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The Marketer’s Guide to Voice Search

The Marketer’s Guide to Voice Search

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

If you ever have a burning question, about anything or everything, all you have to do is ask. And, thanks to voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google, you’ll likely get a pretty good answer right away. These voice assistants make it quick and convenient to submit an online search query, without the need to use your hands. And as machine learning and AI technologies continue to improve, the quality of the voice search experience has seen a dramatic rise.

Unsurprisingly, voice search has proven incredibly popular among everyday consumers. In fact, studies indicate that search engine users prefer voice search to the more traditional method, with about 7 out of 10 consumers saying that voice search is their favorite method for seeking information on the Web.

Given the popularity of voice search, it’s clear that marketers can’t ignore or overlook this technology. In this post, we’ll provide some high-level insight into what makes voice search so alluring to consumers, and what it all means for marketing teams.

What is Voice Search?

As far as a definition goes, voice search is pretty simple: It’s the technology that allows consumers to search the Internet (or a specific website or app) using a voice command, as opposed to typing their search query. It’s easy and convenient, and for many consumers it’s becoming part of the day-to-day routine. (For example, consumers can use voice search to query their Alexa device while they cook dinner or clean dishes; they can use voice search while they drive, keeping their hands safely on the wheel.)

How Do People Access Voice Search?

Another reason for voice search’s popularity is that it can be accessed from a wide range of devices: Not just smartphones but also tablets, TVs, smart home speakers, even cars. Home assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home) are also on the rise, with almost a third of Americans using them within their homes or offices.

Why Do People Use Voice Search?

We’ve already hinted at some of the reasons why voice search is so popular, but it may be clarifying to dig into some actual data. For example, Microsoft conducted a survey asking consumers what makes them turn to voice search. Here are the top five answers:

  • Searching for a quick fact
  • Asking for driving/walking directions
  • Searching for a product or service
  • Searching for a business
  • Researching products/services

As you can see, most people who use voice search do so with a consumer intent: They are curious to find a specific type of product or service, or to find directions to a particular building. (This is unsurprising, given that voice search works so well for users “on the go.”) The marketing implications are clear: Voice search represents a significant way for consumers to connect with local businesses, and vice versa.

How Can Marketers Take Advantage of Voice Search?

Simply put, consumers are turning to voice search to get quick, convenient, and practical answers to their queries, often with the intent of making a purchase. There are a few ways for marketers to leverage that.

1) Remember that voice search is more conversational.

Voice search queries tend to be longer, and are often framed as questions (e.g., where is the nearest bookstore? How far away is Starbucks?). Because voice queries are spoken and not typed, they tend to have entirely different structures. Marketers are advised to incorporate these longer, more conversational queries into their SEO and SEM endeavors. Including FAQ pages can be an especially smart way to capture voice search questions.

2) Keep in mind that voice search is primarily mobile.

Statistics show that voice search queries tend to come from mobile devices. For marketers, this makes it all the more important to ensure online content loads quickly and looks good on smaller screens. It’s also crucial to ensure accurate and up-to-date business listings on Google Business Profile as well as local directories.

3) Acknowledge that voice search is here to stay.

Everything about the evolution of technology, along with consumer trends, suggests that voice search is the future. As such, we highly recommend that marketers do everything they can to stay current with voice search trends, AI technology, and ongoing conversations about online privacy.

Are You Taking Advantage of Voice Search?

Voice search has changed the way people search for information on the Internet, representing a sea change for marketers. Ideally, an awareness of voice search will shape everything you do, from your website design to your keyword strategy.

Are you taking advantage of this important market? If you have any questions about voice search and what it means for your business, we’d love to chat. Reach out to the team at enCOMPASS whenever you’re ready to discuss strategies to optimize for voice search.