Smart speakers have only been on store shelves for a couple years, yet are experiencing exponential growth in popularity. If sales continue to grow at their current pace, there will be a projected 47.3 million U.S. adults using them by 2020.
Siri began the mobile assistant revolution, followed by Google Assistant and other voice recognition apps that allow users to make their mobile device hands-free. But smart speakers, such as Alexa and Google Home, have changed the way people use the internet.
Voice Search Is Easier
Already, voice search on mobile phones has become more common, comprising 20% of all Google mobile searches and growing. And, 60% of mobile searchers frequently use voice search functions. The phones are making it easier to use and much less buggy.
One of the biggest reasons why voice search is more popular because using your voice is almost four times quicker than typing out keywords. Plus, the bonus for voice search is that the top answer you get is read off to you.
SEO for Voice Search
Voice search optimization has grown quickly over the past two years and is now an SEO best practice. There are many differences between text-based search and voice activated. These need to be address in any content strategy in order to keep up with this growing trend.
Here are five reasons to optimize for voice searches and some tips on how to capitalize on them:
- Voice searches are longer, more descriptive and conversational.
For years, Google and other search engines have taught users to be more precise in their keyword searches, limiting most searches to three words or less. But voice search resembles a user having a conversation with their phone or smart speaker. They simply ask it a long question with lots of details about what they want to know. This presents a big question for Google Ad Words and how it will affect that kind of specificity.
Tip: Keep your content conversational, not too stiff. This means using plain terms and simple, concise descriptions. And, avoid too much industry jargon or buzzwords.
- Think more like a customer and what they would ask.
Marketers have always needed to think like their customers—to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. Knowing the questions they would ask doesn’t help much for text-based searches. But with voice searches, the content really needs to be focused on answering customers’ questions and how they view the brand.
Tip: This requires having a value proposition in place. Customers ask value based questions, not technical ones. Content with the value proposition will be easier for them to find.
- More than just links, voice search results are answers.
Text-based searches with fewer keywords may bring up a list of results that require the user to sift through to get the answer they want. For Google, the top result often gets placed in a Featured Snippet in search followed by all the other relevant links. For a voice search, this snippet will be read back to the user as a definitive answer for the search.
Tip: Have content that gives answers that are concise and quick to read. Stay away from features and benefits, unless it’s used as an answer.
- Long-tail keyword.
A keyword is a single word used for or to modify a search inquiry. One word equals one concept. Long-tail keywords are three or more words used for one concept. People who perform voice searches often use these phrases to find exactly they want.
Tip: Customers ask questions everyday about what’s in stock or which service is best. Tailor content to focus on these phrases, written in more conversational terms.
- FAQ pages are perfect for voice search.
Frequently asked questions express concerns about services and value, which is why an FAQs page is a necessity in many industries. They come directly from the customer. This is exactly what voice search optimization is all about—giving the right answer.
Tip: Concentrate blog posts on a single FAQ, then give a concise, one paragraph answer, followed by a longer more detailed answer.
More Conversational Writing, Less Complex
The nice thing about voice search is that it requires more approachable content. This is less formal and jargon heavy, as well as complex. It also avoids the pitfalls with acronyms. Writing for voice search is like having a conversation with a customer, so it should be easy to implement in any digital marketing strategy.