Voice search is becoming a staple of consumers’ searching habits. The voice revolution — across mobile devices and smart speakers — is happening now, and the shift from how people interact with everyday items as they become connected via the “internet of things,” and the shift from how they interact with brands, is going to strain the imagination and the patience of consumers, brands and advertisers alike. While the shift is less dramatic for the senior living market, communities should take steps now to ensure they’re set for the future.
The Two Types of Voice Search
There are two primary wings of voice search. Each will require a unique approach to ensure success in a search environment becoming more voice-heavy every day.
- The first is voice-activated search on a mobile device with a screen, such as requesting your phone to navigate to a local restaurant. In 2018, ComScore reported that half of smartphone users engage with voice tech on their device, and a third do so daily.1
- The second is voice-activated search on a smart speaker, which typically doesn’t have a screen, and could include users asking Amazon’s Alexa for the weather forecast. It’s predicted that 55% of American households will own a smart speaker by 2022.2
Voice-Activated Mobile Search
Voice-based search on mobile devices is a technology far more established than smart speakers, and it’s where the true potential for destabilizing paid marketing lies. While half of smartphone users are experienced with voice search already, ComScore has predicted that 50% of all mobile searches will be voice-based by 2020. That’s a staggering number to any advertiser who’s paying attention for one simple reason: The language for voice-based search queries is different from text-based queries.
Voice-based queries are longer and more conversational.
This is a big deal, because keyword targeting is founded on targeting the language used in a search query. So, if the language used in queries changes on a global scale, is a change of strategy on a global scale required to meet it?
The internet — and by extension websites — will always be a primarily visually-based medium. Engaging SEO to optimize the primary pages of a community’s website to include conversational keyword content would be begging for disaster.
But that doesn’t mean the senior living market should continue their SEO without adjustment. One step that GlynnDevins is recommending is to maintain an active blog footprint where it’s more natural to optimize for voice-friendly keyword patterns, such as conversational language in headlines and content. As voice search continues to grow, retirement communities will want to ensure they have a plan for ongoing SEO/CRO and content development.
The increase in voice search on mobile devices has implications for paid search as well. As it becomes more prevalent, GlynnDevins is testing keywords that are more conversational in nature within mobile searches only. This allows us to evaluate the value of voice search queries in a limited space, without compromising the integrity of the overall campaign performance. These efforts are especially important for communities or campaigns with a higher level of care focus, and those that target an ACI audience typically more engaged in emerging tech.
Voice-Activated Smart Speakers
Google, Amazon and Apple are fighting for the in-home smart speaker market now, but until it becomes more established — both in total market size and in data collected as each voice assistant strives to become more intelligent, more intuitive and more useful — these types of devices are only delivering organic results. It’s hard to predict how monetized advertising will be implemented, but equally difficult to imagine a future where the devices and their use aren’t monetized via advertising. However, that pivot seems to be a few years off for all these companies at this point.
Until that happens, GlynnDevins is making sure our clients are staying abreast of the current smart speaker market by confirming our clients’ websites are SEO-optimized for voice search with these devices, and especially for queries with local intent. Since voice search can only deliver a single response — instead of 10+ options as with search on a screen — if you want to reliably give users what they’re asking for, then being the first result is more important than ever. It’s equally paramount for a retirement community to ensure their business pages are claimed and search engine local listings are updated. If a user asks a smart speaker for your address or phone number, you need to make sure that information is accurate on all platforms. That’s why a reputation management program that monitors and reviews local listings consistently is now more important than ever.
Voicing Our Position
GlynnDevins is always on the forefront of digital marketing technology, and we keep an ever-present eye on trends in the industry to take advantage of emerging technology and targeting methods. We’ll continue to monitor the voice search landscape, and frequently reevaluate our approach to this exciting medium as it matures into a mainstay of the digital advertising space.