Posted: 25 May 2019 05 min. read

Is your content voice search ready? (And why it needs to be)

How to get ahead in the future race to be number one in voice search rankings

Nearly 60 per cent of Australians use voice search right now, according to a recent report by iprospect, and it’s hard to imagine the number won’t grow to desktop and mobile search levels in the near future.

While chatbots and voice apps may seem ‘sexier’, last year Deloitte’s Australian Media Consumer Survey concluded searching or requesting information is the most valued use of voice assistants.

That means that asking Siri, Google Home, Alexa and Cortana will become the norm – and making sure your brand is on the tip of their artificial tongues will be as essential as coming first in desktop or mobile search page rankings.

That’s first. Not second, third or just ‘high’. There is no below the fold in voice, no scrolling, no clicking on page two in optimistic desperation for your answer. 

Voice assistants give one answer – fast - but they draw that answer from the same source as your desktop: Google and other search engines (apparently there are some).

Cast your mind back to the first days of SEO (if you weren’t around, Google it), and you will remember how many brands fell behind the eight ball by not realising their content would be such a vital asset in connecting them to customers. 

When they did realise, they tried to make up the lost ground by gaming the algorithm – duplicating content, keyword stuffing, and wearing the Black Hat of SEO until the algorithm gamed them and got smart enough to only look for unique, relevant content written by humans of all things. 

Of course, everyone is digitally savvier now, but that doesn’t mean brands won’t run the risk of falling behind the eight ball again when it comes optimising their content for voice SEO.

Making content great again – but how?

For the more forward-thinking businesses voice is the chance to review and remove a large amount of content that has multiplied around their brands like an overgrown information forest. 

It is a chance to do give customers what they actually want –useful, relevant and great content, but just less of it. 

The Havas Brand survey 2017 (which polled 375,000 people in over 30 countries), for example, found that 84% of consumers expect brands to produce content but believe that 60% of that content is clutter.

Think about that… think about how much money, time, effort is sunk into content that your customers are not only uninterested in, but which actually annoys them. 

Less has always been more in content, and lean will be loved by voice search. Snappy, clear answers to the questions your customers are most likely to ‘ask’ around your topic or brand.

But how do you begin to fight a path through the forest? 

Four ways to prepare for voice

Getting to an understanding of what content you have that is voice ready, what you need to cut off, and what you need to optimise is a daunting task. 

There may not even appear to be a driving imperative to do so, after all, desktop and mobile search are still the go-to methods for consumers. 

But seizing the initiative now could well save your brand a huge amount of angst, effort and time in the not too distant future. Here are a few things you can do right now: 

  1. Analyse your current content for voice readiness – our Deloitte Voice Content Analyser tool can quickly give you a score on how your digital content measures up and where it’s falling short.

  2. Apply the analysis to content now – once you know where your content is failing for voice, you can apply the learnings to any new content you are creating.

  3. Hone in on the most important questions – identify which ‘answers’ your brand can own in voice SEO (in the same way you might currently understand which keywords or search terms you own for desktop etc).

  4. Plan your Voice Strategy – getting your content optimised for Voice SEO is just one part of a successful voice strategy. To have true impact and ROI, voice apps and chatbots need to be in the mix. We’re already seeing organisations rush into a one-dimensional voice ‘solution’ without knowing what they are solving for. Don’t be one of them. 

The added bonus is that preparing for a conversation-driven future will only help to improve your content findability and relevance now. 

For instance, well written and lean content based on natural questions and answers will get you in the Snippets on Google’s search page. Owning a Snippet, means you are literally in it and could win it when it comes to being a ready answer for Google Home or other assistants in a voice search.

Better still, if you get ready for a voice assistant future, then you get the chance to address some of the sins of the past and clear out the clutter patently consumers hate.

Interested in finding out more about the Deloitte Voice Analyser and our approach to Voice Strategy? Leave your contact details here and we will get back to you.

Meet our author

Debra Taylor

Debra Taylor

Principal, Deloitte Digital

Debra is a journalist, editor and content specialist who has pioneered content strategy, content operations, content design, and content testing to enable brands to produce useful, engaging and relevant content across channels. She believes content is a powerful business asset that can be leveraged to deliver on core strategic objectives in both CX and EX and is the binding glue between them, that can bring these two 'sides' of any organisation together.