How Will Voice Search Affect Your Online Business?

Google announced dynamic changes earlier this month that will propel us into a Star Trek-like future. Google Home Now and Google Assistant will soon change the way we interact with search engines.

As a consequence, the technology will have an impact on how businesses will engage with customers online.

Google Assistant is the search companies answer to Siri, Cortana and Alexa. Voice search coupled with AI will become the mainstay of communicating with the internet. The concept has positives and negatives.

Voice assistants learn what interests you and subsequently delivers information that is personal to you. It’s the idea of personalisation that is both exciting and a little bit scary. For online business owners at least.

Whilst voice-activated assistants and AI learning throw in the important element of convenience, it also makes end-users lazy and habitual. Essentially, it promotes people to stick with the experiences they know rather than exploring new websites.

Voice activation, AI and SERPS

Although SERPs will not fade away anytime soon, the means by which AI is shaping the way we use the internet puts the emphasis on personalisation. Voice assistants narrow the view of SERPS even more as end-users won’t have eyes to scan other options from the results.

That makes it harder for online businesses to find new customers. It also makes it harder for customers to find new businesses.

The key factor for online businesses is to personalise content so your website appears in search engine results. And that means focusing content on specific issues end-users are most likely to ask. Or as Google calls it: publish micro-content.

For example, rather than writing a lengthy feature article every week, break the points you want to make down into specific sections and publish several short articles. You can still publish a feature article, but puff your content out with keyword-targeted offspring.

If you have been conducting performance analytics over the last half-decade or more, you might have noticed a drop in traffic, but an increase in conversions around specific keywords.

The reason for that is because search engines rank web pages rather than websites. In other words, they target keywords based on user-intent so that end-users have direct access to the information they are looking for.

That’s why blogs are so important.

How to target customers through voice assistants

To make the best use of voice technology, you need to know what your customers want. Check out your analytics and determine what information they are searching for and why. Alternatively, make a list of everything your customers are likely to search for.

Then write content based around their questions, needs, desires, emotions, or whatever it is you can offer them. Your content has to be personal to the search intent of the end-user otherwise it will get overlooked by search engines.

To go a little deeper, ask your customers what they want. Conduct consumer surveys, read industry reports, study consumer behaviour and install a heat map on your website so you see what actions visitors take when they reach your website. If you can identify why people leave, you can address the problem and improve conversions.

Although voice assistants play into the hands of well-known brands, digital marketing still has value for small businesses that get content right. Understand what your customers want and you increase your chances of appearing in voice-activated SERPs.

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