Can Voice Search Help Your Business?

The number of people making purchases using voice search on their phones or smart speaker is growing. That said, if you’re doing e-commerce, finding ways to optimize your website for these consumers – your potential customers – is a sure way to help your business.

There will be an estimated 38 million voice command shoppers – whether via Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, etc., by 2021, according to a blog article on retailwire.com.

“Voice search is changing the way users find and Google surfaces content – and it's opening up unique opportunities for small, local businesses to boost their visibility,” writes Lucas DiPietrantonio in a blog on business.com.

“We've seen many of our small-business customers jump on the voice-search bandwagon,” says DiPietrantonio, cofounder and CEO of digital marketing agency Darkroom.

Why It’s Important

More than half (58 percent) of consumers use voice search to find local business information, according to a study by marketing firm BrightLocal.

It makes sense that consumers are using voice search to shop – it reduces the amount of effort it takes to make a purchase.

“If you can optimize your brand for voice command, your sales will quickly jump,” writes DiPietrantonio.

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, cites data that shows almost half (46 percent) of voice search users search for a local business daily, and 28 percent used voice search to find a local business once a week.

“Voice search isn’t quite taking over the search world yet—but it’s getting closer,” she writes in a blog posted on Forbes

The BrightLocal Voice Search for Local Business Study shows 76 percent of consumers ages 18 to 34 had used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months, and 64 percent of consumers ages 35 to 54 had used voice search to find information for a local business in the last 12 months.

Also, it says, people who own smart speakers use voice search more frequently, with 76 percent of smart speaker voice search users search for local businesses at least weekly; of those, 53 percent search every day.

Optimize for Voice

It’s important that you optimize your business for voice search – to help new customers find your business.

Voice searches on Google are 30 times more likely than text searches to be “action” (i.e. “intent”) searches, according to a Google study.

“Because of the nature of voice assistants, users typically only hear the top search result,” DiPietrantonio writes in the business.com blog.

“This means it is imperative to optimize your content around keyword search terms to reach voice commerce customers.”

Also, he says, people use different keywords when searching with voice command than when they are typing a question into a search engine.

“Experiment, research, and run A/B tests to determine how to get the most reach through voice search, and you will be far ahead of other e-commerce brands,” he says.

Sherry Bonelli, former local search evangelist at BrightLocal, recommends businesses look for keywords that involve a question and write content that answers those questions.

“Most voice searches have more than five words and are literally spoken – like real people talk,” she writes in a blog posted on BrightLocal. “When you’re optimizing content for voice, you need to use words and phrase strings that people say when they’re asking a real question.”

The keywords/answer to the question you’re trying to optimize for should be in the first paragraph of your web page, Bonelli says, and preferably in the first sentence.

Also, use trigger words, she says. The most frequently used terms are How, What and Best, she writes in the blog.