From a time in the 1950s when speech recognition technology had a numbers-only vocabulary (one, designed by Bell Laboratories, was named “Audrey”), to a time when Siri and her friends Alexa and Cortana seem to be taking over the world, voice command has evolved to a level where many people now prefer it over typing on a keyboard. As the evolution of technology continues, we find ourselves regularly evaluating our marketing strategies to incorporate the latest and most effective technology.
So how does voice command technology affect the way that we tailor our inbound marketing content?
First, take a look at some interesting statistics related to voice command:
- Reports by ComScore show that 40% of adults use voice search at least one time per day
- One of Gartner’s top predictions is that by the year 2020, 30% of web browsing will be accomplished without a screen.
- According to Microsoft/Tech Radar, Cortana has 141 million monthly users.
- In December 2016, the voice search enabled Amazon Echo became one of the company’s most popular products during the holiday shopping season.
- Technavio reports that voice recognition as an industry will be worth over $600 million by 2019.
Tips for Keeping Up with Inbound Marketing via Voice Command
Clearly voice command technology isn't going away. And as we seek to make our marketing strategies effective for voice command technology, the following factors should be considered:
People speak differently than they type. Keywords become more vague and difficult to pinpoint when people are not typing in “query language” but are speaking in natural phrases. This means that keyword phrases may be less specific and become somewhat longer. When creating content don't forget about keywords, rather think of keywords in natural language and in question format. We'll discuss this a little further in the next section.
Casual, Conversational Content
Exact match keywords went out a few years ago, even when related to text. But now, with voice command, the old approach to SEO has lost even more of its relevance. Verbal searches are conversational, meaning that your content should be including fewer specific, contextual terms. Instead, content needs to include keywords and phrases that mimic the way people talk, getting rid of stuffy academic language.
While typed searches have a tendency to be two or three words long, voice searches are on average of 4.2 words. Content that builds in longer keyword phrases will draw in voice command searches. For instance if a person wanted to find out about airfares to Orlando, they might type in “Orlando airfares." But if they were using voice command, you might say, “How much does it cost to fly to Orlando or Disney World?” If you are a travel agent, this distinction is critical to make sure your business being found by potential customers. And your website content should be tuned to it.
Voice searches are also three times more likely to be targeted toward location - so your site must be set up to accommodate this. People are out in the world doing things, and they often need to access information related to where they happen to be at the moment. For instance, “Siri, find a nearby spa in Chicago” would replace the text keyword terminology “Chicago spa." This means your website content needs to include not only “Chicago spa” as a keyword phrase, but also “spa in Chicago”.
Local businesses can particularly benefit from this approach as it helps them get found by potential customers. One helpful consideration might be to add local landmarks to your website content so that it registers in searches like, “Siri, find me a spa near Grant Park.” If you own a spa in Chicago, your content should include some targeted phrases related to “spa near Grant Park” so that your business comes up in search results.
One advantage to longer search phrases is that we can better understand what the user is looking for. Simply searching for “Orlando Disney” might mean that the browser wants photos of the city/park, travel arrangements related to the place, or information about the history of Orlando or even about Walt Disney, the man. Voice command’s tendency to use more words makes intent clearer with phrases such as “how much are flights to Orlando” or “what does a trip to Disney World cost?”
Making minor tweaks to your inbound marketing website content now allows you to adjust right along with the ever-changing landscape, keeping you on top of the changes as they happen. Waiting to adjust until you see if voice command is going to last will probably just leave you further behind in the game.