Since the millennium, how we consume content and interact with brands has changed dramatically. And now, with the rise of smart assistants, the marketing industry is evolving yet again.
The internet changed the way we found information and communicated with one another, and mobile did the same. Now, voice search is about to do the same thing again. Smart assistants have led us into a world where we can consume content on-demand and shop without lifting a finger.
But where does the future of voice search lie? Let’s find out.
Voice search enables users to perform a search on the internet by asking a question verbally, either on a smartphone, computer or smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home, for example. The user’s query is then answered audibly by a virtual assistant (more commonly known as a smart assistant) using the SERPs.
In instances where search engine results serve a featured snippet (position zero), the virtual assistant will typically favour those results as answers. Google tries to provide the best possible experience for users, so there may be cases where the virtual assistant will serve information that better suits the user’s search intent, which isn’t a featured snippet result.
Voice search and virtual assistants are not the same, however, they are related technologies. Many of the advanced capabilities of virtual assistants can be attributed to voice search technology.
Virtual assistants have the capability to perform additional tasks like calendar scheduling and managing home devices. Voice search generally functions within a virtual assistant, such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.
Originally founded upon speech recognition technology dating back to the 1960s, voice search uses advanced natural language processing to interpret the context of words and how they are spoken to comprehend the meaning behind the query. Once it has connected the concept to the correct interpretation, it submits the question to a search engine, such as Google, and presents the answer or results to the user.
Firstly, there are various benefits for both B2B and B2C companies when it comes to voice search; however, it’s important to note that results depend on whether your company has obtained position zero. The most effective way to acquire featured snippets is to conduct a Featured Snippet Audit and strategise accordingly, taking into account both your KPIs and your target demographic.
Obtaining position zero can bring immediate benefits, such as:
For more information on how you could benefit from an SEO strategy to secure Featured Snippets, get in touch today.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, optimising for voice search is no different to SEO and UX. But is there enough opportunity for B2B and B2C to adopt voice search? According to a report by PwC, 65% of consumers aged 25-49 years old talk to their voice-enabled devices daily. Out of those surveyed, 50% of respondents made a purchase using voice search, while an additional 25% of respondents would consider it to make purchases in the future.
So, how can we use voice search to benefit both B2B and B2C sectors?
How relevant is voice search to the B2B sector? Voice search typically focuses on B2C due to the commercial opportunity available, especially as 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses online. Okay yes, it’s true. Voice search might not be contributing to a significant influx of traffic to your B2B site. It’s not exactly clear what impact voice search can have on the B2B sector, especially as B2B user journeys are typically longer with more touchpoints and decision-makers involved. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be optimising for voice search.
As we’ve seen with many other markets, B2B decision-makers are getting younger. A study by Global Web Index found that 74% of millennials are now involved in buying decisions within B2B companies, which only proves that digital natives are the new generation of B2B influencers. Their experiences with B2C brands, such as Airbnb and Uber, have shaped their expectations, which is reflected in how they engage with B2B brands. Having grown up with voice assistants, this new generation of digital natives will expect voice search to influence their B2B buying decisions in the future.
Voice search optimisation also happens to significantly benefit SEO and UX. Catering to voice search will have a positive impact on the search visibility of your B2B website, as well as the usability. Preparing your site for voice search will benefit your site in the long term; although it may not have a huge impact on organic traffic, it will improve your SEO overall. There are several ways in which you can prepare your B2B website, including:
Ultimately, it’s about providing the best possible content that accurately addresses the users’ search intent. Understanding how your audience searches for your product or service will enable you to provide the best possible answers to their search queries. When it comes to B2B marketing, users will often start by searching for how to solve a broader issue, rather than looking for your specific product solution. Taking the time to understand your target audience and their search intent will pay off in the long term.
The voice search revolution is already well underway and B2C brands are already seeing the impact it can have on ROI. According to TechCrunch, UK and US voice-based shopping will be worth more than $40 billion this year, with the fashion industry accounting for £3.5bn in UK voice search sales alone. So, how exactly does voice search benefit eCommerce businesses?
If eCommerce brands readily adopt voice search, they can expect an increase of up to 30% in revenue. As voice commerce continues to grow, B2C brands can expect this figure to be even higher, providing the website is effectively optimised for voice search. Focus on maximising the traffic to your website and the increase in revenue will follow.
What voice search trends can we expect to see in the coming year? Let’s take a look at the top 3 voice search trends for 2022.
According to BrightLocal, 51% of consumers claim they would use voice search to find a local business near them. With voice search users on the rise and the volume of voice searches increasing, the emphasis on local and hyperlocal SEO is more prevalent than ever.
How users search the internet and interact with smart devices has largely been determined by advancements in AI and Machine Learning (ML). As AI-powered devices become more readily available, search algorithms are forced to evolve to accommodate the unique scenarios in which these devices are used in our everyday lives.
With smart speakers set to outnumber tablets, the adoption of voice search is largely down to smart speakers becoming more commonplace in households across the world. Voice technologies have improved dramatically since the early days of Alexa and Siri, and now, tech giants are racing to release smarter integrations and technology to keep up with consumer demand.
Voice search is set to change the digital marketing landscape by prioritising the semantics of search queries. Marketers will be forced to re-evaluate not just their content marketing and keyword research, but their overall digital marketing strategy as a whole.
Start paying close attention to how your target audience speaks. You will need to think about their choice of words, tone and phrasing if you want to be successful in voice search. Adapt your content and make good use of long-tail keywords to directly answer common questions; it will help your site rank higher and obtain featured snippets.
As our lives get busier, voice search will continue to dominate the mobile environment as consumers turn to more convenient tools to improve their everyday lives. The hands-free capabilities of mobile devices encourage users to use voice search, especially those who are always on the go.
Stay ahead of the game. Voice search will continue to grow the mobile-friendly environment, so B2B and B2C brands need to make sure their strategies are mobile-first. Develop mobile-friendly interfaces and set your business up for success.
If you don’t already have a voice search strategy in place, it’s important to remember that your content and SEO should integrate seamlessly in order to achieve your desired results. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can support your business’ voice search optimisation.