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How Conversation is Forcing Marketers to Evolve in the Age of Smart Speakers

We spend a lot of time on our phones—sending emails, texting a friend, endlessly scrolling Instagram… but we also use our phones in a lot of other moments, for a lot of other reasons.

We ask Google what time our local clinic opens, watch tutorials on how to fix a leaky sink, and buy products on Amazon (that we probably didn’t need but just couldn’t help it.)

These moments are called micro-moments, and are defined by Google as “an intent rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need to learn something, to discover something, to watch something, to buy something.”

More often than not, these micro-moments are happening via voice search. It’s much easier to find the answer to your question by asking it out loud, instead of pulling up Google and typing out your question into the search bar. The rise of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are showing that voice search is growing rapidly. Comscore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done via voice and image search, and today, 20% of all search is being done with voice search, and 40% of adults are using voice search at least once a day.

In the marketing world, this means changing your strategy to meet consumers’ needs while they are in one of their micro-moments.

Ok Google, how do I optimize my content for voice search?


Think about the micro-moments your customers are having. Really put yourself in your persona’s shoes and try to think about how they would ask you for the information you can give them. Ask your sales reps, as they probably have heard every question from your consumer in every way it could be asked. The intent rich part of these micro-moments means your customers are ready to do, learn, or buy now, not later. Your customers need to be reached while they’re in these moments, —or your competitors will reach them instead.

Use the long-tail+ approach. The days of one to four keywords have passed—speaking a longer, more specific query is easier than typing one, which is where the “plus” comes in. Think about how your persona is asking these questions, plus the conversational phrases they’re using to ask them. “Grab a bite later?” may be used in a text message to a friend, but in person, you’d say to a friend out loud, “Hey, do you want to grab a bite to eat after work?” The natural speech pattern in the former provides more context than a text would. Thinking about what people are likely to text versus what they say can improve SEO rankings for voice search.

Write in a natural voice. Once you’ve figured out how your customers are asking questions, answer them in concise, conversational language. Take a look at your FAQ page, which tends to be written in a conversational voice and tone. Your analytics on this page may already be performing better due to the natural voice already being used there.

Use structured data and schema markup. Integrating structure data into the backend of your website allows search engines to crawl your data more efficiently, getting you into search engine results and “cards,” which are the direct answers your customers are looking for. Schema markup is code put on your website that tells search engines what “your data means, not just what it says." Schema markup helps your website rank better for hundreds of different content types, and was invented for users, in a collaborative effort with Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

According to Matt Lawson, Vice President of Ads Marketing at Google, “People are more loyal to their need in the moment than to any particular brand.” Find out what these moments are for your customers, and reach them while they are in the moment with long-tail+ keywords and natural voice writing. Always consider your audience’s experience, and create content that will reach them when, how, and where they need you.

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