Google trends noted in 2016 voice search use rose 35x since 2008. The growth continues to accelerate with 60% of those who use it just starting to do so in the last year. Statistics like these reveal a seismic shift in how people do mobile search which translates to local search.

To win more local business and drive location revenues, embrace voice search. This applies to large national brands and local businesses. In 2017 and beyond, voice search will connect mobile and local search for users who are ready to buy now!

Sure, the voice search trend has captured a lot of attention. Consider that in 2016 it was reported 71% of 18-29 year-olds and 59% of the 30-43 of smartphone users used digital personal assistants like Siri and Cortana. Overall one in five mobile users employs voice search daily to find what they’re looking for.

How Does Voice Search Differ from Standard Search

The key to developing a successful brand strategy for voice search involves understanding the why and how users engage with it. Travel ranks as one of the top reasons. Travel, however, relates more to a user’s unfamiliarity with an area, whether it’s a town over or at a vacation spot across the country.

Think of it this way, a consumer is in an unfamiliar place and doesn’t know where to start. She picks up her phone and asks for directions like “where’s the closest Starbucks near me?”

Travel isn’t the only reason though. People also use voice search for speed, seeing as faster than searching through a website or app. Some use it as a way to do a hands-free search while driving. Some other reasons include a view that it’s more accurate and gives better results and they don’t like to type on mobile devices.

Regardless of why a user engages through voice search, the intent behind the search is often the same.

A Decision Already Made

When a mobile user asks for a brand, she has already decided to take an action. Voice search captures the intent of these mobile micro-moments. These moments involve taking action and often that action involves buying.

To capitalize on these already made decisions, brands need to position their keywords at the appropriate point in their marketing funnel. This way, when a brand turns up in the search results, their offer matches user intent.

Where to Focus Voice Search Keywords and Content

So how do you position yourself to capture the micro-moment begun by a voice search?

Begin by optimizing your site for mobile and your app. Content and keywords don’t need to appear in main navigation, instead place it where it most benefits the user. If it’s on your site and your site is optimized it will be found.

For mobile searches, create content ideal for local three-pack results and quick answer questions. Make yourself an expert for the local market for the search. To do that, you need great voice search keywords.

What Makes Good Voice Search Keywords?

Typed searches on mobile use short-tail phrases. A user doing a voice search speaks longer questions. So good voice search keywords start with “who,” “what,” “where,” “why” and “how.” With the continued growth of voice search, it’s no surprise searches with these keywords have grown 61% over the past year.

In addition to the question, the keywords should also include “near me” and “close by.” This helps to focus the search locally. It also means the keyword phrases will be the question + 2 in terms of length. Yes, voice search embraces long-tail keywords much more than standard text-based searches.

Make Finding You Easy

Voice search really amounts to connecting the dots for the consumer who has made a decision to buy now. To capture this opportunity, a business must do more than simply optimize for voice search. Local information must be kept up to date as well. This includes vital name, address, and phone for local listings, schema markup on store locations and an accurate Google My Business listing.

Embrace the voice search trend today and expect to see your local conversion rates climb!

 


Also published on Medium.