Do you remember the good old days when we had to type out our search queries on a keyboard? Well, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can now bank upon virtual assistants or smart speakers to do the heavy lifting for us.
If you have ever found yourself asking your phone or speaker to give you updates on the weather forecast, then you are one of the millions of people who have happily embraced the convenience of voice search!
But hold on! What does this mean for Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Buckle up and get ready to explore the impact of voice search on SEM and how it’s changing the game for businesses and marketers everywhere!
Before we dig into the details, let us first understand what exactly voice search is and how it works.
An insight into voice search & its functionality
‘Voice search is not a fad; it is a shift in consumer behavior that businesses need to be aware of.’ – Mr. Ben Thompson, Founder of Stratechery.
In simple terms, voice search is a technology that enables you to surf the internet by directly speaking to a virtual assistant or smart speaker. Instead of typing a query into the search engine, you can simply ask your question, and the virtual assistant will provide an answer or perform the requested action.
For instance – instead of typing ‘best salons for a haircut near me’ into a search engine, you can just utter it out to your phone’s virtual assistant. The virtual assistant will then provide a list of the best salons located near your place.
Voice search technology is powered by natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI). The main functionality of the NLP is to allow virtual assistants to comprehend the meaning of words and phrases, and the AI allows them to learn and improve with time.
When you raise a voice search, the technology uses NLP to interpret and understand your search. The virtual assistant then uses AI to analyze and determine the best answer for the action.
Significant Impacts of Voice Search on Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Voice search has recently developed and dramatically influenced marketers’ SEM strategies. With voice search gaining more popularity, you need to understand how this technology impacts SEM strategies and how to adjust accordingly.
Here are the key areas where voice search can significantly impact your SEM –
Impact on keyword research
The main impact of voice search on SEM is the changes in the way people look up for information. Unlike traditional keyword searches, where internet users leverage short phrases for their search, voice search queries are often complete sentences and questions.
As an SEM expert, you must optimize your campaigns for long-tail keywords and phrases reflecting natural language. As opposed to other keywords, long-tail keywords are more specific and have a lower search volume, but they are highly targeted and can generate a decent volume of traffic. You must conduct thorough research to identify relevant long-tail keywords matching the users’ search queries.
Impact on overall website design
Voice search has also influenced website designs. As more users leverage voice search to look for information, they expect the website to be responsive and easily accessible. Most importantly, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices, as 27% of people use voice search on their mobile devices.
Additionally, the website content must be structured to make it easy for voice search technology to understand. This includes leveraging header tags to organize content, using schema markup to provide more context, and ensuring the website has a clear and concise structure.
Impact on user experience
Search engines like Google consider user experience a ranking factor, so a well-optimized website for voice search is more likely to rank well in the search results. Additionally, this will help you increase the likelihood of users returning to your page. What’s more, your users are more likely to take action, like making a purchase, if they find shopping on your app or website to be a hassle-free experience.
By shifting your focus on user experience and optimizing voice search, you can leave a massive impact, differentiate your brand from your competitors, and gain a competitive edge.
Impact on content creation
The rise of voice search has also impacted content creation for search engine marketing. With users asking questions and performing longer search queries, it has become vital to make the content concise and provide direct answers. Moreover, the content should also be written in a conversational tone to match the natural language and capture the user’s attention.
Impact on featured snippets
The voice search results are often displayed in featured snippets, commonly called position zero, that summarize the answer to the users’ query. Voice assistants read these snippets aloud, making them a valuable tool for SEM. Additionally, websites that rank for featured snippets are more likely to be selected by voice assistants and displayed as the top search result.
Impact on brand awareness
Voice search can also leave a lasting impact on brand awareness. When your users look for recommendations through voice search, they are often presented with limited options. If you play your cards right, your brand can feature in these recommendations, thereby increasing your reach and visibility.
For this, you must focus on publishing quality content that adds value. Moreover, you also need to engage with your audience on other marketing touchpoints like social media.
Impact on Local Search
Voice search is handy for local search queries. If you are a business with a physical location, it is crucial to optimize for local search to ensure that your business appears in relevant voice search results.
You can do this by verifying your Google My Business listing, ensuring that the listing is accurate, and using relevant location-based keywords in your website’s content. Another way is to include local landmarks or major attractions in your content, as virtual assistants will use the information to give more accurate results.
Calling it a wrap!
‘Voice search and personal assistants are transforming the way we search for information, making it easier and faster to find what we need.’ – Mr. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.
Voice search changes how users interact with technology and search for information. It offers a unique opportunity to you for connecting with your audience in a more personalized and engaging way. By understanding the impact of voice search on search engine marketing, you can adapt the strategies and stay ahead of the curve.
Including voice search optimization in your SEM strategy allows you to improve your search visibility, elevate website traffic and gradually drive more conversions. As the popularity of voice search continues to grow, you must stay informed and proactive in your approach to SEM.