When Apple introduced their first voice search, named Siri, on the iPhone 4, the naysayers weren’t so sure of its social and business impact, but today the story has changed.
Voice search has continued to grow; a growth that has translated into opportunities for users and businesses.
51% of online shoppers in the US use voice assistants to help them research products, and another 40% of consumers use voice to order or buy something every month. This means the acceptance of voice search for shopping is growing rapidly. Writing off this seeming imperfect technology may negatively affect your business in the not-so-distant future.
What then should brands make of voice search, and how does it translate to your company’s digital success?
What is Voice Search?
When you want to search for anything online, what do you do?
You whip out your smartphone or smart device, go to your preferred search engine and type in your search.
With voice search, your voice essentially replaces your hands and a keyboard. Instead of using your hands, you speak into your smartphone or smart device and viola!... you get your answers. Commonly referred to as a voice assistant, this voice activation can also control various functions of your phone such as making calls, setting reminders, getting map directions, and taking voice notes.
The most popular voice assistants are Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. In terms of usage these three have about 30% of the market each, but notably, Siri dominates in the 18-14 age group with around 60% market share.
How Does Voice Search Work?
When we speak into our smart devices, the voice assistant listens, interprets what a person says and returns search results from whichever search engine you’re using. Voice Search works by discerning and matching little sounds with sounds and tones in its digital memory. Information is then pulled from multiple data sources. The technology is constantly improving. Because the developers continuously finetune the technology to increase word accuracy.
What is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice SEO is the optimization of keywords and keyword phrases for searches using voice assistants. SEO is required for websites to effectively show up in results for searches conducted through voice assistants.
Optimizing voice search is necessary and only businesses that are quicker to adopt it will see benefits as it continues to grow.
Why Should You Leverage Voice Search for Your Business?
While voice search is still evolving and its impact across diverse industries may vary.
Smart early adopters have started integrating voice search into their marketing strategy. The reason is simple, customers are quick to evolve with technology, especially the ones they find easier, simpler, and maybe even cooler.
Here’s what the rise of voice search means for your business:
1. Your SEO Strategy will Change
Voice search keywords need to be conversational because voice search users are generally looking for quick answers to their questions. Voice search queries require simple answers to who, what, how, where, and when questions.
Hitting the right spot for keywords means researching the key terms your targeted audience are using. To optimize for voice search, businesses must research the keyword process for their business. Others are using question keywords starting with words like how, where, what etc; using long-tail keywords and filler words. In all, keep it human, conversational, and simple.
2. You Can Boost Sales with Voice Search
The average voice search results page loads in 4.6 seconds. That is 52% faster than your average page.
Effectively optimizing SEO for voice search means visibility of your business. More visitors to your website means more prospective and existing customers can find you. This will likely lead to an increase in sales and growth for your business.
3. Improve Customer Experience
Voice search optimization services allow for the user experience to be faster and easier than ever before. How convenient is simply using your phone to browse, shop, and checkout from an eCommerce store?
Voice search often leads to better personalization of the customer experience. For example, Amazon’s Alexa can easily search through Spotify’s music library, scan Wikipedia and shop on Amazon – all at a user’s command.
With voice search, relevant answers are automatically shared with them – creating an exciting way for consumers to find the results they’re looking for. Happier customers mean loyal customers who will become your unpaid ambassadors.
4. Stay ahead of Competition
A lot of businesses are still focused on the traditional SEO strategy. Getting your business started on Voice SEO means cupping the current customers that have adapted to this evolving trend.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely here to stay. Voice search in digital marketing and online shopping (“voice commerce”) has continued to receive great acceptance and it is not surprising.
By 2022, 70% of consumers will be using voice to shop instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores (Capgemini). In addition, voice-based ad revenue is projected to reach a whopping $19 billion by 2022. These exciting projections are why smart online businesses are optimizing their eCommerce websites to work with voice.
Voice-driven shopping provides eCommerce sites with the opportunity to personalize their customers' journey. They can upsell to customers in real-time, improve their customer service and create better customer experiences for their customers.
5. Connect with Local Customers
Local content is a beast.
Reports say 22% of people use voice to search for local information like “restaurants near me” or even just “things to do near me.”
With “near me” searches having grown more than 146% year over year, local businesses cannot ignore the goldmine of customers around them.
Also, Convenience and saving time topped the reasons customers used Voice shopping according to a study by Coupon Follow.
This means Consumers are searching for quick answers to simple questions and if your SEO content can be optimized to answer those questions, your business will grow in leaps and bounds.
Leveraging Voice Search will be increasingly important for businesses. Smarter devices will keep hitting the market, making voice search more accessible, so more people will use voice search in more areas of their lives, particularly for search and shopping. As we’ve learned from so many other technological changes, those who anticipate, and plan will adapt and thrive.
Don’t get left behind!