Voice recognition technology has been around since the '50s, but it wasn't until the rise of the smart speaker ago that it finally began to reach its potential. Today, only a few words— "OK, Google" or "Hey, Alexa"—can put the entire Internet at the tip of your tongue.
The rise of voice search is underway: Over 40% of all searches (3.5 billion per day on Google alone) are now conducted by voice.
But you don't need a team of app developers or a billion-dollar budget to get started with voice search. In fact, voice search optimization is actually pretty simple, and a few easy tweaks to your website and content will ensure you're maximizing your brand's potential.
I've included some of the ways you can do that in this article—but, first, you might need a little inspiration.
Best-in-Class B2B Brands Are Best at Voice Search
Smart B2B brands are hopping on the voice search bandwagon, optimizing their websites and apps for better voice recognition and a more intuitive user experience.
Salesforce has been on the leading edge of B2B voice search and technology. It launched Einstein Voice, which promised to make it easier to collect, streamline, and sift through data using simple verbal requests.
However, Einstein Voice didn't make it out of beta testing—not because it wasn't a viable solution but because Salesforce wanted to focus more on innovating ways to use voice search and embed it deeper into its Cloud products.
In the future, brands that use Salesforce will probably have their own in-house voice assistants and search capabilities, which makes finding the information they need easier than ever.
Honeywell is revolutionizing warehousing and inventory management with Honeywell Voice, a voice-enabled search service that improves accuracy, efficiency, and safety for fulfillment center employees.
The voice-picking system frees employees' eyes and hands so they can quickly check orders and find what they're looking for. It's also available in 40 languages, so employees can speak in their native language, which reduces errors and creates a better work environment with lower attrition rates.
Launched in 2018, Google Duplex started as a personal voice assistant to help people book movie tickets and dinner reservations. But what set the app apart was the way it used AI voice technology: A voice bot made a call on the user's behalf and carroed out a conversation that mimicked a human voice in tone and speech patterns.
Today, Duplex is expanding its use cases, and it may be positioned to become a leading service for businesses, especially because it now offers functions that can answer calls from unknown numbers or even wait on hold while the user takes care of other tasks.
Alexa for Business
Alexa for Business takes the Alexa we all know and love and suits her up in her business casual best. Using Alexa for Business, companies can customize Alexa's voice interactions so employees can easily access the information they need, schedule meetings with co-workers, and use their voice to access other applications, such as Salesforce and Google calendars.
Alexa for Business allows for fast and simple voice commands; so, for example, if an employee says, "Alexa, start the meeting," the AI can access the location of the request and the schedule for the meeting room, then launch the meeting within seconds.
SAP Business ByDesign
SAP's integrated ERP software leans heavily on voice search and technology.
At the moment, it's primarily used internally by companies that use the Business ByDesign service. It allows them to use voice commands to search for detailed business and financial information, such as client sales data, quarterly revenue, forecasts and trends, and much more.
SAP also partners with other brands on the forefront of voice technology, such as Honeywell, to offer end-to-end products for businesses in manufacturing and warehousing.
How to Find Your Brand's Voice
By now, it's undeniable that voice search is here to stay, and if you want your brand to be heard, you need to be ready.
Here are some steps you can take now to make sure your brand is optimized and ready for voice search:
- Complete or update your Google My Business profile with accurate information.
- Create content that is conversational and natural in tone.
- Write copy at around a ninth-grade reading level.
- Publish long-form content, because most voice search results are pulled from it.
- Focus on long-tail keywords.
- Adjust your schema markup to provide additional context.
- Don't neglect local search. If you have a brick & mortar storefront or sell products at retail locations, make sure to update that info.
- Check out the "People Also Ask" section of Google results on your keywords, and make certain your content answers those questions.
These tips won't merely help you excel in voice search; they're also a great way to optimize your content and improve your overall SEO strategy, helping you rank higher and get discovered faster.
Optimizing your brand for voice search isn't a requirement, but if you want to keep pace with your competitors and grow, it soon will be. It's time for your brand to speak up—loud and clear.
More Resources on B2B Brand Voice Search
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