Our society continues to build a deeper relationship with our smart devices. As a result, we have figured out how to talk with smart devices as if they were humans – and 2019 is expected to be the year of the voice search.
Digital assistants, including Cortana and Siri, have grown to be widely popular due to their improved capacity to recognize human speech and their expanded presence. Tablets and smartphones have also jumped on the voice-speech bandwagon, rapidly driving voice search into the mainstream. The truth is, we are entering into an era where search is moving more in the direction of being dominated by voice.
The proof is in the numbers. 65 percent of 25 to 49 year olds use their voices to speak to their voice-enabled devices at least one time per day and that percentage is only slightly lower among 18-24 year olds. What’s more is that half of all online searches are predicted to be voice searches by the year 2020, thanks to the voice search revolution.
As a marketer, taking advantage of the rise in search volume from voice search will greatly benefit your campaigns, and help you stay ahead of your competition. The following are three approaches you can take.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
The highest priority approach to using voice to your benefit is implementing more long-tail keywords in your campaign. Long-tail keywords are phrases that are typically 3-5 words in length or longer, typically narrowing a topic down much farther than. They differ from short tail or “head” keywords that are comprised of just 1-2 words and target a broader category or topic, and usually can be the first thing that comes to mind.
An example of a short tail keywords is something like “sushi,” while a long-tail keyword may be something like “where is the best place to find sushi near me?”
But why are long-tail keywords better? Because most voice searches are more conversational – asking a question rather than stating a word or two and hoping for a result.
You can optimize for long-tail keywords by creating articles that target these phrases instead of head keywords. Research topics that apply to your audience and phrases they often search for. Also brainstorm applicable variations of those search phrases. It is also important that you write in a natural and conversational voice. Don’t stuff in as many keywords as you can as this will make your content harder to read. Instead, allow yourself to naturally optimize for keyword phrases that your readers may actually search for.
Prioritize Local SEO
Although not all voice searches are local searches, a sizeable percentage of local searches are made with voice. If someone is in a hurry or on the go, they will often want a quick answer, such as a recommendation for a good restaurant or a nearby gas station. Increase your likelihood of being featured in local searches by following the basic principles of local SEO:
- Optimize your content for keyword phrases that have local information embedded in them, including the name of your city, your county, or state.
- Ensure that your brand is present in all local directories, business directories, and listed on third-party platforms and apps – like Yelp, Grubhub, Google Local, or TripAvisor to name a few. The more positive reviews you receive, the higher you will rank in search results, and the better your voice search presence will be.
Focus on User Search Intent
What are the queries your audience is making? Why are they making them? Catering to search intent is growing in importance. You should learn how to analyze a search phrase and be able to tell what a user’s intent is. There are three types of intent to be aware of, which include:
- Informational intent, where a user is looking for information only. They could be looking for directions to a location or finding out how many stripes a zebra has.
- Navigational intent, where a user is looking for a specific product or site. For example, if somebody is looking to navigate to Amazon, they will search it with the intent of going to that site.
- Transactional intent, where users search with the goal to buy something. For example, somebody who is searching “maytag front load washing machine”. These kinds of searches are where the money is at, and the types of search queries you want to aim at targeting.
- Commercial investigation intent is similar to transactional intent where somebody is looking for a product or service with an intent to buy, but the timeframe is in the future, not immediately. They may search for “best led flashlight” and do the research to purchase in the future.