For the past few years, voice search has increasingly gained popularity among consumers. Voice search is not only more convenient than typing in a query, but it is faster, and, in the digital age, mobile search’s responsiveness is highly sought after.
Digital marketers must consider what the rise of voice search means for the future of marketing, and what advantages these new tools offer to better connect with consumers.
Five years ago, the notion that voice search would replace traditional searching techniques would have been met with skepticism, but the introduction of Siri changed the game. Rather than having to type in queries, iPhone users could simply activate Siri, enabling consumers to speak with natural language when seeking information.
Since then, a revolution has ensued within the industry as major companies such as Amazon and Google introduced their own personal voice assistant programs.
Amazon Echo, in particular, has upped the ante with an artificial intelligence system that uses Alexa to respond to voice commands.
Alexa has the power to perform a number of tasks, and is so user-responsive that Wynn Las Vegas and Encore recently became the first hotel chain in the world to install artificial intelligence devices in every room.
Guests can now “verbally control every aspect of lighting, temperature and the audio-visual components of a hotel room.” It is the perfect synergy of artificial intelligence, voice search, and commerce.
A recent study found that 55 percent of teenagers and 41 percent of adults used voice search more than once a day.
Other studies have found that both teens and adults use voice search to call another person or to ask for directions, but that that teens are more likely to use the service to help with homework, whereas adults are more likely to use voice search to dictate a text.
Responses such as “It’s cool”, “It’s the future”, “It’s safer” and “Makes me more efficient” were all cited as reasons why consumers opt for voice search.
Voice Search Impact On SEO, Search Marketing
Voice marketing is changing the game for mobile search marketing. Google recently reported that mobile searches have exceeded searches on desktops and laptops in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.
Mobile search results have now become nearly 20 percent of total search engine queries on Google, clear evidence that consumers want to bypass traditional search results and get responses immediately.
So how do digital marketers adapt to this changing landscape to take advantage of the rise of voice search without abandoning their strategies for traditional search marketing?
One of the ways marketers can shift their SEO strategy is to focus less on keywords and more on the four W’s and one H that drives many mobile searches.
In other words, instead of placing an emphasis on keywords, marketers must now understand that mobile searches are more about ‘Who, What, Where, Why and How’, so optimizing for longer keywords is a must.
“Marketers must now understand that mobile searches are more about Who, What, Where, Why and How”
For example, a mobile search for Thai fusion restaurants in Los Angeles would sound something along these lines: “What are the coolest Thai fusion restaurants near me?”
A traditional search that a consumer would have typed for this request would read along these lines: “Thai fusion restaurants”.
The difference is consumers tend to add words when they speak as opposed to when they type. Typing takes longer so searches are abbreviated. Speaking is quicker and offers more opportunities for consumers to put their own spin on an inquiry.
In that example, Thai restaurant marketers should consider adding longer keywords, such as “Cool Thai restaurants”, “Cool local Thai restaurant”, and “Coolest Thai fusion food”, to account for the types of queries consumers make with mobile voice search.
Another way marketers can optimize voice search is to develop content written in a more natural voice. Much of the content marketers create is predicated on the precise use of keywords to the detriment of natural language.
Voice search is dominated by users who speak in a more conversational manner that marketers must duplicate if they want their content to rank higher on voice-activated queries.
The way consumers search for and receive information will continue to evolve in the coming years. But it is clear that voice search, powered by machine learning, will continue to have a huge impact on how information is accessed and tasks are performed in the digital landscape.
While search marketing must adapt to take advantage of these innovations, the key takeaway is that no matter what tools they use, the goal is always to connect with searchers and provide them with responses that fully meet their needs.