One of the biggest changes impacting the world of digital marketing today is the widespread adoption of voice search. Over the past several years, the use of smartphone assistants and smart speakers, such as Siri and Google Home, has skyrocketed. In fact, just last year the Echo Dot was one of the most popular gifts of the 2016 holiday season.
The increased adoption rate of these items has obviously had significant effects on search trends. Just a couple years ago, voice search accounted for an incredibly small fraction of total searches worldwide. Now we’re seeing more than 20 percent of all mobile searches being done by voice, with no signs of slowing down.
So what does this mean for your website? As consumers change the ways they search for products and services or seek out information, how are current websites built to handle this new trend? We’re here to break down some of the key things you should know about voice search and how you can adapt your digital strategy moving forward.
No More “Page 1”
Marketers have spent about twenty years searching for the perfect solution to improve site rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). In most cases, just appearing on page one of the SERP’s would be considered a win. Optimization often focused on crafting compelling copy to earn a user’s click while capitalizing on the appropriate keywords. You also didn’t need to be the number one result on the page because users had grown accustomed to at least glancing at the other options. Voice search is changing all of that.
Users are no longer being presented ten different options to consider before picking the one they deem fit. In fact, they’re rarely even reviewing two. More often than not, the first result they are hearing either satisfies their query or they decide to change their initial search. This means being number two or three in the rankings isn’t good enough anymore. A lot of this has to do with the specific nature of voice search and the challenge it presents to sites optimized for typed searches.
Rethinking Your Content
Because voice search has made reaching your audience significantly harder, you must be prepared to make changes to your content. Now more than ever, understanding exactly what users are searching for and how they are searching for it is vital to your success. Proper optimization must now consider the difference in a search that is typed and a search that is spoken.
To improve your site for voice search, your content should incorporate more natural language. When we’re speaking, we tend to use more words and longer sentences than we do when typing. Because of this, consider adding full sentences to your list of keywords. Instead of focusing on shorter keywords or phrases, optimize more pages to incorporate full-sentence searches being performed on smart devices.
Along these same lines, you should also be prepared to examine your content through the lens of spoken-word, question-based searches. Most searches that are typed consist of sentence fragments, but this isn’t the case for voice search. Screenless searches generally occur in the form of questions and not one or two word requests. This means your content now needs to reflect this. In addition to full sentences, be sure to include specific questions in your list of keywords moving forward.
The Power of Apps
Along with the increased adoption of voice search, we’ve also seen a rise in the development of screenless apps. You should expect these to play a bigger role in the future, especially as more businesses focus on improving the experience for those using assistants and smart speakers. The apps will be particularly beneficial for businesses with a physical location due to the fact that voice searches are significantly more likely to be local-based than text searches.
For now, though, the market is not crowded with these screenless apps. This presents a rare opportunity for businesses looking to get ahead of the game. If you think yours might benefit from developing a screenless app, there’s a good chance you could beat your competitors to the punch. Act now, because the continued growth of voice search guarantees the expansion of screenless apps in the coming months and years.