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What is Voice Search and is Your Business Ready for it?

January 24, 2018.

Voice search is one of the most important technological advances of recent years; set to shape the future of digital and content marketing as we know it. But how exactly can businesses prepare for the impact this will have on their SEO strategy?

First things first, what is voice search?

Voice search is speech recognition technology that allows users to perform searches through voice-enabled digital assistants. Popular digital assistants such as Amazon’s ‘Alexa’, Apple’s ‘Siri’ and Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’ are making their way into people’s homes, and the numbers are growing rapidly.

A recent research report from Ovum claims that by 2021 there will be more digital assistants than people, [see that report here]. But this isn’t the time to be worrying about artificial intelligence just yet.

Mackman - Voice Search

Why is voice search significant for business owners?

It will give businesses the opportunity to communicate more effectively with customers than ever before.

The way users interact with voice search massively differs to their interactions with text search engines, and it’s not just because it’s quicker. Voice search can detect tone and, if enabled, location, meaning it can recognise the intent of a search query. This enables users to receive results that are much more specific to their needs.

How can businesses prepare?

Long-Tail Key Phrases

Key phrases with up to 5 words are known as ‘long-tail’ phrases, and are often extensions of established keyword lists. Tailoring your SEO to voice search means using long-tail key phrases and question words.

For example, the keyword for this blog post might be:
'Voice search’
But by taking into consideration voice search capabilities, we might consider: 
‘What is voice search?’

Start by:

  • Revisiting your keyword research
  • Using more question words: ‘how’, ‘who’, ‘why’, ‘what’ etc.
  • Asking more questions in your content

Conversational Content

As we know, voice search queries are structured very differently to text search queries. Voice search can identify a user’s intent and is therefore able to provide a SERP (search engine results page) full of websites with relevant content.

Users believe their digital assistants to be more than just a piece of technology, and Google's most recent consumer insights report states that '41% of voice search users say it is just like speaking with a friend'. [see that report here].

By writing content in a conversational way, and making answering questions a priority, you can deliver much more accurate content for a user's query.

Start by:

  • Thinking about how people speak
  • Answering more questions in your content

Local Search

Once enabled, digital assistants can recognise a user’s location, and provide them with the closest and most relevant results. According to Mary Meeker's internet trends report, voice-related search is 3X more likely to be local-based than text.

It is therefore very important that businesses have their correct address and consistent contact information across all online listings.

Start by:

  • Conducting an audit of all your online listings
  • Ensuring your contact information features in the global footer of your website

Mobile Speed

On average, 1 in 5 adults per month use voice search on their mobiles.

Optimising your web page’s content for mobile is a big step towards ensuring your content is found by digital assistants. 

Start by:

  • Using mobile-friendly layouts for your webpages
  • Regularly checking GTmetrix for page speed analysis

As the demand grows for more digital assistants, as does the need for more accurate and reliable voice search capabilities. In order to get prepared, it’s time to take a look into your digital and content marketing strategies.

For more guidance on how to prepare your business for voice search, contact Mackman on 01787 388038, or email customerservice@mackmangroup.co.uk

For similar posts on SEO, digital and content marketing, see our posts below:

 

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