For the past half-century, AI-powered voice machines have pervaded our pop culture consciousness. From characters like Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey” to Samantha from “Her,” we have witnessed the transition from what was once science fiction to what is now commonplace.
Today, voice responding technology can be found practically everywhere, from docked stations using Alexa, to computers through Cortana, and to smartphones with Siri. The prevalence of these pieces of software presents marketers with a surprising opportunity to reach prospective customers.
Here’s what voice search is — and why the ideal position on Google is zero.
It’s important to unpack how the different kinds of voice search technology function. When people use voice search technology, they typically ask questions like, “What will the weather be today?” The voice technology responds with an appropriate answer after scouring a search engine with keywords included in the question. Companies large and small are tapping into the voice search trend, and marketers need to keep pace to stay ahead of competition.
With the rise of voice search technology, search engine optimization, or SEO, is changing. Marketers are no longer competing for the first spot on Google but, instead, the ranking known as position zero, according to Entrepreneur.
Position zero is the featured snippet or small information box that Google places above all the other search results. In the context of voice search marketing, this concept is hugely important because technology like Siri or Alexa will often read from the content in position zero.
Considering the importance of position zero and the featured snippet in search results, companies should optimize voice search. To improve your business’ position in voice search, experts recommend using long-tail keywords in your SEO and clear answers to questions on your website and social media pages.
Optimize your voice search marketing with these strategies.
SEO marketing can help companies achieve their search objectives.
Many consumers use mobile phones to conduct voice searches, so companies should focus on their mobile SEO rankings, according to the Forbes Communications Council. This means that when companies look to revise their content for their mobile websites, they should consider making their material more voice search friendly.
The Forbes Agency Council notes that location is also hugely important in both keyword generation and content optimization. The more localized a company makes its content, the more effective its SEO will be, especially for voice searches. For example, if a consumer asks a device, “Where is a printing service nearby?”, the content that has been written to feature local information will appear sooner.
The purpose and necessity of longer keywords require attention. The major benefit of longer keywords is how specific they can be and that they’re more likely to be seen. With higher specificity and lower competition, longer keywords are tailored particularly well for voice searches. Still, marketers need to be careful about how they select these keywords. Voice search keywords must have a low-stakes, casual tone and be structured as an answer to a question.
Scholars have begun to weigh in on the effectiveness of conversational tone in voice search marketing. An Applied Marketing Analytics article notes, “As adoption of conversational interfaces increases, so will opportunities for marketers to use them to better meet consumer needs.” People are talking to their machines as if they are having a personal, informal conversation, and it’s only natural that machines adapt to that form of communication.
These online classes can help marketers get started.
As voice search technology continues to grow more sophisticated and popular, voice search marketing will be necessary for companies to reach customers. By engaging with voice search today, marketers can prepare for future trends within the industry. The best way to gain this kind of experience is with an online BA or BS in integrated marketing communications. Students gain firsthand knowledge of how marketers use specific content to optimize for voice search.
The University of West Alabama offers this degree track, which feeds into an online MA in integrated marketing communications. Both programs offer a nuanced look into the ways that different technologies are changing how people consume media and how future marketers can position themselves as a result of that change. In these flexible, fully online courses, students can develop skills for a dynamic field at their own pace. Voice search technology is going to grow more immersive, and the marketers who jump into the game today will have a strong foundation.