Talking to your tech: what do you know about voice search?

2 minutes read / News

The digital world is always on the move, and it can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing ‘next big thing’ – from one page websites to mobile first and now, voice search.


Whether or not you’ve jumped on the bandwagon regarding chatting with inanimate objects yet, stats show that you will eventually. Supposedly 50{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, with 30{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} of those searches happening without a screen. Earlier this year figures showed that almost 50 million adult Americans owned a smart speaker, showcasing faster growth and adoption rates than tablets and smartphones. But how does that impact how we approach them?


Stats released this year showed that 22{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} of American smart speaker owners have already used their device to buy something, with the number of consumers set to use voice shopping predicted to hit 50{3eb5e81dc2dbd5243766a445dfd7203b99614852f30724c0fcd7c1e47478fab9} by 2022. This means that for businesses with an ecommerce element, or even just brands that use the power of the web to enhance their presence as a company, adapting what they’re doing to align with the coming craze ahead of time could be the key to seeing voice search victory.


So, what do I have to do?

Well, people aren’t just going to start talking to your website randomly. That would be weird. But, it may not be that you have to do too much differently in order to appeal to these talkative little users – if you’re doing things right that is. For people that have got their SEO in order, and are using best practices effectively, then there shouldn’t be too much work to do in order to appeal to voice searchers.


According to WordStream, one of the key things to do when it comes to voice search is to keep user intent at the forefront of your mind. Voice search queries tend to be very specific, looking for things like when a specific shop opens, so it’s important to make sure that your website is structured in a way that makes this information easy to access.


It may also be worth thinking about how you structure information around your products and services. What questions do people ask to find you? How do they even know they need you? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you know all there is to know about your business, everyone else does too. As nice as that would be, it just doesn’t work like that. Preemptively consider the types of questions that people would ask to find you, and then make sure that you have answers to those questions on your website. Give the people what they want.


Content is King, Context is God

If you’re aware of Google’s Hummingbird update then you’ll know that semantic search is the way forward when it comes to giving users exactly what they’re looking for online. And if you’re not aware of Google’s Hummingbird update, then you’ve got a bit of catching up to do.


The more you understand about your customer, the easier it is to understand the context behind what they’re saying – which is important with voice search. Look at demographics data around your typical audiences and figure out why and when they use voice search, and use this to inform what you’re doing. For example, teens use voice search to call someone, play a song or get homework help, while adults like to ask for directions or dictate information. Use this to your advantage when it comes to appealing to their needs and telling them how great you are.


Ultimately, we haven’t quite reached the point where the smart talking tech takes over; for now, we still have to assist the assistants in getting the most of out our websites. As with many things in the digital world, a better understanding of the customer and what their looking for, paired with strong SEO practices and a focus on crawlability, should mean that your voyage into the misty waters of voice search is a victory.

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