It is common to see thought leaders and LinkedIn influencers talk about the importance of voice search and how it is the future of digital marketing.
Whilst the emergent technology is interesting and offers a new way to communicate with customers it is not the game-changing channel that it is hyped to be. Voice search won’t become the dominant channel in the future purely because of consumer behavior.
Let’s look at the three places people mostly “exist”: Home, out of home & workplace.
The adoption of smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are becoming ubiquitous with Millenials and younger. For now, older generations are warier of microphones listening to them in their homes. The adoption of speakers in homes does not necessarily mean the majority of searches will be via voice in the future.
If we take our digital marketing glasses off, and rather than look at smart speakers as the future of selling to customers. You will understand that the average consumer users their smart speaker as a smart home device. 98% of posts and comments on the r/googlehome subreddit are discussing home integrations and nonpurchase intent queries such as setting timers and playing music.
Out of Home
Consider the faux pas of playing music out loud on public transport. If they have forgotten headphones most sane people would go without their podcast or commute playlist. However, there is a small circle reserved in hell for people who decide to share their music out loud with their fellow commuters. What would the world be like if your train was filled with “Hey Google where was the 1992 Olympics held?”.
Most people are aware enough of their surroundings to not disturb other people, which is why everyone turns off the clicking noise their phones make while typing. Out of home voice-activated searches are and always will be rare, and for the socially oblivious.
The idea of having a voice assistant in the workplace is ideal. Asking your device to add something to your to-do list, checking in with your calendar, etc. Workplaces are a combination of Home & Out of home, the functions you would use are not related to purchase intent and realistically who would want to disturb their co-workers with the mundane voice queries.
What can I do to optimise for voice search?
- Nail your current search strategy and success in voice search results will follow. Rather than dropping everything and re-working your strategy ensure SEO basics are in place.
- Focus on the core of your business and voice results will follow. For local SEO and bricks & mortar stores, ensure your business listing is up to date and well-reviewed to capitalise on local searches.
- E-commerce businesses can leverage Google Shopping ads to appear on screen enabled voice devices which obviously includes mobile devices.
- Service-based/non-bricks and mortar can create content that is fresh and engaging to earn a spot in the featured snippets.
All of which are fundamentals of a good SEO strategy.
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