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Hey Google, should I consider voice search in my digital marketing strategy?

The use of voice search, using your voice to perform a search and retrieve information, is on the rise. It’s not surprising, because not only is it efficient and time-saving, it also works properly these days. This trend is obviously bringing some changes, but what exactly does it mean for your digital marketing strategy? 

What is voice search? 

Voice search is a technology based on speech recognition that allows users to perform a search by voice instead of typing. Voice searches are mainly done via smartphone. You can also use this technology to control your device. You can use voice to set your alarm, call someone or play music. In this case, we speak of voice actions. To use this technology, you need a voice assistant. Well-known voice assistants are Google Assistant, Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft) and Siri (Apple).  

While text search or traditional search focuses on short and powerful search terms, the so-called keywords, voice search focuses on longer search terms, sentences or questions as in a real conversation. Longer search terms are also called long-tail keywords. When we perform a traditional search, we are presented with a page containing multiple links and results. With voice search, we often only get one result, and it is read out loud by the voice assistant. The answer is usually short and is largely determined by proximity or location. 


Where do the answers come from? 

The different voice assistants base their answers on different sources: 

  • Google Assistant: Google network (Google search engine, Google My Business, Google Maps, ...) 
  • Siri: Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps 
  • Alexa: Bing, Yelp 
  • Cortana: Bing, Yelp 

It is important to know that Google relies mainly on “featured snippets.” A featured snippet is a highlighted search result that provides a concise and direct answer to the search query and is positioned at the very top of the page. This position is often called position zero. As the number of voice searches is rising, these featured snippets are becoming increasingly important. It is also good to keep in mind that due to the rise of voice searches, alternative search platforms such as Bing and Yelp are also becoming more important.  

 

How can I optimize my marketing strategy for voice search? 

First of all, it's important that your traditional SEO (search engine optimization) is right. So make sure the loading speed of your website is optimized, and that the website displays correctly on smartphones.  

For VSO (voice search optimization) it is important that the content on your website is written in an accessible way. So try to write like you speak. A Q&A page is certainly interesting, but keep the answers short and try to limit them to 30 words. Be sure to use structured data in this case. Structured data is the addition of a piece of code in the HTML of a website that makes it clear to search engines what is on a page of your website. 

Then try to get to position zero so that your website is mentioned in the featured snippet. It is more interesting to reach this position with a single topic than to reach the fourth position with a number of topics. The fourth position is less important for voice search because usually only one answer is shown.  

Finally, enter your contact details on as many platforms as possible. Think about Google My Business, Apple Maps, Bing and Facebook. This is relevant because of the importance of your location in search results. Good luck! 


At Living Stone, we focus on today's marketing trends and tomorrow's developments. If you would like to talk to us about your marketing goals, and how you can achieve your objectives in this changing landscape, please contact Anne-Mie at anne-mie.vansteelant@livingstone.eu or call +32 (0)55 59 10 07.

 

Anne-Mie Vansteelant
Anne-Mie Vansteelant
COO | Managing Partner at Living Stone

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