An interview with Daniel Bliss, SEO & Analytics Specialist at Mindgrub
As artificial intelligence (AI) grows more robust and consumers are surrounded with smart devices and virtual assistants, marketers are looking at voice search and its application to their digital marketing plan. According to Cision, voice search shopping is expected to jump from $2 billion in spending to $40 billion by 2022.
To learn more about how marketers can leverage voice search, we chatted with Daniel Bliss, SEO and Analytics Specialist at Mindgrub. Mindgrub is a technical agency and creative consultancy firm specializing in web development, digital marketing, creative design, user experience, augmented and virtual reality, managed services, team augmentation, robotics, systems integration, and business intelligence.
What is voice search marketing?
People are starting to communicate more with their phones and other smart devices. We have Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri…Consumers are using these services to find information and to shop. It’s changed from what we’ve seen before, and it’s the future. It will bring a big shift in how we see SEO and marketing within the next few years.
What kind of companies, services, and products would benefit from voice search marketing?
Right now, voice search marketing will benefit a lot of local businesses, stores, and restaurants. About 22% of all voice searches are currently for local goods and services. For example, someone could ask “What restaurants are open near me?” I think you will also see a big move to eCommerce with people asking Alexa to order something from Amazon, for example. However right now, there is a big trend in local business. I think this is why it’s so important for small businesses, even those who may not have thought about it before, to start putting some real effort into their SEO. Even a bit of local citation work can go a big way with voice search.
What are the best practices for voice search marketing?
A lot of SEO specialists, like myself, are trying to figure that out right now. The biggest thing that we know is that with general SEO, and what we’ve been doing in the past, we look for three to four word keyword phrases. People get specific with that on Google. However, what we’re seeing with voice search is that people are getting a lot longer and a lot more specific with what they say. So instead of people looking for three to four word terms, now they’re looking for seven to eight word questions. For example, instead of a Google search that reads “dinner near me,” people are using voice search to ask, “Who is open for dinner near me?”
With your SEO, you’re trying to answer those questions as best you can with your content. A blog and a FAQ page are a great way to do this. You need to look for what your audience is asking, how are they asking it, and answering those questions the best you can. Part of that is also local citations to make sure you’re out there and that Google trusts you. Make sure your Google business is claimed and up to snuff. A lot of businesses haven’t thought about creating content beyond just a home page and a contact page. They will have to think about creating more content outside of just those basic pages.
Are there tools you could recommend to marketers to help them with voice search SEO?
A lot of the popular SEO tools haven’t updated as much as they should to accommodate the voice search trend. The best voice search tool is called Answer The Public. It’s free for the most part, although there is a paid version. You can type something in, and it will show you what people are asking, including the “What” and the “Where” phrases. It’s certainly a tool that isn’t utilized as much as it should be. It’s not just for voice search but the application of it showing what people are asking is going to be huge for voice search.
Are there any B2B applications for voice search marketing?
Right now, voice search is going to hit a lot on local queries. It’s going to be hard to see how voice search effects B2B until we see voice search overtake your normal way to search online. So instead of people typing in things to Google, we’ll see a shift, in perhaps two years, where people will ask Alexa or Google home just about anything. I think that’s when we will really see the B2B application. Right now, I don’t know if there is enough data to see how it will effect that area as much.
Considering the different voice search tools, such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Home, Siri, and perhaps others in the future, do you think all these companies are using Google? Today’s SEO is very focused around Google, but is Cortana using Bing, for example? Should we be optimizing for other search engines?
I can’t imagine they have their own search engine. I’m guessing most of them are using Google, but even if they aren’t using Google, they are using something with a very similar algorithm, like Bing. I doubt they have their own search engine because it would be such a difficult thing to start up. They can’t index their own version of the internet. We are all using Google anyway, so I would optimize for that.
In the eCommerce space, how are consumers using voice search? Are they buying things directly from voice search? Or are consumers simply using it to gather information and research?
A bit of both. People are using it to gather information but when it comes to that eCommerce piece, I don’t think anyone is ordering a new product from voice search. For example, consumers wouldn’t purchase a new piece of clothing without seeing it first. A consumer may ask to see products, and the voice assistant could send a list of ideas to their phone. Ultimately, the purchase is more likely to happen on the smart phone or on the computer. However, if it’s something a consumer has purchased before, voice search is often used to re-order products.
Will voice search become more popular than regular Google search?
It will depend on the type of search. There will always be certain queries that a voice search won’t be able to answer to the same capacity that a traditional Google search could. Voice search will take over traditional search in local markets and with certain types of more general queries such as “What’s the weather?” Voice search will shift the SEO perspective, and there will be changes marketers will make to websites to accommodate that. However, optimizing for traditional SEO is still king.
Where do you see the future of Voice Search?
Voice search is the future, and there is no way to stop that. SEO changes all the time, and as voice search becomes more popular, we will see more and more businesses and marketers optimizing for it. Consumers are increasingly more comfortable asking a smart device questions and receiving information that way. A lot of SEO specialists are going to focus on creating content to answer those questions.
Businesses, especially B2C and local businesses, need to focus on keeping their content as mobile friendly as possible. Think short paragraphs, quick load speed, looks great, and is functional on a smartphone. Consumers who are using voice search want instant results, and they will want that information delivered fast and easy.
To learn more about technology and marketing, check out this article on AR & VR.