How Should Marketers Approach Voice Activation Right Now?

Right now is the best time to get ahead by building content that caters to the way users are searching via a voice search, says iQuanti Senior Manager of Search Strategy Michael Bertini.

While the use of voice activated devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are largely relegated to asking about news, weather, and playing music, there is considerable growth in using Alexa and Okay Google to find a restaurant or clothing store nearby.

The number of Echo devices installed in the U.S. reportedly grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter, according to Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends report.

As these devices proliferate, voice-activated searches and commands are becoming more mainstream. Certainly, with all the complaints about auto-correct, voice provides an easy alternative to texting when a user is walking or performing other tasks with their hands. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of searches by U.S. adults today are spoken.

And that has clear implications for marketers. And that’s not a prediction, says Michael Bertini, senior manager of Search Strategy at digital agency iQuanti — the implications are happening right now.

GeoMarketing: What is the state of voice SEO? How should marketers be approaching voice right now?

Michael Bertini: Voice SEO is on the rise and marketers need to be aware of it. Right now is the best time to get ahead by building content that caters to the way users are searching via a voice search.

How does the approach to voice SEO differ from the approach to traditional SEO? The main difference will be keyword densities. Traditional SEO focuses strongly on the amount of times a term or terms are used within the total amount of content on the page. Voice SEO should focus more on building content surrounding a single sub-theme. Consider the way a user would speak it into a phone, mobile device, or in-home tech on that sub-theme. It’s going to be drastically different… Users are having more confidence to ask Google full-blown questions, as if it was a professor; this means that your content needs to cater to those queries.

How is Google shaping the space? How does Google’s actions differ from Amazon and others such as, Apple/Siri, Microsoft/Cortana, Samsung/Bixby?

In my opinion, Google is far better at voice search than Siri, Cortana, or Bixby. Google has almost two decades in understanding user intent under their belt; and they are close to nailing voice search. I think if Google can figure out a way to utilize Rankbrain more in voice search, it will bridge the gap Google’s missing now.

Will the rise of voice SEO affect some marketers more than others? How?

I think it will affect small business owners and a large amount of big businesses like many of those on the Fortune 500 list.

The least to worry will be content aggregators and major publications. Content variety will be king. I think small businesses will have a hard time keeping up with creating content for several sub-themes. Big businesses are not agile and will have legal and compliance issues that will keep many of them from creating content that fits the bill for search engines.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.