Is the Voice Assistant Changing Search?

personal voice assistant

Major tech companies including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft all offer their own personal assistants through a number of in-home and mobile devices. Like it or not, the personal voice assistant has become a significant player in driving online traffic and engagement, especially when it comes to search.

This trend is forcing marketers to understand the new challenges and opportunities that come with voice-driven search. While voice queries represent a fundamental shift in how brands target online search traffic, it isn't a doomsday scenario for your current SEO strategy. All it takes is some flexibility and a willingness to adapt to new circumstances. Here are some tips to get ahead of the curve.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

When speaking to a voice assistant, customers are often more verbose than when they're typing a similar query. As a Forbes article pointed out, due to natural speech patterns, voice searches consisting of long sentences are more common than text-based queries of the same length.

This has resulted in a depreciation of the value of one- or two-word keywords, while the importance of long-tail keywords is rising fast. Long-tail keyword targeting offers the twin benefits of being more relevant to voice search while also being less competitive, and therefore more affordable, when it comes to keyword bidding wars. Early adopters of long-tail keyword strategies can take advantage of this opportunity while it's still easy on limited marketing budgets.

Pose Questions in Your Content

One significant difference between voice search and typed search queries is the way information is sought. When written, search queries often take the form a statement: "Best baby strollers 2018," for example. But in voice search, these queries are much more likely to be phrased in the literal form of a question, as in, "What are the best baby strollers in 2018?"

This natural language is a hallmark of voice search, and marketers would be wise to create content in this mold. Crafting web pages that pose questions in their headlines is a simple solution, but other natural-language phrases should be integrated into content to better reflect the information customers are trying to find.

Add Schema Markups to Your Content

When it comes to voice-driven search, the need to rank high is even more crucial, since personal assistants will try to find the best single result in response to a query. Schema markups are one way to supplement your web page's data by including a rich snippet that is written in natural language, instead of featuring meta descriptions, tags and other metadata that might not be comprehensible to the reader.

According to The Startup, schema markups can include additional information that incrementally boosts the ranking of a search result, positioning that brand to generate more traffic from voice search.

Voice search traffic remains relatively small compared to traditional search. But as the personal voice assistant assumes a larger role in everyday life, voice-driven search is certain to grow, and at a fast rate. Preparing for this transition now will save your organization from unpleasant growing pains in the future.


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