It’s well-known that voice search is making waves in B2C marketing, especially when it comes to online shopping, navigation, product discovery, and more. It’s improving the quality of customers’ lives and revolutionizing the way companies market their goods and services. The tech is smart, too. As of 2017, Google’s speech recognition was already 95% accurate for the English language.
While voice search is more commonly linked with B2C, its impact on B2B can sometimes get overlooked. You’ve probably heard the popular Comscore figure where half of all internet searches will be done via voice in 2020. Or, you may or may not be aware that usage of voice assistants will triple to 8 billion by 2023.
These various statistics that talk about the rising ownership of smart speakers include business owners as well, which means as a B2B marketer, you should shape your online and SEO strategy to accommodate this portion of your audience.
What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Voice Search
Since B2B buyers are part of the demographic of voice search users, the tech will soon infiltrate and help them in their professional lives as well. Because of the rising popularity of the platform, there’s no doubt that the B2B industry will see voice search as a tool they can leverage in their respective organizations.
As it stands, the tech is evolving, and there’s not always a need for a smart speaker to begin. Figures say more than 50% of consumers already use voice search, with 81% accessing it via their smartphones.
Mobile is incredibly important in the B2B industry. Over 60% of B2B buyers say that mobile did play a role in their purchases. Moreover, it’s estimated that 70% of B2B searches will be made on smartphones by 2020. That’s less than a year away. Why is this tidbit important? You must get to know your audience’s behavior and find the channels they’re using to perform everyday tasks. Knowing their preferred platform is just the first step, which will be touched on again in a bit.
It’s worthy to note that voice search hinges on what already exists online. The tech may be relatively new, but it depends on the information you make available, such as your website. If you truly want to maximize the power that this tool can offer your business, you must have a solid content strategy in place and work closely with your team’s search engine optimization experts. Although voice search SEO for B2B is an entirely different game, a lot of their foundation remains the same.
Voice search is diverse and can be used to your advantage in many ways. Below are tips on how to optimize your content and get your company set up for voice search.
How B2B Companies Can Optimize Their Website for Voice Search
Have a strong presence on mobile
Since mobile is an essential platform for B2B buyers, it only makes sense to boost your efforts in this channel. Get into the frame of mind of your target audience: B2B customers are always on the go, becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices to perform certain functions in their work.
How do you do this? You have to start by improving your mobile UX and UI. While it’s not explicitly related to voice search only, it does impact your overall SEO strategy. Google prioritizes websites that are optimized for mobile since it’s now a ranking factor. It signals them that this particular website took time to fix its structure to be more helpful for visitors.
First, do a checkup. Google has a free mobile-friendly test that gives suggestions and points out errors on your site. Next, address any issues stated. If all seems to be working fine, do some speed loading tests and see if your website is up to par with customer expectations. Remember: B2B buyers are looking for professionalism and information right at their fingertips. If you keep them waiting long or have a disorganized page, they won’t think twice to look elsewhere.
Build an FAQ page
In line with providing as much information as you can on your website, creating an FAQ page will help ease the worries of your B2B audience and get what they need without having to contact your reps. Anything that can save them time is a great thing. This will shorten the dialogue and decision-making process for them if they want to hire your services or not.
FAQ pages also allow you to mirror the queries that your audience may be asking their voice assistants. The key here is to make sure you’re writing them in the first-person perspective and making them sound as natural as possible as if you’re speaking to a colleague. 70% of voice searches are conversational, which is why this tactic works. Give short, direct answers that provide just the right amount of information you can share, and use internal links to redirect them to in-depth discussions.
Aim to rank for the featured snippet
SEO used to focus so much on getting the first position on search engine results pages, but now, Position Zero is aiming to disrupt that goal. Targeting the featured snippet for your service pages or blog is one of the fastest ways to get your audience to notice you.
Featured snippets are what voice assistants read aloud to a user in response to their query. That’s a big deal and tremendous opportunity. In the voice search universe, you’re not competing with other blue links for your buyer’s attention—it’s all or nothing. If you don’t have the top spot, you risk the reputation and sales of your business.
Ranking for the featured snippet takes time, which is why you have to get right down to optimizing your content as early as now. Here are a few pointers on how to get the coveted spot:
- Be specific and answer a query thoroughly. Focus on who, what, and why questions that will allow you to explain the answer with enough context thoroughly. Don’t throw in unnecessarily fillers; stick to the facts.
- Format your content properly. Let search engines crawl through your page faster and clue them in that your page has the most complete and organized answer to a specific query.
- Always churn out high-quality content. This tip won’t let you down. You can’t come up with thin material or trick your way to getting recognized by Google. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Target voice search queries
What are your web visitors asking that lead them to your website? Focus on those queries and make sure you have pages or articles that will answer those questions or mention specific keywords that were in the question. You can use your insights as a springboard for future content or promotion so that you can increase your visibility online.
With the proper SEO analysis tools, you’ll be able to uncover the top questions asked about your brand. Voice search queries usually start with “what” or “how,” and contain the words “best” and “top.” Focus on educational pieces and showcase how your services come out to the top. Creating articles with these in your title also works, even if it’s a list that includes yourself and your competitors. The brand recall will be much higher, as they consider you to be the expert of the field.
Prioritize long-tail keywords
Even if people are speaking to (invisible) voice assistants when they make queries, they will be inclined to use natural language instead of shorter keywords they’re used to type. This means complete sentences versus phrases, making the keywords specific to voice search longer.
The good news is, it’s much easier to rank for long tail keywords versus shorter ones. Take the query “voice search,” for instance. At the time of writing, there are over 1.7 billion search results relating to the topic. However, if you narrow it down to “best practices for voice search SEO,” results narrow down to about 16.5 million. Yes, that’s still a lot—but you’ve significantly reduced your competition by focusing on more specific keywords that your voice searching audience would be using more of anyway.
Long-tail keywords make up 70% of all keywords, so make sure to include these longer terms for higher chances in appearing on voice search results.
Use conversational language for your content strategy
Why stop at long-tail keywords? You can adopt the conversational technique across all of your marketing and content channels. As long as it’s on-brand, make it a habit to talk to your B2B audience like a professional colleague, where they can learn from you but not feel too intimidated by the content you’re putting out.
The more you train yourself to churn out content using natural language, the more your website will rank higher in voice search. You might be unintentionally including strong keywords you didn’t know you could be ranking for, as you get deeper into the headspace of a customer who uses voice search to locate your business.
Get your business listed
Google My Business is a great way to help your company appear in the global directory of millions of businesses worldwide. It provides your address, lists your operating hours, and can also include your contact information. When your business is listed, you will earn a snippet in SERPs containing all of that information. If a customer is interested in looking for professional services in a specific location, your company will appear in that shortlist too, maximizing your reach.
Local SEO is an integral part of voice search. Stats show that 46% of voice search users look for local businesses every day. Plus, mobile voice searches are thrice more likely to be local-based than text. If you’re not hooked up on Google My Business, you’re losing a fair amount of money to users who have no idea where you are. Including location information gives your visitors some peace of mind of where you’re operating too, versus some company that can disappear into cyberspace.
If you have a brick and mortar store, local SEO can help point voice search users to your place. This is relevant for shops like restaurants, malls, convenience stores, and the like.
Develop your brand voice
While there’s a lot of suggestions here on how to structure your content and which keywords to focus on, your business won’t fly well if you don’t develop your unique voice. Every company out there will struggle to be original, and that’s a good thing. Imagine a user coming across content written the same way among three different websites—no one wants to read the same thing online.
Users look for your unique selling point (USP), so give them that. Study your competitors, see what’s working for them, but don’t stop there. Take a look at what’s not been done before and aim to see how you can spice things up. Make things uniform, too. It’s crucial to sound consistent across all pages so that your branding looks and sounds solid—bonus points to your audience.
Make Voice Search a Priority Today
Voice search is bound to become an invaluable lead generation tool in the B2B industry. It’s up to your company to learn how to harness its potential and make the necessary steps to get ahead of the game. The voice search craze is not going to happen in the future, as it already exists today. Numbers will continue to grow, users will multiply, and it’s only a matter of time before all searches are done via voice.
If you’re looking for direction on where to start, doing the steps mentioned above will already put you in a better place versus the rest. If you’re aiming for the top, it would be better to tap experts to help you out on this journey. Voice search is a diverse field, and a lot can happen in a short period. The Voice SEO team can help break down the process for you and work with your business to dominate your B2B industry.