Do you own a smart speaker? A recent NPR survey reports the number of people who now own at least one smart speaker in their homes has surged to 53 million, or 21% of the U.S. adult population. With more people opting to use their voice instead of a keyboard, the time has come to cordially introduce your brand to three of digital marketing’s new A-list celebrities: Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Oh, and training your brand to respond well to the phrase “Ok, Google” will also be crucial.
By the Numbers
Smart speaker devices are popping up everywhere. And it’s not just at home where voice searches are prevalent. The usage of voice search enabled phones and computers is already immense—just take the latest iPhone, MacBook, Galaxy, or Surface Pro. When it comes to how this will impact customer behavior for both B2B and B2C organizations, some of the stats we’re seeing speak for themselves:
- 2 out of every 5 people say voice-activated devices are essential to their daily lives.
- 40% of adults use voice search at least once per day.
- 20% of all mobile searches are by voice, according to Google.
- By 2020, it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be voice searches.
- By 2022, more than 70 million U.S. households will have smart speakers.
So, What Can You Do?
1. Be Conversational.
Voice searches naturally use language that is more conversational than the way we typically write. They also feature “long tail keywords,” or longer sentence-like phrases rather than shorter, keyword-rich queries. For instance, instead of typing “top restaurants washington dc,” you’re more likely to ask “Hey Siri, what are the best places to eat in DC?” This has a direct impact on SEO, since websites with more conversational content will likely have a greater chance of being selected by Siri as she tries to find your answer.
Helpful Tip: Take a look at your website content and ask: Does the content read in a way that resonates with your target audience? Does it mirror the way they speak? If not, it may be time to refresh your web copy and key messages to improve voice search results.
2. Be Concise and Answer Questions.
Have you ever searched something and found a perfectly clear, two-sentence answer to your question inside a box at the very top of the Google results page? That’s called a “featured snippet.” In search results, they appear above the ads (!) and Google’s been optimizing to display them whenever possible to make the search experience better. Being seen as a featured snippet can bring huge benefits to your business, from causing your web traffic to skyrocket to boosting your brand’s credibility. And when Alexa needs a quick answer to your question, featured snippets are likely to be the first place she’ll look.
In addition to using conversational language, your website can have a greater chance of reaching stardom as a featured snippet by:
- Presenting key information in a way that matches the way a question would be phrased.
- Making it easy for Google’s search algorithms to index the content with proper headings and concise 40-50 word paragraphs or lists.
Helpful Tip: For quick ideas on how to make your content more conversational and answer common questions related to your industry, we recommend trying the awesome research tool over at AnswerThePublic.com.
3. Be One of the Locals.
60% of Google searches are done on a mobile device, and roughly 1/3 of those searches are related to location. When you’re hungry and in a hurry (aren’t we all?), it’s easier and more effective to search “chinese carryout near me” as opposed to “chinese carryout in baltimore harbor east.” As searches become more conversational with the rise of voice search, the “near me” and “close by” search phrases will become even more popular.
If your brand has brick-and-mortar locations or local service offerings, you can easily help make these more findable to nearby searchers by claiming and polishing up your Google My Business listing(s) with your business info, high-quality pictures, address, hours, and phone number. Incorporating location-relevant keywords into your web content to boost SEO is also a valuable strategy. Digital marketing guru Neil Patel recommends:
- Incorporating phrases into your web content which people often use to describe the areas around your location (i.e., Northeast DC, the Baltimore Inner Harbor, etc.)
- Using “near me” in your title tags, meta description, internal links, and anchor text.
- Thoughtfully sprinkling the names of nearby landmarks into your content.
- Referencing the titles of local institutions that are relevant to your business.
Think a voice search optimized SEO strategy is a step in the right direction for your brand? Contact LMD to get the conversation going.