Whenever major tech companies like Google and Apple release new products or announce new services, businesses in a broad range of industries can expect to see an impact.
The launch of the new iPhone X is no exception since it, along with future generations of the smartphone, is expected to increase the role of online voice search by users. Let’s take a look at what this means.
Representatives from Google have gone on record as believing that by 2020 more than half of all queries through the search engine will be from voice search.
This is hardly surprising since voice recognition software has improved by leaps and bounds in the last decade. The technology offers convenience by being hands-free, and the general public has been excited about voice recognition’s possibilities since at least the days of the original Star Trek TV show.
Apple’s “Hey Siri” feature, much like Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, will help users search for information on virtually any topic by voice, which could include your industry or even your specific company.
To fully take advantage of voice search, businesses, and their marketers will need to refine their digital marketing strategies moving forward.
Long Tail Keywords
Keywords have long been an integral part of online marketing and SEO. As anyone who’s conducted any keyword research could tell you, crafting webpage content around short, specific terms can really pay dividends, especially when those terms are tied to a regional qualifier.
For instance, if your business sold sporting equipment in Ohio, you might try to rank for terms like:
• Tennis balls Cleveland
• Tennis rackets in Columbus
• Ohio basketball hoops
• Golf clubs Cleveland, Ohio
Tying webpage content to terms such as these can certainly show results, but voice search complicates matters because when people ask Siri, Assistant, or Alexa a question, they don’t speak in such a clipped fashion, instead, they use conversational language.
Think about the voice searches you may have conducted. You might have asked:
• What’s the weather for Cleveland tomorrow?
• What was the final score of the Indians game last night?
• What movie theaters are near me?
You can be confident that your customers are using similar casual language in their searches, so you should definitely account for this when selecting keywords and crafting copy, being sure to utilize some long tail keywords.
For the sporting goods example above, customers might conduct voice searches like:
• Where can I get tennis rackets in Columbus?
• Siri, can you show me sporting goods stores near me?
• Who sells golf clubs in Cleveland?
When creating your onsite content, you’ll want to incorporate questions like these as keywords within your main copy and headers. A conservative approach would be encouraged, though. While these long tail and conversational keywords are valuable, the more standard keywords should still be used to help diversify your pages.
A major factor to consider about voice search, whether it’s conducted through Siri, Alexa, Assistant, or another platform, is that results for many searches are tailored to an individual’s location, with local results being favored.
• This can be greatly beneficial to businesses, especially in helping them to “level the playing field” a bit in online searches as they compete against national and international businesses.
• Another key aspect to be aware of is that 50% of mobile visitors who find a business through local search will visit a store within a day, making voice searches even more desirable.
To fully profit from these advantages, companies should optimize their Google My Business profiles, ensuring that the web addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, and business hours listed are all correct, and that pictures and positive reviews are present.
If users find you through voice search you want to make sure you’re presenting your business in the best possible light.
Google’s featured snippets are another aspect to take into account when trying to optimize for voice search and capitalize off of the iPhone X.
When someone asks a question through voice search, featured snippets supply short, direct answers from an authoritative website and link back to that original site.
• With our sporting goods example from above, the user in question may ask, “What’s the difference in size between boys’ and girls’ basketballs?”
• The sporting goods company, knowing this to be a common question, might craft a post addressing it. The user finds this information, and if they’re interested in purchasing basketballs, a quick click just might equal a sale for our example company.
Creating content that directly addresses the query, and then building off of it for a longer article, will make it more likely your site will be chosen for various featured snippets. These snippets will appear in structured boxes in Google search results, and can also be read aloud by the users’ devices.
It’s often recommended to use images and graphics, along with numbered lists for steps that answer the original question (if relevant), to help you fully optimize your snippets.
The Impact of Featured Snippets
One final aspect to consider is that Stone Temple Consulting reports almost 30% of the Google queries of a 1.4 million sample they examined in a test showed featured snippets in the results.
Taking advantage of this feature, along with all the other factors at play for the iPhone X’s voice search capabilities, could lead to a serious boost in your traffic and leads.