According to Google, 20% of search queries are now voice searches. This is a figure we can only expect to see rising, since more and more people are accessing the Internet from mobile phones and tablets, instead of from traditional PCs.
Google has recently announced the voice-activated Google assistant and is also launching other Q&A-heavy search features. For example, Allo and Duo will be available within Android text conversations. If you ask your text partner if they want Italian food tonight it will bring up a list of nearby options so both participants can take a look without having to stop, open up a new window, and search. (The jury is still out on whether some users will find this feature to be more invasive than helpful).
This is a fantastic opportunity for SEOs. Voice queries tell us a lot more about buyer intent than individual keywords do, simply because the average user asks full, complete questions when they search this way. They don’t typically say “tree trimming, Houston.” They say, “How often do I need to get my trees trimmed?” The traditional keywords hint at what they wanted. The new ones tell us exactly what’s on their mind. This allows us to craft content that is both informative and persuasive–ultimately, after all, we want to convince the user to use our client’s tree trimming services rather than to run off and do the job on their own.
Even when savvy old-school computer nerds do use voice or traditional searches to query short-tail keywords we find Google is trying to dig into the question behind the intent. If you Google “May 2016 calendar” a link to a calendar may not be the first thing you see.
If you have Gmail and Google calendar the search engine will now display an individual result telling you exactly what’s on your schedule. In this case, Google assumed the question was, “what’s on my calendar in May” instead of “I want to look at a May calendar.”
Google doesn’t always guess right (in the case of the aforementioned search I really was just trying to look at numbers and days,) but we can expect Google to get better at it. In addition, the voice assistant might just ask users exactly what they mean so it can drill down a bit and serve up the right information before coming up with a definitive result.
SEOs can take advantage of this by creating question-and-answer content. Intelligently pinpointing questions customers are likely to ask and then providing in-depth, content rich answers is the key to helping businesses rank as search continues to evolve. Fortunately, Fair Marketing is already a leader in this sphere as this is the format we have been using for our “Buyer Intent Pages” (SEO landing pages) for some time. However, we also have the opportunity to start inserting the Q&A style web copy content into other web pages so that our clients continue to receive that “unfair advantage” we’re known for.