Hey Siri...OK Google...Hey Alexa... All phrases that dominate today's digital landscape -- and are poised to affect your PR tactics.
Consider that 40% of all adults use voice search at least once per day -- and this number is expected to rise. By 2020, experts predict that 50% of all online search will be done with voice search. Bottom line? This trend will rule 2019, so it would be smart to incorporate it into your strategy.
In this post, we'll look into...
- What is voice search?
- Why is voice search important?
- How can you optimize your news and blog for voice search?
What is Voice Search?
Voice search refers to when you speak a question into your voice assistant and your voice assistant reads back a short, definitive answer, possibly giving you more information through URLs.
People use a variety of devices for voice search -- from smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa to phones with Google or Siri voice software. This means that whether people are in the comfort of their homes or on the go, they have access to such voice assistants.
While many use these devices for small daily tasks like setting events and checking the weather, it is fast becoming the go-to for other activities. These include online search, checking the news, and basic search. Any one of these activities could provide an opportunity for your brand to shine in front of your audience.
Why Should You Care About Voice Search?
Data proves that voice search is not simply a passing trend. The number of people that are dedicated users of voice search keeps increasing year after year.
The ease of such voice-activated devices is part of their charm. People can simple speak or push a button and speak. And on the other end, instead of manually sifting through information, they can sit back and listen to the answer.
When we switch gears and talk specifically about voice search in public relations, a whole new field of opportunity opens up for brands. When you have special news, you are no longer limited to print or TV. In one study, 50% of smart device owners use their devices to listen to the news and weather. Imagine the audience you could reach if your news were relayed on a smart device.
Now that we see why people love voice search, let's look at ways that you can poise your brand to benefit from this tool.
6 PR Tactics That Will Help You Kick Butt in Voice Search
1. Be Concise
As noted above, voice assistants are programmed to look for short, bite-size information to feed back to the user. While a long paragraph of information may be great for readers, cut it down to one sentence answers to tap into voice search.
2. Be Picky with Keywords
How people actually speak and express themselves is key when it comes to voice search in public relations. This means that no matter how easy a keyword is to rank for, if people wouldn't actually say it, it's useless.
The true test is to use it in a spoken sentence -- if it sounds off to your ear, then look for another one that flows more naturally.
3. Target Mainstream News Sites
When collecting news to read back to their users, voice search algorithms target specific kinds of news sites. A news site may be completely legit, but if it doesn't have the same universal recognition as the top tier ones, then it is less likely to be chosen by Google and other voice assistant creators. That means you will need to specifically target top news sites to get your news featured.
4. Focus on Questions
Questions are the mainstay of voice searches. Most of the voice searches that people perform are in the form of questions. So, just like Jeopardy, use questions in your phrases for best results.
5. Use the Right Tools
Using a keyword research tool can help you pinpoint what keywords get the best results and also sift through keywords to find ones that will work for voice. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Keyword.io -- This free tool helps you to find the most common phrases that people search for across multiple search engines. You can weed through to see how people express themselves and find popular questions.
- Google Keyword Planner -- This free tool gives you access to one of the biggest search engines in the world: Google. While you may have to dig a little more to find question keywords, it does give you a great starting-off point to improve you voice search results.
- BuzzSumo's Question Analyzer -- This tool takes any keyword and searches across all the major forums, including for Amazon, Reddit, and Quora, to find questions that people ask.
- Answer the Public -- Simply enter a keyword or phrase. Then this powerful concept engine will shoot out popular questions that people ask about that topic.
6. Position Yourself to Get Noticed
There are a few ways in particular that you can put yourself in the line of sight of Google and other voice assistants. Such tactics in PR will make it more likely that your content will pop up in a voice search.
A great way to get your brand some visibility in voice search is to submit your news or blog to the Google News Publisher Center. This will give you a leg up and make it easier to appear in Google's voice search arena.
You can also use special tools and plugins to mark audio content on your site. This will be like a beacon to voice assistants that can pull audio directly from your site. You mark voice and video items, making it easier for voice assistants to use your audio for their users.
Such tools may help you to edge your brand into the voice search limelight and get featured in voice search results.
When voice search first hit the scene, we weren't sure whether it was going to be a transient phase or a regular feature of the landscape. But the votes are in and it looks like this technology is here to stay -- so it's time for us as PR professionals to embrace it.
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