In today's busy world, voice-controlled, time-saving technology has recently seen a surge in popularity—especially with smart speaker use. And it doesn't look like that will slow down anytime soon. According to Paul Briggs, senior analyst with eMarketer Canada, estimates for smart speaker users should reach 7.2 million in 2020.
As consumers become more comfortable using voice commands with their smart speakers, the use of voice search will soon broaden, and that means more digital marketing opportunities for businesses of all sizes. If your online business presence hasn't yet been optimized for voice search, here's what you need to know.
What is voice search?
Voice search refers to the process of using voice-controlled technology on a device to conduct an online search. Voice search lets users verbally ask a question in a normal speaking voice instead of keying the question into a search box on a screen. For example, Google Assistant and Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant Siri use voice search to find products, services, nearby business locations and information on just about anything.
Benefits of being voice search-ready
As Canadians become more comfortable using voice search, it is changing the way people look for information.
“Canadians are familiar with voice search because they've had access to it via their smartphones for some time with Siri and Google Assistant," says Briggs. “Doing these searches on a smart speaker is a natural extension of such searches on a smartphone."
If your business is ready for voice-search, it could improve your chances of being at the top of the voice search results for your products and services. And that could mean more customers and more sales. This could be particularly useful for local businesses with a brick-and-mortar location if potential customers are using voice search to quickly find a nearby store, office or restaurant.
4 ways to optimize your business for voice search
Getting your business ready for the rise of voice search isn't difficult if you already have a website and online presence.
- Focus on making sure your contact information on your website and social media accounts are fully optimized.
“If you're a retailer, voice queries will likely be about your location and/or contact information, so this should be readily discoverable on your web properties and SEO tagging," advises Briggs.
- Review each page of your website and update them as needed for voice search engine optimization, which is slightly different from traditional search engine optimization. This might sound complicated, but it's quite simple. Your content should include questions your potential customers will ask, as well as your answers.
“Voice search is more commonly a longer query in the form of a question, whereas traditional search is more keyword-based," says Briggs. “For SEO, that means marketers should identify questions their customers are likely to ask in addition to the traditional tagging conducted for SEO."
- Update your business listings online to make sure your location, hours, map and contact information are accurate. This means checking and updating your Apple Maps location, Yelp/Yext details and Google My Business listings, where needed.
- When you're ready to expand your voice SEO, ask your website developer about programs or tools to help implement your voice search engine optimization more efficiently.
“To develop a deeper strategy, several tools exist to help optimize how your search performs on desktops, mobile devices and smart speakers," Briggs suggests. One example is Google's Speakable, which identifies parts of websites most suited for conversion to audio using text-to-speech technology.
As the popularity of home speakers in Canada has shown, voice-controlled technology is here to stay. Get a jump on your competitors by optimizing your business' online presence for voice search today and you'll be ahead of the digital marketing game.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.