Let’s start by putting a few things in perspective. Although less than 20% of all searches are conducted using voice search, we’ve seen a 3400% increase in voice search since 2008. The dramatic increase in voice search over the last few years can be attributed to the growing capabilities and accuracy of this technology. Most voice search users, especially those searching with a digital assistant such as Siri, indicate they have only started using voice search in the last six months.
Okay, so if the only people using voice search are early adopters and super-nerds, why should your business care? The reason is: voice search is about to hit the mainstream and it is going to change everything you thought you knew about search engine marketing. We can help.
Natural language searches provide engagement cues
Unlike typical search strategy that focuses on groups of keywords (i.e., “dog stain remover carpet”), voice search hinges entirely on natural language search (i.e.,” what’s the best product to remove dog stains from my antique carpet?”). This growing shift will have SEM impacts that your business can’t afford to ignore.
Primarily, it will change keyword rankings. Because voice is still new, we don’t know exactly how search engines will begin crawling for natural language searches or segmenting voice traffic from browser traffic … but it’s safe to assume it will happen. Because natural language searches often provide more specific insight into what customers are looking for, we predict rich content will play a large role in search ranking.
Natural language searches also reveal customers’ intent and their level of engagement. Continuing with the pet stain example: a voice search for, “What’s the best product to remove dog stains?” reveals a much different intent than either, “Siri, add the best carpet pet stain remover to my shopping list” or “How can I make the best DIY pet stain remover at home?” Having additional context about why a consumer is searching for something or what they are searching for increases the likelihood that when potential customers click your link, they will actually purchase – because you are exactly what the are looking for.
Local businesses benefit most from voice search
Knowing exactly what prospects are looking for is especially beneficial to local businesses. Voice search combines intent with urgency and serves up solutions that are nearby. Whether you have a brick and mortar store or local e-commerce site, voice search could be serving you up first if your local base is in proximity to relevant search queries. That is why making sure your geo-targeting is on, local business information is up to date, and storefront is searchable is mission critical.
Local businesses also benefit from voice search because one of the most common use cases for voice search occurs while people are driving or actively in the shopping process. Voice search allows you to meet your prospective customers’ needs when they need you most by serving local content and map results first.
As the age of the digital personal assistants arrives (hello Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and more), geography and content will become two of the increasingly important drivers that enable them to do their job … which is enabling your customers to find you. Voice search may be a new technology, but once it is perfected, it will make multi-channel distribution and product discovery much more easy and impactful.
Prepping your content and creative assets to support this advent is a lot easier than you think and can build from work you’ve already done. Click here to learn more about the types of multi- channel campaigns and content strategies we’ve employed for businesses like you or contact us today to prepare for one of 2017’s biggest trends.