Voice Search Is Here: Will Your Marketing Content Sink or Snippet?

“Which fresh flowers last the longest?”

“When does the post office on 86th Street open?”

“Where should tourists stay in Seattle if they want to be near restaurants and shopping?”

At the time of this writing, the above three questions were my three most recent Google searches. Correction: They were my three most recent voice searches.

This distinction is important. Why? Because there’s a big difference between how you type a request for information and how you speak a request for information. Also, because the latter—known as voice search—accounts for a lot of online search queries. (And according to experts, “a lot” will one day be all.)

If you’re skeptical, here are some stats:

Consider, too, the findings of a recent MindMeld study that showed the popularity of voice search is due mostly to a) its speed and efficiency in returning search results, and b) its hands-free/vision-impaired functionality. Now consider how much time you spend in places where speed, efficiency, and hands-free/vision-free functionality are paramount (e.g. in the car, on the go, at work).

Clearly, there is a digital marketing revolution afoot. Whether via mobile app, Siri, Cortana, or Alexa, voice represents an increasingly large portion of the search pie. This revolution points to a single, undeniable fact: If your marketing content isn’t optimized for voice search, you’ll end up a digital dinosaur.

But there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that your content is heard—not seen, get it?—by users of voice search. Below are three you should start with. (We’ll get into Rich Snippets, NLP, and People Also Ask later.)

Identify Long-tail Keywords

Text search is short. Voice search is long[er]. To optimize your content for voice search, identify long-tail search terms by reviewing customer phone calls, live chats, and email queries. Test your long-tail search terms by adding them to FAQ pages and title tags.

Add or Expand Your Existing FAQ Page

And speaking of FAQs… expand yours. This will help you adjust to changes in search trends quickly and efficiently, thus capturing more long-tail and voice search traffic.

Agility is the keyword here. Instead of writing a new blog post or article for every search trend, ask and answer new and trending search queries in your FAQ page (like so). You’ll seize content opportunities without much effort.  

Say Bye to Buzzwords

Notice the phrase “ask and answer” in the above tip. People use search to answer questions, and they ask these questions using natural language.

Skip the jargon and instead write your content in a conversational tone. Think about the differences between how you speak and interact with others and how you write emails and white papers, and then aim for the former. Build your content around phrases that include the 5 W’s plus H: “who, what, when, where, why, how.” In short, stop keyword stuffing and write real.  

To get your content next wave ready, email the copywriters at MarketSmiths today. They’ve got the words, both written and spoken, that get you the results.

Amanda Cargill is a Brooklyn-based writer, video producer, and marketing communications strategist specializing in food, travel, culture and lifestyle content in domestic, multicultural, and international markets.

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