Voice Search Is Getting Louder and It’s Time to Listen
With the rate at which Voice Recognition Technology (VRT) is growing in popularity, reading and writing may soon be a thing of the past. VRT has come a long way since Bell Technologies first introduced the “Audrey” system in 1952 that could only recognise digits from a single voice, to the systems we find in our everyday lives now. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are the most known examples of this technology, but they’re definitely not the only digital assistants anymore. Smartphones, TV remotes and even cars want a piece of this pie.
While VRT can be used to activate commands like switching lights on and off or dialling a number on our phone, one of the ways it is used most is to find information on the internet or “voice search”. For those not familiar with this term, voice search is when you ask for information by speaking into your phone or computer rather than typing in the search box. For example: Modern android phones are released with Google Assistant so you could ask “Hey Google, where can I have my laundry done?” and Google will tell you where all the laundromats are near you.
Google released its voice search feature back in 2002. Early versions however were not very accurate and more often than not frustrated users to the point that they would just type the search in. Massive improvements in the AI technology that manages the VRT and a database of over 230 billion words from actual user queries has resulted in a much smoother accurate and useful experience and according to CampaignLive, 50% of all searches will use voice by 2020 , but how will this affect marketing?
What this means for marketers…
Voice search technology has changed the way people search for things online. Their queries are longer and more conversational.
Advantages of voice search
The main reasons why people prefer voice search are:
- Its faster than typing – today’s consumers want a quick response to their question.
- The answers they get are straight forward and easy to understand.
- There are no incorrect results caused by typos.
- Its conveniently handsfree.
But if people no longer type their queries into the search engine, will the current SEO techniques need to change? The answer is yes…and no. Some website ranking factors may or may not affect voice search the same way as text-based search, but the main idea of SEO will stay the same since any spoken words will be translated into text. Since voice search will drastically improve the user’s search experience, here’s how marketers can optimise for voice-based searches:
- Make sure that your website loads quickly. Google loves responsive websites that contain optimised images and work well on mobile.
- Content needs to be easy to read and conversational. When someone uses voice search, they’re not going to say, “auto mechanics in Cape Town”, chances are they’ll ask: “Where can I have my car fixed in Cape Town?”. Make sure that content is optimised to include long-tail keywords that sound natural.
- Write content that answers a specific question. Make sure that your website has an extensive FAQ’s page.
- Think about why a user is searching for something.
- Present the content in a question and answer format, and lastly,
- Think “locally” when creating content since users will want to find places close to home.
It would be a big mistake for marketers to dismiss voice search as just a trend – it’s the future of search engine marketing.
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