A particularly hot topic within the realms of digital marketing, voice search is steadily overtaking traditional search forms as an easier, faster, and more convenient way for users to access the information they’re searching for.
Introduced by Google in 2009, digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa have evolved from the mere confines of our smartphones to sit proudly as the centrepiece of our living rooms; supporting us with making phone calls, creating shopping lists, managing our diaries, and directing us to our desired destinations.
As the concept of talking to our technology and receiving a coherent, personalised, and informative response really took off a couple of years ago, search behaviours started to evolve and, in 2016, Google announced that a whopping 20% of searches it experienced were made via voice search.
Although this may not seem like a lot, when we consider that in the same year 2 trillion searches were made through Google, we start to see the sheer importance of this contemporary function.
This shift has laid increasing importance on long tail keywords; searches taking the form of questions like ‘where’s my nearest coffee shop?’, rather than individual words or short phrases like ‘coffee shop’.
This has laid the foundations for rich content like blogs and FAQ pages, online reviews, and social media channels to become the focus of many a business’ marketing efforts.
The change in the way users search has also paved the way for more personalised and localised marketing; content that speaks directly, not only to the immediate needs, but the current location, of the user.
This comes in the form of such practices as:
Users expect Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), PPC ads, in-app marketing, and content marketing to be relevant to their own, personal situation.
In-app marketing – i.e. marketing to users within their favourite mobile apps – has been a popular method of marketing for many businesses for some time. However, with digital assistants like Siri and Alexa often looking to mobile apps for answers to our questions before anything else, in-app marketing is on the increase; particularly for businesses in the food & drink or package holiday industries.
Although things like in-app marketing, retargeting & PPC, and content marketing existed before the creation of voice search, this convenient, hands-free function has laid increasing importance on all of these marketing strategies, as the call for convenience, relevant, and personalised experiences greaten.
Voice search has already started to change the way users search and search engines rank websites, the way businesses create, present, and share their content, and what users are consequently most likely to engage with.
So, what’s next? It’s hard to say. However, what we do know is that, as digital assistants become smarter, and machine learning becomes more powerful thanks to advancements in our technology; making voice search more and more reliable, users will inevitably use it more, and traditional search even less.
And as users use voice search more? Well… if you’re not already investing in local SEO, long tail keywords, blogging or generating online reviews, you’d better start!
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