Once, voice-activated technology was nothing more than an entertaining novelty, today it is a big business and fast becoming part of everyday life, for many people.
In US homes, there are almost 120 million smart speaker devices – a growth of nearly 80% in just one year. 60% of Google searches are now performed from mobile devices, and a growing percentage of those are voice searches – at least 20% according to the last figures confirmed by Google.
This evolution, in the way that people are looking for and consuming information, means that your content marketing strategy also needs to adapt. SEO needs a different approach when you are optimizing for voice search, and so does your content.
- The way people search for information online is changing and more and more are opting for voice searches.
- Voice searchers use different language in their search queries and are often looking for different types of content that users who type searches – often-quick answers rather than a long-form article.
- Content marketers must look into how they can best serve the needs of voice-activated tech users and consider different methods of content delivery such as via chatbot.
WHY VOICE SEARCH IS DIFFERENT?
Users of smart speakers and another voice-activated tech often have different needs and motivations to standard web searchers on a laptop. In fact, they may not be interested in visiting your website at all – a quarter of respondents to a survey carried out in the US and Europe said they would prefer to go with a voice assistant than a website.
This shift in how people are using the internet might seem quite alarming to anyone who’s invested in content marketing, but there’s no need to panic. Content will continue to be a vital part of any digital marketing strategy as we move into the future, but you should change the type of content and methods of optimization to suit the needs of voice searchers.
According to research by Adobe, the most common uses of voice assistants are:
- Play music
- Check weather
- Set alarms
- Asking fun questions
- Checking news
- Asking for directions
- Checking sports scores
- Basic research
For these reasons, it’s clear that brands should look into how they can optimize for voice-activated tech users, particularly if they’re selling physical products.
Voice searches are also usually in the long-tail form in natural language. For these reasons, the approach to SEO is fundamentally different from traditional SEO. Rather than focusing on shorter keywords and creating long-form content, the optimal approach is to create shorter-form content with concise answers, optimized for long-tail natural language queries.
It’s also important to keep your language simple when you’re writing for the machines that will parse your content when looking for answers to questions. Complex grammar and long sentences are harder for AI to understand.
USING CHATBOTS IN YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
The new era of voice-activated technology may challenge the marketers with some challenges, but it’s introducing some new possibilities too. One such possibility is using a chatbot to help you find content, deliver content, and to nurture leads so that it can drive sales.
Using this AI-powered software like chatbots cuts down on the workload for human customer service agents and sales staff (the bot can always pass over to a human agent if it can’t provide satisfactory solutions to the customers).
To get the most out of a chatbot and integrate it properly into your content strategy, you’ll need to ensure your content is “structurally rich”. Structurally rich content could also boost SEO search engines will look through your content for helpful metadata.
CREATING CONTENT FOR VOICE ASSISTANT USERS
As well as optimizing and adapting the content you produce for voice-activated technology users, it’s also important to think about the type of content to create.
It’s not just a question of long-form vs. short-form. Voice searchers often have quite different needs to text-based searchers. Information about promotions and personalized tips and information rank even higher as the types of information that these users want to receive from brands.
The results of this research can help inform your content marketing plan for the coming months and years. However, while a research-backed strategy is a sensible one, make room for some experimentation too.
Voice assistants are still an emerging technology and their use is likely to evolve over the next couple of years. Some people might prefer to use their smart speakers to read out long-form content rather than just answering quick questions. So it’s best to keep your content marketing plan varied (in other words don’t just rely on short-form content and featured snippets) and regularly review what is and isn’t working for you.