You’ve heard it time and time again. You need to optimize your content for search. But the kind of search we’re going to talk about in today’s article is not the kind you’re probably thinking of. Today we’re talking voice search.
Now more than ever people are putting away their keyboards and using their voice to search for anything and everything. Ten years ago, voice search seemed like a far out, futuristic idea. And in the world of marketing specifically, it didn’t seem like something to think through when creating, let alone optimizing content, but I can assure you that the time is here. You need to consider investing in the development of strategies to adhere to this change sooner rather than later. Why? ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice search. As a marketer, this should excite you because that means you’re able to reach audiences in another, non-traditional way. However, understandable, it can also be scary to think about because yes, it does add an additional layer of thought to content development and delivery. If you’re on the latter half of the spectrum, try not to fret. Instead, consider these 4 points on why you need to hop aboard the voice search optimization train now.
What Is Voice Search?
Simply put, it’s a means of searching for something, whether it be a business or an answer to a question, using your voice instead of searching for it by typing into a search field. And if you’re like 65% of adults between the ages of 25 and 49, there’s a high chance you’ve used this capability at least once today. You may be thinking, “So, what’s the big deal?” Well, the big deal is these days, 20% of all mobile searches are by voice and as a marketer, you need to be thinking about this and how it will impact your business. And if you think this trend won’t affect you, you’re wrong. Here’s why:
1. Who Run the World? Google.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you know that when it comes to the ways in which content is presented, delivered and viewed, Google is the ultimate ruler. You can access it on virtually any device and now, they even have their own smart speaker. More precisely, Google has over 90% of the search engine market share worldwide, with 5.6 billion searches per day and as of January 2019, Google Home represents nearly 24% of the U.S. smart speaker market share. And if you’ve come from under that rock, you know that when Google takes a step forward in any direction, whether it be interface changes, new or enhanced capabilities or investments, all rivals follow suit. That said, it’s only a matter of time before they start introducing voice specific elements into their official algorithm and begin prioritizing content that’s optimized for voice search.
2. Smartphones Reign Supreme
It’s no secret that the way in which people are consuming content is shifting, and fast. Here are some important stats to consider:
- In 2018, 58% of site visits were from mobile devices
- 50% of B2B queries are made on smartphones, and by 2020, that number is expected to increase by 20%
- When first learning of a product or service, 70% of executives use a smartphone or tablet to look them up
I mean it makes sense, right? Most people always have their phone with them and when out and about, can use it to quickly access information. Have you ever seen anyone lugging around a desktop? Highly unlikely. So, the first place people go for answers to burning questions is their mobile phone. And if Gartner’s predictions are accurate, by 2020 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.
3. Voice Activated Speakers are Everywhere
Smart devices are taking over. It’s hard to come into contact with someone who doesn’t own a smart phone or tablet and now, it’s just as strange not to know someone who doesn’t own a smart speaker. As of early 2019, it’s estimated that there’s nearly 120 million smart speakers in U.S. homes, with 52% of people owning two or more. And 49% of people stated they use voice commands alone in an office environment. This means that consumers, including business executives, not only want but can get access to the information they want at the drop of a dime.
4. Convenience Wins
People love taking the path of least resistance and for many, that path is voice search. You can get responses to even your most complicated of answers in a matter of seconds, from anywhere, no matter what you’re doing (the power of multi-tasking) by voice. How many times have you been driving, wanted to know the answer to something but didn’t want to pull over to look so instead, asked Siri to give you the answer? Or, you’re lying in bed on a Sunday morning, not quite ready to open your eyes, but already thinking about brunch, and want to know the top 10 places to go? That’s where Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant comes in. For local businesses specifically, adopting the voice search movement is key. In 2018, 58% of consumers took advantage of voice search to find local business information, so if you’re not ready to take this on, you may find yourselves struggling to say relevant.
Like Nike Says, Just Do It.
Voice search, though in its infancy, is considered a power player in today’s information seeking world. How exactly it will affect B2B marketing is unclear, however, the speed in which it’s being embraced is astronomical. From using smart speakers to launch calls to using voice-assistance to conduct research on products or services you’re considering buying, it’s being widely accepted and used by both B2B and B2C organizations. To stay ahead of the curve, start thinking about what it takes to be voice search ready now because what’s currently a trend is quickly becoming a must. Stay tuned for my next post on the best strategies for optimizing your content for voice search.