Whether you are on an online shopping spree looking for your D-day outfit or a meaning of a millennial lingo that you have come across, or simply urged to find out the best cafes in town. These days, it starts with “Hey, Siri!”, or “Ok Google!”.
In fact, there are 40 % of adults at least, who use voice search at least once a day, per this report.
Given this shift of focus from the conventional search methods, AI-led voice search technology has already transformed the way brands connect with their users and strive to surpass their expectations.
Players like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have already inundated the market with their voice products, and this trend is set to intensify in the years to come. A report by Comscore suggested that by 2020, 50% of online searches will be through voice.
This blog will give you insights on how voice technology can become the face of marketing, the challenges associated with it, and tips to optimize your website for voice search.
Why Should Enterprises Optimize For Voice Search?
Here are some of the trends that enterprises must contemplate if they are unable to comprehend the transformation that voice technology is going to bring in marketing space-
1. Voice technology will continue flourishing in the coming years
Voice technology came into existence in the 1950s, but in the last few years, it has advanced at an enormous scale, with the latest devices, Amazon Echo and Google Home being the most sophisticated voice assistants consumers have ever seen.
What’s more, technology is improving constantly as consumers are taking more interest in it, which means that voice technology is going to stay here.
In fact, in the last few couples of years, Google has elevated its word recognition accuracy rate from less than 80 to over 90%, thereby making it easier for users to use and interact with.
2. A sound voice strategy can enhance customer experience
Implementing a voice strategy is not just about being relevant but also a way to deliver unique and optimized customer experiences that will fortify relationships and bring brand awareness as well.
In fact, voice assistants can provide valuable insights on users that can lead to more personalized messages and content to users. Besides, voice technology can make interactions with brands more natural and seamless, which increases retention and loyalty.
And, finally, voice search interactions take quite a lesser time than text-based ones, which makes life more convenient for busy consumers who expect a great experience and instant gratification every time they interact with a brand.
One such example of a brand that successfully implemented voice technology into its strategy is Whirlpool. They partnered with Amazon to create a range of smart voice-activated appliances that can speak with consumers, answer questions, and even provide suggestions on what should be bought.
So, just like smartphones and social media have become an inevitable part of users’ lives in this digital generation, so too will voice technology become.
Companies who want to remain visible and ahead of their competitors in the upcoming years will have to look for a way to integrate voice technology into their digital marketing strategies.
3. Either you adopt voice search strategy or lose users to your competitors
Using voice-technology to let your customers find you should not be the only purpose to use it but also to prevent your potential customers or prospects from finding your competitors instead.
In other words, if your competitors have a voice strategy and you don’t, then there is a high possibility that they’ll be more visible to users, thanks to their competitive SEO strategy and ability to incorporate new technologies. At the moment, voice technology is still new enough and not many brands have implemented it, thus, it can be a golden opportunity for your brand to get a head start in the game and an edge against the competition.
Voice Technology Has Some Challenges
As voice search is becoming increasingly popular, these issues/ challenges need a quick fix to help marketing industry streamline their strategies-
A. Voice technology is in its infancy
While the marketing industry is ever-increasing at an all-time high, it’s still the onset of voice-search functionality. Due to the modernity of the technology also, some people may be hesitant to use it, while the inadequate awareness in the skills development can hamper content production. Just like any new stuff surfaces in the industry, you need to articulate the value of new technology to the masses through content - demonstrate use cases and best practices.
Diversity and the bias demonstrated by AI will remain a problem in 2020. Alexa and Google Assistant are 30% less likely to understand non-American accents and the average accuracy rate of a white male using Alexa is 92% - a mixed-race female is 69%.
Because of the large proportion of the workforce behind the technology are white men- debate on how AI bias is created will continue, a tendency known as the creators’ bias.
However, with the advancement of voice technology, organizations such as the BBC have already taken an initiative to focus on such issues. The BBC is going to launch a voice assistant, as a part of the trial and prototyping of their service. As a result, they have invited staff from around the world to feed in to train the program to read different accents. It shows that voice-based security systems still require some fine-tuning.
There are a lot of customers who have raised concerns about their security getting compromised coz of Google or Amazon’s Alexa listening to their bedroom conversation. And then, another threat that is looming is laser hacking - a capability where a person can trick your device into doing something by shining a laser pen at it.
Google has further announced at CES that if a user says, “Hey Google, are you listening to me?”, they will be shown a deep link to privacy settings in the Home mobile app, to educate them on how their privacy is taken.
D. The audience is still limited
Currently, most people who are under the age of 35 are using digital voice assistants, but eventually, the audience will expand as people over 55 have already started showing interest in it. Besides, voice-first technology holds value for older adults - among all other things, it helps lessen the loneliness among older people. And both Google and Amazon are also diligently focusing on creating child-friendly content for their voice-assistants.
E. Tracking voice skills metrics is challenging
As mentioned in the above point, voice is in its infancy stage, thus it would be too soon to expect that it will shoot up ROI in the first place. An efficacious voice campaign depends on the voice assistant you have put into use. However, to track the metrics, you also need to integrate with internal systems, which unfortunately becomes difficult with digital assistants. Therefore, the limitations and capabilities of such new technologies must be kept in mind.
Tips To Optimize Your Website For Voice Search
Optimizing business websites, platforms, and interfaces need a great deal of work in this age of voice search. Voice search will play a key role in revamping the keyword strategies, SEO, and Google ranking of your website content.
Here are some optimization tips and tricks mentioned to help you rise in this emerging trend-
1. Shift your content towards SERP-SEO
Conventional SEO implies the inclusion of specific word phrases for a considerably shorter length. However, Google is changing its algorithms continuously to make it more voice search-friendly. Companies should focus more on SERP-SEO, i.e., Search Engine Result Page SEO rather than conventional SEO.
During a voice search, Google will search for a featured snippet against a user's query. It displays the results which appear on the top of organic results on Google’s SERPs. Thus, you need to create and organize content in such a way that it addresses users’ questions directly, thus improving user experience and improving your SERP-SEOs in return.
2. Check the length and tone of your keywords
It has become important to use conversational keywords rather than using word phrases. Voice-search demands long-tail keywords. For example, people search for “Delhi temperature” when they type in search engines. But the voice search for the same keyword is made like this, “What is the temperature in Delhi?’’ Thus, a phrase used as a keyword is completely replaced by a question or conversation.
Therefore, marketers must reevaluate their content and marketing strategies immediately to keep their website rankings higher on search engines and increase visibility.
3. Make your website content and sessions mobile-friendly
Voice search is a popular feature in the mobile space. People prefer to use mobile phones over PCs and laptops to conduct web searches. There are almost 70% of total users who prefer to purchase through a mobile-friendly website. So, you need to develop a mobile-friendly website and interfaces for your brands with efficient marketing practices in the era of Artificial Intelligence.
For achieving the same, companies should focus on improving the loading time for the websites, delivery of your content, redesigning the pop-ups as well as buttons, CTAs, and fonts for mobile devices.
This way, your content will become compatible with various voice-based devices to deliver results swiftly and efficiently.
4. Focus on Local SEO while designing your content
As per this study, 22% of voice searches are location-based. Thus, the local retailers, entrepreneurs, restaurants, salons, and hotels can include local SEO in their website content for increased traffic and visibility.
Local SEO strategies can boost your visibility on search engines and thus can help increase your sales. You should create an account on google my business and keep updating and optimizing it. Additionally, the positive reviews of customers, the use of local keywords, and integrating your location and contact information adds to the quality of your local SEO.
5. Aim to be the best
In a similar manner you optimize content for local searches, you also need to start looking for unique ways to get ahead from your competitors. Besides using phrases instead of just keywords, you can initiate a new practice of gathering good reviews.
People don’t search for “pizza place in Delhi” or “fashion designer in Delhi” anymore. The search patterns are more like, “What are the top pizza places near me?” or, “Best reviewed pizza parlor near me”
And when such questions are answered by speakers or virtual assistants, they will only give users the business with the best reviews.
So, you can ask customers for reviews once they have taken your service or have used your product. Ensure that the reviews are upon your business listings on search engines, like Google, Bing, etc. That way, you can get to the top of the list and people will look forward to avail services from your business.
There are still some evident limitations with voice technology but as it heads towards a high accuracy rate, it will be easier for users to carry out a conversation with their devices and far more organic than typing.
Voice has already transformed the face of marketing and communications, and these changes will only intensify in the years to come.
Companies need to begin positioning themselves not only as desirable to consumers but to their AI assistant also, which will happen by building trust through organic ads and creating a genuine, relatable, and specific voice of their own.