Last year, we gave you an update on the effects of voice search in digital marketing for 2019. As we look ahead in 2020, there are even more opportunities for taking advantage of this ever-growing technology. To know how best to position your business in this new era of search, it's important to understand the current marketing environment and the role that voice search plays in getting your business in front of consumers.
The Shifting Search Landscape
In today's world, more searches are being made on mobile devices than on desktops. This external shift is occurring in a search landscape whose inner workings are increasingly controlled by AI and machine learning through natural language processing.
These changes - combined with the fact that, in 2020, an estimated 50 percent of searches will be done via voice or image - represent a fundamental change in our understanding of "search." No longer are consumers looking to be presented with a variety of sources and options to explore around a general query. Instead, they are looking for a single solution to their problem, whether that be "where to buy flowers near me" or "best vitamin supplement." Understanding this paradigm shift is crucial to utilizing effectively all the expanded power of search for your business in 2020.
One Best Answer
Because voice search returns a single best answer rather than the list we get from traditional web searches, occupying position zero - or being that one best answer - becomes even more critical for businesses hoping to tap into the power of voice search. To reach that spot, you need appropriately structured web data, content that offers a clear solution to your consumers' most common questions, and markup that makes it easy for search engines to identify who you are and whether you are relevant to a given search.
The 'winner-take-all' reality of voice search also means businesses can't afford not to be where their consumers are. This requires a search engine- and device-agnostic approach to marketing, so you can find searchers whether they're talking to Alexa in their home or using their Google Assistant in the car.
Local Results on the Go
The increasing primacy of mobile over traditional web searches makes local business listings all the more effective in search today. In this area, too, the need for optimization across platforms and third-party sites is crucial, as all the major players in search utilize their own unique algorithms to determine which results end up in front of their audiences.
Mobile also leaves little margin for error, in more ways than one. Not only is it even more important to be at the top of the list - few people bother scrolling past the first few results on their phone - but consumers on the go won't take the time to double-check info like stores hours across listings. Optimizing and ensuring the accuracy of your business's information across the web is no longer an optional luxury in your digital marketing strategy, but rather an essential component of every SMB's online presence.
Voice search has only become increasingly prevalent year-over-year, and, as smart devices become more ubiquitous throughout every aspect of our lives, this model of using voice search to find fast solutions to our problems will only become more embedded in our daily routine.
Develop a digital marketing strategy that fully capitalizes on the possibilities of voice search, or risk being left behind. For more on the future of search and insights for your own business, check out our most recent White Paper on Understanding Voice Search and Its Business Impact.