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Today, voice responding technology can be found practically everywhere, from docked stations using Alexa, to computers through Cortana, and to smart phones with Siri. The prevalence of these pieces of software presents marketers with a surprising opportunity to reach prospective customers.

What is Voice Search? 

When people use voice search technology, they typically ask questions like, “What will the weather be today?” or, “What’s the cheapest place to get an oil change?” The voice technology responds with an appropriate answer after scouring a search engine with keywords included in the question. As a result, companies large and small are tapping into the voice search trend, and marketers need to keep pace.

Recently, a bombshell in marketing research titled “Consumer Intelligence Series: Prepare for the voice revolution” from PwC, a marketing and auditing firm, captured empirically just how popular voice search technology has become. Statistically, the researchers found that 59% of respondents ages 18-24 and 65% of people between ages 25-49 are “heavy” voice technology users. For respondents over age 50, 57% also reported to use voice technology heavily. These figures are important for companies and for marketers, since the number of people using voice technology is forecasted to increase.

Several factors affect how a company ranks in search results, and website optimization can help companies to appear higher in search query results. John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility and guest writer at Entrepreneur, writes about how the nature of search engine optimization (SEO) is changing because of voice search. Specifically, he commented on how marketers are no longer competing for the first spot on Google but, instead, the ranking known as position zero. 

Position zero is the featured snippet or small information box that Google places above all the other search results. In the context of voice search marketing, this concept is hugely important since technology like Siri or Alexa will often read from the content in position zero.

Strategies for Voice Search Marketing

From the messaging of the brand to the targeted audience, businesses need to evaluate its own goals and how SEO marketing can achieve those objectives. Once a company has determined its specific set of objectives, it can move into determining how best to implement an effective voice search marketing strategy.

One of the most important changes that companies will have to make is how it delivers content on the web. When companies look to revise their content for their mobile websites, they should closely consider making their material more voice search friendly because voice searches pull from mobile SEO rankings. Ultimately, longer sets of keywords will help optimize a company’s content for voice search marketing.

Voice search marketing is also the perfect arena for a more conversational approach. People are talking to their machines as if they are having a personal, informal conversation, and it’s only natural that machines adapt to that form of communication.

The purpose and necessity of longer keywords requires more attention. Bob McKay, who also writes for the Forbes Agency Council, gives a little more context to the effectiveness of these long-tail keywords. The major benefit for longer keywords is how much more specific they can be. At the same time, marketers need to be careful about how they select these keywords. According to McKay, voice search keywords must:

  • Feature a low-stakes, casual tone.

  • Be structured as an answer to a question.

Tapping into the Tools of Voice Search Marketing

As voice search technology only continues to grow more sophisticated and popular, voice search marketing will grow more necessary for companies to reach new customers. By engaging with voice search today, marketers can prepare for future trends within the industry. The best way to gain this kind of experience is in the classroom through an online B.A/B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. In this kind of program, students will gain firsthand knowledge how marketers use specific content organized in particular ways to optimize for voice search.

The University of West Alabama uniquely offers this degree track which feeds into an online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications for students who want to reach the next level in their career.

For more information about marketing with voice search technology, read a full-length version of this article.

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