Voice search has been growing in popularity at an incredible rate, thanks to the increased prevalence of smartphone voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and voice controlled devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. With an increasing number of consumers choosing to search using voice and natural language, some marketers are finding that their traditional approach to search engine optimization is no longer sufficient for today’s search landscape.
With voice searches expected to increase again in 2018, learning about the key concepts of marketing for voice will be critical to success.
Consumer Memory Will Need to Be Considered When Creating Content
Consumers retain memory best when audio and visual information is combined. With voice search, visual information will not be available. Examples of when a user won’t have access to visual is when they are using a wireless speaker device like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, and when using a smartphone hands-free while driving.
Information that is relayed using audio only needs to become more accessible and memorable. Marketers and business owners can look to radio marketing for inspiration. Clear language, repetition, and even the use of catchy music or unique voice cadence can help a listener to retain information in their memory. Sound effects can be developed and used as branding, as long as consistency is maintained throughout all developed content.
Users can also listen to video streams and services like YouTube through voice assistants and wireless speaker devices, so even video content can be optimized to include more audio cues and unique audio branding.
Conversational Search Queries Will Rise in Importance
Traditional key words and phrases will still be used by search engines when users perform voice searches, however, it is expected that natural language will also become important for returning searches through voice assistants.
This means looking at your keywords and determining all of the different ways that users might search for that keyword. Not only do there need to be variations of the same search, but there will also need to be alternate key words and phrases that have the same meaning.
Essentially, key words and phrases will expand beyond what is typically typed, and you will need to start addressing what the average person thinks and says when they are looking for information. Question phrases will become just as important as keywords, so it will pay to research and also brainstorm potential question phrases that can be targeted in your content. For example you may want to use the more conversational phrase “what is the weather in fort lauderdale” vs weather fort lauderdale.
Remember, we’re in fairly new territory here, so innovators stand to make the most of the latest changes in search behavior.
Existing Content May Need to Be Rewritten
For marketing products and services, existing content may need to be rewritten, or new content may need to be developed using conversational language and question phrases as search terms. There needs to be a strong balance between how content caters to voice and text searches, but it’s important not to oversaturate content with targeted long tail keywords and phrases that are intended for Alexa and Siri devices.
Content can also be tiered based on certain words. A search term that includes ‘how’ will involve a user that is interested in an article that provides an explanation or tutorial. A search term that includes a phrase similar to ‘where can I buy’ will typically involve a user who wants to find a business offering a particular product or service. Understanding how these terms work and how user intent works will ensure that the appropriate terms are used for specific content.
As an example for businesses; something as simple as updating a contact page with optimized key phrases could potentially make a difference in search presence on voice controlled devices.
Voice Search with Devices like Alexa and Google Home Creates New Marketing Opportunities
Significant changes will come now that voice search using Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa, is becoming more common. Those that adapt and innovate will be rewarded, whereas marketers and businesses that are slow or dismissive of voice search will be left behind.
More changes will come and as usual the search landscape will continue to evolve, but 2018 looks like it will be the biggest year so far for voice and natural language marketing.