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“Alexa, How is Voice Search Affecting my Business?”

For something that I grew up watching in old sci-fi films, talking to a device in 2018 is now as real as it gets. Although speaking into a rectangle made of aluminum, glass, and plastic seems somewhat comical when you really think about it, what isn’t funny is how prevalent it is in our world today, and how it may be affecting your business. According to comScore, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search at least once a day, and by 2020, half of all searches will be performed as a voice search.

Put into simple terms, a voice search is the ability to ask a device a question and get an immediate answer back. Ask Siri what the best Mexican restaurant near you is, and get answers with five-star reviews. Ask Google for updates on the Yankees game, and receive real-time scores and stats. It’s some powerful stuff. But as a marketer or business owner, developments like voice search present a new challenge and leave us asking the question, “Alexa, how is voice search affecting my business?”

First and foremost, voice search affects the amount of answers a consumer receives to their question. Normally during a typical Google search, “What is the best Mexican restaurant near me?” yields a long list of results to browse and choose from. But during a voice search, most technologies serve up just one answer. That means if you’re the 2nd, 3rd , or 4th Mexican restaurant near me with not as good SEO or reviews, you’re out of luck.

Secondly, as if we’re not changing our SEO and content enough already, we now have to adjust them for natural spoken language. It turns out that when we search for something online versus through voice, we pose our requests differently. When asking about home service needs, like pest control or air conditioning, I may type into Google, “termite control Princeton” or “furnace repair NJ,” while for voice search I may say, “Siri, what is the best pest control company in Princeton?” or “Alexa, who services furnaces near me?”. Therefore, it’s important to take some time to think about how a customer may search for your company through both a typed search and a voice search. Then, based on those variations, you can audit and update the keywords in your website and on-site SEO tactics to better target your customers who use voice search, while still accounting for the traditional typers.

Some parting thoughts:

  • With Google’s recent algorithm update in prioritizing websites that have been optimized for mobile users, it’s only time before they do the same for voice search. Early adopters to Adwords killed it. Will you crush voice search ahead of the game and get early gains?
  • Using your search method of choice, type or ask for Alexa’s portfolio of skills. Review and consider which skill you could play the expert on.
  • I’m heading to VoiceCon in NYC in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for a follow-up article with more action steps.
  • Lastly, Amazon is hosting its first Voice Summit in Newark, NJ this summer. Will I see you there?
Marketing Agency Blog Post Author of “Alexa, How is Voice Search Affecting my Business?”

May 8, 2018
Written by Chris Sullivan

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