Investment in digital marketing continues to grow amongst companies of all size, as this channel becomes an increasingly important means of attracting potential customers online. According to Tim Butler, Founder of Innovation Visual, one development that is beginning to revolutionise search marketing is Voice Search. Google recently announced that 20% of searches on its mobile app and Android services are now carried out by voice, and this number is only likely to increase in the coming years.
The statistics for voice search today are proof of just how important this method of search is becoming. Microsoft Cortana has over 133 million active users, over 40 million people use Siri on their Apple devices every month and Amazon has already sold over 20 million Echo devices. These figures are not only staggering, but also prove the growing consumer desire for voice search technology.
Tim provides the following insight into the challenges now facing marketers as a result of voice search:
- Top result in search engines is now even more important – One of the main changes voice search introduces is the fact that only the first result is read out. Suddenly optimising pages to be on the first page of Google is not good enough. Even being second on Google results is not much good.
- What questions are your audience asking? – Search queries from voice are often longer; so start optimising for longer search queries rather than purely keywords. Start to pay attention to what questions your customers are asking your business and then create a page on your website that answers that question. If you want to find out what questions consumers are asking, then a good website to use is AnswerThePublic, which generates title ideas around the theme you input.
- Schema.org is vital – For a search engine to understand what your website page is showing it must be able to understand the page data. This data is delivered in a large part by structured data and this is defined by the schema.org standard. This is the system used to mark-up content on a web page, which then enables search engines to understand the text in the code. By implementing schema.org you will help AI to identify information on your website pages, increasing your chances of ranking for voice search results.
- Local Search & Mobile – Queries like ‘coffee shop near me’ or ‘where can I buy a newspaper?’ are becoming more common. If your business relies on local customers, then it is important to be found when people are asking for the product or service you sell. Localised search results come from Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, so make sure your business has these listings set up.
- Misspelling & Mispronunciation – This is a challenge for AI. The word accuracy rate is now at 95%, but it is still not 100% and this means there is still a margin for error. There are certain brands that are almost impossible to find via voice search. This is worth bearing in mind when you develop new products. Is the new product easy to pronounce? If it is then it will be easier to be found via voice search.
- Disintermediation – the main reason voice search is growing is the convenience factor. People want results and they want them fast. This is where voice search is efficient as you only receive one result, however this also eliminates choice. For example, if you use Amazon Echo to order a pizza then it will order it from Domino’s because the pizza company has a deal with Amazon.
It is worth investing time and money in optimising your business’ website for voice search as the growth of voice search shows no signs of slowing down. By 2020, it is estimated that 50% of searches will be voice searches. If your business is not prepared for the shift in the way people search online, then you could miss out on search traffic and ultimately lose sales to competitors who have optimised their sites effectively.