Make Yourself Heard: 4 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing for Voice Search

One of the most talked about developments at this year’s CES Live was Amazon revealing plans to integrate Alexa Intelligent Voice Agents into cars. "Amazon Auto" sets up a new wave of intriguing possibilities for marketers being able to connect with consumers on the move, whether it's petrol stations accepting payment in advance to retailers being able to personalise ads for drivers coming past them.

Voice activation and voice search have undoubtedly moved from the slip-road of tech geeks and early adopters into the main lane of consumer behaviour. There are now an estimated 3.25 billion personal assistants in use today – more than the world’s five most populous countries combined – and they are being kept busy. In fact, 20% of all mobile searches made on Google are now done by voice. Businesses that don’t reorganise their marketing to answer the call from consumers risk being left behind.

The where is as important as the why

It's estimated that 46% of all searches now have a local intent, thanks to the rise of internet use on handheld devices. With voice search the trend is particularly marked. According to Search Engine Watch, mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to have a local intent than text-based searches.  Voice searches for most products or services, from shoes to banks to vets, will yield a local result first: a map result.

Any business with a physical location needs to be fully optimised for local searches to have a chance of being chosen by an Alexa or Google Assistant result. Technologies like Alexa Auto are only going to accelerate the trend for local-first information being prioritised for consumers on the move.

Adapt or die

To meet this challenge, businesses need to adapt their thinking. Voice search produces organic answers, and in the majority of cases a maximum of three results. Therefore, brands must aim to achieve a top 1-3 listing, and ideally the top position. Lower than this, and brands will not be found by consumers when they are looking for the products and services the brand provides.

Let's take a look at the key factors businesses need to consider in order to appeal to the search engines that power choosy voice search assistants – and stand a chance of securing a coveted spot in the top three search results.

1. Ensure your local listings are accurate

For voice interactions, where you are matters as much as who you are. Check that your listings are complete with all necessary information: business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation. Complete and accurate listings make it easier for potential customers to find your business via voice search.

2. Structure your content to be discoverable by voice

As the direction of search shifts to voice, optimising your content is vital in helping you show up in voice searches. The key is to organise and structure information which should sound natural when read aloud. Ditch pages full of data and instead format content into bullet points or step-by-step instructions. Another option is to build an FAQ page to create short, concise bursts of information that can be picked up by voice assistants.

3. Configure your website’s local SEO properly

You need to optimise your local SEO for voice search. A key factor to take into consideration is that voice searches are usually significantly longer than text searches. Using localised, long-tail keywords is good practice when it comes to optimising for voice assistants.

4. Speed up your mobile page load times

For every one second delay in a mobile website’s load time, conversions decrease by a shocking 12%. Therefore, you should optimise the mobile experience by reducing load times where possible. One potentially beneficial method is to develop accelerated mobile pages (AMP)

By acting now to optimise for voice search, businesses can ensure they are discovered for the products and services they provide. In other words, being heard is the new being seen.

DAC recently produced a Voice Search White Paper looking at how the two leading voice assistants—Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—react to different types of queries and how local search is being redefined. 

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