Every year brings new marketing trends, that’s just how things work. Incorporating all of them is surely an impossible task, so you need to be able to recognize the ones that will undoubtedly make a splash in the years to come. With one billion conducted searches in January 2018 and the estimation that 30 percent of all searches will be done without the use of the screen, voice search is definitely a no-brainer. It’s already making the splash and it’s gonna set some pretty serious waves towards consumers in the not-so-distant future.
Good user experience has always been about convenience, but today we can simply call it laziness. People want to browse the Internet and find the information they’re looking for without actually scrolling through sites. Well, businesses have to adapt and voice search is the way to go. No scrolling and no typing – all they need to do is to speak into a device. Modern audio technology is able to understand their words with utmost precision using speech recognition. Of course, this concept is nothing new, when you think about voice dialing and speech-to-text. Then it was new, but now it’s becoming mandatory. Sure, your Instagram marketing will still require some scrolling, but the impact of the consumer’s voice has never been more important.
The Importance of Voice Search
Every serious digital marketing focuses on featured snippets, especially with the prediction that 50 percent of searches will rely on them by 2020. When you think about how the voice assistant gives answers to your questions – by reading those snippets -it’s not difficult to conclude that their value will grow, and the competition with it. Since earning featured snippets is not an easy or quick process, if you want to be ready to reach your target audience in 2020 you need to start building your voice search strategy right away.
These snippets occupy Position Zero in search results and this spot will without a doubt maximize your online visibility. Furthermore, it’s also taking away that visibility (and traffic) from the competition since it reduces the click-through-rate of the first result by eight percent. Since this spot plays an important part in voice search, it’s value will surely grow, and so will the potential return.
The Shades of SEO
The prolific use of voice search undoubtedly impacts SEO rankings, with search engines such as Google placing a higher emphasis on this search optimization. This doesn’t come as a surprise since the whole point of SEO is to rank websites in a way that will allow users to find the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Where most people make mistake is thinking that traditional website SEO and voice search one are the same. Actually, they’re quite different – some factors will affect website rankings but not through voice search, and vice versa. It’s all about balancing these two strategies – that’s why SEO specialists in Sydney insist on their specially tailored packages – with the rise of voice search, one size definitely does not fit all.
So your goal shouldn’t be to design a website that will be able to literally talk back to visitors. Conversational User Interface and micro-interactions are already quite helpful with this two-way communication. Much more important is to make the relationship between search and voice users alive and kicking, which requires few modifications in your mobile website design.
Website To Go
Of course, we’re talking mobile. The mobile-friendly movement is already growing, with more than 50 percent of traffic coming from mobile devices, and voice search is gonna make it grow even more. The power of voice search doesn’t lie only in the lack of scrolling and typing, but in the possibility not to do that wherever you’re going. Maybe you haven’t paid enough attention to your mobile optimization up to this point, but now is the time. People wanted websites to load quickly even when they typed, but now they want to see the page right after they’ve spoken the words. So check one more time if your website is fully responsive and works neatly on mobile devices. Make sure files are compressed and images optimized, try utilizing website caching if you need to improve page speed and reduce the server’s response time.
Watch Your Language
Although voice search may seem like a shortcut add-on, it’s actually a whole new way to search. And the biggest difference lies in the much greater importance of semantics. Opposed to typing, voice search is all about the conversational tone. That means you can forget about short and precise phrases. People use voice search as if they’re having a dialogue, which can easily be seen in the fact that a phrase ?do I need? has appeared in more than 60 percent mobile searches in recent years. This means you should reassess how you research keywords and create content for queries. Say goodbye to snappier keywords since long-tail ones sound far more natural. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep your phrases simple. The information must be easy for anyone to comprehend, and keep in mind that the statistics have shown that the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade level.
Get in Touch
The days of surfing the Internet for pleasure are over. If people will stare at their mobile screens more than a couple of minutes, it will be to watch their Facebook feed. But if they’re using their voice to find your website, they’re almost certainly in need of a shortcut to get in touch. Surveys find that almost 30 percent of voice users will call the business right after they find it in the search. This means that the right information is equally important as the visual appeal of your website. You need to give them that information right away, by placing answers to common queries right at the top. While doing that, keep in mind that users tend to take different actions to get in touch, and making a call is just one of them. They might want your brick-and-mortar store hours, to make an appointment or reservation, to find a support portal or live chat, or to know about free shipping offers or current sales. All that information needs to be there the moment they lay eyes on your website – they surely didn’t choose the voice search just to go through clicking and scrolling in order to convert.
Let Them Know You’re Near
If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you’re surely aware of the importance of your local search rankings. If you want to increase both – foot traffic and sales – you need to work on your local SEO. With voice search, this becomes even more important since nearly 60% of consumers use it to find a local business. People are using voice search on a weekly basis to explore their local area, in search of a new interesting restaurant as well as a new provider for services they need. If you want to take this to your advantage, you need to localize the content. That doesn’t mean you can simply add phrases such as ?near me? or ?in? and the name of your location – you need to make sure that voice searches for those phrases will pull up your website first. So the first thing to do is to include the name of the region in your metadata and content. When it’s relevant, create location-specific pages. Make sure you use the visuals that are characteristic for the region and tag all videos and images with the name of the area you’re in. If your location is described in video or audio content, don’t be lazy to provide a transcription of it.
Seize The Moment – The Conclusion
Keep in mind that the voice search is all about instant desires. Desires to do something, know something, buy something, or go somewhere right now. It’s no wonder Google has been constantly talking about micro-moments in recent years. Instant desires happen in a moment, and that’s why mobile optimization is a must. There’s usually not much thought about them, so the words used in queries are quite simple and conversational – you need to find those phrases that indicate these ?I-want-to-do/know/buy moments. And you need to be ready to answer them right away. To let them know you’re near, open, are ready to serve them better than all the rest.
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