How to Prepare your Business for the Voice Search Revolution
Technology has developed rapidly over the past years. From buying bulks of encyclopedia to get the information you need, technology made it possible to get your answers with just a few clicks.
However, development did not stop there because we are now witnessing a rise of yet another technological revolution – the voice search. If you think that getting answers with just a few clicks is fast enough, something made it better. With voice search, you can now get your answers without using your hands.
Each year, more and more people are getting comfortable using voice search. Voice search might have been unimaginable in the past because doing it might make you appear like you are talking to yourself. And talking to yourself has an attached stigma which is that of a mental health problem.
That’s not the case anymore. According to the recent statistics, more and more people are now using voice search especially with the convenience of AI powered virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and many more.
Therefore, it is important to ask: How will this new technological development affect your business?
In this post, we will outline the things that you need to know about voice search: from the statistics on the use of virtual assistants to understanding the characteristics of voice search and the different SEO strategies you can use to fare through the voice search revolution.
Virtual Assistants: Where are we now?
Let us begin by discussing the current status of the use of digital Virtual Assistants. The use of VAs is projected to reach to up to 1.8 million by 2021.
Among the current digital virtual assistant users, 54% of them said that it made their life easier while 31% said that it has become a part of their lives.
With the growing market of VAs, the estimated market size worldwide is expected to reach to up to 15.79 billion dollars by 2020.
Siri is still the leading virtual assistant used occupying 45% of the market. Users said that they use VA because they can do searches hands free, it’s cool and fun, it feels more natural than typing and it is easier for children to use.
Below are some of the situations where people use digital virtual assistants:
- Play music or video
- Get weather forecast
- Do searches
- Personal appointments reminder
- Read out emails
- Get traffic news
As you can see, the Top 3 use is doing searches. These can range from general searches to very specific ones. If in case users use voice search to look for a product or service related to yours, are you ready? If your answer is no, then start preparing now.
Statistics further show that 62% of the users are likely to buy something with the help of voice search. Some of the top categories that digital virtual assistant users are interested in purchasing are: ordering meals, electronics, clothing, groceries, personal care, banking and home furnishings.
The statistics mentioned above about voice searches will have or is now having a significant impact to your business now and in the future.
Characteristics of Voice Search
It is then important to understand what the characteristics of voice searches are as it will equip you further in crafting your marketing strategy.
Below are three important characteristics of voice search that you can use to leverage the promotion of your products and services.
Voice searches are conversational
A significant difference between voice searches and typed searches is that voice searches are more conversational.
In typing down the search box, people tend to use shorter characters as possible. For example, “best restaurants in New York.”
However, when talking about voice searches, digital virtual assistant users phrase this in the form of a question. For example, “What are the best restaurants in New York?”
Now, how do you prepare for this in connection to your business?
Knowing that voice search is conversational, you have to change the keywords into something fit for voice searches. In this case, it must be in a form of a question.
How are you going to know what questions to ask? You have to think like your audience. Think about what questions they are likely to ask.
Applications like Answer the Public, Question Samurai and Story Base can give you suggested questions. By knowing the right questions, you can then work on optimization.
The kind of question asked can also help you gauge the level of interest of the user. If the question starts with a what or who, it means that the user is interested to buy. But if the question starts with where, the user is most likely going to do the purchase.
You can also log in to your Google Analytics account, so you can check and interpret the data about your consumer’s behavior.
Voice Searches are looking for local content
You read it right. Most voice searches are looking for local content.
22% of voice searches are searching for local content. Near me searches have also grown by 130% YoY and 50% of local searches lead to a store visit per day.
These statistics provide you with so much potential in marketing your products and services. Thus, the SEO marketing strategy you will be crafting must include the words “near me.”
Use this characteristic to your advantage. Below are some tips you can employ:
- Use phrases that people commonly use in describing your neighborhood and your location
- Add the words “near me” in your title tags, meta description, links and anchor text.
- Make use of the landmarks near your business location
- Use the names of local institutions that has a connection to your business
Digital Virtual Assistant Users want Immediate Results
Digital Virtual Assistant Users use voice search because they want faster results. Yes, faster than the fastness a click can offer.
What are going to do to address this characteristic? The answer is simple – complete your profile.
Fill in all the necessary information needed as these microdatas will be used by search engines to answer the query of the user.
For example, if someone searched for “What are the restaurants near me that are still open?” The search engine will look at your operating hours before providing the result to the user. If you did not update your operating hours, then you won’t likely to be in the results.
This means that you have to take time to update all the information in your profile because you want to prepare yourself with whatever question your potential client will use to search you.
Another thing is to have positive reviews. Make sure that your profile has high star markings. Some search results will be based on the star ranking so ensuring good reviews would mean a higher possibility of being on top.
Strategies to Use in Voice Search Optimization
Get your Google My Business listing
Getting your Google My Business listing can help you be discovered more.
When filling in the information, always ensure that you have your company name right, your business address and your phone number. For your phone number, include the area code because searches can be hyperlocal.
Take advantage of the 400-word introduction as well. This can serve as a good overview about your company and can convince clients to know more about what you can offer.
Also, associate your listings with relevant categories since Google uses these categories in describing what your business is.
Lastly, make sure that the information in other business directories coincide with the information you have in Google. Slight differences can post serious consequences.
Since voice search are done hands-free, it would make sense that most digital virtual assistant users use their mobile devices.
To prepare for this, it is recommended that you have a responsive web design. You can use the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool of Google so you can check how mobile friendly your website is.
You must also ensure that your website has a fast load speed since attention span is getting shorter by the moment. You can check your site, have the assistance of Google, find out what’s slowing it down and address it.
Once your design and load speed are good, it’s time to focus on the content. Create content that is mobile friendly.
Gather Frequently Asked Questions and Make a Blog About It
As mentioned earlier, most voice searches are in a form of a question. With this, you can look into the most common questions asked and make content about it.
This can optimize searches and have a positive impact on the search engine’s algorithm. This can save time for both you and your audience and can even increase your profitability.
It is still early to tell the extent of the impact voice searches will have for businesses. But one thing is for sure, it’s here to stay.
The rise of voice searches can give either be advantageous or disadvantageous for marketers.
It can be advantageous because it is another marketing opportunity but disadvantageous if you’re not fast enough to catch up.
Digital Marketing will continually evolve in the years to come. And the only thing that businesses and marketers can do is to prepare for it. With the rising use of voice searches for business, it is wise to go back to that marketing plan and incorporate strategies on how to do voice optimization.