It’s a trend that you may have first noticed in an older relative or a busy friend. Someone who may have trouble typing out with arthritic hands or may be balancing too many things to input a search. We’re, of course, talking about voice search. As a rising trend, we’re seeing more and more of this type of search from everyone. So, what does it mean for marketing brands? And are there specific voice to text tools for marketers that can help their clients get noticed? The short answer is yes.
What’s the deal with voice search anyway?
Voice search, or voice to text, is fairly simple. It’s the use of your voice through a compatible device (Hey, Siri) to make a search query or command. And you can thank enterprising Apple for the trend, which they introduced in 2011 when Siri debuted alongside the iPhone 4.
But to really get a feel for the impact of voice search, let’s look at the numbers. Google processes over 40,000 search queries each second (check out the live count here), and 40 percent of smart speaker users shop on their phones as often as once a month. Whether speaking into an at-home smart speaker, or using the mobile equivalent, “voice is expected to be a $40 billion channel by 2022.”
Beyond that, voice search is just plain convenient. In the time it would take to click through your favorites to Chrome or Safari, you can press a button or activate “Hey Siri” and quickly get results for that new mobile dog grooming business or vegan cafe you’ve wanted to try. Devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Home/Google Assistant are changing the way we search at home and on the go.
Voice search matters if you want to get your client’s brands found and customers to convert quickly. The major players in the market are–-you guessed it––Amazon (63.2%) and Google (31%). To get noticed by the web-crawling powers-that-be, you’ll need to optimize your client’s content for voice search and prepare for mobile-forward site visitors.
How voice search is changing marketing
If you’re in marketing, you’re probably tracking new marketing channels and tools as they appear. Maybe you’re hesitant to strategize for yet another change in what seems like an ever-changing market. Or maybe you’re always the first one on the proverbial marketing bandwagon. Either way, voice search is not something to ignore.
As attention has become split more and more with social media (and digital media in general), voice to text provides a unique opportunity for marketers. While the average person types 40 words per minute, they can speak 150 words per minute, making instant gratification in a search query more responsive than ever. Voice search is also heavily related to the rise in personalized web browsing and people-based marketing.
Specifically when it comes to Google Search, marketers can target people by who they are and their general search habits through natural language processing. Essentially, the more you use voice to text, the more “Google and Siri can ‘learn’ the patterns unique to the way you speak over time.”
If you take away anything from the changes voice search is bringing to marketing it’s this: conversational searches will “prioritize the semantics of voice queries.” The result? Your keyword strategy and overall optimization will matter more than ever.
Voice search optimization
Voice search optimization (or VSO) means making sure brands can be found through voice (and mainly mobile) queries through the use of targeted keywords. It’s also one of the most important voice to text tools for marketers.
Information for voice searches comes from different sources, depending on the voice to text device. For example, Google pulls from Google Search whereas Amazon pulls from “a number of different third-party sources.” This means that understanding your audience, their habits, and their voice search channel matters.
The key components of VSO include:
Understanding voice-search specific keywords
Customer behavior is key to targeting and, luckily, some patterns have emerged since voice search began. In fact, “nearly 20% of all voice search queries are triggered by a set of 25 keywords.” The top questions include “how” and “what” and adjectives like “best” or “easy.” When you understand what your customers are asking, you can tailor your keywords to their search.
And using long-tail keywords
On that note, long-tail keywords are essential for voice search. Which, when you think about it, makes sense. Voice search requires someone to make a query to their device, and we already know that speaking is faster than typing. So when you combine the questions your users ask (with the top 25 keywords) and long-tail keywords, you can more accurately predict behavior and catch users where they are.
For example, let’s say your client has a food truck. Instead of trying to rank for “food trucks near me” or “food trucks [location],” consider questions their customers may be asking like: “what’s the best food truck near me?” and “what food trucks have catering?”
The general rule here is to “take into account the tone, word choice, and phrasing used in voice search.”
Keeping on top of voice search trends
Spend any time marketing a business at all, and you’ll begin to notice trends. Voice search is, of course, one of those growing trends. But there are also micro-trends within it.
One to consider: local searches. Recent statistics show that 22 percent of voice to text queries are about things “near me,” which presents an opportunity for local marketers. Optimizing for local means you also complete your business listing, add geotags, and “make sure you’re on Yelp, Google Business, and all the other online directories.”
Lastly, when working on your VSO, it’s important to stay conversational. Spoken queries are much less formal than written ones and they also tend to be different searches. Your best bet is to write how you talk: in sentences, with questions, and with a conversational tone.
Voice to text tools for marketers
At this point in the game, it’s clear that voice search is changing some of the rules––and it’s here to stay. While VSO best practices are the most important voice to text tools marketers can use, there are a few other things that can help:
Create actions and skills on accessible devices
Google Action and Alexa Skills are two tools you should have in your voice search arsenal. Interacting with these features means “you are teaching smart speakers (and mobile devices) how to reach you faster and provide a better user experience.”
Google Action, for example, helps brand’s content and services be recognized by Google Assistant, which enhances the web presence and helps with smart home device integration. Alexa Skills, on the other hand, is software that lets marketers create “skills” that use an interactive voice interface to give “users a hands-free way to interact with your skill.” Real-world examples of this are Domino’s and Pizza Hut’s easy pizza ordering through Alexa skill.
Add a featured snippet
Google’s featured snippet is a handy tool for all marketers. You know that boxed content that appears at the top of a text search on Google? Yup, that’s the featured snippet. By adding this for your brand, you’re giving voice assistants data to pull from. Some rules of thumb when creating your snippet: keep it short (around 29 words) and use bullet points or clear headers where relevant.
Index your content
A website’s backend is a key player in getting Google to recognize content and index it for the best search results. Without indexing content and using metadata correctly, voice search results will fall flat. When you use schema metadata to describe what’s on a brand’s website, Google and other search engines can understand it, making it easier to get noticed (and searched).
It’s a mobile world, and we’re just living in it. Voice to text tools for marketers should keep mobile in mind throughout each step of the process. Understand that your client’s users are probably on the go, speaking into their phones or to a smart device, and needing quick, brief answers. Examples like Say2eat are revolutionizing easy online voice ordering for restaurants.
A couple of tips: optimize for mobile, keep your site speedy, and make information easy to find.
Compete with voice to text tools for marketers
“Hey Siri––am I ready to use voice to text tools for marketers?” We think so. As voice search becomes more popular, marketers can keep brands relevant by beefing up their voice search optimization, staying ahead of trends and devices, and staying mobile-forward and people-friendly.