The Internet has revolutionized our lives. Everything from shopping and studying to tracing family histories is easier than ever. An entire world of information and purchases await at our fingertips.
As technology evolves, the Internet evolves with it. Once upon a time, we needed an advanced computer and a dial-up modem just to get online, with long waits and slow loading par for the course. However, mobile devices have changed the playing field entirely in the past ten years. Now, we can answer almost any question at any time, any place.
Mobile technology has also brought another remarkable change to consumers, streamlining the search process further: personal voice assistants.
Voice search delivers the most convenient browsing experience so far. Rather than having to actually input their query by typing with a keyboard or tapping letters on a screen, searchers have the ability to request information simply by speaking into their device.
The technology has caught on, in a big way. According to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, voice search accounts for 20 percent of queries on their mobile apps and Android products. Apple’s Siri, on the other hand, is said to receive around one billion requests each week.
However, anyone with an interest in search marketing is bound to ask what personal voice assistants like Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Cortana mean for the future. Will this technology lead to significant shifts in the way consumers search for information, and how can businesses adapt?
The Direct Approach To Search
In the past, SEO has involved the use of a broad range of terms to appeal to the biggest scope of potential customers, refined by locations. Brands using common keywords like “red hats” and “blue jeans” have had to make their presence known using geographical information. “Red hats Phoenix” and “blue jeans Boston” would still lead to a wider net of results, but helps to target individual consumers more.
Voice search depends on such specificity, requiring brands to target the individual searcher’s unique line of questioning. More and more consumers are performing longer search requests, starting their queries with “what”, “how”, “what”, and “who”.
To keep up with this change, brands and digital advertisers must keep their keywords updated. Optimization must tie-in with the most common questions, providing browsers with the most efficient response. For example, a potential buyer search for a product is likely to ask “where can I buy an Xbox?” or “how far is Boston from Chicago?”.
Any site providing an answer to either of these questions has to predict users’ activities. Personal voice assistants need to be able to provide a direct answer to specific questions, which also puts brands in a position to convert visitors. Any user asking where they can find a specific item will be more likely to make a purchase if they are led directly to a landing page featuring the product.
As personal voice assistants continue to become bigger, brands of all sizes should refine their SEO techniques to account for these shifts.
Search Terms Must Be More Conversational
As more people use virtual assistants and voice search, brands and businesses should use more conversational terms. This is most effective in local search, with users likely to ask their assistant “where’s the nearest baker’s?” rather than “bakers Manhattan”.
While repeating keywords won’t go away any time soon, sites looking to target voice search should ensure they clearly cover their location and services. Writing content in a more conversational tone, keeping natural speaking patterns in mind, is vital.
With local searches, people want to know how they can access specific products or services immediately. Businesses need to keep their contact details updated, and incorporate such phrases as “where can I find XXXX in XXXX?” and “what is the best XXXX in XXXX?” into their on-page content, blogs, and social media accounts.
Voice Search Will Integrate With Wearable Tech
As wearable tech becomes a more affordable option for consumers, the convenience voice search offers is a perfect match. Being able to conduct searches by simply speaking into your watch (for example) removes even more effort from the process. Simply raising a wrist rather than taking a phone from a pocket saves time and effort.
As slight as this difference appears, it matters to consumers. While concerns have been raised about the potential invasion of privacy posed by this technology, it is in manufacturers’ best interests to ensure maximum satisfaction. Problems will be addressed over time, and systems will likely adapt to consumers’ demands.
Moving from text input to voice search has been a gradual transition so far, and it will continue to be so as it takes on greater prominence in daily life. A personal voice assistant plugs us directly into the internet, making it far easier and efficient to answer our questions and find potential purchases.
By targeting content to match the requirements of voice-searchers, brands can ensure they adapt and continue to compete.
Kyle McManus is a freelance writer based in the UK. This article was prepared on behalf of Nett Solutions.