What is Voice Search Marketing? The question on a lot of minds, especially with voice assistants becoming ever more popular and common.
With the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home gaining traction throughout the world of tech, a lot of marketers and businesses alike, are wondering what exactly this is going to change? So read on for an in-depth explanation of voice search marketing.
What is voice search?
In order to give you the best explanation of voice search marketing, we’re going to start by giving a brief overview of what voice search is.
As already mentioned, new home assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Echo & Apple Home Pod have introduced the world to a new form of voice search. The new voice search assistants work in a similar way to a desktop/mobile search engine. You ask the assistant a question, they’ll search the web and give you an answer. It’s as simple as that.
In 2016, Stephen Kenwright from Branded3 referenced that 40% of adults perform one voice search per day.
This number is only going to rise with further improvements in home assistants. It’s simple, easy and quick to use, which is exactly why it’s becoming more and more popular.
What is voice search marketing?
In short, voice search marketing is the process of optimising your website and content to rank highly within voice search queries. You’ll notice in Google search results, most queries now contain a ‘featured snippet’ (AKA position zero) at the very top of the results. These featured snippets will be picked up and read out by voice assistants (they’ll also read out the source website.)
As you can imagine, this can lead to increased brand awareness for the featured website.
Not every search query will be attributed with a featured snippet and for a good reason – not all searches have an easy answer to display and satisfy the users. Google are constantly creating and testing new variations of search results with one aim in mind, to give the users an easy experience.
Think of featured snippets as a short question and answer box. You type a question in the search bar and the snippet will pull out the best-summarised answer it can find. (There are a few conditions you have to meet to qualify to show in the snippets, but more on that later.)
This is exactly why snippets are so important in voice search marketing. When you ask your assistant a question, it will perform the search internally and read out what shows in position zero, in an attempt to satisfy all of your searching needs.
Is voice search marketing important for me?
A lot of people often wonder if they should invest time and money into optimising for voice search.
To get the answer, just ask yourself – do I need people to visit my website to gain any value at all?
This may seem like a strange question, and that’s because it is. Of course, you want people to visit and interact with your website, this way you can get the most value and really track engagement and conversions.
What the question really means is, can you gain value from increasing brand recognition?
For a lot of companies, brand recognition is low down on the list of importance. For example, an online marketplace may think brand recognition won’t help. They want people to visit their website, view services or profiles, interact together and make purchases, as such, they think brand recognition won’t be overly beneficial to them.
However, can increased brand awareness actually help them? Yes, of course! It can help everyone – especially with home assistants.
No matter what industry or niche your business is in, there are hundreds..thousands of questions that potential customers will have. Exactly why a majority of sites have an FAQ section.
This is where brand awareness and voice search comes in. As technology progresses and home assistants become more common, customers will start to perform these searches through voice search.
Any activity made through your home assistants gets stored for you to look back over later on, through their app. When voice searches are made and the result is read out, you can go to the app and look at an overview of the result and go to the featured website.
See where we’re going with this?
This is where brand awareness can directly affect website visits.
How to get position zero
Remember earlier when we mentioned that there are a few conditions to get position zero? Well now we’re going to tell you what they are, and they’re actually pretty simple.
There are only really two conditions to meet and they are;
Rank on page one in the search results
Give the best answer to the question in the search query.
The easiest way to do that? Create an awesome piece of content, ensuring you give a good answer to the question within it, publish the piece and then start to rank it. Do this through your normal ways of outreach – social media, link building, email marketing, etc.
Struggling to decide what question to answer or how to get your page in position zero?
Start by searching questions relating to your industry, niche, keywords, etc. See what result currently gets position zero and click through to look at the page.
Take a look to find the exact content that shows in the snippet, take a look around at how the content is formatted, how you think Google has been able to find that answer so easily and try to find out it’s ranking factors, i.e backlinks to the page, social shares, etc.
Pay particular attention to the context in the page. You’ve probably already heard that content is king, so think of context as queen.
We’re not saying that having the highest number of those metrics or even the format of the text will be the deciding factor of who gets the snippet, but doing some research into it never hurts. After all, if you don’t do the research, you’ll never learn anything new.
While doing some research, you may notice that the content showing in the rich snippet isn’t always exactly the same as the on-page content. This is due to the fact that, as they do with metadata, Google will always display the information how it sees best.
Be sure to bear this in mind when creating your content and make sure you give an in-depth answer to the question. If you try and make a short answer that would fit into the snippet box, you may inadvertently lower your chances by having broader, less accurate content.
Our pro tip for this – if you have a big piece of content and you’re worried it may not hit position zero, see if you can add a summary or conclusion section to it that pulls out the most important information in regards to the question.
In one of our case studies, while trying to get a better understanding of rich snippet optimisation, we had a long piece of content, with an infographic, that really drilled down into detail. Knowing it would be hard for Google to pick out the information answering the question, we added a summary section, outlining the main details users would want to know and added some formatting to it.
Once we’d done this, we re-submitted the page for indexing and within less than an hour, we appeared in position zero. The next day, we tested a voice search query for this and we heard our very own content in response.
An interesting fact from this was that it seems to take a little longer for the Google Home to update its results than Google’s web results.
While this logically makes a lot of sense, with Google’s home assistants still been relatively new, we do believe that in future, it will be able to update results across all devices within a pretty similar timeframe.
Therefore, making voice search optimisation even more competitive.
So there you have it, voice search marketing. In our opinion, voice search is going to continue growing and become increasingly popular, therefore making voice search marketing more important. If you haven’t already, go buy yourself a home assistant, get practising and try out new techniques.
If you’d like a more in-depth discussion on how voice search marketing can help your business, give us a call today!