Voice Search’s Impact on SEO: A Brandify Summit Recap

In August of this year I attended the Brandify Client Summit. The two day conference covered digital marketing techniques and trends with a heavy focus on local search and emerging tech. Conference presenters were from smart companies including Bing, Foursquare, Forrest, Walgreen’s, Underarmour and others.

Topics covered include digital marketing, voice + search’s impact on SERP, the convergence of technology and marketing, the importance of online reviews, and more. Here are some striking observations from one of the presentations.

Vocal to Local: How SEO is being impacted by Dictation and Voice Search Trends

Bing’s John Gagnon presented stats on voice search and the impact that this trending user behavior stands to have on search engine optimization.

Here are curated notes from the Brandify blog. You can see the presentation deck, or a recap of this presentation on the Brandify blog.

  • Voice search refers to one’s smartphone, desktop computer or any other entry point that uses voice, like Google’s microphone or Amazon’s Echo.
  • Voice search is hyperlocal, which is largely the result of the majority of smartphone queries being nearby searches and directions-focused. This means that local businesses need to sharpen their local search strategy, because voice search is rapidly becoming the way that customers find local brands.
  • Questions for local businesses normally center on specific keywords that ask for information such as hours, prices, menu choices, service options and directional or nearby searches.
  • Voice search will continue to trigger more quick answers in the SERPs, because question words are closely related to local searches.
  • The primary difference between voice search and text-based search happens in question phrases. Typed searches use computer language, such as “Vietnam vacation deals,” whereas voice searches use conversational language, such as “What are some Vietnam vacation deals for February?” or “How much does it cost to fly to the Vietnam?” Question phrases are a huge key for advertisers, because they signal intent more deeply than text input can.
  • Location-based marketers and enterprise brands are in a position to see the voice search industry take a seismic shift, and they have an opportunity to be part of the change. “Personal assistants are about understanding the context of your personal life and making those connections,” said Gagnon.
  • One of the most critical expectations that users come to develop from personal assistants is that they will be able to anticipate our needs and react according to our habits and lifestyle. Consumers expect predictive responses — they expect personal assistants to know that it’s Tuesday, predict that the user is going to visit points A, B and C because it is Tuesday, predict that each point will be hit at a specific time, because of the user’s prior search history, and then pull up the appropriate directions at just the right time.