If you are one of the billions of people globally who have asked your phone or smart home hub a question whilst multitasking, then you have conducted a voice search. According to a recent report, around 71% of smart technology users would prefer to use a voice search assistant rather than actually typing out their queries. What’s important to note is that spoken and typed search queries both offer different search results. This means that businesses need to begin correctly optimising their websites in order to better their chances of reaching potential customers.
With thanks to devices such as Siri, Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, it is now easier than ever to ask a question and receive an answer from the comfort of your sofa or whilst driving. This means that it is imperative for businesses to take voice search seriously whilst preparing content for their brand, but how do businesses go about this? And what do you need to check in order for site content to meet current voice search requirements?
The Evolution of Voice Search
Voice search used to consist of just calling a number from your phone and saying your search term, or at least that’s what it looked like in its early years. However, voice search has improved significantly since 2008, when the Google Voice Search app for iPhone was first trialled. In 2011, Google announced that it was rolling out voice search through Google.com, but at first, it was only accessible in English. Now, it is available in around 60 different languages.
In 2013, the Hummingbird update came and changed the concepts of both spoken and typed search. This updated algorithm focused on natural language and it was aimed at taking user consideration into account, as well as the context of the query.
Fast-forward to today, and tens of millions of Amazon’s Alexa devices have been sold, with a staggering 70,000 new ‘skills’ for Alexa. A personal digital assistant is slowly becoming the norm for many households and it’s clear to see that it’s shaping consumer behaviour more than ever. Users are fascinated with technology, and to combine it with something as natural as speaking was always going to be a huge shift. Businesses are now being thrown into the deep end when it comes to keeping up with this change, particularly when it comes to the content on their website.
Content Geared Towards Voice Search
As it currently stands, the majority of content on a website is keyword focused – that being tailored towards what potential customers may type into Google. However, if a user is asking Google a question with their voice instead of typing into the search bar, the way it’s worded is going to be slightly different.
Take LSI keywords, for example. These are long-tail keywords that target lower search volumes, as they’re usually a keyword within a question. Any digital marketing agency would recommend targeting these keywords. This could be something like ‘Where are the best bars in London?’. Voice search would now be ideal for picking up such terms, because the question asked is more natural than a ‘best bars London’ query typed into the search bar.
What’s more, businesses may wish to add more FAQ sections to their website to optimise it for voice search. This will capture both long-tail and voice search traffic, effectively preparing for when there’s a switch in searching methods before it’s begun.
It’s crucial that companies accept the fact that voice search is the future. Any business that fails to make the appropriate changes to their content risks losing out to competitors who were early adopters.
The Future of Voice Search and the IoT
Voice recognition assistants are now capable of more than just answering your questions when browsing the internet thanks to the IoT (Internet of Things). Even more applications are being made specifically to be compatible with voice recognition. Smart devices aim to help humans with tasks around the home such as controlling the heating, turning lights off, and using entertainment systems.
The future of voice search is as exciting for users as it is for businesses. There’s no time like the present to start switching up content to accommodate the influx of potential customers using this way to browse the web.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. With a range of knowledge in the business and insurance sector, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked with a number of different businesses, Natalie is now a freelance writer looking to specialise in the topic. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.