The main purpose of voice search is only thought to be associated with local and business to consumer (B2C) search engine optimization (SEO). Generally, people use it to get guidance to a nearby location or when wanting to know the next step during a cooking recipe. But, gradually the purposes of voice search are expanding and have started to impact business to business (B2) decision making too.
The influence of voice search on B2B SEO is imminent, majorly after knowing the objective of its use, the person using it and the points where it is being used. The masses are hopping on the technology bandwagon rapidly and now is the best time for brands to start optimizing for voice search.
Users of voice technology
As per the stats of 2014, 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults were making use of voice technology on a daily basis. The former was using it to get assistance with homework while the later was mainly using it for texting purposes. Both these actions show a fast and early acceptance and usage of voice technology for searches.
The important factor to be mentioned here is that the above-stated facts were accumulated before the introduction of voice-operated personal assistants. But, now:
- Personal assistants are part of every smartphone.
- Amazon Echo, one of the top voice-operated personal assistants, became the company's number one seller in the summer of 2016.
- The sales figure of Amazon Echo and Google Home are all set to surpass the 24 million by the end of 2017.
As more and more personal assistant devices become popular, people would subsequently become more familiar with the use of voice technology. This would then become an integral part of organic searches even for B2B markets. The main reason behind this rise is the ease of using voice commands.
Reasons for using voice technology
Voice technology is gaining popularity because it is easier, more accessible and quicker. It facilitates people that are looking to avoid typing on small sized gadgets. And at the same time, it improves the accuracy of search by taking the user directly to their intended destination.
This notion is not limited to people and their thinking, Google has improved its voice recognition technology by 20% since 2013, taking it to 95% accuracy. And why shouldn't they? On average, a person is able to speak at least thrice more words as compared to their typing skills. With time, when voice recognition becomes as precise as typing is then there is no reason for ignoring this technology.
It is a known fact that voice search on mobile devices offers an improved user experience. And with 90% of executives using mobile devices to research before making a purchase, it won't be long before they move to voice search. Furthermore, the upcoming generation of B2B buyers and sellers would use voice search as regulation.
Places of voice search usage
The biggest factor for using voice search is to keep the hands free. This makes the usage of voice search in cars and kitchen the most but, there are other places where people use this technology as well.
According to the latest survey conducted by Stone Temple Consulting, it was known that almost 50% of the surveyed people claim to use voice search at the office. Interestingly, many people are conscious of using voice commands in public but the people belonging to the high-income group are comfortable using it in front of anyone.
- Executives make purchase decisions after researching via their mobile devices.
- Voice search is already a common phenomenon in offices.
- High-income individuals are more likely to use voice search in public.
Preparing for B2B voice search
In 2016, 20% of all mobile searches were made through voice commands and this number is likely to go up to 50% by 2020.
In order to adjust for future voice search made on B2B SEO, marketers must take the following three steps to optimize website content for voice searches:
- Keep the focus on the mobile compatibility. Most of the voice searches are performed through mobile gadgets, therefore, optimizing for mobile compatibility is utterly essential. That does not mean improving the response time or design, it also means enhancing the page load speed, eliminating unnecessary and intrusive pop-ups, and remove drop down menus for navigation. Moreover, videos should be formatted in such a way that when the mobile is held vertically, it fully covers the screen.
- Long tail keywords are the key to success. For obvious reasons, voice searches are longer than typing searches. People tend to use conversational language when using voice commands so therefore, website content should have long tail keywords to cater such queries.
- Aim at featured snippets. When the answer to a question is found in Google's featured snippet, then the voice search will recite the snippet loud and clear. This can provide any brand and company enhanced recognition along with complete authority. Hence, making the new ‘position zero' as the ideal one.
Optimizing for voice commands and the search can integrate and boost the overall SEO. The top ranking already includes mobile optimization and page load speeds. Moreover, long-tail keywords are the focal point of all of the searches performed online and newly featured snippets can attract visitors through position zero results. Having said that, voice search SEO is nothing new or different, it is just an added feature of the existing SEO norms.
Voice search and B2B SEO
Voice searches and commands are already being used everywhere and by people from all walks of life. With the fast increase in the use of personal assistant gadgets, followed by the improved accuracy of voice technology, more people would be attracted towards it by the end of 2020.
Just like everything else, B2B brands are too impacted by user behavior which is triggered by voice search. And the companies should now seriously start investing time and effort in voice search optimization.
One can begin by optimizing the current website content for featured snippets. Then find important keywords, examine the search results, and update the content accordingly. All this will help in promoting the brand when the digital assistant would read out the name of the company and its brand aloud in response to an online search.