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3 Ways to Position Your Company for the Rise of Voice Search

Even the most basic smartphones now come with the ability to voice search. And, as the technology improves, we are going to use it more and more. So if you own a business, this is your warning: voice search will be big.

3 Ways to Position Your Company for the Rise of Voice Search

Tech giants see voice search as the future. They're all in on it. They've got people questioning Cortana, asking Alexa and quizzing Siri. And if Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, all think it's the future... well, it's the future.

In fact, it's not even the future, it's the now.

In 2016, Google revealed 20% of all mobile search was voice. By 2020, 50% of all searches will be through voice, says ComScore. Forbes writer Jayson DeMers puts this down to a spike in the number of smart speaker sales.

The wide-spread use of this tech means more people are getting used to the voice search function. But it's not only those with an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Even the most basic smartphones now come with the ability to voice search. And, as the technology improves, we are going to use it more and more. So if you own a business, this is your warning: voice search will be big.

You could leave it for a couple of years and play catch up. Or you could get ahead of the game. Let's take a look at three ways to position your company for the rise of voice search.

1. Build Your Audio Brand

Your brand is probably something you've given a lot of thought to. You will have spent hours planning every minute detail from a classy logo to a catchy slogan.

You may have spent days with a Pantone palette trying to pick between Egyptian Blue and Dodger Blue. But for the most part, you didn't have to think about what your company is going to sound like. Well, the time has come to start choosing.

Building your audio brand — or sonic branding — is going to be vital when it comes to voice search. It's your chance to make an aural connection to the customer.

You could start with a jingle. McDonald's has it's 'I'm Lovin' It' tune. You can't hear that "ba da ba ba ba" without thinking about those golden arches.

I bet you just sang the ditty in your head.

You need your own recognizable sounds, but you don't need to hire Justin Timberlake to do it. Instead, think about where your brand sits in the market. What image do you want to project to your customers?

The Mcdonald's wouldn't work for, say, a funeral home. It's all about getting the right tone. It doesn't even need to be a jingle. Think about when a notification pops on your phone. There's a little friendly beep to let you know you're needed.

But that noise didn't have to be a beep, it could have been a honk or hoot. But your phone manufacturer has thought deeply about its sonic branding. And you should too.

2. Get Your Story Straight

When you think of someone using voice search, they're probably enunciating to their smartphone. They might be speaking in long, exaggerated words so their device can understand them.

But the future will be very different. For starters, voice assistants are getting better at recognizing their owner's voice.

In 2013, Google's voice capture could accurately pick up 78% of the words spoken to it. Five years down the line and it's more than 90% and always improving. The other big change will be what we speak to. At the moment, those of us who voice search do so on phones, laptops or speakers.

But by the year 2020, less than 25% of internet-connected devices will be PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The other 75% is going to be pretty much anything and everything. Your TV, refrigerator, watch and whatever else you can think of will hook up to the web.

So why does that matter to us?

The issue for businesses is that smart devices only give one answer. "Siri, what time does the supermarket close?"

"7 pm"

It's not going to say, "This website says 7 pm and this other website says 8 pm."

Which means that accuracy is going to play a huge role in how a search engine views your website. Consistency is going to be key. If you've got different information across the web, you will rank poorly.

Spend time now nailing your info across the internet, to save hours of revision later on.

3. Start Changing Your Website Content

Remember all those articles you read on SEO? They said Google is always updating its algorithm and it's really annoying... probably. Well, voice search is going to change it all over again. Because we don't speak in the same way we type.

So how do you prepare for the voice search revolution?

Your site is going to have to answer specific questions. The general consensus is that people ask questions when using their voice.

What time is the next showing of Spider-Man at Odeon?

Which actor played Gunther in Friends? (It was James Michael Tyler, FYI).

The point is, you will need to address the questions your customers have with an explicit answer. Target Marketing Mag believes FAQ pages could make a big comeback.

And it's easy to see why.

The simple question and answer format should be easy for voice assistants to read. And there's no doubt you've provided a solid answer. So why not start there?

Go back to your website and review your FAQ page. Make sure all the information is up-to-date and accurate. It's the first step to an exciting future.

Conclusion

Ten years ago and you would be forgiven for believing voice search was a passing fad. Something that worked well in science fiction movies, but not so well at home.

And you were right about the latter point. The tech was clunky and the search results were often wildly different to what you wanted. But now voice search has improved beyond recognition. This has made the tech an inevitability in the future.

From 2008 to 2016, Google searches using voice grew 35 times over. It's not going away, and now's the time to start investing in it.


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