Voice search continues to grow in popularity. 28% of mobile users around the world said voice search produced more accurate search results. By 2016, voice searches had grown 7x since 2010 according to Search Engine Watch, and by 2020 it will make up 50% of all search traffic.
With the introduction of Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice search isn’t the future. Voice search is now! After presenting on the future of voice search at Inbound 2017, I got a lot of questions like, “What can we start doing NOW?” With that, here’s some tactical advice for where brands can start with positioning themselves for success in a voice-activated digital world.
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What does voice search mean for brands?
Brands need to optimize their content for voice search. This requires a brand to:
Know thy customer! It’s not enough to have an idea or understand “hot buttons.” A brand must know how they speak.
Understand ‘first contact’ engagement, and second, and third… Do customers start their search on mobile or desktop? How do they engage after the fact? For example, if a brand gets found on mobile but users engage later on desktop, it may require a new approach to content to ensure consistency.
Produce voice-friendly SEO content. Once the two previous steps have been completed, it’s time to implement a voice search content strategy. There are 6 ways to do this:
1. Ask Questions
Voice searches feature natural speech patterns. This means when someone wants to find an answer, they ask a question. A successful content strategy should include questions as article headlines. H2 subheads should feature questions. The content itself should include relevant questions, too.
Use words like “Who,” “What,” “Why,” “How,” and “When.” For maximum impact, make sure your content matches the user intent of each question.
2. Use Longer Keywords
Words take less time to speak than to type. People speak instinctively but think about what they will write (or type). Speech, then, naturally includes more detail and more detail means longer keywords.
This is both good and bad. It’s good in that every brand now has an almost infinite number of keywords they can use. The downside? Marketers will have to really dig to uncover the keywords customers use to find them.
3. Get Specific
A typed search might be “women’s running shoes.” The spoken search will be more specific, like “women’s Nike comfort footbed training shoes in blue.” Moz reports that voice search keywords begin at three words and begin to trail off after seven. The first search included three words; the second, seven.
4. Think Local
Voice search is local search, for now at least. Digital assistants on mobile devices and a need for being hands-free make voice an ideal way to search. Both national brands and local retailers should include content featuring “near me,” “close by,” and “nearby” as well as zip codes, and names of areas as appropriate.
5. Bring Back the FAQs
FAQs disappeared from many sites years ago. Well, with the increase in questions due to voice search, it’s time to bring back that FAQ page. Answer the questions your users are asking. This may be one of the simplest and most effective ways to leverage content to capitalize on the growing use of voice search.
6. Become an Expert
Thorough, quality answers that address user questions can earn you a Google Quick Answers box. Nothing grabs attention like being a featured answer on the #1 search engine in the world. To become an expert through content, start small and establish your expertise on a single question, then expand from there.
How to Produce Consistent Voice Search Content
Use the strategies above and a content calendar to produce consistent, high-quality voice search content. For more about how to implement voice search content, start a conversation with BFO today.
Want to learn about SEO best practices? Check out our ebook, “The Marketer’s Guide to Managing & Maximizing SEO Success“.