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Optimize Voice Search Marketing: A Communication Channel on the Move

Horizontal shot of thoughtful curly haired woman uses cellphone for communication over speaker records voice message dressed casually poses against modern city building. Modern technologies.

Who would have predicted that voice technology would gain such high adoption rates? According to NPR and Edison Research, 62% of Americans 18+ utilize voice assistants on any device. The latest Edison research also indicates that 36% of Americans own smart speakers. They’re embracing voice-activated searches to entertain their kids and listen to music. That means voice search marketing is on the move.

Here’s the interesting statistic—it’s podcasts that have been the big driver.

Anyone who’s doing—or even considering doing—a podcasting, must optimize for voice search because a diverse audience that spans all demographics is showing a love for podcasts! We love them for their mobility, allowing us to engage with conversational content anywhere—whether we’re doing household chores or commuting. We’re listening, learning, laughing, and being entertained, often through voice search results.

Voice-search Marketing

Voice-enabled devices, including AI assistants, are revolutionizing the way we interact with technology, helping to reduce or eliminate touch points. Voice-activated searches now account for nearly half of all searches. Analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that “nearly 8 billion digital voice-activated devices will be in use by the end of 2023.”

SEO best practices remain the same

Google introduced us to what is voice search marketing way back in 2011. Initially a novelty, voice commands have evolved significantly, and now speech recognition technology has positioned our voice searches at the forefront of what is voice search optimization, marketing, and SEO strategies.

We need to adapt digital content to make it voice-search friendly so it can perform well in voice search optimization and rank in voice search results. Basic SEO principles are still the foundation for achieving prominence in voice-query results.

Length and style of search queries: They’re longer and more conversational

women giving a voice command

Remember that when people use voice commands to speak into a machine, it’s immediate—it’s also conversational, so there’s a good chance that natural language queries are going to be longer and less structured than those of a related text query.

When we key in a text query, whether we think about it or not, we are editing it in our minds. A voice search query, on the other hand, asks typically longer, more conversational questions. Think of these as natural-language processing examples.

How demographics and age influence search results

According to a Google report on voice search history, 41% of adults and 55% of teens are now using voice search queries at least once a day. If your business is influenced by demographics, take note of the following graphic. In these natural language processing examples, be mindful of the generational differences. When asked, ‘Pick one thing you wish you could ask your phone to do for you,’ the leading response from teens was ‘send me a pizza.’ From adults? ‘Tell me where my keys are.’

Voice search local: Think of looking for a local business

Within the past year, nearly 60% of consumers have discovered local businesses through the convenience of voice search, with local reviews playing a significant role in their decision-making process.

An example of a typical local voice search for business might go like this: You’re in Toulouse, France, the culinary home of cassoulet, and you’re on a quest to find the restaurant that serves the best version of this local delicacy. You might ask your device, ‘what’s the best restaurant in Toulouse to eat cassoulet’, relying on voice search local reviews to guide your decision.

Update your online profiles, including your Google Business Profile

Natural-language queries, which average 29 words, are often situational and highly specific, necessitating voice search optimization. The growing reliance on voice search for local inquiries has underscored the importance for retailers and marketers to enhance their online presence with structured data for local and hyperlocal search to cater to these voice search for local inquiries.

This includes ensuring that online profiles are accurate for effective voice search optimization. Google Business Profiles, Google Maps, and other listings should reflect up-to-date information, as should the profile details on your social media accounts.

With a strong domain authority and high search rankings, your business is more likely to feature prominently in local search results when voice search optimization is effectively implemented.

Keep in mind that Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, which means that the most effective strategies today likely will change.

Optimizing for voice search marketing

  • Do keyword research to find those keyword phrases that you want to be ranking for throughout your online presence. Use these keywords in your headings and metadescriptions as well as in body copy.
  • Long-tail vs short tail keyword—generally whole phrases such as “where is the best Italian restaurant near me” work best.
  • Pay attention to onpage SEO. This is the easy one that you’re probably already doing, and it includes things like using alt tags for your images and H tags for your headings and subheads. Original content—Google hates duplication—that includes within your site.
  • Anticipate user questions with FAQ pages. This requires some thought. What kinds of questions are you fielding now? Ask colleagues or friends for feedback. Search engines love FAQs.
  1. Put Google search console to work to identify the phrases you already rank for and review these for relevance. Find new phrases in your niche that have low competition and high traffic.
  2. Add a “how to” section to your website. Think about this—a lot of voice searches begin with “how to”.
  3. Make sure your graphics are high-quality video and images. Label every single image with your company name and image description. These are especially recommended for those who are hearing-impaired.
  4. Best practices for voice-search settings: Keep it simple.

Organize your content in a way that makes it easy for voice-search users to find the information they’re looking for. There’s nothing new about this. It’s always been best practices to write for a fifth-grade audience:

  • Use short sentences with simple punctuation. Avoid complex, run-on sentences, even though they may be grammatically correct. Save the big words for another audience.
  • Keep paragraphs short and easy to read—big blocks of text scare people.
  • Use subheads throughout your content. Make them meaningful and scannable. My goal is to be able to scan my document and let the subheads tell the story.
  • Create FAQ pages with questions and answers related to your business
  • Use bullet points where possible. They make it easy to read.

Once you’ve identified your longtail keywords, use these in your titles, headings and body content. Avoid keyword stuffing, which Google hates, working keywords in naturally. Identify headings and subheadings with H1 and H2 tags—these are what Google looks for when it indexes text. Do reiterate the longtail keyword in your metadescriptions

2022 voice-search optimization fast facts

  • Google: 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile; 86% of holiday shoppers used voice search.
  • eMarketer predicted that more than a third of the US population (111.8 million people) would use a voice assistant monthly in 2019, up 9.5% from 2018.
  • ComScore 2020: More than half of all smartphone users are engaging with voice search technology.
  • Gartner study: 30% of all browsing sessions will include voice search by 2020.
  • Voicebot.ai reports that over half of all adults have used voice search, with 33% using voice search monthly in early 2019, up from 25% in 2018.
  • Nielsen 2018: 1 of every 4 American homes equipped with Wi-Fi owned a smart speaker.
  • BrightLocal 2018 found that 58% of consumers used voice activated devices to find a local business in 2017, and 46% of people using voice search daily are searching for local business.
  • Adobe Analytics survey: Most common voice searches on smart speakers are asking for music (70%) and the weather forecast (64%), online search (47%), news (46%), and asking directions (34%).

Voice search marketing is on the move

Optimizing for voice search will make your website more accessible to this growing audience.

Published: February 8, 2024
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