The number of people using voice search technology has grown exponentially over the years. According to recent data, over 50% of teenagers and over 40% of adults use some type of voice search on a near daily basis. In fact, a third of all Cortana search queries are from voice search.
Part of the reason for the growth is the expansion and improvement of technology, especially with personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. The voice search evolution is changing how people search, and marketing strategy must adapt to this different reality. While this is new territory, marketers need not fear it.
How Does Voice Search Work?
While each system is a little different, they all work pretty similarly. For example, Google’s Voice Search translates a user’s request by using a combination of Text-to-Speech (TTS) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). This information is then relayed to a database that interprets the request and provides an answer.
The technology tries to understand what the user is asking based on past search history and also the context under which the question is being asked: A person is walking around New York and asks “Where is Macy’s?” Google will return the exact address of the nearest Macy’s in New York, as opposed to a list of search query options.
Difference Between Voice and Text Searches
While a single user may be looking for the same result, they might search differently for it depending on whether they are typing or speaking the question. If someone is typing a question, they may simply type “Facebook CEO”. If they are doing a voice search, they’re more apt to say “Who is Facebook’s CEO?”
People using voice search will speak more naturally, and they’re more apt to use “what,” “where,” “how.” or “who.” This means that queries are significantly longer than in the past.
What This Means for Marketers?
Well, it doesn’t mean that you have to panic. It does, however, mean that you have to update your SEO and paid search keywords. On-site content and ad copy should reflect both the answers and the questions being searched.
For example, if a common search query is “Where can I buy tires in New Orleans,” then searches should both reflect the question “where to buy tires in New Orleans” as well as the answer “Buy tires at Mark’s Tire Store in Downtown New Orleans.”
The potential for the technology, however, is even greater if marketers add in interactive content. This would allow users to directly interact with both the content and the brand.
Voice search is constantly expanding. Marketers should be expecting more and more users to embrace it as it becomes more prevalent. This, however, does mean that marketers must be ready to tweak both content and marketing strategy to be successful in the future.