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How Can Voice Search Influence Our Marketing Practices?

Voice search is becoming quite prevalent, mostly due to digital personal assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Alexa. While their commercial use is easily understandable, it might take a second to reflect on what might they mean for businesses and their marketing teams. Utilizing the technology is not quite as easy as simply typing a phrase into a search engine, determining the proper words and setting up analytics on them.

woman talking to a phone held in front of her

Part of the difference are the words and sentence structure that we use. While searching for a person, for example the CEO of Amazon (Jeff Bezos), you are likely to simply use the phrase “amazon ceo”. However, using voice search encourages us to speak more intuitively - in the language we use in our everyday conversations. This means that we are much more likely to say “who is the CEO of amazon?”, rather than using just a few keywords. The analysis of conversational voice is key is crucial if we want to achieve the level of technological comfortability that we’re expecting. Come on, who wouldn’t like a sci-fi level of control over our devices?

The question remains: how do we create content and set up a SEO strategy for voice-based communication?

First of all, local strategy is absolutely crucial. As many as 22% of people use the search method in order to reach information, businesses and content that are in close proximity to them.

Having a Google My Business listing most certainly will help you to acquire new customers, considering that the results are quite independent of the wording used. Claiming your business and keeping it updated with contact information, address, business hours and other information is a great way to convince potential customers that you are serious about what you’re doing.

While optimizing keywords, it is important to keep in mind that the way the phrases are spoken is completely different from written language. One way to get an idea of what sort of phrases should be used is to record the ones used by potential customers when they call you - after all, reality is the best benchmark, isn’t it?

If you’re creating a FAQ page with commonly used questions, make them as authentic as possible. The temptation of using typical SEO keywords is strong, but ultimately it is not going to bring you the results you expect from voice search. Best case scenario here is that you are going to use human-like, natural questions and answers. It is preferable that you group the most common one on the same page, so they are easily accessible.

Paid search results exist in traditional search engines, and voice-operated ones are not an exception. While looking for a mexican restaurant nearby it will be pointless for the digital personal assistant to read out a list of 10 locations for you to choose from - who would even bother? In this scenario, the paid option will most likely win. This might be a bit concerning, considering that organic search results will be directly pushed out by the sponsored ones. After all, who said you cannot make voice-search based ads?

Another problem is the fact that all the answers are being read out for you. Doesn’t sound disturbing at all, right? Well, then imagine the amount of ads you see on various websites and in search results. Unless you’re using an ad blocking software, you are most likely used to ignoring them and just skimming over them within milliseconds. With voice search that won’t be the case, since they will take several seconds to process, and chances are you won’t even know that they are paid advertising techniques rather than actual results.

It is quite possible that in the near futures searches will be conducted by using voice with some help of augmented or virtual reality. Projecting a control or results screen in AR setting, or displaying it in a VR interface are just some of the potential uses of the technology. Products like Google Glass are just looking for the technology (and the opportunity) to raise their heads, and chances are, they are going to substitute your smartphone’s screen in the near future.

Considering how impactful the technology might be, it is absolutely necessary to keep track of the latest changes and try to find a compromise between potential voice search CEO and the traditional means of promoting our websites. Adjusting properly to both will certainly take some effort, but it’s very likely to pay off.

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