Ep. 72 | Why Voice Search is Important For Your Business

Picture of Eric Enge for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where he talks about voice search

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In this week’s Rethink Marketing episode, we talk about Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting about Voice Search and its emerging importance to businesses.

We met with Eric at the Engage Conference in Portland, Ore., presented by the Search Engine Marketers of Portland, or SEMpdx. Eric was one of the many session speakers and presented on the Rise of Voice.

And just to level set on definitions, voice search refers to the smartphone, laptop, and smart speaker that allows users to search for what they are looking for by speaking to the smart device or virtual assistant and having it input the search query, rather than having users type it themselves.

Enge reports that more than half of smartphone users are regularly using the voice search features on their phones. And Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others are investing heavily in voice search, and smart speaker devices to connect your world.

We asked Eric about why now is the time for businesses to be paying attention.

Why is Voice Search is Important For Businesses

While this may not quite be the Year of Voice Search – like the 7 or 8 years we had that this would be the Year of Mobile –  the work you invest in voice search now will pay off later.

According to Google, around 20 percent of search queries on the search giant’s mobile app and Android devices are voice searches. And that number is rapidly growing.

And it is good to remember that Google is prioritizing mobile search in its algorithms; one could assume at one point voice will be a large component to that mix.

Enge says that within a few years 75 percent of Internet-connected devices will be on devices other than  your laptop or smartphone. This includes smart watches, as well as your refrigerator or home thermostat.

With that evolution, voice search will be a primary way of interacting for users.

And this matters to businesses because your potential customers are going to be asking questions that matter to your business. How does XYZ work? What is the Best XYZ? Who is the only Visionary in the Marketing Automation industry? (OK, that may be a stretch, but you get the idea).

The results from those searches are what fill the top of your funnel for a majority of businesses.

Graphic of voice search users by location from Stone Temple Consulting

Getting to Position Only

In the past, when someone typed these questions into Google or another search engine, Google would deliver what they believed to be the 10 best answers to your query, as well as some ads. Over the years, that results page has evolved to include what is called the Featured Snippet, or what Google believes is the absolute best answer to your question.

Someone making that search would have the option of clicking on that featured snippet, or any of the other 10 or so results on that page.

In a voice search world, you will only have one answer delivered to you. And more likely than not, it will be what is now the featured snippet for that search query.

Enge calls this Position Only.  

He recommends companies who are investing in obtaining relevant featured snippets will benefits in voice search, too.

Creating Your Own Voice Search App

The time is right for forward-thinking businesses to take advantage of creating their own voice search apps that answer relevant questions to their industries. You can try this with Enge’s company. Just open the Google Assistant app on your phone and ask, “Ask Stone Temple Consulting what is content marketing.”

In some cases, the search engines will deliver those results without the users asking specifically for Stone Temple Consulting. Enge said this is called implicit discovery, and it introduces your business to even more potential customers.

Enge said this takes some effort by a business, which has to create the questions that would be asked and the answers that would be the responses. But after that, and once approved by Google, there is nothing to install or download for the user, unlike other business apps. And what you create for Google can also be used for Amazon with some minor tweaks, Enge said.

You can go to Stone Temple Consulting’s website to find some of the research Eric and his team have done on voice search. You can follow Eric on Twitter @stonetemple