According to Google, 20% of all searches are voice. On a whole host of devices including mobile, tablet, Google Home and Amazon Echo, voice assistant technology like Siri, Cortana and Alexa has been adopted by consumers faster than any product since the smartphone.
Social Lens Research found that 25% of voice command searchers use voice assistants to find a new product, and 10% use it to make a purchase. Although most searches may be being used to ‘call Grandma’ or navigate Spotify, voice search and voice commerce are strongly connected and these numbers are growing.
Evolving your paid activity with voice search in mind can’t hurt, particularly as many of the following tips align with general PPC best practice and strategy.
The first step to getting in front of voice searchers with your paid ads is to identify how they are using voice technology to research your business.
An easy way to see how your customers are using voice search is to look at your search terms report.
You can do this by downloading all your search terms from Google Ads into an Excel file and filtering for search terms including voice assistants, such as “ok google”, “alexa” and “siri”. This will give an indication of how your customers are using voice assistant to research around your product/service.
These search terms are from a Blueclaw travel and tours client, and show the variety of queries that users have around their offering. Some are more relevant than others, but all appear to be more detailed and focused than the average search term.
Don’t worry if this filter doesn’t return much – only a fraction of searches will contain these voice search buzzwords. You can also find likely voice queries by filtering for phrases that often feature in long-tail queries like “how to…”, “where can…” and “find a…”. “How”, “what” and “best” are the top three trigger words used in voice search (Bright Local).
But more on that in the next section.
A key aspect of optimising for voice search is padding your account out with long-tail keywords.
With it being much faster to speak than to type, users searching vocally often use more conversational and detailed language. Your keyword selection should reflect that.
Building an effective long-tail keyword set is only possible after understanding the needs of your customers and the questions they may have around the products. Think around why and where your customers use voice assistant.
If you are a car retailer, instead of just having “new mitsubishi suv” or “mitsubishi car”, you might want to include more specific keywords like “what is the newest model of mitsubishi suv”. Despite not having such sizeable search volume, these longer tail questions tend to be further down the user journey funnel than two or three-word queries. By focusing on building out long-tail keywords with a strong user intent, you will likely drive higher-value leads and sales.
Adding relevant long-tail keywords allows you to discriminate the user intent behind searches and bid more on keywords with stronger intent such as “buy me…”. This is particularly useful if your account currently has a heavy reliance on broad match keywords, making it difficult to control the context in which keywords are being used.
You can figure out what your most popular long-tail queries are by going through the search term report, or by conducting market research and speaking with customers directly. What kinds of natural language and terminology are they using? What questions are they asking?
By knowing this, you can get ahead of the curve and target voice searchers that competitors may have overlooked. Not only this, but you can create highly targeted ads so that you are the number one most relevant ad for that voice query. Aim to answer the question that users are asking with the ad creative and copy.
It’s all about the local
Since 2015, mobile searches have surpassed desktop. Mobile is the main driver behind the growth of local search queries, and since most voice searches are done on a smartphone it makes sense to capitalise on this growing keyword group.
Queries that contain phrases like “near me”, or “open now” are becoming more and more frequent. Shoppers can organise themselves as much or as little as they like, as they know that they can search on mobile when out and about. They expect brands to understand this and address these needs immediately. Luckily, by adding keywords that capture this local demand, you can push your brand to the forefront in your area.
To get the most out of your localised keyword strategy, combine it with location targeting. If you have physical shops, use location bid adjustments to bid more when a potential customer is in the area.
You can also add call extensions to your ads. Not only does this afford you additional real estate on the SERP, but it gives the searcher the option to continue on their purchase journey using only their voice. Again, it’s all about making it easier for the customer to do whatever it is you want them to do.
Location extensions are also a great way to make voice searchers aware of your local presence. They show your business address, a map with directions to your location, and distance from your business. They essentially do all the laborious logistical research for the consumer.
As previously discussed, mobile and voice search go together like cheese and wine. It is vital that your site is optimised for mobile. Not only in terms of page layout, but also speed. Mobile voice search users are often on the go without access to Wi-Fi and need answers fast. If your ads have a poor landing page experience on mobile it will affect your quality score and ad visibility to voice search users.
With AI evolving so rapidly, voice assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated at giving customers what they want and when they want it, with less effort on their part. Keywords in your account that target voice search users will become more and more valuable in future. Although it may be time-consuming, optimising for voice search looks a lot like optimising for search in general. By being aware of what queries are on the rise, you can develop more relevant content strategies to give consumers exactly what they want. With this in mind, I’d recommend you give optimisation for voice search a go.
If you’d like to discuss this or anything else to do with Google Ads and how to get the most out of it, then please get in touch.