Why Voice Search is Vital to Your SEO Marketing in 2018.

Voice search is the future. Here’s how to update your SEO strategy to avoid getting stuck in the past.
Michael Harbone
December 20, 2017 - 5 min. read

Most successful new marketing trends start small, then slowly gather momentum until they hold a significant chunk of the market.

Remember the way people used to talk about Facebook as a marketing tool? Many said it wouldn’t amount to much, and now it is a powerhouse that all the top marketers use. The same thing is happening with voice search, but it is past the stage of it being a presumption – these days one in five searches is done via voice.

With voice searches already beginning to embed themselves in our daily lives, it’s more important than ever for marketers to adapt to the new normal for SEO.

The upward voice search trend
With all new SEO marketing trends, there is a gradual upward trend before an explosion, and voice search is no exception.

The stats don’t lie; as of 2017, 41% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day, and that number will keep rising. By 2020, voice searches are expected to account for 50% of all online queries, which is up from 20% in 2016.

Clearly, consumers are getting more and more used to conducting their day-to-day searches by voice.

Personal voice assistants
Personal voice assistants like Siri or Alexa keep track of your searches and online activity to deliver a truly customized user experience. When you make a request, it will use your personalized data with no questions asked, making it easier for you to carry on with your work.

This becomes especially useful when you’re busy working on a project and don’t have the time to type something in.

You can quickly ask a question or say a command, whether it be scheduling a meeting, noting down a task, or doing a search online. Having a voice assistant allows you to do things faster, more accurately and more efficiently–without even using your hands.

Source: GIPHY.

Smart devices galore
This year we’ve seen multiple voice capable smart devices come to market. Google Home and Amazon Echo are taking the biggest chunk of the pie. People have been lapping these up as they no longer even have to take their phone out to do a search. They can just call out a command and get the answer they’re looking for.

Many have been skeptical of the technology, but the obvious ease-of-use seems to be winning over a lot of the naysayers.

Error decrease
Year after year, AI is getting smarter at reducing the number of errors made by voice assistants, whether they be Google, Siri or Alexa.

This was one of the factors causing slow adoption of voice search in the past. Users were annoyed with the inaccuracy of speech recognition and the lack of relevant search results.

Now, with a 70% accuracy rate, natural language processing (NLP) has become precise enough for everyday use. Furthermore, the algorithms behind NLP are getting even smarter.

These types of processes are able to identify human speech patterns; they can extract key phrases, places, people, brands, or events and put them into contextual values in applications and search engine results pages.

With contextual learning added in, you can now ask for further information about your original question and the voice assistant will know you’re talking about the same subject.

For example:

“How many presidents of the USA are there?” (Short answer: 44).
“Who was the 42nd one?” (Bill Clinton).

There’s no need to ask longer questions–the voice assistant does it all for you.

voice search
Source: GIPHY.

Talking is more natural
For thousands of years we have been talking to each other, and that is not going to stop anytime soon.

Even with Facebook Messenger there is an option to send an audio message. That shows Facebook understands the power of voice search. Sometimes it’s just easier to record what you’re saying.

People prefer to communicate via voice. It’s simply faster, easier, and more natural than typing.

SEO will shift toward natural questions
The five Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why) have always been around, but they are back on the rise in the world of SEO.

People generally prefer to ask questions when doing voice searches. For example, instead of asking for “Top 20 SEO tips of 2018”, they are more likely to ask, “What are the top 20 SEO tips of 2018?”

Old-fashioned text searches will still be more prevalent in 2018, but as we move forward through the years, the SEO keywords you use will need to adapt to how people search with their voices. You will need to focus more on specific questions and the answers they produce.

You will also need to focus on directly answering questions potential customers might have. In traditional SEO, search results are ranked from position 1-10; however, in voice search, the goal is to be position 0 – the only answer your users need.

voice searchSource: GIPHY.

Adapting your SEO
So how can marketers optimize their SEO to make sure their content is in position zero for voice search? Here are a few key actions to prioritize:

  • Focus your content around a specific question and its answer
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Ask your customers to leave a review of your product or service
  • Complete your Google My Business listing with all relevant information (opening hours, address, phone number, etc.)

The last two points are of particular importance since almost 25% of all voice searches are for local information.

Facebook brings in its own voice assistant
If you want any more proof that voice search is going to be prevalent, then take note – Facebook is creating in its own voice assistant.

We all know Facebook likes to test with a small group of users to get rid of errors and produce the best product they can before they bring it to the masses.

Rumor has it that Facebook could make use of the technology as early as next year.

voice search

Zuckerberg & Co. are playing it coy with their voice search project–but predictions are it’s coming soon. Source: Facebook Newsroom.

Conclusion
If you want to keep ahead of the competition, voice search technology is something you can’t afford to ignore.

Optimizing your website for voice is vital now as we go into 2018, and with predictions of 50% of searches done by voice by 2020, you need to stand up and take notice.

Voice search, however, is just one of the trends that you need to take note of in 2018.

Here are 15 you need to follow in 2018.

15 Trends to Watch.

Is your marketing strategy ready for next year?
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