With the rise of voice artificial intelligence in products like Siri and Alexa, people are searching the internet in a very different way: with their voice. Voice search marketing is a brand new field that businesses are exploring.
AI assistants allow you to search things without pulling up a browser.
For example, you might be in the kitchen and can't remember how many cups are in a quart. A quick voice search allows you to get an answer without washing your hands and picking up your phone or opening up your computer.
As internet usage shifts from not just computers and phones but to devices like smart speakers, it's only natural that the way people use search engines shifts, too.
Voice search has certainly taken hold on mobile devices.
During the 2016 Google I/O conference keynote Google's CEO Sundar Pichai noted that one in every five searches done in the Android app in the United States was a voice search.
Mobile devices aren't the only products to utilize voice search. Smart speakers have seen a recent surge in popularity. Some of the major technology players in the market have released products (e.g. Google Home and Amazon Echo).
In 2017 NPR and Edison Research conducted an online survey of 1,620 people to better understand how and why people use smart speaker products. Nearly half of the people surveyed owned smart speaker, while the other half didn't.
Of the smart speaker owners, 52 percent said they used voice search regularly for "general questions," and 42 percent claimed that smart speakers are essential to their everyday lives. Most notably: 65 percent said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "You wouldn't want to go back to your life without a smart speaker."
Getting Ready for Voice Search Marketing
Now is a great time to start thinking about priming your website for voice search marketing.
In April 2017 marketing firm BrightEdge surveyed 252 digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands. They found that about 66 percent of marketers surveyed don't plan on doing anything for the next 12 months with voice search marketing.
If you're looking for an advantage, you can start optimizing now.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your website is ready for voice searches.
1. Optimize for mobile.
Voice search is especially useful when you're on the go, so it only makes sense that optimizing for mobile devices is crucial to voice search marketing.
If you haven't yet, consider taking this opportunity to truly invest in a better mobile experience for your mobile web visitors.
NetMarketShare is a research company that analyzes over 100 million website visitors each month to provide demographic statistics on the Internet. As of January 2018, Netmarketshare predicts that around 48 percent of all internet sessions are done on a mobile device.
Have you made a push to improve your mobile experience in the past? Consider taking a second pass to try and improve it even more. This means a fast-loading website that fits the width of a mobile screen and a user experience that won't repel customers.
(Google has a series of articles to help better understand why mobile is so important, as well as how to make your site more mobile friendly.)
2. Start investing in your local SEO.
Since voice search is often used when people are out and about, it makes sense to optimize your site for local SEO.
You can take advantage of local SEO by registering your business on sites like Yelp and Google My Business. You can also make sure that your location data is visible so search engines can find your website. (More on that in the next point.) Search engine marketing company Moz has a guide to getting started with local SEO if you're interested.
3. Add structured data to your website.
Structured data is simply a way of adding HTML tags to your existing web pages. It helps make finding and categorizing data easier for search engines.
Some examples of structured data that you might define on your website:
- organization information
- product data
A couple of the most beneficial types of structured data to add to your business website would be address information and telephone numbers. This data is helpful for mobile searchers, as finding where a business is located and how to contact them are tasks people need quickly when they're commuting.
You can add all sorts of structured data to your website to leave clues for search engines about data on your website. Schema.org allows you to look at the different specifications and types of data to add to your website. And if your company uses Wordpress, there's well-reviewed plugin that allows you to specify this data quickly and automatically.
As voice search continues to grow, it will become increasingly important to improve voice search marketing for your website. The great news is that if you act today, you're ahead of the game, as many marketers and businesses aren't putting resources towards optimizing for voice search.
Read more articles on digital tools.