Ten years ago, the idea of talking to your phone — not on the phone, but to your phone — seemed completely foreign. However, with the introduction of Apple’s Siri in late 2011, talking to your phone suddenly became a lot more reasonable. Apple wasn’t alone in this innovation for long, either. With Windows’ Cortana and Android’s assistant feature, it’s now possible to search the web, find information, and even explore news stories through voice alone. This trend has only accelerated with the introduction of smart home devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
With the continued growth, it’s unlikely this progression will end anytime soon. ComScore even estimates that 50% of searches will be made by voice by 2020. And while this may be exciting for those in the technology space, the story is quite different for companies that, to this point, have created content with standard web users in mind.
The Divide Between Text and Speech
In some ways, text and speech are similar. Text tends to use the same phrases and grammar as spoken word, at least to an extent. However, the habits taught for effective Google searches do not generally translate into normal talking patterns. As such, while someone looking for a shopping mall may type “shopping malls near me” into Google, they’re more likely to say something like “Where is the closest shopping mall?” to Siri. Voice search queries are longer and more complex than a traditional web search, too; a standard search uses one to three words, while spoken queries are typically between four to six. Keywords and phrases are emphasized online, whereas users speaking into a device are more likely to speak in full sentences.
There’s a lot to be learned from voice queries from which companies can benefit. For example, the kinds of spoken questions asked can provide greater insight into where a customer is in a purchase funnel. A web search that says “Levi jeans” doesn’t mean much, but the question “where can I buy Levi jeans” is a much better indication that someone is ready to make a purchase. However, to take advantage of this, it’s important for site creators to prioritize content that appeals to these specific types of requests.
Creating Conversational Content
Your online searchers can find you on the web, and that’s great. Now it’s time to bridge the gap and help them find you via voice commands, too. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you optimize content for the evolution of voice search trends.
- Conversational content is a priority. When you post content, make sure it sounds similar to human speech patterns and follows common colloquial phrasing searchers are likely to use. Use tools like buyer personas to identify who your target demographic is and make sure your content matches accordingly.
- Incorporate full questions as often as possible, including queries that start with who, what, when, where, why, and how. Add these kinds of questions into the headings of your content or as page titles, as often as fits naturally. Put a focus on long-tail keywords to fit with normal speaking patterns.
- Make sure structured data and schema mark-up are incorporated into the back end of your website to better help search engines process your data and pair your content with voice queries.
Voice technology is no longer the future; it’s the present and your website needs to keep up. If new voice search trends are not informing your content creation, your business is going to lag behind those who do. When you want to take your business in the right direction, RivalMind’s expert SEO resources can help you create content that resonates — no matter who is searching or how they’re doing it.