Voice search plays a huge role in how users search. According to research as of January 2018, one billion voice searches are occurring each month.
That number will only grow as more people embrace the use of digital assistants. In fact, comScore estimates that half of all searches will be voice by 2020.
Voice search has already been impacting SEO efforts for years. Since SEO is a part of content marketing, that’s one impact. The other major impact is just on the overall tone and syntax of content. While more conversational content has been a pillar for content marketing, not every brand has evolved their voice.
You must consider how a voice search effects not only how you write but what you write about so that it’s more relevant to a voice search. Lifestyles and mobility have changed the way that possible buyers look for what they need. Your content marketing has to evolve, too.
The Essentials of Voice Search
Maybe the most important consideration and how voice search is changing content is the intent of the user. Why has the user chosen to use voice search instead of a search engine?
The answer can be found in considering the three attributes of voice search according to Google:
- Most likely to be about an on-the-go or mobile topic
- Doesn’t contain sensitive information
- Unlikely to lead to a website that requires significant interaction
In addition to these characteristics, voice search is used predominantly to find local places based on the user’s phone coordinates. Businesses that fall under these categories like restaurants, hotels, and retailers will find great use for improving their content for voice search.
How Voice Search Is Different
Typed search is rarely a full sentence. It’s often the type of thing needed with a location like bakeries and a city or zip code. Whereas when people ask their digital assistant, it goes more like “Where can I find a bakery in city or zip code. Thus, this changes the way content is written.
Voice search optimized content should be conversational in nature—it is a conversation after all. It starts with a question, and if the answer turns out to be yours, this should lead to more business.
Who Uses Voice Search
Almost 36 million Americans use a voice-activated assistant device. According to this research, the majority are millennials, with a total of 35.8 percent using it. Baby boomers are the least likely demographic with only 10 percent.
This frames better the personas you are trying to reach via voice search. Consider what else you know about the demographic and how that relates to voice search.
For example, millennials are known to research products or services before purchase. That research also includes reviews, so social proof is a huge influencer on this audience. With this information, you can develop content that answers their question and educates them on their purchasing decisions.
How Voice Search Has Changed SEO
Voice search has had a significant influence on SEO efforts, but it’s not a one size fits all. Different digital search assistants use different data. Google Home uses Google data. Siri uses Bing data. Alexa relies on Bing data and Amazon purchase history.
Depending on which system you use, you’ll get different results. So, this may influence your SEO efforts when you are looking at multiple search engines and not concentrating on just one. Keyword research becomes more important, especially on Google Home.
Most voice answers from Google are provided via a featured snippet or answer box at the top of search results. Find out exactly what keywords are being featured in this and try to provide a better answer. What and how questions tend to deliver the most featured snippets.
You’ll want to target keywords that already are in a featured snippet and those you already rank for on page one. Once you understand which questions matter the most, determine how the snippet is delivered: paragraph, bullets, or tables.
The point is to deliver content that answers these questions and results in more clicks, so the authority of the post grows as well.
FAQ Content Is a Gold Mine
With questions come answers. That’s why frequently asked questions (FAQ) are an important focus of your voice search content. It’s not just about having a detailed, keyword-friendly FAQ page. Go further with Q&A content in the form of blog posts.
The title can be the question, while the body is the answer. You could do this with almost any of your FAQs, and it will improve your search results if you are targeting the right keywords. These pages also help your content get featured in the Google section, “People Also Ask,” which many click on to dig further into a topic.
For this, you’ll have to understand what questions are most asked. You can find this in several ways. Add questions that your company does get the most. Combine this with what you find with Google Suggest. Another great tool to use is Quora.
Turn to Video to Expand Voice Search Content
Most users are consuming video like crazy. Research suggests that by 2020, video will comprise 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. It only makes sense that voice search should lead to video content. It increases the convenience factor of being on the go and looking for information. It’s also a way to tell a great story.
Repurpose content you’ve already created for FAQs and blog posts into explainer videos. Explainer videos share information on a topic in a way to educate and explain. With about 60 seconds of video, you’ll be able to enlighten and educate your audience. This can be powerful in terms of conversion.
Be Ready for Voice Search
Voice search is an exciting new chapter in SEO and has already shifted much of the traditional thoughts around SEO. By understanding intent and how voice search is different, your brand is ready for the world of voice search.
If you’d like to improve your company’s voice search position with a content marketing strategy that includes video content, we invite you to get in touch to learn more about Marketing Insider Group.