“Alexa, What is Voice-Activated Search?”

By Charlotte, 9 months ago (3 min read)

Since its introduction in 2004, voice-activated search has taken the tech world by storm. This innovative feature enables users to perform a search on the internet by verbally asking a question to a smart device. From “what’s the weather like today?” to “what time is it in Brazil?”, your digital voice assistant will have the answer to all the big (and small) questions.

There are many reasons it’s essential for marketing strategies and content optimisation processes to keep up with voice-activated search – and to make these reasons all the more clear, we’re going to explore the impact this tech innovation is set to have on businesses and their websites in the months and years to come.

Improving the customer experience

When it comes to ensuring a streamlined user experience, voice search leads to more engaged customers by providing the most direct, fulfilling response to their query as quickly as possible. Smart devices offering voice-activated search are able to provide instant responses to queries by pulling information from content in a similar way to how featured snippets are designed.

As you may already be familiar with, content that’s optimised to appear in featured snippets should provide high-quality, concise solutions to specific questions. So, it goes without saying that, if your SEO techniques are optimised for voice search, more people will find your site and gain a faster, more appropriate answer to their query – improving the customer experience as a result.

Changing SEO as we know it

The bottom line is that people interact with voice search differently to how they type their queries into search engines. So, it’s no surprise that voice-activated search is changing SEO practices as we know them.

Generally, it’s expected that voice queries may be longer and contain more filler words than traditional types searches. For example, as opposed to a text-based search which may take the form of ‘weather in Newcastle Upon Tyne’, voice search is likely to take the form of a full question, such as ‘what is the weather in Newcastle Upon Tyne this afternoon?’

So, as a brand, you’ll need to bear in mind that the semantic differences in queries will differ, tailoring your keyword research so that voice searchers will find your site as intended.

Google’s most recent update, launched in October this year, becomes very relevant here. BERT is designed to break down and process all of the language used in long-tail search queries, which voice-activated searches very often are – and you can learn more about this important update here.

To boost relevant site traffic, optimisation strategies should focus on creating targeted content in line with BERT in an attempt to offer the best answer in relation to the initial user query.

Increasing the importance of mobile-optimised content

Given that a significant proportion of voice search is executed via mobile devices, mobile optimisation is now more important than ever – meaning the search practices you’ll need to implement in order to optimise for mobile devices will also be beneficial for voice-activated search.

Many voice-activated searches made on mobile devices are location-based queries, such as “nearest post office to me”, wherein users are in search of specific information such as business hours or products available. Developing content that answers location-based questions is therefore beneficial for improving your search rankings on mobile devices and voice-activated search, while also providing users with the best answer according to their question.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

So, there you have it. Alexa is more than just the user’s voice-activated best friend, always on hand to tell jokes and turn the music up. Voice-activated search opens the door to increasing web traffic and providing an enhanced customer experience, so it’s essential that brands fine-tune their strategies to stay relevant and remain one step ahead of their competitors.

While we can’t compete with Alexa’s joke of the day, we can help you boost your online traffic and optimise your SEO strategy in line with the latest voice-activated search technology. Get in touch to take the next step with our friendly team of digital experts. Whatever your query, we’ll have the answers you’re looking for.