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What Does the Rise of Voice Search Mean for Content Marketing?

Voice search technology is becoming extremely commonplace. Thanks to the proliferation of products like Siri, Alexa, Echo and others, users are only a short vocal outburst away from search results. If you're a marketer, you'll need to adapt.

Voice Search and SEO


Textbroker Marketing and Communications

Voice search is becoming irrevocably entwined with how we find things online. Even if a site like a social media platform doesn’t have its own voice search function, anyone with a modern smartphone can form a search query by speaking. Since some of the best content is magnetic content, it’s critical to consider what you’re trying to attract.
True, not every consumer has a Star Trek-worthy smart home that responds to their every command. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can afford to sleep on voice search. Forbes reported that by 2020, half of all web searches will be performed via voice.

To marketing professionals who pay the bills by creating engaging content, these trends might naturally seem like cause for alarm. While it’s completely understandable that you wouldn’t want to miss out on 50 percent of every business opportunity in existence, panicking won’t get you as far as reassessing your outreach plan.

People Don’t Speak the Way They Write

Written and spoken language have differed since the first people started chipping away at stone tablets. Experts with the Linguistic Society of America note some fundamental distinctions that advertisers might do well to heed.

Speech Is Commonly More Explicit Than Writing Is

As an SEO marketer, you already know that you have to cater to people’s laziness, but voice search gives this concept new dimensions. For instance, many people might be more apt to go into detail when they can simply say something instead of having to take the time to type it all out.

Marketers who actually want to provide organic content that matches what people search for should account for this by going beyond mere keyword targeting. If you aren’t already using semantic, or meaning-based, trends to guide your content creation, then you’ll definitely want to start.

Speech Changes More Rapidly

Written language is often standardized. For instance, Textbroker uses AP style to ensure that all content is professional, shareable and understandable to readers from all walks of life.

Do the rules of grammar go out the window when people speak? Although there are still frameworks, you can’t reasonably expect everyone to talk to their virtual assistant or smartphone as if they were giving a formal presentation. Voice search caters to rapid, off-the-cuff inquiries, and the way people speak changes to suit trends, settings and social factors.

Your content strategies also have to be adaptable. Keeping your content fresh is critical to capturing people’s attention. Of course, your marketing budget is only so big, so try some of the following techniques to make it go further in a world of spoken searches:

  • Devise a brand style guide that finds a balance between a formal, authoritative tone and one that sounds more natural.
  • Adopt a regular posting or publishing schedule that lets your brand voice evolve organically and helps you keep up with relevant topics.
  • Realize that something you post today might not capture a search hit for months or years. Keep a good portion of your content evergreen so that it does its job for the long haul.

Your Content Still Has to Be Readable, But Who’s Doing the Reading?

Want to produce great content? Maintaining a healthy respect for the distinctions between written and spoken language is definitely worthwhile. At a fundamental level, users always need to be able to understand what you’re saying.

At the same time, the machines that translate people’s unfiltered ramblings into meaningful searches introduce new unknowns. Instead of a one-to-one correspondence between what someone types into a search bar and the kinds of results they see, AI engines try to recognize, reinterpret and rewrite what they hear as meaningful, written language.

Of course, some would rightfully argue that search engines are already trying to understand meanings behind the scenes, but speech recognition makes the possibility even more pertinent. Could a future deep learning voice search engine try to listen to someone’s tone and tweak the results it provides based on their emotions? There’s no telling how Google or other providers might change things up, but many observers agree that marketers will almost certainly gain access to a broader variety of data.

Chart a More Comprehensive Course With Better Content

So, should you target the users who increasingly prefer to speak and search or the machines that try to understand what they’re saying? If you’re really clever, as we’re sure you are, then you might want to dabble in both.

The rise of voice search doesn’t mean the fall of the written word or the death of SEO as we know it. Instead, your mastery of written content needs to get even more nuanced and effective as queries become more diverse. Focus on telling stories that have broader meanings so that people can engage regardless where their freeform search lands them. Whether they’re typing something in and reading the results or speaking and having a page read to them, users should be able to follow the theme to your chosen destination. Keeping your publication strategy well planned and your content expertly written makes it a lot easier to guide them.

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