The past two years, particularly 2019, has seen the phenomenal rise in popularity of voice as a way of searching. People have slowly but surely started embracing anything voice-activated, from using voice search on their mobile devices to trusting voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri for just about anything. So while the web user of the 2000s would be familiar with a page containing ten results that would have titles in blue and URLs in green, the web user of the year 2020 will see results in more varied shapes, with his or her intent, what gadget he or she is using, his or her location, and many other factors affecting how he or she sees the search engine result pages.
With the rising complexity of technology and the sophistication of those using it, search engines are hot on their trails, making sure that they adapt to both users and technology. With searchers now getting more mobile, on the go and hands-free, it is expected that search engines will surely step on something that these three factors have in common - voice.
Voice search: Striking while the iron is hot?
Considering that voice search only exploded in popularity in the past couple of years, the pace of its growth can be described as staggering. Close to 59% of American consumers admit to using voice search in 2019, according to Comscore, but only close to 12% of businesses are on Alexa, and the adoption of brands to Google Assistant is lower. Thus, it can still be said that voice apps are still in their infancy stages for businesses, but already on its steady incline for users. So, shouldn’t your business be an early adaptor to this?
Personally, it's still very early for voice and for voice search results on a broader spectrum. It's yet to be applied in the home properly; it hasn't become natural behaviour there either. Outside of the home, that behaviour, in my opinion, is even smaller. Despite devices like ear pod-style headphones and their ability to pick up voice more effectively which has undoubtedly improved the consumer's experience. It's also becoming more socially acceptable to be seen walking around with ear pods in, taking a call or whatever else you're doing - so the stigma associated with being a Bluetooth headset warrior is fading.
Kinks yet to be ironed out
Of course, before getting your business into this voice search craze, you have to get an understanding of how it works. Once a voice-activated search pushes through, the search engine turns it into a written query. Although the process can be quite smooth since the topical queries get linked in logical fashion, search engines can get “stuck” with a query when the voice owner (aka the searcher) uses vernacular, has a particular accent or different speech pattern, so the best answers to the searcher’s query may not be offered.
How many of us have asked Siri for directions while driving? If Google shows the wrong business data for a local result, customers may never make it to the storefront, leaving them with a negative brand sentiment and pushing them toward a competitor. In today's world of search, voice is either an opportunity to be taken or a risk to be ignored.
It’s a great time to join the voice bandwagon
As voice search is a trending topic and has proven to have a massive impact on how people get access to information they need, it might really be high time for businesses to get into this field, not necessarily to be part of voice assistant apps as mentioned earlier (although we also advised that businesses already look into it), but for digital marketers to invest effort into optimizing their content so that they are friendly for voice searches.
We are used to the habit of cramming awkward keywords throughout the content but voice search has changed the course of that game. Searches through voice recognition are much longer, descriptive and have a tone of natural human conversation. Therefore the use of long-tail keywords or three to four-word phrases that are extremely specific to our product or service is essential to cope with the voice search era. These can help to keep the conversation going when the user is interacting with virtual assistants rather than leading it to a dead end.
Less clicks, more alarm for businesses
Voice searches are contributing a lot to the rise in popularity of click-less searches. By using your voice, you don’t have to click anything to type in your query and you’ll be presented with the results on your gadget’s screen. Since a lot of businesses rely a lot on Google for leads, they should get on understanding this trend and see how they can join and benefit from it.
The types of queries performed via voice search tend to be direct and loaded with intention since there is no visual interface. Typically, these searches are more like commands than they are research-oriented — e.g., “Siri, call the closest Home Depot.” With more customers asking for directions, hours, and phone numbers, B2Bs need to optimize their SEO strategy to include voice and accommodate direct actions via voice search. In the long term, this might require hiring a designated voice SEO manager to ensure success as this technology drives more change.
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Find Search Success With Your Voice is courtesy of ASGM Blog