Voice Search is not just a gimmick. Construction business’ need to be clear on the implications of construction business voice search and its impact on consumer decision making, website rankings and business performance.
No Longer a Novelty: Voice Search
Voice recognition devices such as Siri, Alexa and Google may still be a bit of a novelty.
Today it remains second nature to “search” via a keyboard and screen.
We are more familiar with using voice assistant for queries such as “what is the weather forecast” or “play Fireball by Pitbull”
Nevertheless, voice search will have a major influence on the future of marketing and SEO.
Voice search will be adopted more for multiple reasons including:
- Increased speed, efficiency and time saving benefits over typing into a keyboard
- Accessibility – whilst driving, being active, for people who are visually impaired
Construction and business’ in the built environment will be heavily effected.
Voice Search Via Speaker Devices
How Will Voice Search Effect Construction Business’?
The difference between voice search via a speaker devices such as Amazon’s echo and searching via a keyboard and screen is that speakers will only provide a single answer.
That fact in itself is scary for many construction business’ to consider:
There are 100’s of construction related business’ in the UK, but voice search will only provide you with a single answer to your question.
Here are some generic scenarios of voice being used for construction purposes:
- Where can I buy *brand* Insulation? = One Answer
- Where can I hire someone to fit my build my extension? = One Answer
- Who can i speak to to discuss my new build project? = One Answer
Impact on Local Construction Business’
Local construction business’ are likely to feel the force of voice search most significantly as people seek local solutions to their construction requirements.
Research indicates that 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information last year:
Here are some scenarios of how consumers may use voice search to find local construction business related products and services
- Find me a builder in Bournemouth = One Answer
- Find me a stockist of *product name* in London = One Answer
- Find me an architect in Manchester = One Answer
Is One Answer Enough
My immediate objection towards voice search via speaker devices widespread adoption by the construction industry is the fact that speakers only provide one answer.
It is highly unlikely that consumers will accept a single answer as sufficient reasoning to select a construction product or service.
Consumers will want to read reviews, compare prices and assess their options amongst other things.
Trends in a recent study into voice search intentions suggest a similar trend, with construction related services currently amongst the least likely to be searched for via voice search:
Voice Search Via Smartphones and Desktops
The lack of choice associated with voice search via a speaker leads me to believe that construction voice search will be most popular when conducted with a supporting screen. Either a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Voice search requests such as “Where can I buy *brand* Insulation?” above would lead to the device pulling up a normal search screen and showing results.
This voice and screen approach is a perspective shared by Yoast SEO when discussing voice search on a broader scale.
Consumers will use voice to engage in search and use a screen to identify their options, similar to the way they do today. Voice will simply replace typing into a keyboard or touchscreen.
As voice search becomes more natural for consumers and search responses are tailored more to each consumer thanks to machine learning the adoption of voice search and screen is likely to grow rapidly.
SEO is Critical to Construction Business Voice Search
At this stage you may be asking as a construction business or marketer “How should i prepare for voice search”
The key factor for construction business’ is website rankings and Search Engine Optimisation:
- The websites with the best SEO will be the single answer provided by the voice assistant on voice speakers
- This represents fantastic marketing exposure for the highest ranked construction business’.
- Construction business websites need to be optimised with acknowledgement of how consumers will ask questions rather than type them
- There may be a handful of ways that people may type a specific search query, but a voice search query for the same thing could be more detailed and ultimately lead to different responses given.
- Content that is written in a conversational and natural way, will be highly valued as it is best suited to the question and answer process of voice search
- Google is pushing its “answer boxes” at the top of search engines and voice search responses will rely on them heavily.
- Construction business’ websites featuring a blog with posts that are optimised with specific key words, will be rewarded the most by voice search.
- The more keywords and terms featured on your construction business blog, the better chance of being the voice search answer that is selected.
- Make sure your construction website is Mobile optimised as voice search will be conducted through smartphone microphones
The important thing to remember is voice search doesn’t replace traditional SEO, it’s just an different method for people to get the information they want from the same search engines. Instead of the keyboard and letters, consumers are using their voice and the phone/computer speaker.
The Future of Voice Search
As a construction business or marketer, it’s essential not to dismiss voice search. Today it may not appear to be the search method of choice for consumers in need of construction based products and services, but it will effect todays traditional search results and will continue to grow in popularity in years to come. In the short term efforts should be made to address your website SEO, make sure your website is mobile search optimised and adopt a blogging strategy that features keywords that your consumers will say when searching for your services.