Speed, convenience, and a more human experience…without the actual human. That’s what voice search brings to the table.
Considering more than half of teenagers and 40 percent of adults have become reliant on this method, it is no wonder this method of search has quickly become a preferred method for folks finding what they’re looking for on the web.
Like emerging technologies, voice search, though sophisticated, is still in the early phases of its evolution. To fully harness the strengths of voice search capabilities, here are a few considerations marketers should make to ensure their customers have a seamless voice search experience.
There is a common misconception that text and voice search are different. In reality, they are the same. For example, Google and other search engines yield the same results for text as they would voice—the difference comes down to how users search using the voice feature versus text.
If user adoption of voice search to continue across audiences, the format will have to be more consistent. Take Siri for example. Users have cited challenges with the program not understanding different accents and idioms. As a result, they have to adapt the way in which they speak in order to get closer to the results they want. Also, depending on the brand, consumers are not getting search results that are in line with their original search terms. For instance, a consumer using voice search may not search for a retailer by name when looking for an item, but rather where that item can be purchased at a retailer near them. Marketers need to adapt their keyword strategy to account for predicting specific consumer behaviors and questions, and how the content on their site can be optimized to directly answer those questions.
Answer the Five W’s and the H
Answering “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” is the direction voice search is heading. Users are making longer queries that ask a question—so much so, there has been a 61 percent growth in this area. Thinking this through, that 61 percent increase could be a result of the conversational element voice search provides. Also, instead of taking the time to type search terms, consumers having the ability to talk as they normally would and ask the question is a hands-free convenience many would come to favor. Nuanced reasons aside, marketers need to adopt this ‘answer to the question’ methodology into voice search strategies, as it will increase the accuracy of results consumers receive during their searches. This can be achieved through updating keywords and optimizing the web content that answers the common questions relevant to a brand.
Image Credit: Marketing Zen
These concerns can be alleviated by marketers putting themselves in the shoes of their consumers. There cannot be a one-search term-fits-all approach that will fully represent the myriad of languages, levels of cultural nuances and generational differences within a customer base. This is the opportunity to stop thinking like a marketer, what consumers are looking for, and how your brand can find its way into their results. If they didn’t know much if anything about your brand, what search terms could lead them to it? Building direct, simplistic keywords that will answer their questions can lend to a more accurate voice search experience all around.
Adapt and Overcome
The future is now, and voice search is a major player in how the emerging media landscape will continue to transform. Instead of viewing voice search as yet another hurdle for marketers to overcome, it should instead be an opportunity to provide customers a more efficient way to find the information they need. Applying the strategies highlighted here, marketers can provide consumers the answers they seek.