Think typing into Google is still the future of search? Think again. The latest search trend isn’t even about search engines, but about voice search. The term sounds self-descriptive, but are you sure you understand voice search in terms of brand promotion? Read below to learn about the latest search technology and what it means for your company’s marketing plan?
A Primer on Voice Search
Voice search simply refers to conducting a search online or on a device by using spoken commands. Most people are already familiar with voice search, largely thanks to voice-operated personal assistants like Siri available on iPhones. As a technology, voice search isn’t completely new. The first digital search by voice commands was conducted way back in the 1950s, by a program named Audrey. Back then it could recognise numbers. The technology certainly has come a long way since then.
While voice command-based applications have been around for a while, no one was really excited about it until now. When typing-based search became available, the usage exploded, relegating voice search as a technology only used to assist disabled computer users. Even as the digital age matured, most didn’t think voice search would be appealing to anyone other than the elderly. New data indicates that the applications of voice search have been woefully underappreciated.
Market surveys in recent years show that voice search is popular among both the elderly and young people. In fact, use of voice search is growing among millennials and the Generation Z. It’s also growing among all adults because of rapid adaptation of smart home devices. All in all, voice search looks ready to conquer the world.
How Voice Search Affects Digital Marketing
Marketers can no longer ignore voice search because the sheer number of people turning to that technology. Consider iPhone users—it’s safe to assume that all of them use Siri that comes preinstalled on the phone. In the U.S., marketing surveys have found that nearly 40 million Americans currently use voice search.
Specialists and experts from firms like Shout Digital Marketing Agency are increasingly emphasizing the importance of voice search optimisation in brand promotion. As a large number of people start searching for products using voice-enabled phone assistants or smart home devices, brands must be ready with voice search optimisation. It will be very similar to SEO, but the content would be optimised for voice-based commands.
Don’t expect voice search to completely supplant type-based search anytime soon. Think of it as using a popular new social media channel. Voice search optimisation should be part of a brand’s online marketing plan. If the target audience is largely mobile oriented, voice search is important more than ever.
How to Do Voice Search Optimisation
Voice search largely functions just like typed-in search. However, there are significant differences. For example, say you want to know the time in a particular city. If you are typing the search query, you may type in “time Sydney” or “time London.” Google will instantly give you the results with date, time and time zone.
Now imagine conducting the same search using a voice-based application. Would you say “time Sydney” into it? Or are you more likely to say “What’s the time in Sydney” to Siri or Google Home? Therein lies the fundamental difference in typed and spoken search. The latter uses highly colloquial search terms and phrases. Therefore, voice based search optimisation should take into account how people speak, rather than how they type.
To do voice search optimisation, companies must first research how a consumer might search for the specific product or service via a voice-based application. Are they more likely to ask a question with the product in the phrasing or would they use a spoken phrase that includes the product? These would be the spoken keywords and phrases that the content should be optimised for.
Business should be ready to get web pages and content ready for voiced out search phrases. In addition, companies may need to create content for questions that customers are likely to speak into a voice-controlled device. It’s recommended that your team hire a specialist that can perform these tasks, such as an SEO agency.
Keep in mind that voice search is also highly localised. The content may need to contain city or state names to reach the right audience. It’s similar to doing local SEO, but with the addition of using colloquial phrases.
For now, voice search is still a rising prospect and no one has worked out all the kinks. But that doesn’t mean businesses should delay engaging in this level of optimisation. By 2020, expect voice search to be more prevalent than it is today. Your company would not want to fall behind the competition then.