Voice search is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing forms of search.
Here’s the question – how can a B2B marketer capitalize on voice search?
The answer is to write content that answers simple questions in a clear and concise fashion.
In this post, we’ll show you how you can optimize your content not only for regular search but for voice search results as well.
Voice Search Stats You Should Know
Here’s a crazy statistic:
To give you some context, voice search has only really been around for the last 7-8 years – beginning with the launch of Siri.
However, voice search is set to explode in the next few years.
That’s because of the growing popularity of home devices like Alexa, HomePod, and Google Home.
Voice Search: How Did We Get Here?
Though you may not think about it when you are asking Siri or Alexa a question, the ability for an algorithm to take your voice and find a relevant answer is actually quite amazing.
Neil Patel highlighted this amazing Stanford study that found that voice search is 3x faster than your traditional typed search.
Actually, it all stems from a fast-growing technology called NLP, or Natural Language Processing.
NLP essentially focuses on the processing of language based on what it implies, not its actual meaning.
It all comes down to semantics.
When we say certain things, other humans will interpret (hopefully correctly) what we actually mean, not necessarily the exact words that we say.
Google, with their Hummingbird algorithm update, broke out ahead of the pack in this regard.
Hummingbird turned the SEO world on its head because it shifted the focus of the algorithm from the exact matching of keywords to the intent of the content.
No longer could marketers stuff their desired keyword as many times possible – it just doesn’t work anymore.
This was the inflection point of how we got to where we are with voice search.
Granted, virtual assistants such as Siri had been around for quite some time. However, Google has the clear advantage when it comes to the quality of its voice search results.
What are People Searching For?
The truth is, we haven’t really reached critical mass with voice search… yet.
Most voice searches right now are not really relevant to a B2B marketer – things like sports scores, the weather, and directions.
However, given the immense rise of voice search, it’s only a matter of time before your target market is also searching via voice.
B2B marketers are always looking for the white spaces – places that are not saturated by other marketers.
That’s why it’s important to start strategizing about voice search now, while there’s little competition.
Strategies to Optimize for Voice Search
So how do you get your content at the top of voice search results?
Voice search is still in its infancy, but there has been some great research done by well-known SEO gurus – such as Neil Patel and Backlinko.
However, given Google’s propensity to change up its algorithm, what’s true today may not be true a year from now… or even next week.
Based on the research out there, here are 4 tips that B2B marketers can use to get ahead of the game when it comes to voice search:
1. In the form of a question, please
Think about it – when you are doing a voice search, what are you actually doing?
You are asking a question.
Hey Siri/Alexa/Google, what is ____?
When writing your content, think about the questions it could answer. Most importantly, answer the question early on in your post, and do it concisely.
You can then expound on your answer throughout the post.
One of the best tools out there to help you find the kinds of questions people might be asking is Answer the Public.
First, input your desired keyword.
Answer the Public will then create a matrix of potential answers relating to that keyword.
The possibilities here are endless.
You might want to take some of these potential questions and input them into something like Google Keyword Planner to see which phrases would have the highest amount of searches.
However, this number would be for regular search, not voice.
The real challenge is to understand what questions your audience is asking.
Here’s a great post on some B2B SEO strategies that will help you get some ideas.
2. Keep it short
Most SEOs today will tell you that long-form, in-depth content is the best way to get to the top of search engine results.
And they wouldn’t be wrong.
However, when writing B2B content with voice search in mind, it’s important to focus on the question you are answering early on in the post.
Make sure that your answer is short.
Backlinko recently did a study of Google Home search results and found that results to queries generally were around the 30-word range.
3. Keep it simple
According to Backlinko’s study, the average reading level for voice search results was 9th grade.
Now, in the context of B2B, this may seem a bit less relevant – most people searching are older and, most likely, more educated.
However, that is probably beside the point.
Google’s #1 goal is to serve answers to peoples queries that are simple and easy to understand.
That’s why, even if your business is a highly sophisticated SaaS product, you should aim to keep your B2B blog content as simple as possible.
Particularly if you are trying to rank for voice search.
Remember, a voice search result won’t read your entire post, just a snippet.
Therefore, you can be more complex further down in your post, but when you give your initial concise answer, make sure to avoid complexity as much as possible.
4. Speed is the name of the game
More and more, having a fast loading site is becoming one of the important assets in the fight for higher search results.
It seems that for voice search, it’s even more important.
According to the study by Backlinko, top voice search results, on average, load over 50% faster than traditional search.
Half-a-second to first byte load time is extremely fast.
How does one get their site to be that fast?
However, if you do that, you have to weigh that against the inevitable fact that doing those things will slow your site down.
Here are a few more strategies for speeding up your site to help with voice search:
- Make use of a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or Swift Performance
- Design with a mobile-first methodology
- Have an Accelerated Mobile Pages powered site
Where does voice search go from here?
Artificial intelligence, which is the backbone of voice search, is going to play a huge part in every part of our lives going forward.
Google, Apple, Amazon, and all the other voice search players that haven’t even popped up yet are going to continue to invest in this amazing technology.
As a result, the shifting search behavior we are seeing among millennials towards voice will inevitably become the norm among all searchers – including professionals.
B2B marketers should look at this as an amazing opportunity – a marketing channel that hasn’t yet been completely saturated.
Imagine what the company that was the first to invest in SEO was able to accomplish?
While you may not see huge results today, an investment into optimizing for voice search now will pay huge dividends in the future.
Where do you think voice search is going? How will it impact B2B marketing today and in the future?
Are you already working on a voice search optimization strategy?