As the digital landscape evolves, voice search is now a commonplace where the user base is growing fast. Around 65% of device owners regularly use voice search, and with this number set to increase, so do opportunities for B2B.
Think about the devices out there now; Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homepod and Cortana. These are all voice search devices and if tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple and Google are investing millions in digital assistants, then it’s clear to see that voice search has massive potential.
For you and us, we don’t have to invest millions to create a new digital assistant, but what we must consider, and ultimately develop, is our SEO strategy to include voice search so we don’t fall by the wayside.
If you think voice search doesn’t apply to B2B, think again. There’s one common denominator that means this is as important for B2B as it is for B2C: ease of use.
The reason for the exponential growth in voice search is subject mainly to ease of use and the impact on UX. We no longer have time to trawl through search results trying to find the answer we need. Voice search leverages long-tail keywords for more specific answers. We want answers immediately and voice search certainly serves this need. It goes without saying that this clearly has a huge positive impact on user experience, and that’s exactly what Google emphasises today for ranking, whether you’re a B2C or B2B business.
So, for us looking to optimise content and landing pages for voice search, we can expect to see higher traffic to our site, but also a reduced bounce rate.
As mentioned previously, long-tail keywords are more specific search queries, and they’re the kind of search queries voice search users are asking. They’re more direct searches to get a more relevant answer.
It’s essential to note that voice search isn’t just about the long-tail keywords we’re familiar with for desktop searches, but that they’re more likely to contain a question. For example, think about action-oriented words like ‘when does’, ‘where is’ and ‘near me’. ‘Near me’ is particularly important as voice search users have local intent. For example, ‘Sainsbury’s supermarkets near me’ and ‘what are the best Italian restaurants in Oxford?’
Focus content on FAQs
If you focus on FAQs, you’ll automatically touch on long-tail keywords that are action oriented. Prioritise answering the 5W1H: who, what, when, where, why and how in your content.
Then consider the most likely asked questions
Once you’ve answered the 5W1H, you’ll have a good understanding of the overall story, and, your target audience. What type of questions are they mostly asking when looking for your products or services? Once you have this nailed, the focus then needs to be on providing direct and concise answers. Don’t just focus on the keyword though. Focus on how the question will be phrased, including extra words that will help your audience get a direct, concise answer. The content must then be built around the query so Google knows your content is relevant.
Conversational and informal language
It’s rare we meet anyone nowadays who speaks following the strict etiquette of their language. So, don’t make your content formal – even if you’re a corporate brand. People are people and won’t speak as they write, so for voice search, write as they speak. It’s often colloquial so you must consider how your audience will speak and develop your content to match their tone.
There’s a lot of ongoing investment with AI and intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) to make them respond like humans, so if your content isn’t written as a human would speak, your efforts aren’t going to work as they should.
Don’t forget about PPC campaigns
As voice search paves the way for SEO, it’s important not to forget about your PPC campaigns. After all, this is where you’re spending cash, so you need to make sure you’re optimising pay-per-click advertising as well.
In Google AdWords, check to see if any of your campaigns are receiving voice search traffic. You can do this by exporting a search query report. When you’ve downloaded the report, filter search terms for the most used IPAs such as Siri, Alexa or OK Google. You can then create a column for the word count, looking at queries 5-6 words long as these are most likely conversational queries. These queries may not necessarily be valuable as keywords, but they should give you an idea of user intent and how you can react. For example, look at the negative keywords. Some search queries may not be relevant to your campaign, so you can look at the queries, pull the irrelevant words from them and add them to your negative keyword phrases. This helps to prevent low-quality impressions.
You should now have a good idea of what your audience is searching for, and using a keyword tool of your choice, you can build on these long-tail search queries and make the most of your voice search traffic.
Ok. So, we’ve given you the how - now for the why.
ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice. The quicker you can adopt voice search, the more you’ll get out of this fast-growing trend in the years to come. Research conducted by Forbes shows that voice searches also tend to be action-based. This shows user intent to act, and as all marketing activities aim to get the audience to act, why wouldn’t you want to optimise content for voice?
The bottom line is that being a top search result is essential in voice, with 75% of results being in the top 3. A strong SEO strategy is crucial to compete, and a voice search strategy is fundamental to SEO success.
As we opened this article with the point that the digital landscape is always evolving, we’ll close it on the point that if you don’t evolve with it, you quite simply risk being left behind.