Gartner analysts predict that voice interactions will eventually overtake typing a search query; About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020. Technology such as Amazon Alexa for Echo, chat bots and software development kits from Microsoft and others will make this possible.
A fifth of UK adults use voice search several times a day – and the majority of those early adopters are millennials or adults aged 45 – 54; “near me” searches seem to be most popular with the opportunity for local brands increasing dramatically with this new trend.
As paid advertising is not an option on voice search (and remains unknown if/when it will be), brands really need their content and SEO to be as fitting as possible. Here's our main tip on how to do it.
Voice searches are less about the actual keyword variations and more about how a sentence (mainly being a question) would be spoken. When typing a search, we mostly use disjointed keywords (e.g. ‘marketing agency London) and scroll through the first page of results that pops up. When using voice search, people speak in longer, chattier sentences – more human. For example, we’re more likely to say:
“Hey Alexa, what’s the best marketing agency near me specialising in branding?”
Voice algorithms have been said to search for the most direct answers to such queries. On Google for example, it’s often the top ‘feature snippet’ that gets read out as the answer.
With this information, Yellow Walrus would highly recommend optimising your Meta-Descriptions / feature snippets to include a Question/Answer type style along with 'natural' conversational language.
It is going to be exciting to see how tech develops further and adapts in order to cater for voice search over the coming years. There’s going to be optimal opportunity with intertwining technology such as cars and smart TV’s over the next few years and Yellow Walrus believes it will keep growing.
Having said this, the variable of ‘trust’ is seemingly the main factor holding back the 'fast-tracked' progress. There seems to be a lot of debate around the trust factor (or lack thereof) as soon as ‘voice search’ is brought up into any conversation. Many people think they (the corporations) are listening in to every conversation, but this isn’t the case – it’s only when the wake-up command, like “Hey Alexa” is spoken. In the end, it will become a weigh up of benefits vs drawbacks for the individual – if people want the device in their home/workspace then they will undoubtedly have to sacrifice a small part of their privacy. We have the same concept with using YouTube and Facebook for free – we get hit with advertising. The majority of us put up with such adverts as the ‘payment’ for using the service for free. Whether or not Voice Search will become as widely adopted as other digital trends, we will have to wait and see.