Lee Kenny: Will your business find its voice in the new search era?

Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media
Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media

For years businesses have been told that “This is the year of video” and certainly it’s a great way to get extra exposure for your business on social media.

We are big believers in live video streaming for business as a way to reach 5-10 times more people at no extra cost to you.

However if you look to the future, its actually going in a completely different direction. That direction is already here and being adopted by the new generation of consumers. Welcome the era of voice search.

If you own a smartphone you’ll be familiar with the concept of Siri or Alexa. My youngest two daughters almost instinctively use voice search as their starting point. If you think it’s hard now to get your business to get found by visitors searching online, wait until voice search begins to dominate the search results.

Not convinced? Here’s some statistics that may surprise you.

Comscore estimates that 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020

During the same time 30 per cent of searches will be done without a screen according to Gartner

Google recently reported 20 per cent of all its mobile searches are already voice searches

72 per cent of voice-activated speaker owners say they are part of their daily routines

18 per cent of local searches result in a sale within 24 hours

Most of us can speak 150 words per minute but only type 40 words a minute

The big danger for retailers is that when voice search is done well and integrated in to big business, the user can bypass choice and just choose convenience. As these devices will store credit cards, delivery addresses and personal preferences a user will simply ask the device to order train tickets or the regular shopping list and voila it’s taken care of in seconds. Bypassing competition in return for convenience. The winners won’t even need to compete on price, rather reliability and speed.

Well it’s not all doom and gloom. We are still incredibly early in the journey and 99% of businesses will not take any steps to embrace the change in consumer habits, or at least not until it has been fully developed.

What can businesses do to get to the head of the queue in the race for visibility in the voice search era?

Make sure you claim your Google My Business listing, making sure you fully fill everything in. Especially the address, phone number and Email address

Create content on your website focussing on a more conversational phrase. Typically voice searches are less clinical than a typed search

Research and implement how to use a structured data markup from Schema.org to give your site a little advantage

Optimise your site for search queries ending in “Near me”. A childrens clothes shop near me for example

Now is the time to start if you are going to embrace and thrive in what will be a huge shift in how people find businesses online!

Lee Kenny @SocialSnowflake