5 Thoughts on Voice Search and Content Marketing

December 03 / Andrew Kopp / filed under Internet Marketing

voice-activated-marketing

Alexa, Cortana, and Siri aren’t just cool ideas for celebrity baby names anymore. These digital entities are virtual assistants, the figureheads of the voice-first technology movement. As the Internet of Things completes its global creep, marketers are left to catch up, catch on, and take action. Here’s what you need to know about voice search and the future of content marketing.

1. Voice-Assisted Search is No Flash in the Pan

Think this whole talking-to-your-phone thing is just a trend? Not so fast. More than half of consumers have used voice search to find info for a local business within the last year, and 25% of those surveyed say they haven’t tried local voice search yet but they would. Talking is easier than typing, and in our fast-paced society, anything that leaves your hands free while still delivering efficiency is going to gain traction.

2. Write the Way You Talk

How we talk and how we type are two different things. Content marketers who love big words and linguistic acrobatics will soon discover that raiding the thesaurus isn’t the best way to connect with consumers. Writing for voice tech means emulating normal patterns of speech. Think conversationally and err on the side of simplicity.

  • No: The archetypal device for such an undertaking, this hammer conveys scads of force with each vigorous blow.
  • Yes: Ideal for most DIY jobs, this hammer offers big power for big results.

3. Incorporate More Short-Form Content

Long-form content is still important, but the question-and-answer nature of most voice-search queries is pushing shorter blurbs to the forefront again. Consumers are looking for immediate access to vital info:

  • Where is the closest Mexican restaurant?
  • Show me pictures of allergic reactions
  • What’s the weather in Cleveland today?
  • When is Southwest flight XXX going to land?

Use your content to keep the conversation going. This means creating or expanding your FAQ, using question words (who, what, where) as keywords, and writing blogs and site copy that’s in tune with what consumers want to know.

4. Context, Context, Context

People don’t always say what they mean, and voice-text searches can be similarly layered. Structure your content to tackle queries from multiple angles. For instance, if your targeted keyword is “shoe store near me,” you should be slipping in all kinds of corresponding long-tail and semantic keywords:

  • shoe store in Atlanta
  • shoe store on Peach Street
  • women’s footwear in Georgia
  • how to find women’s shoes
  • winter shoe trends
  • women’s shoe reviews

It’s a more holistic way of thinking that considers not just the keyword but the intent behind it. By reading in between the lines, you’re using contextual clues to create more effective content and getting Google excited about your site at the same time.

5. Know Your Goal

Consumers using for voice search almost always fall into three categories of intent:

  • Transactional: These consumers are looking to take action, often immediately and almost always via the internet. You’ll see keywords like “buy” or “sign up,” and queries will be more specific, like “Jimmy Choo” rather than just “heels”.
  • Navigational: Consumers in this category are trying to find a specific website or store location: “directions to Walmart” or “take me to Apple.com.”
  • Informational: This category is all about education. Consumers may be looking to learn how to unclog a toilet or clip their dog’s toenails or questions may be more general, such as “Why do we celebrate Halloween?”

The most important thing to remember is that while optimizing for voice tech is vital, that’s still only one spoke in a giant marketing wheel. Don’t abandon everything else you’re doing, just add another piece to your strategy puzzle.