Voice Search in Digital Marketing

What is voice search?


Voice search is a technology that enables users to search the internet by asking a question on a smartphone, computer or a smart speaker. It is convenient and more intuitive to use voice for searching the internet than typing in your smartphones or computers. A survey by Google predicts that by the year 2020, 50% of all internet searches will happen by voice.

Source: www.99firms.com
Voice search trends

Let’s have a look at some of the recent trends in the internet search realm (Source Think with Google). 

  • Almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, not the typical keywords people type in a web search.
  • 62% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they are likely to buy something through their voice-activated speaker in the next month
  • 58% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they create or manage shopping lists at least once a week.
  • 44% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they order products they need like groceries, household items, etc., at least once a week.
  • 52% of those who own a voice-activated speaker would like to receive info about deals, sales, and promotions from brands.
  • 48% of those who own a voice-activated speaker would like to receive personalized tips and information from brands to make their lives easier.

It may be seen from above that consumers use voice search in their "natural" language than the usual keywords because it is more convenient and faster. On average, people type at a speed of 40-60 words per minute, Vis-a-Vis voice interactions which are more efficient at 150 words per minute. 


Voice search changing the digital marketing landscape

Given the trends above, brands need to restructure their marketing strategy to keep pace with the transformation brought by voice search. Businesses have to shift focus to mobile-friendly environment, restructure their on-page SEO to suit the long-trail keywords used by customers and have to offer products and services which are locally available. Digital marketing strategy has to be redefined to suit the changes brought by voice search.

Shift from top of the page to SERPs

When a customer asks a voice assistant a question, they will be redirected to the SERPs. A voice assistant, in all likelihood, will read the featured snippet of the search query. Thus, businesses must optimize their content(s) to attain the featured snippet on search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. These are the position zero on search pages produced by search engines. When the content is optimized for #zero, its visibility increases multifold. Some of the ways to optimize content for SERPs are as under:

Structuring content to answer specific questions
Presenting content in FAQs format
Value of high-quality content can never be undermined

Changing search semantics

The first trend outlined in the above section indicates that voice search is done in natural languages and tone is conversational. For example, a user may be typing “restaurant near me” when conducting a text search, he may ask “which are the restaurants near me?” instead when conducting a voice search. Almost always users conduct voice searches in question format. Since voice searches are more conversational in tone, it will attach more importance to the semantics of search queries. This calls for revamping the keyword strategy, changing it to long-tail keywords than usual short-code specific keywords used erstwhile. By optimizing the keyword strategy of content to suit the voice search, brands can be more accessible to customers.


Mobile-friendly environment

As per SimilarWeb, 58% of website visits came from mobile devices and also 42% of the total time spent online comes from the mobile platform. Thus, to keep pace with the trend, brands have to create a mobile-friendly environment. Brands need to optimize their websites and content for mobile. Consumers are more likely to deal with a brand with a mobile-friendly website. Some of the parameters for a mobile-friendly business platform are:

  • Website loading time: As a general rule, a 1-second delay in website loading time may lead to 11% fewer page visits, 16% higher dissatisfied customers and about 7% loss in business conversion. Therefore, the speed at which a website loads in mobile and otherwise also is of paramount importance. Creating AMP pages drastically decreases the loading time.
  • Upgrading UI/UX keeping Mobile-first mindset. 

Larger emphasis on local SEO

Phrases like "Near me", "Near me tonight/today", "now+ near me" have witnessed exponential growth in the past two years. As per Google, there is a 500% growth in “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” over the last two years. 

Source: www.thinkwithgoogle.com

About 40% of voice searches have local intent, and therefore brands have to optimize their content for "near me" and its variants. Brands must list their website on the local business result page, preferably in SERPs. Some of the way's brands optimize their websites for local intent are as under:
  • Optimized Schema markups
  • Backlinks with geographic anchor text
  • Creating blogs with local links
  • Creating different pages for different locations and optimizing them
With increasing mobile penetration and a larger share of voice search Year-on-Year, digital marketing strategy has to be redefined, restructured and reshaped. The mobile era is a golden opportunity for businesses, where customer’s needs are out there to be captured and served.  

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