Insights from Microsoft on the Impact of Voice Search

SEO | Strategy

I recently had the privilege to represent Top Floor at the 2016 Digital Summit hosted by Marquette University and Laughlin Constable. There were many great speakers, but I would have to say my favorite presentation was the one given by Melissa O’Brien & Joe Veverka of Microsoft.

Changes in Voice Search – and How It Impacts Paid Campaigns

The increased usage of voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Alexa, are changing the game in search.  Understanding the process of voice search and how it should affect the keywords in your pay-per-click campaigns is critical.

One of the biggest changes is how users are framing their search terms using voice assistants.  Search queries are evolving from an average of two words when typed to an average of four words with voice.

Often, these additional words include “question terms” at the start of a voice query, such as “Where is Home Depot,” as opposed to someone typing “Home Depot” into the search bar.

This opens the possibility to explore adding these question words to your keywords, depending on how far down the purchase funnel the word puts the consumer. While a “Who” question may not be an effective term to bid on, a “What” or “Where” query can indicate someone doing research and looking to make a purchase.

Branded Keywords & the Mobile User

The speakers then shared insight on the importance of something everyone should already be doing: bidding on your branded keywords.

Even if your competitor is not bidding on your branded keywords, placing an ad at the top of the page, followed by an organic result for your business can push the competitor’s organic result below the fold on a mobile device.

According to data shared from Bing Ads, this strategy can increase your click share from around 70 percent to near 90 percent, with slight fluctuations depending on the category.

The Future of Voice Search

The popularity of voice assistants will likely continue to grow, especially as the technology to support it gets better.  This will continue to impact organic and paid search strategies – so staying on top of how this evolves will be critical to elevating results!