being the local plumber and being THE local plumber on someone’s voice-enabled device.
The future of voice search marketing
Now that you’re mostly prepared for the impact of Voice Search marketing, let us reinforce the importance of your newfound knowledge.
- Retargeting is making its way to voice search. The search engines you use remember your search habits, and will accommodate your voice searches just the same.
- No more “wake” words. Google and Amazon announced that users will no longer have to use “wake” words to begin a voice query. So, instead of saying, “Alexa, could you turn the lights on upstairs?” you’ll be able to simply say “Turn the lights on upstairs.”
Voice recognition tools are beefing up their security. Soon users will be able to plan an entire night out by simply asking for it. For example, you’ll be able to research local movie times, purchase tickets, make dinner reservations and schedule a Lyft –all by voice. Developers say that they are taking extra precautions to making voice payments more secure and requiring speaker identification.
Welcome to the future! We’re now living in the era that was predicted in iconic movies like Back to the Future II. We’ve entered into the digital utopia of handheld tablets, interactive wall-mounted TVs, voice-controlled devices, video drones, videophones, and virtual reality. The fictional technology from over three decades ago has become a part of our everyday reality. Voice assistants aren’t exclusively available for the elite they’re a solution that is soon to be a staple of most households.
Partner with Bell Media to conquer Voice Search Optimization
Bell Media is Alabama’s leading digital marketing agency, a 5x INC. 5000 Company, and a Google Premier Partner. We serve local companies in competitive markets that have a need or desire to grow. Bell Media is in the business of predictable outcomes, fueling growth by driving customer acquisition and filling open capacity. We work hard to understand what success looks like to our clients and passionately seek to achieve those results through collaboration and education.