Whether it’s Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon Echo, voice assistants are everywhere and ready to be at your service. In fact, Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing will be done with no screen at all by 2020, making voice search the future.
While the rise of voice technology might herald a new era of convenience and ease, it has a different significance for brands that are hoping to remain easily discoverable online.
Unlike traditional search engines, voice search doesn’t only surface a list of links and ads. Instead, it tries to figure out what users really want and gives them a single result. Because of this, voice search technology will be a defining part of heightening competition between brands that all want to be the single top result.
The ubiquity of voice assistants is thanks, in large part, to a larger trend in search: the move away from keyword-based queries and toward more natural interactions. As a result, SEO marketers will have to adapt their strategies if they want to show up not only in traditional searches, but also in social media platforms and wherever else the conversation might lead.
4 Ways Voice Technology Is Transforming SEO
As voice search trends continue to evolve with adoption and technological advancements, here are four ways you can successfully incorporate it into your SEO strategy today:
1. Content Optimization
The days of SEO simply being a matter of strategic keyword placement were gone before voice was in the picture. Good SEO is about understanding and addressing the perceived intent of the searcher and customizing results based on that.
As voice search continues to evolve and home in on the intricacies of natural language, SEO will have to further adapt its messaging to provide an effective conversation-based experience when interacting with voice assistants, smart speakers, or screen-enabled hubs.
2. Custom Plug-Ins
Whether used through Alexa Skills or a Google Action, custom-built command responses are going to be increasingly important for engagement and discovery.
These commands can be as simple as structured data in your content that helps better position it for voice-related search. Or they can be more complex, like an entirely voice-enabled application that guides the user from start to finish. Even better, they can be promoted through social media and ensure the user is never far from your brand, even when they’re nowhere near a computer.
This might seem like a small thing, but organizing social media and blog posts with relevant tags can be huge for a brand’s discoverability — especially when it comes to voice. Properly tagging posts will help users find the content they’re looking for with simple commands such as “Read me the top posts on X this morning.” When the right tags are in place, your brand can easily become part of the conversation.
Make sure voice technology users are engaging with your brand through targeted ads on streaming platforms. Podcast listeners or video streamers can interact with your content through search and social media.
It might seem odd, but the rise of voice search should signal the need for a better video strategy, too. Opportunities for hands-free viewing, like watching recipes while cooking in the kitchen or pulling up how-tos in the middle of trying to repair a car are excellent paths to discovery. Strategically thinking through streaming services and social platforms that would utilize the power of search to bring your relevant brand content to the forefront will be a powerful way to see SEO results driven by voice technology.
As voice assistants continue to evolve, so will the ways in which we interact with the internet and one another. Social media will no longer just be confined to scrolling through feeds on a screen — it will be curated and delivered to us through conversations. Likewise, SEO is no longer just about a page ranking on a single search engine — it’s about figuring out ways to become the first thing that comes up in the discussion.
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