Photo Credit: flickr
It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the fast-growing field of voice search. First came Siri on the iPhone. Then came the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Now it seems like everyone wants you to speak your search query rather than type it. So, as a brand owner, what can you realistically do to optimize your content for voice search?
Experiment with Siri or other voice search platforms
The starting point, of course, is to recognize that voice search – even though it sounds exotic – is not re-inventing the wheel. When you ask Siri for the name of the best restaurants near you, there has to be some kind of database or platform that Siri is querying to get the results to you as fast as possible. In this case, it’s usually Yelp.
Yes, every time you ask Siri for the names of the best restaurants near you, Siri is not running a million different computations to see what all the best foodie bloggers are saying about places near you – Siri is simply checking Yelp to see which places have the best ratings.
But that’s an important piece of information, right? It means that, in a voice-driven search world, your business probably needs to be on Yelp. If you’ve put off the process of adding your business to Yelp, you need to claim your space right now. So one way to optimize your brand’s content for search is simply re-engineering the search process: think of the most logical types of questions a potential customer would ask, and then try seeing what kinds of results Siri will give.
Re-think your brand content from a mobile user perspective
That brings us to Point No. 2: there’s a subtle – but nonetheless significant – difference between the way people type written search requests and the way they speak them. When people are on the go, there’s a much greater urgency to their requests, and there is typically much greater “intent” in what they plan to do. If they are searching for a restaurant, for example, it’s probably because they are either (a) hungry or (b) trying to avoid being late for a date or some other meeting.
Using traditional web search, you’d probably type in something like, “Chick-Fil-A near me.” But with a mobile device, you’re probably on the go, and you’d probably ask a slightly different question; “Where is the closest Chick-Fil-A?” (If you’re in Philadelphia and in the mood for chicken, you probably want to head over to Liberty Place.)
This focus on information people are searching for “right now” will help you to organize the content on your website. In the old traditional search world, it was enough to list your address on the “About Us” page and maybe include a cute photo of your business. But in the voice search world, it’s important to include things like directions to your place of business, and any other details that will help people find you while on the go.
Explore different skills for the Amazon Echo
Once you’ve mastered the basics of voice search, the next step is to take things to the next level. Since so many people are using Amazon Echo these days, you’ might want to look into building custom skills for Alexa.
For example, Domino’s Pizza created a new skill for Alexa that lets you place an order for pizza while watching your favorite show or movie. That’s perfect for Sunday afternoons, when you can literally order a pizza without getting up from the couch while watching the Eagles game!
That’s next level marketing, and that’s the direction where voice search is headed. Brands are becoming “utilities” in that they help to get things done for you, and the way you put these utilities to work is with your voice.