Voice search optimisation: targeting the awareness stage of the purchase funnel
Many businesses consider the most important stage of the purchasing funnel to be the final purchase. While this does offer the most value to companies, you can’t reach this stage without the other stages of the funnel — awareness, opinion, consideration and preference.
With error rates falling and more users owning voice-search enabled devices, voice search is on the rise. We’ve covered the topic in-depth on our blog, from the future of voice search to what it is and how it’s used. Today, we’ll turn our attention to using voice search to target users at the awareness stage of the purchase funnel.
As with any developing trend, it’s difficult to know exactly how users will interact with voice search in the future. For marketers, this means it can be tricky to establish how to optimise for voice search.
However, Backlinko carried out a study which involved looking at data from some 10,000 Google Home search results to establish the factors that influence voice search answers. One of the key findings is answer length: on average, Google chooses answers that are 29 words in length.
Think of it from a user perspective; when they ask a query, they’re often on the move or simply want an answer quickly. Therefore, they don’t have time to listen to a lengthy response.
For marketers, you’ll naturally want to appease voice search users but, depending on the topic, you may need to go into more detail. When answering queries for voice search, we can learn a lot from looking at Wikipedia pages. Let’s look at the digital marketing page as an example:
The first sentence shown in the above screengrab provides an overview definition of digital marketing and is 28 words in length—this could be used in voice search if a user was to ask: ‘what is digital marketing?’, for example.
The remainder of the page then goes on to provide more detail about digital marketing. Marketers could follow a similar structure to both satisfy brief voice search answers, as well as desktop and mobile users that are looking for more detail.
Providing more detail
Results from the study suggest that it’s not enough to create multiple pages designed to answer voice search queries with brief answers — you won’t be able to fool Google by doing so to attempt a quick win. The study found that on average, Google uses answers from pages that average around 2,313 words, showing that the search engine clearly favours more authoritative sources. As such, you shouldn’t neglect providing extra detail around a search query.
By providing this level of extra detail and answering multiple queries around one particular topic, you will in turn improve your voice search visibility — i.e. your content may be used to answer other voice search queries. For example, returning to our digital marketing Wikipedia example, the information on the page could be used to answer other queries such as ‘what are the different digital marketing methods?’
What value is there in ranking for awareness terms?
Targeting users at the awareness stage through voice search is beneficial in that it places your brand in front of an audience that may not already know about your business. As the first port of call on their informational journey, if you give users what they want through a superior user experience, you might find that those users who first interacted with you return later in the purchasing funnel to buy a specific product.
As voice search continues to rise, businesses should be using the blog and news sections of their websites to answer these informational search terms. With a strong domain and quality, easy-to-digest content, businesses have the potential to be present amongst rising voice searches, which could lead to an increased number of users entering the purchasing funnel at the awareness stage.