If you don’t use a virtual assistant like Alexa, Siri, or Cortana, you’re increasingly outnumbered. Many people, especially millennials, have adopted voice search as part of their daily life. Some experts think that the usage of voice search will increase exponentially over the next several years, far surpassing the current rate of growth.
However, voice search as a digital marketing avenue is still highly speculative. We’re not sure how Amazon, Google, and others will monetize voice search or whether people will embrace screen-free searching as much as some experts anticipate. Rather than dramatically altering your marketing strategy around voice search, we think it’s best to implement a few best practices that will improve your website’s visibility on both screens and smart speakers.
Our Reliance on Voice Search Is Growing
In 2017, 35.6 million people in the United States used a voice-enabled device at least once a month according to a study from eMarketer. And since Amazon’s Echo Dot was the company’s best-selling product over the 2018 holiday season, it’s likely that the number of homes and offices with a smart speaker or virtual assistant is much higher today.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have much insight into voice search volumes. Companies like Google and Amazon have not been forthcoming with data about what topics people are searching for by voice. However, we do know that:
- According to Narvar, 24% of consumers use a phone-based virtual assistant like Siri when they shop.
- Most shoppers use voice search to research products, add items to their shopping lists, and track packages.
- 22% of shoppers report purchasing items using a voice-enabled digital assistant or smart speaker.
- 72% of people who use digital assistants and voice search consider these tools part of their daily routine.
People of all ages use voice search: 43% of shoppers who use voice search are between the ages of 45 and 60. (And I can attest that at my home, my preschooler is obsessed with voice search and regularly uses it to find his favorite music.)
Paid Voice Advertising Is a Developing Field
While search engines have not yet monetized voice search, it’s an inevitable development. Already, Google is quietly starting to offer paid voice search advertising for physical products through its Shopping Actions program. However, these options are not available for most businesses — yet.
So how do you crack into voice search? You need to have high-quality content, use natural language, and cater to your local customers.
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
According to Google, most voice searches are conversational. In other words, when someone asks their virtual assistant for information, it’s unlikely they’ll ask for the truncated keywords they would probably type into Google — phrases like “injury lawyers near me.”
Instead, voice search users will say something like “Hey Google, find me a lawyer who can help with a car accident.” These types of longer keyword phrases, sometimes called long-tail keywords, are already important in SEO, but they’ll be even more critical to success with voice search.
To identify your best possible long-tail keywords, you’ll need to do some research. At LaFleur, we use tools like Ahrefs, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Keywords Heaven, and Google Trends to identify the best possible keywords for our clients.
Write Conversational ContentNow that you have a big collection of long-tail keywords, how do you incorporate them into your content? If you’re writing technical dissertations or law review notes for your blog, it’s going to be a challenge. Instead, use language that is conversational and approachable. Not only will it improve your organic performance, but most readers are impressed when you can break down complicated topics in plain English.
RELATED ARTICLE: Digital Marketing Essentials: Why Your Business Needs a Blog
Unless you’re marketing to highly educated professionals, it’s time to cut the legalese and technical jargon from your blog and website.
Highlight Your Local Roots
Your value as a local business extends beyond voice search. However, people are three times more likely to perform local voice searches on their mobile devices. If you’re not emphasizing where your business is located and your connection to the community, you need to modify your content.
You can do this in a variety of ways:
- Keep your Google Business listings up-to-date.
- Highlight your office locations and service areas in your title tags and headers as well as within pages.
- Encourage satisfied customers and clients to post positive reviews.
These activities will highlight your local presence, which may help your visibility on both text and voice search.
Think Beyond the Smart Speaker
While we still perform most of our voice searches at home via a stand-alone device or on our phone, this is changing. By 2021, an estimated 8 billion devices will have voice search capabilities, and this massive pool of devices will include a lot more than mobile phones, tablets, and smart speakers.
Soon, your prospective customers and clients will be asking their car for restaurant recommendations and directions. Their refrigerator will compile voice-generated shopping lists and remind them when they’re getting low on coffee. Their smartwatch will help them track their health and wellness and suggest healthier lifestyle choices — even help them find a doctor.
In other words, don’t limit your imagination or strategies to the current reality, where most voice search is based on devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo. Instead, think about innovative ways you might reach your prospective leads in their cars, kitchens, living rooms, and beyond.
Overwhelmed by Digital Marketing? LaFleur Can Help
If your organization doesn’t have time to track voice search and other leading-edge technologies, it’s time to find a trusted marketing partner. At LaFleur, our experts carefully monitor digital marketing trends and developments for our clients. To learn more, contact us at 888-222-1512 or complete our simple online form. We’d love to learn more about your marketing needs and goals.
Alexa, say what?! Voice-enabled speaker usage to grow nearly 130% this year (2017, May 8). eMarketer. Retrieved from https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Alexa-Say-What-Voice-Enabled-Speaker-Usage-Grow-Nearly-130-This-Year/1015812?mc_cid=da020f88d1&mc_eid=31cb543a39
Consumer report 2018: Connecting with shoppers in the age of choice. (2018, April). Narvar. Retrieved from https://see.narvar.com/rs/249-TEC-877/images/Connecting%20With%20Shoppers_Narvar%20Consumer%20Report%20Q1%202018.pdf?aliId=1109557
Engleson, S. (n.d.) The future of voice: From smartphones to smart speakers to smart homes. Comscore. Retrieved from https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/The-Future-of-Voice-From-Smartphones-to-Smart-Speakers-to-Smart-Homes
O’Shea, D. (2019, February). Echo Dot was Amazon’s top-selling product during the holidays. Retail Dive. Retrieved from https://www.retaildive.com/news/echo-dot-was-amazons-top-selling-product-during-the-holidays/547490/
O’Sullivan, C. (2018, May 21). Voice search marketing 2018: Hey Google, where are the opportunities? Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/swlh/voice-search-marketing-2018-hey-google-where-are-the-opportunities-8a8ebfc02200