Hey Alexa, What are 5 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know about Voice Search and SEO in 2022?
September 17, 2022
Finding something has never been easier. Just ask your phone or call out to the digital assistant in your home. As a small business owner, you can take advantage of this growing market segment by maximizing your ability to leverage voice search.
The rise of this form of user experience has been expedited in recent years. The rapid adoption of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa has prompted small businesses to modify their SEO strategies to account for voice search. One study showed that about four in 10 adults (41%) use voice search every day.
The rapid adoption of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa has prompted small businesses to modify their SEO strategies to account for voice search.
But what does this mean for your small business? Well, at its core, it represents a significant opportunity. However, to grab that chance, you'll need to target your digital marketing and SEO strategies. Here, we'll outline the current state of voice search and some of the steps you can take to leverage this powerful sales tool.
What is voice search and what makes it special?
It’s become an experience so common you might not think about it anymore. Get Alexa to help you find the nearest restaurant or ask Siri to play a workout playlist.
This is voice search. At its base, it represents a simple concept. Instead of typing a search term into a tool like Google, you use a virtual assistant to make the query using speech.
In some senses, voice search represents an extension of the traditional text version. However, some natural differences arise in the way people use these tools.
Over the past couple of decades, the general population has become quite good at text search. It’s become second nature to craft simple, well-defined search terms. At the same time, companies like Google have steadily improved their ability to operate with typed queries.
On the other hand, voice search is a newer technology. As part of this, most people treat voice search in a more naturalistic way. They act like they are asking a question to a friend. Rather than the short, concentrated terms often used for text, the spoken version usually involves a more conversational approach.
This dynamic is reinforced by the relative ease of asking a question out loud. Rather than having to pound out a phrase with a tiny keypad, people tend to get more expansive and off-the-cuff with their voice searches. These attempts to find information are also more likely to take the form of a question. (Think of voice as the Jeopardy! of search.)
Why is voice search becoming more popular?
COVID has significantly accelerated a long-standing migration to online sales. Meanwhile, many of the world's largest corporations — the Amazons, Googles, Apples, and Metas of the world — have invested billions in making and marketing voice-activated hardware throughout the world.
As it stands, Amazon's Alexa remains the most popular home speaker, representing more than two-thirds of the market (69%), with Google and Apple hardware also grabbing sizable shares.
All told, these products have accelerated in popularity in recent years. From around 20 million in 2017, the installed base of smart speakers ballooned to more than 120 million by the middle of 2021. This represents a growing opportunity to capture customers for your small business.
Tips for creating a voice-search strategy
As a result of its accelerated growth, marketers have scrambled to keep up. Because of the dynamics of speech, companies are forced to tailor their SEO and digital advertising strategies to the specific structures of voice search.
Given the distinct qualities of voice search, it's important to have a dedicated strategy for maximizing this growing part of the market. Ideally, this will run parallel to your general digital marketing efforts — an addition to the processes you already have in place. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Know Your Target Customer
Before investing in voice search, understand the audience you want to reach. Collect data about the market. Learn the type of person most likely to want your offerings and the types of searches that will lead them to you.
Remember that there are often structural differences between text and voice search. The spoken version tends to follow a more conversational style. In practice, this means businesses should use what's called "long-tail keywords." For instance, think of the difference between the phrases "voice search" and "what is voice search."
Traditionally, these are less common than their more concise counterparts. However, they can also be more specific, meaning that you can attract a highly focused audience if you capture them correctly.
Remember that there are often structural differences between text and voice search. The spoken version tends to follow a more conversational style. In practice, this means businesses should use what's called "long-tail keywords."
Optimize Your Content Strategy
As you target your audience acquisition to the shape of voice search, make sure to connect both ends of the equation. Look at the content that makes up your website and fit it to capture the optimal voice searches as well. This includes your sales and marketing pages, as well as any blogs or other content offerings that you update regularly.
Narrow Your Focus
The information you learn about your potential audience will let you target the people most primed to respond to your message. Focus your efforts on this narrow audience. From there, you can also integrate a broader strategy as well. But at its core, build out from the most profitable voice-search marketing to grab the right potential clients for you.
Here are a few ways to do this effectively:
- Find a Local Audience
- Segment Your Potential Customers
- Refine Your Targeted Search Terms
Track Your Progress
Once you implement a voice-search strategy, keep working to improve. The conditions in the search environment, whether for text or voice, refuse to stay static. Rather, search algorithms, customer preferences, and market factors all change over time.
As such, you need an ongoing process to review and update your search techniques. Conduct experiments to see if there are better ways to connect with potential customers. Collect data and tweak your program as needed.
Optimizing your voice search strategy
There are 3.1 billion voice searches every month. Are you getting your share? By upgrading your digital marketing strategy, you can take advantage of this force disrupting traditional SEO.
In the age of virtual assistants, you can't afford to fall behind. Your small business can take advantage of a focused investment in this growing segment of the market. Use the information provided here to make sure your business is set up for success as voice search continues to grow.