Over the past few years, people across the world have been changing their searching behaviors from clicking on a smartphone keyboard to an easier, more hands-off approach. Voice search, popularized through the Amazon Echo and Google Home, has only continued to grow and hold its place as more than a passing trend. With over 118 million Americans using voice assistants in 2019, the future of reaching your target audience relies on showing up when your potential customers need you the most.
What is Voice Search?
In a nutshell, voice search is a search through a voice-enabled device that uses your natural language. Whether it’s your phone or a smart speaker, it's a hands-free search! So, what makes voice search so unique? It comes down to where and when users rely on voice over traditional search.
According to NPR, 73% of smart speakers being found in either living rooms or kitchens. Emarketer reports that 58% of voice search happens with a smartphone and 45% while driving. This gives marketers new places to reach out in usually computerless or hands-free environments.
And, with over 20% million smart speaker users shopping with voice search, this spells out a whole new sales opportunity for many brands in locations they never thought possible.
These are people who are busy doing other things in their home, car, or at the grocery store just looking for fast answers and solutions.
When using voice, users often are searching for very specific, long-tail searches. This means they are telling their voice assistance where they are located (“Okay Google, where are Mexican restaurants near me?”) or what they specifically want (“Siri, how do I make gluten-free brownies?”). This level of purpose from a smart speaker user means big opportunities to provide relevant content and connect with audiences in a new way.
How Does Voice Connect To My Digital Marketing Strategy?
While many traditional digital strategies take into consideration user behavior and location, a majority of channels cannot harness the immediate needs of a customer. Voice search aims to close the gap between awareness ("What is this?"), consideration ("I am thinking about this.") and purchase ("I am going to get this!"). By having a channel prepared for real-time needs, voice search can complete a holistic strategy.
Why Should I Consider Voice Search?
Here is just a handful of reasons why you should consider voice search optimization for your digital marketing strategy:
- If you want to access a rapidly growing audience across all demographics.
- If you want to be found in places where you didn’t have access before (while people are cooking, driving or busy while on the go).
- If you want to stand out in search (voice search is 1-to-1 while traditional search serves your content against your competition).
- If you want to optimize around a location or question-based searches.
How Do I Get my Website to Show Up on Voice Searches?
There are many ways to optimize content you’ve already created for voice search. One way is through optimizing for long-tail keywords. Long-tail, unlike short-tail, are descriptive searches that contain more context than a simple one- or two-word search. For example, “SEO” is a single keyword, whereas “how to improve SEO on my website” is a long-tail keyword that has more context and and is more focused on a single idea.
Because most people ask questions in a long-tail format using their literal voice, you are more likely to appear on voice search when you tailor content for them. Research long-tail keywords that may be relevant for your audience as well as your marketing objective.
So, for example, a local dentist office may want to create content around “best dentist office near me,” as customers are more likely to ask the question this way to their voice-enabled devices. They would title their content based on the long-tail keyword and then aim the page to answer the question as thoroughly as possible in an organized format.
Optimizing your content for voice search isn’t that far off from optimizing content to be picked up for a featured snippet or “position zero”.
How Can I Figure Out Which Long-Tail Keywords Apply to My Business?
You can figure out which keywords make the most sense to target by asking yourself “are these the questions my customer would ask?” Searching for short-tail keywords on Google and seeing which questions come up in position zero will give you a good indication as to what questions are being asked. Many popular keyword research tools also offer the ability to search for question-based versions of short-tailed keywords, such as Answer the Public.
Start Optimizing for Voice Search
Overall, voice search optimization is not an easy feat. But the return on your marketing investment is well worth it in the end!
Want to learn more about voice search and how to optimize for this growing channel? Reach out to our team today!