You know all the concern with being mobile-friendly and mobile-ready? Add this to your “urgent” list: Voice is just as important as mobile. Just as urgently as making your website easily workable by mobile users, your site needs to be similarly searchable by voice command. Heard of Siri, Cortana and OK Google?

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In the Olden Days

Google lists 10 blue links after a person types in a keyword search. The person goes through many of the links to find the answers they are looking for. Now another revolution in search is underway. All that time-consuming search effort of the past is being bypassed now with voice and direct answers. Searchers, especially mobile searchers, want immediate answers. Google is on its way to bypassing all the extra data, and showing the exact answer to the question received. What is this “direct answers” thing?

Be Direct

Google has actually coined this phrase “direct answers” and it means a simpler search-answer-done process. “With direct answers, Google’s goal is to provide the best possible user experience by answering questions in searches as quickly as possible.” James A. Martin of CIO clarifies. What does this mean for businesses and their website builders? Websites need to be structured like you’d expect with visual and informational ease. They also need to be mobile and user friendly, as we have discussed in previous posts. The next level is that the sites need to have back0end structure to respond to voice query. “The need to add more structured data to sites and provide clear answers to specific questions early in online content.” Martin continues. Great, another term I don’t know, “structured data”. Click on the link above. You want to know this. You want your web developer to be fluent in this.

What? Another SEO Revolution?

Martin explains, “Professionals who practice SEO must prepare for a future in which queries come from voice input on mobile devices, and where Google, to satisfy those voice (and text) queries, will increasingly highlight ‘direct answers.’ Google (and to a lesser extent, Bing) searches yield direct answer results, also known as “rich answers,” in response to specific user questions, instead of delivering an assortment of links to other websites.” He adds, “For instance, if you ask, “What are the time zones in Russia,” Google displays a table of the country’s time zones atop related search results. In many cases, direct answers fulfill queries and eliminate the need to click links to get answers.”

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Feed Me Seymour

Voice technology is constantly improving. The majority of reports show that voice users of all ages believe it is “easier” to use than other methods. The future shows voice tool usage will only grow as they seek information. So for your business and marketing, what does this mean? Ringpartner.com writes, “Customer experience and interactions with businesses have to change. Far too many companies and marketers still rely on desktop-first formulas. The rise of voice search solidifies the importance of mobile platforms in marketing. Consumers using voice search to inquire about retail locations and/or operating hours don’t want to receive landing pages for a product. They don’t want a lead form; they want accurate information that is designed for mobile platforms that answers their voice query.”

What Does a Voice Search Look Like?

EXAMPLE 1

Your customer picks up their phone, pushes the voice-activate button, and asks a question. The phone shows the answer and resource with all information. Your customer selects their choice, which automatically takes them to your shopping cart where they verify the purchase and buy. (The simpler you make that process for your customer, the better off your business will be, by the way.) Easy to do = happy customer.

EXAMPLE 2

“Find a locksmith,” you say. Your phone answers: Based upon geo-location data from their smartphone, Google pulls up ads and organic listings for locksmiths in their area. A quick push of the click-to-call feature on their phone connects them to the business and the conversion is completed. Search Engine Land found that 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (From Ringpartner.com) If you want to be where your customers are, you need to be listed and found in all you local information searches.

Vocal Lessons

Voice is quick, and results from voice search bring relevant information that offers the opportunity to act swiftly to resolve the situation. Voice search offers the seamless connectivity needed and fluidity to support the desires of consumers. Your customers’ expectations for immediacy will increase. Voice search may very well become commonplace. Will you be found there?

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Keyword Decline

It’s important for “marketers to understand the common difference in intentions for a person using voice search as opposed to traditional search,” notes DrivingSalesNews.com. “In general, voice search makes keywords less relevant. When a user is speaking their query, the tendency is to speak in a conversational, or natural manner, which is markedly different than the way people type queries into a search bar. This conversational search style creates unique queries that bypass the need for keywords, and rewards sites with content that falls in line with the user’s request.” It’s important for businesses to adjust strategies. We need to accommodate these changes. “By using a format that poses and answers a question, while providing very specific information, you will be more likely to match the conversational queries that are used in voice searches. Additionally, keywords are less relevant, so focusing on providing vital and engaging information for your audience will be a more valuable method for increasing traffic from voice searches,” explains DrivingSalesNews.

Recap

Voice search is changing the way we think about online business and marketing. Businesses need to focus on meeting customers needs, where their customers are at – on mobile using voice search. Having a mobile-awesome website that easily meets all Direct Answer queries is the goal. You with me?

 

http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2383498/how-will-voice-search-impact-a-search-marketers-world, http://ringpartner.com/search-marketing-in-2015/, http://www.cio.com/article/2919092/seo-sem/how-voice-search-and-google-direct-answers-are-changing-seo.html, and http://drivingsalesnews.com/how-voice-search-is-changing-seo/

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