Voice search is a new way of searching for content on the internet, linking into the IoT (Internet of things) consumers are using voice search regularly to find information, content and products.
OK Google, what is Voice search….
In 2016 nearly 20% of Google searches were through voice search, this year we have seen this increase, especially surrounding local searches.
Voice search started off as a novelty, but if you think it is a passing phase you would be very wrong, although the fun of asking a device to do something seems gimmicky, the features of voice search are incredibly useful on mobile.
On devices where you have limited space to type or may need to use hands free it is much more convenient to use voice search, and in the home, Alexa enabled devices that can help you control systems as well as being online and search for content means it is easier than ever to search, this is more opportunities for brands and marketers to get in front of their target audiences.
Voice search at the moment is limited only by devices, however, Voicelabs predicts an exponential increase in usage as more and more devices are produced and shipped.
With an increase in devices and as such an increase in users, you should be optimising for voice search now, don’t wait for everyone else to get in first.
How Marketers and Brands can use Voice Search
With Voice search context is king, the nature of voice search means more interpretation from Google or Bing so any supporting information is vital.
Voice search is conducted on mobile devices so if your site isn’t mobile-friendly it isn’t voice search friendly. Your mobile site optimisation needs to be perfect for voice search, you should have rich snippets and schema implementation, this will give your content more context.
Optimise for Bing
At the moment more voice searches are done on Bing than Google, whilst Google powers their own virtual assistant, Bing powers Siri, Cortana and Amazons Alexa so the little brother of desktops search is, in fact, dominating voice search.. for now. Bing is often underestimated by marketers, how many businesses have Bing webmaster tools installed compared to Google? You need to be taking Bing seriously if you want to do well in voice search.
I say that Bing is dominating for now…. Google is well known for picking things up and putting a huge investment in new technology so definitely don’t rule out Google as a long-term contender.
Voice search is increasingly being used for local businesses, this is partly down to the accessibility of voice search on mobile devices so finding a local location. This is also where context really comes into play, a voice search may be ‘find a restaurant near me’ the mobile device will use the GPS location to find the location in proximity to the user and will also rate them by reviews. So for local search, Google and Bing NEED to know where you are located, with the information being clear on your website or by having an up to date and relevant Google business page. This is also another example where rich snippets for reviews can provide supporting context which is key to success in voice search.
Long Tail Keywords/keyphrases
Long tail keywords and phrases have always been a good converting strategy for businesses and brands, however, the nature of voice search is a slightly different way of searching than typical desktop users. Instead of searching for product names or information users will directly ask questions, therefore your content needs to demonstrate through long tail phrases the information and answers that users will be looking for.
Long tail on the desktop is 3 or 4 words, however long tail for voice could be up to 11 words, it is much easier and faster to ask a question or a specific search query through a voice search therefore you can expect longer key phrases.
Voice Search – This year’s Novelty, Next Years Normal
Voice search is still seen as a fun novelty but as more and more technology is released we will start to see voice search overtake desktop searches – as mobile has, don’t wait for it to happen, start optimising for voice search today!