Voice Search May Be the Future of Searches. Is Your Company Ready?

Voice Search with Phone.jpg

Have you ever been to a new city and looking for somewhere to eat? If you’re like most people today, you whipped out your smartphone and searched for a restaurant that serves the food you’re craving. Think back to how you searched. Did you type out your query or did you raise your phone to your mouth and ask Siri or Google Assistant? 

If you used your voice to search for the restaurant, you’re not alone. Researchers estimate there are more than 1 billion voice searches each month. Let’s think back to your search for a restaurant. When you asked Siri to “find a Mexican restaurant near me,” she loaded up a list of restaurants that fit your question that you could scroll through.

But what happens when you are using a smart speaker at your house to make the same search? Alexa is going to give you just one result, what some would call a recommendation. If you don’t like what she chose, you can ask for another restaurant. These artificial intelligence or virtual personal assistants – Siri, Alexa, Hey Google – are changing the way we search for information and how we receive the information we are seeking. 

ComScore predicts that by 2020, half of all online searches will be voice searches. The way we search online for tomorrow’s weather forecast differs based on if we are typing our query or asking Alexa. (Typed – Indianapolis weather vs. Spoken – “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?”) As a result, companies need to adjust their content to capture these voice searches. Because if more and more people are using voice searches to find information, instead of pages of results that match your search, smart speakers are going to deliver just one result at a time. 

What are you doing to position your company to be the top result that these AI voice assistants serve up?

How Does a Digital Assistant Find Its Result?
Before we get to what you can do to optimize your content for voice searches, let’s take a look at how these AI voice assistants select their answer to your question. These devices want to give you the best answer to your question. No one wants to listen to Siri read off a list of six restaurants. 

A recent webinar by Jordan Schuetzle, senior product innovation manager at FindLaw, explained these AI voice assistants are searching for trustworthy content. Users want accurate results quickly. For example, Google Assistant, when sifting through the millions of potential results, compares the content to its guidelines. 

o    Does the result answer the needs of the user?
o    Is the answer long enough to be useful, but isn’t excessive?
o    Is the answer grammatically correct? (Even computers don’t want to sound foolish when speaking.)
o    Is the answer pronounced properly? 


Nearly 39 million people own a smart speaker. 

Smart Audio Report

Change Your Tone
Now that you know how Google Assistant finds content to answer a user’s question, think about the content on your website today. Chances are, you’ve been writing your copy to capitalize on certain keywords that people use when searching through typing. But are you writing any content that sounds the way that you speak?

Think about how you describe what your business does. Let’s say you are a financial adviser. The copy on your website is polished and detailed about your services, experience and who you help. But what if you met a potential client at a party. When they ask you a question about your job, you answer it briefly and quickly. You answer it in a more human tone, avoiding industry jargon. 

When writing content for your website to capture voice searches, think about conversations people have. What questions do people typically ask regarding your business or the industry you are in? How do you answer those questions in a conversational tone? 

It goes back to the industry jargon idea. Yes, it’s important to show that you are a thought leader and expert in your industry. But it’s also important to think about what your clients really want answered.

During the webinar, Schuetzle gave an example of this idea using lawyers. Most people won’t ask, “How is my personal property distributed upon death?” They want to know what will happen to their truck when they die. “Hey Google, how can I make sure my brother gets my truck when I die?” Include questions to answers real people would ask and answers they can understand. Schuetzle had a good piece of advice when answering questions in your web copy: Answer as though someone just asked you this question in person and needs an answer now, instead of having a day to write out your response. This will boost your chances Siri or Alexa decide that your webpage serves up the best answer to the user’s question. 

Pew Research found 46% of U.S. adults use AI voice assistants, and nearly 39 million people own a smart speaker, based on recent research from the Smart Audio Report. If the future of search is voice, start taking steps now to position your company’s website as a place to find answers to industry-related questions people are asking. By starting today, you’ll boost your chances in the future that Siri or Alexa will serve up your company’s web copy as the most relevant and trustworthy answer to their query.  

How do you write copy specifically for voice searches? Contact us today to learn how we can help. 

Jennifer Nelson