Marketing is all about connection points. It’s about reaching your target audience during the many digital touchpoints that influence their final decision on where and how to spend their money. Up until recently, the number of these touchpoints was increasing. But with the adoption of voice search, the number of touchpoints for many transactions like these will shrink. Successful brands will be those that place this new consumer behavior and intent at the core of their strategies, with a focus on the value they can deliver to the individual.
While voice search on mobile phones is really starting to take off, it isn’t brand new. For those of you unfamiliar with voice search, an example is saying “Hummer limo,” and your phone could pull up listings of local limo services. All of the major players in the digital sector have teased out features for their respective digital assistants on desktop and mobile for the past several years. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google has Assistant. Having a voice search function on your phone was certainly useful, but not nearly as immediate and satisfying as being able to speak aloud from anywhere in a room and have a digital assistant tell you about traffic, weather, news, play some music, or tell you how to get a stain out of your favorite shirt.
Voice search is connected to digital assistants, which are basically computer programs leveraging artificial intelligence that can understand a variety of inputs—such as text, voice and data. A digital assistant can answer questions about the weather, directions, shopping lists, and more—these were the initial features provided by digital assistants. However, the real power recently realized by digital assistants is their ability to take action at a your request, and eventually acting in anticipation of your needs. People write differently than they speak. To further that notion, over the years people adapted to how search engines worked by writing their questions in different ways.
So when it comes to your business, what can you do to try to tap into these new features and have your product or service come up when people search using their voice? Besides having great content and all the typical SEO best practices in place, the answer is pretty simple, but not necessarily easy to pull off. Be sure you’re creating content that answers your audience’s questions. For example, featured snippets are designed to give clear and concise answers to a user’s questions. So when creating your content, think about the types of questions your audience will be asking when they’re looking for a service, product, or information. In order to stay mobile-friendly, brands and businesses must update and manage local business listings to ensure their addresses, phone numbers, and business hours are accurate. This includes third-party listings on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List. In your listings, use call-to-actions like”Call Now”, “Get Directions”, or “Make Reservations.” When possible, businesses should leverage site extensions to enable searchers to take action directly within the SERPs. Design your content around these types of queries and you’ll have a head start on your competition. In the end, you’ll be glad you followed these best practices.