Digital Marketing

The growing importance of voice search

By Mark Ainsworth

Voice search is not a thing of the future – it is here right now. Google has already indicated that voice is the fastest growing form of search and it has invested heavily in this idea.

Some of the more familiar applications of voice search include Siri from Apple, Google Now, Cortana for Microsoft, and Alexa by Amazon. Household names with which many people are very familiar.

How popular is it amongst your potential customers? By March 2016, it was estimated that 55% of teens and 41% of adults were already using voice search. Technology moves at a lightning pace and your business will need to keep up with it or it will be left behind.

Now is the time to appreciate the importance of adopting new search engine optimisation trends (SEO) to avoid falling behind the times. By incorporating voice search as part of your SEO strategy, you can capitalise on the increasing number of people who are using these tools for Web search.

How is voice search being used?

Many voice search users get the answers they need faster. The user can find a local restaurant, get directions, even use voice search to send messages in response to texts.

Smart assistants will respond to the question they have been asked – for example, business information, phone numbers, or opening hours.

Some smart assistants are used to offer information on the day ahead such as the weather, calendar appointments, and so on. Reminders of things to do and the news can also be accessed.

Personal assistants are becoming smarter based on how we interact with them. Speech patterns and personal preferences are analysed to gain context in order to help us with our daily life.

With the growing trend in the use of personal assistants and voice search, it is more important than ever to understand how search engines provide predictive answers to our questions.

Today’s digital assistants are using available data and information to help customers take actions. The data analysed provides user intent and behaviour patterns. From a marketing perspective, this could prove very useful for the future.

Amazon’s Echo is ready to answer your questions but can also play music or audiobooks and even control other devices in your home using smart technology.

Imagine this, you’ve just asked your Amazon Echo to play your favourite audiobook. You reach the end of the book and Echo suggests a further title based on your buying habits. If you are an avid reader of crime thrillers, then this is data that can be easily stored for future reference by the smart assistant. Imagine how useful this can be to a publishing house.

Are we nearly there yet?

The idea of your smart assistant or voice search offering alternatives and suggesting which purchases to make is not too far away.
At the current time your voice search will produce what you have asked. It is very important as a business that you understand how this happens.

On March 17, some Google Home owners reported hearing an advertisement for the opening of the movie Beauty and the Beast as part of the delivery of their My Day information. Google denied that this was an advertisement but rather an experiment. Whatever the truth of the matter, the statement was heard and discussed amongst users using Twitter and other platforms.

This demonstrates just how powerful voice search can be even when it hasn’t been prompted.

A wider understanding of how voice search is implemented rather than used would benefit your business. In this context, the term implementation is used to describe the change in behaviour that is exhibited by users when using voice search as opposed to type search.

Voice search queries tend to be longer than their typed counterparts, usually 3 to 5 words in length. The search will tend to explicitly ask a question using “who, how, what, where, why and when.” The expectation is the search engines will provide the answer based solely on the question.

For example, if a consumer asks what the difference is between laptop A and laptop B then they are likely to be at the research stage of their enquiry.

But if the customer asks where can I buy laptop B? Then they are much closer to reaching a decision. If you are an electronics retailer, wouldn’t you like your business to be the first answer that the smart assistant or voice search gives? If voice searching on your mobile phone, wouldn’t it be very advantageous for your website to appear near the top of the search results.

During a face-to-face exchange, it would be easy to ascertain where the customer is in the buying cycle. Voice search relies upon understanding the nuances and previous data to spot the customer’s intent to buy.

Staying in the game

Voice search is not a thing of the future it is already here. It is growing in popularity. Once customers fall in love with their technology, then they will expect it to perform in response to a voice search in the same way as a text search.

To capitalise in this changing marketplace and customer expectations, you must ensure that your website is developed towards not only traditional search engine optimisation but also includes voice search.

The key to remaining in the marketplace is to act now. Your competitors may already be ahead of you. For more information, call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.

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