voice search

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

What Should Your Content Really Look Like in 2019

What’s at the centre of your digital and social activity? Chances are its content, which bridges the gap between brand and customer like no other media or medium could do previously.

Content marketing has come a long way since the early days of publishing multiple (and mostly mediocre) blogs each week on your website in the vain hope of getting noticed or ranking for a couple of obscure, long tail search queries.

These days, content marketing is a multi-channel, cross-platform behemoth, consisting of everything from landing pages and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The increasingly competitive space in which content sits has also changed dramatically, with things like featured snippets and voice search making any marketing objective even more difficult to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean to say boosting your brand identity, increasing online awareness and engaging with customers through content marketing is impossible…

Here’s the content that performs best in 2019:

Long-form authoritative content

So, if regular blogging doesn’t cut it anymore, what does?

The answer is long-form authoritative content.

This means going into great detail about a particular theme or topic and updating it regularly with fresh insight, imagery and video.

After analysing 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing, Brian Dean from Backlinko discovered that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles. It also generates significantly more social shares, especially within the ‘sweet spot’ of 1,000-2,000 words.

Other industry studies have also found a direct correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings. This is because long-form content stands a better chance of satisfying intent and maintaining engagement by demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Best practice: Identify topics or themes that strongly correlate with your brand’s products, services, or industry. Think about how you could demonstrate your authority with long-form content that meets your customer’s wants and needs.

Short-form video

Every year, the importance of video content continues to grow – you only have to look at the success and influence of platforms like Instagram to realise that its here to stay for the long haul.

According to a recent study by Altimeter, short-form video (less than two minutes) is the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. By contrast, long-form video (greater than two minutes) was said to be 20% less effective.

In addition to greater engagement, short-form video can also improve your SEO, make content more accessible to a wider audience, generate a strong emotional connection with customers and lead to more conversions.

Best practice: Generate ideas for short-term video content that will resonate with your audience. Remember to optimise for mobile viewing (where most video is watched), create captions, include a CTA and keep it short!

Influencer marketing

Despite the exponential rise of social media influencers in recent years, this marketing trend is nothing new. However, several brands are reluctant to explore the idea of influencer marketing due to misconceptions that you need to spend thousands (or even millions) getting high-profile celebrities on board.

More often than not, brands have the most success with influencer marketing when they choose people directly related to their industry or niche. Better yet, they collaborate with influencers throughout the content ideation and creation process.

The following influencer marketing statistics speak volumes about its effectiveness:

  • Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
  • 67% of Marketers Promote Content With the Help of Influencers
  • Influencer Marketing Is the Fastest-Growing Online Customer-Acquisition Method

Best practice: Think of influencers as an ad-hoc extension of your own content team. Take advantage of their creativity and audience, relieve some pressure from in-house efforts and add credibility to your brand in the eyes of followers.

Voice search

Voice search is slowly but surely becoming a daily fixture for many, especially given the increasingly popularity of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants. Estimates suggest there are over one billion voice searches per month, while 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

So with more and more text-based digital tasks moving over to voice thanks to the speed and convenience it affords, every marketer should adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Unfortunately, each device seems to pull data from different sources and offer completely different results. But by creating pieces of content that deliver quick answers to quick questions, you should be able to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Best practice: Think about the words people say, not just what they’re likely to type. Also, most voice-activated searches take place on mobile, so make sure your website is responsive and optimised for smartphones.

Storytelling and Digital PR

There’s a reason why storytelling remains one of the most popular approaches to content marketing – it works, and will continue to work for many years to come. By conveying facts through narrative, you’ll create a connection with your audience and encourage action thanks to the number of decisions people make based on emotion.

One excellent example comes from National Geographic and its content marketing activity that engages with 350 million combined global followers on social media. As Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, explains: “Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.”

Key ingredients to any story include a main character/hero, a conflict/journey, and an ending/resolution. Don’t forget to make it easy-to-follow, relatable and memorable. Support your stories with visuals and data to drive the message home.

Next steps: Try to gain an in-depth understanding of your audience – their needs, pains, hopes and aspirations. Know exactly what you want to say and what you want your audience to do before launching any storytelling campaign.

Take your content marketing to the next level with JBH – let’s create something awesome together.

what you need to know about voice search
1024 683 Jane Hunt

OK Google; what do I need to know about voice search?

Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. How can your business prepare for the inbound voice search revolution?


The rapid growth of voice search

Voice search is something that is now an integral part of many people’s everyday lives but just a few years ago it was little more that a gimmick.

Remember way back in 2011 when Siri came out on the iPhone 4S? It seems like a lifetime ago in terms of technology. When it first came out, Siri was frustratingly bad and totally impractical to use. In 2011, iPhone users would laugh at the hilarity of the way Siri would interpret their requests; today however, according to Hubspot, 19% of iPhone users engage with Siri at least once a day.

That’s almost 1 in 5 iPhone users daily using their voice assistant. So, if the voice search revolution is already well underway and more users are conducting voice searches, do your content marketing efforts need to change?

The thought of adopting new technologies and adapting to change can be overwhelming and some businesses had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century and are now paying the price as they can’t meet consumer demand.

Change can be scary but with it also comes opportunity. By incorporating voice search into your SEO strategies you provide a service your users want and put yourself ahead of your competitors.


Why businesses need to care about voice search

Why should you care about voice search?

Some stats to convince you that voice search is something you should be thinking about:

  • There will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020 according to Activate
  • Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day according to Location World
  • 25% of 16-24s use voice search on mobile according to Global Web Index
  • 41% of people using voice search have only started in the last 6 months according to MindMeld
  • 25% of searches on Windows 10 taskbar are voice – on desktop! according to Bings Purna Virji
  • 42% of people with voice-activated devices say it has quickly become “essential” to their lives according to Geomarketing.com

Brands need to be where their audience are if they want to be heard. It might seem obvious to point out but if your customers are using voice search, and your website is not optimised for voice search, you are going to have less visibility with your audience.

Voice search is still an emerging technology but it is being embraced by consumers at a rapid pace. While at the moment, a lot of voice assistant may have a limited capacity, learning how to take advantage of them now will lessen your learning curve as the technology gains more applications, in addition to giving you an advantage of visibility over competitors who have not yet optimised for voice search.


Google search results for 'How does voice search work?'

Is there a limitation to how much information you can answer a voice search with?

While some consider a pitfall of voice search the limitation to the amount of information you can respond with, as a brand you should look at this as an advantage.

Type search on Google and other search engines can be overwhelming for users. They have to wade through a lot of results and it can be difficult for them to find the information they are looking for. Voice search can simplify this process, giving you the opportunity to give simple, clear and conversational answers to consumers.


How is consumer behaviour changing?

A consumer that types a query into Google will behave differently than a consumer that speaks to Google.


Voice search has longer queries

According to More Visibility the average search through typing is around one to three words but voice searches are much longer, generally including seven or more words.

People talk to their voice assistants as if they are a person. Instead of typing in ‘Chinese restaurant’ a user will ask ‘OK Google, where’s the nearest Chinese restaurant?’

Betsy Rohtbart from Vonage told Forbes “with online search, a slew of otherwise random words yields a narrowed list of final results: “non-slip stair covering beige.” With voice search, however, a query or command gets a response: “Alexa, order more yogurt.” “Siri, where is the nearest park?” Create content that keeps the conversation going, rather than ends it.

You might not think this change in language is a significant difference but those few extra words provide more context and change the type of content that the user is searching for. By providing conversational content you can help give a richer answer that is more likely to lead to a conversion.


voice searches are often locally based

Local Search

According to Search Engine Watch voice searches are three times more likely to be locally-based than text searches.

A lot of voice searches happen on the go, through mobile devices, so this makes sense. Voice search allows Google to retain information from your previous search, for example if you ask ‘where am I?’ it will remember the answer if your next question is ‘show me things to do here.’

A user can have a full conversation with Google and go on to get attraction information or contact details and make a call without ever having to leave the search engine or visit a company’s site.  

As a result of this change in search behaviour it is more vital than ever for businesses to keep up to date profiles on sites like Google My Business. Having the correct information such as address, opening hours, phone number, website easily accessible through search results makes for a more seamless experience for users. By having this information available within SERP’s business have a greater chance of getting offline conversions.


Search intent

Elongated search terms can help business of both local and enterprise level understand the users intent. Through text based search a user might type something like ‘camera shop,’ but this doesn’t tell you much about what the user is after. They might want to buy a camera, they might want to speak to someone and ask for advice regarding which type of camera they need, or they might be trying to find a shop that can repair their camera.  

A voice searcher will typically search in more complete sentences asking something like ‘Where can I buy a Nikon camera in Manchester?’ or ‘Camera sensor cleaner near me.’ If you are a smaller brand that struggles to rank for short and highly competitive search term, you might find that gearing your SEO strategy towards these longer voice search phrases and questions will give you better results.


How do you design for voice search?

Voice search has no visual interface

As content creators, when trying to create content that provides helpful answers to our audience, we not only think about the text but the way that it is displayed; incorporating visuals, layout and structure to ensure that it provides the most value to our audience.

Voice search, unlike type search, has no visual interface though, meaning as creators we have to rethink the UX design. In the coming years we can expect to see voice commands turn UX design on its head in much the same way mobile touch screens did just a decade ago.

Rather than thinking about UX design in terms of visuals we need to think about it in terms of how users digest information. Text will become the focal point of content and rather than creating a design with placeholder text, the choice of words will become the most important aspect.


The current state of voice search

Virtual assistants have become more familiar to us and the likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google are now entwined in our lives. They make finding information easier and are more intuitive than type search, changing the way search engines operate and the way business present their information online.

A Bright Local study from 2018, found the following:

  • 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis
  • What consumers want most: to be able to use voice search to make reservations, to hear business prices, and to find out which products businesses have
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after making a voice search
  • Consumers are most likely to perform voice searches to find further information on local businesses they already know about
  • Voice searchers are most likely to look for restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery

Local businesses are seeing a large impact from voice search and we can see that clearer search intent is leading to users to follow up with businesses, becoming leads and then possibly converting to customers. These stats make it clear that voice search optimisation should be a key marketing strategy in 2019 for any local business owner.


Amazon Echo giving a voice answer to a voice search

Smart speakers

In 2016, Amazon released its smart speaker, the Amazon Echo and sold 11 million units in that year. Smart speakers quickly became the hottest new trend in voice tech, so of course Apple and Google weren’t far behind in creating their rival devices; Apples HomePod and Google Home.

Since then many smart speakers have launched smaller and more affordable versions to make them more accessible, meaning almost anyone can own one. Amazon now has the Echo Dot and Google the Home Mini and each can be purchased for under £30.00.

2018 research by YouGov found that one in ten people in the UK now owns a smart speaker and according to GeoMarketing, 65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine to going back to the days before they had a smart speaker; showing that this is clearly not a fad that’s going to pass.

It will come as little surprise that younger audiences are embracing smart speakers more compared to their older counterparts. Business who have audiences primarily made up of under 36 year old may need to focus on optimising for voice search as research by CapTech Consulting found the following:

  • The majority of smart speaker owners are aged between 18 and 36 (53%)
  • 32% are aged 37 to 52
  • Only 15% of smart speaker owners are aged 53 and over

Speakers can provide a great opportunity for businesses as voicebot.ai and Verto Analytics research found that smart speaker owners used their devices much more frequently than smartphone owners; averaging 2.79 times per day in and 0.33 times comparatively.


People eating at a restaurant they found using voice search

Industries that can benefit most from voice search optimisation

Voice search will predominantly be adopted by younger generations who are more adaptive to new technologies and will also have a big impact on local businesses. However, there are also specific industries that can expect to see a greater change in the way users find (or don’t find) their business as voice search becomes a more common.

According to the Bright Local survey, the top industries for voice searches are:

  • Restaurants / Cafés (51% of consumers would use voice search to find)
  • Grocery stores (41%)
  • Food delivery (35%)
  • Clothing stores (32%)
  • Hotels / Bed & Breakfasts (30%)

A thinkwithGoogle report found that there was a 2.1 times increase in mobile search for ‘stores open now’ and ‘food open now’ from 2015 – 2016 which can be linked the the rise of voice search on smartphones and smart speakers over this time.

As users behaviour is changing through voice search industries like food/restaurants need to adapt their current search and SEO strategies if they want to maintain or grow their market share.


languages that are character based are likely to quickly adopt voice search because of convenience

International voice search

If you have an international business, operating in countries like Korea, Japan or Greece where they have character based languages – that are much more time consuming to type than alphabet based languages – voice search will be key to you staying relevant in your market.

We are likely to see an even more rapid adoption of voice search in these countries due to the convenience that it offers; saving users a huge amount of time over type searching, especially on mobile where keyboards are small and more difficult to operate with a language that has a larger number of characters.

The head of search marketing at Google Southeast Asia, Balazs Molnar said about Asian voice search:

“While voice search and commands are unlikely to replace typing completely, in many Asian languages it’s harder for people to type using a small keyboard. For instance, character-based languages or languages with a lot of diacritical markers, like Vietnamese. People find it easier to speak rather than type on their phones.”


Are brands optimising for voice queries?

The short answer is not really. Brands, although aware of the voice search revolution seem not to be focusing their marketing efforts in this area either because they don’t know what they need to do or because their competitors aren’t.

This gives forward thinking brands an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and impress their audiences with voice search optimisation.


How can you optimise for voice search?


Schema Markup example on a search result from Google

  1. Use structured data

When creating content your main focus should be your audience, with that being said you also need to structure your content so that its optimised for search engines.

Factors beyond your content help to determine a pages ranking in the SERPs and Schema markup is one that is highly relevant to voice search.

Schema data is essentially meta data and is put into your sites source code. While it has no effect on what visitors see it, effect how search engines crawl your site and helps to organise and classify your content.

When a user is making a voice search, especially something local, they are generally looking for something like opening times or directions and you can use schema markup to classify this information on your site so it is easy for Google to use it as an answer for voice search.

If you search for the population of the United Kingdom, Google can give you a quick answer right in the SERPs because they can pull this information from World Banks due to their use of Schema markup.


Google My Business for voice search

  1. Google My Business

As we’ve already covered, a large amount of voice searches are local searches. By leveraging your Google My Business you can give your customers and easy way to find you and help Google provide accurate and up to date information about your business.

You might have all your contact information on your site and think that that is enough to appear in local searches but its not the case. If someone searched for ‘Content Marketing Agency Northampton’ then having optimised your search for local keywords gives you a high chance of ranking for this term.

However, if they searched for ‘Content Marketing Agency near me’ Google would be looking at the location of the user and use Google My Business listings to provide results.

The vital elements to have included in your listing are your business name, address, phone number and opening hours. Beyond that it’s also a good idea to fill out the introduction field as it’s a great opportunity to pitch your business to the searcher.



  1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly

Voice search happens on the go so having a mobile friendly site is essential for voice optimisation.  

Your site needs to be responsive, giving users a seamless experience over desktop, mobile and tablet. With short attention spans you also need to prioritise your page load speeds, ideally getting them under 2 seconds to provide the best user experience and stop visitors going back to the search results after they have found your site.


  1. Create FAQs

Voice responses from search engines tend to be pretty short – averaging around 26-35 words. If you want your content to be pulled for voice search responses you need information that is this concise.

The current technology used for voice search does not give it the ability to crawl through a 1000 word blog post and pick out the vital bit of information a user is after so as a brand you need to think about short form content for voice search.

Identify questions that users might be searching for and create an FAQ page with short, concise and informative answers.

Questions coming from voice search often include “who” and “what” type questions. Create conversational and quick answers to any questions, relevant to your business and you will have a greater chance of attracting users to your site


Google is not the only search engine you need to consider when optimising for voice search

  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

When it comes to voice search, it’s far from a one horse race. While the majority of the search market share is held by Google it is not the search engine of choice for all voice assistants.

Siri, Google assistant, Alexa and Cortana are 4 of the biggest voice assistants but only 2 are powered by Google – Siri and Google Assistant.

Alexa and Cortana are both powered by Bing. While a lot of SEOs measure success by their Google rankings, checking your Bing rankings is something that needs to be taken into account.

With 20 million Amazon Echos sold, and their assistant Alexa powered by Bing, your brand needs to take into account your Bing results if you want to get in front of these users.


How voice search benefits your business

As voice search answers questions without redirecting the user to a site you might think that it’s not going to be of benefit to your business however, there are a lot of advantages to incorporating voice search into your SEO strategy.


Voice answers from stand alone devices like the Echo can help boost your brand awareness.

With voice answers, unlike type answers there is no benefit to being in position 2. The search engine only has 1 answer to give rather than letting the user choose from the top results. By investing in being the brand that provides the best answers to voice questions you can have an edge over your competitors because the voice users is only going to come into contact with your answer.

While voice searches do demand short answers, on mobile where a user has a screen device they can still result in click throughs to your website. Answers from featured snippets, which are primarily used for voice search answers, actually drive organic traffic beyond that of regular search results – especially on mobile where most voice searches are done.  


People talk at 150 words per minute but are only able to type at a fraction on that, averaging at 40 words a minute. Speaking is the more natural way for us to interact with our surrounding and search for information so as voice technology advances brands must prepare for the shift to voice search if they want to maintain and grow their market share.


Learn everything you need to know about content marketing in our definitive guide.


Is voice search really the future of content marketing?
1000 667 Jane Hunt

Is voice search the future of content marketing?

In the early days of voice search, most people dismissed the idea of speaking rather than typing as a gimmick. After all, publicly asking personal assistants like Siri or Google Now to search ‘Gangnam Style’ would undoubtedly be greeted with several disapproving stares (and perhaps a few dance move homages).

But fast forward six years and voice search is now a more accepted way of accessing information online. In fact, voice search comprised 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app in mid-2016, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

While more recent stats about behavioural habits are a little bit difficult to come by, it’s clear voice search has cemented its place in today’s digital society, thanks in large part to devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.


But where does this leave the world of content marketing? If more and more users are conducting voice searches, do your content marketing efforts need to change?


Some say yes, but others disagree… Several industry commentators believe voice search is like virtual reality, chatbots, and other recent trends – something that requires consideration, but only needs to integrate into your existing marketing mix if there is a pressing need for it.  

In this blog, we’ll explore the zeitgeist of voice search – why it deserves your attention, how to go about adapting your content (if at all), and which brands are currently leading the way.

Let’s go…


Why does voice search matter?

Don’t be fooled into thinking voice search is a novelty; it’s gone beyond a fleeting fad to claim a surprisingly large percentage of online searches.

Here’s some telling statistics

  • Estimates suggests there are over one billion voice searches per month (Apline.AI)
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day (Location World)
  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (comscore)

With more virtual assistants coming to market, accompanied by increasingly intelligent language processing and machine learning, voice search will continue to rise in popularity and pertinence.

“Voice search is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in recent history and it’s changing the way consumers interact with the world around them,” said Elizabeth Walton, Vice President of Marketing at digital knowledge management platform Yext.


“When you ask a question, you don’t get 10 links back; you get one direct answer. Marketers should ensure the main voice providers (Google, Apple, Microsoft) have the correct facts about their businesses so they can provide the correct answers.”


So, does this mean voice search will eventually replace all other means of accessing information and content online? No – it’s a matter of user intent.


voice search and content marketing

Why do people use voice search?

According to Google, there are three main characteristics of voice search queries:

  1. They are more likely to be about an on-the-go topic.
  2. They most likely don’t deal with sensitive information.
  3. They generally do not include searches for websites that will require the user to have significant interaction.

With this in mind, it’s imperative for marketers to understand user intent before overhauling their approach to content marketing.

Think carefully about why people are choosing to engage with a virtual assistant as opposed to a search engine web page. Chances are, they simply want a nugget of throwaway information instead of an in-depth content experience.

This makes even more sense when you consider MindMeld’s 2016 Intelligent Voice Assistants Research Report into the primary reasons behind voice searches, as well as where they take place.


  • 61% – Useful when hands / vision occupied
  • 30% – Faster results
  • 24% – Difficulty typing on certain devices
  • 22% – They’re fun / cool
  • 12% – To avoid confusing menus
  • 1% – Other


  • 43% – Home
  • 36% – Car
  • 19% – On-the-go
  • 2% – Work

But even if voice search is only being used to facilitate quicker, more convenient content journeys, that doesn’t mean you can afford to dismiss its potential influence on your own marketing activity.

For example, what if your company blog continues to succinctly answer industry-related questions? Or your business has an online star rating that exceeds competitors in the local area? Can you rely on Google, Apple, and Microsoft to send voice search users your way?


Alexa voice search

How do voice assistants work?

Britney Muller, SEO & content architect for Moz, recently ran an experiment for the Content Market Institute, asking “What are the best laptops?” to three pre-eminent voice assistants.

The results:

  • Google Home – Read out a list from TechRadar.com
  • Apple Siri – Answered, “The Apple Macintosh is my favourite computer”
  • Amazon Alexa – Answered, “Sorry, I don’t have the answer to that question”

As it does with traditional web searches, Google delivered the most relevant and detailed voice search results. This is because many of its voice answers come from Featured Snippets – a self-contained answer to search queries taken from a third-party site, positioned right at the top of the SERPs.

“Relevant, convenient, helpful, and accessible on virtually every platform, Featured Snippets are the answer to many of the content concerns of today,” said Julia McCoy, a content marketer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. “What’s more, they stand to shift and change accordingly as the web adapts in the coming years.”


It’s at the forefront of many a content marketer’s strategy already, but seeing as Google-enabled voice search only delivers a single answer, Featured Snippets represent the holy grail of voice search, as well as SEO.

But there’s another reason why Featured Snippets can be compared to the holy grail – eagerly pursued and sought after, yet incredibly difficult (impossible?) to attain.

Therefore, is there any point in even trying to become a Featured Snippet to get noticed by voice assistants? Well, the approach you’d need to employ shares several traits with best practice for content marketing and SEO anyway.


How to create and structure content with voice search in mind

Brian Dean, a leading SEO expert and the brains behind Backlinko, conducted his own voice search experiment by analysing 10,000 Google Home search results. The anatomy of a page optimised for voice search had the following features:

  • Quick loading time – PageSpeed plays a major role in voice search, with the average result page loading in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page. Google itself has stated that “people want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible…”
  • Contained long-form content – The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. Longer content means more opportunities for on-page text to “match” your user’s voice search query.
  • Contained concise answers – The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. Google wants voice search results that are brief and to-the-point.
  • Highly-shareable – The average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets. However, it’s highly unlikely voice search uses social signals within any algorithm.
  • Appeared as a Featured Snippet – 40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet. For this particular analysis, Brian only looked at voice search results that cited a source.
  • Ranks in Google desktop search – Approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query. There’s a strong probability this finding is pure correlation, not causation.
  • Written at a 9th grade reading level (or below) – Simple, easy-to-read content helps with voice search SEO. Google emphasises ‘Elocution’ in its official Voice Search Rater Guidelines.

Ask any marketing or SEO expert (including Brian) and they’ll tell you that this checklist contains several, if not all the essential elements a piece of content should strive for in the first place.

As a result, your content creation doesn’t have to deviate too far from tried and trusted paths, especially if there is little to no chance of attracting voice searches.

But when you do have content that would work well as a voice search result, remember to:

  • Conduct extensive keyword research – You can use SEMrush to research keywords that result in a Featured Snippet, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to save lists and determine which keywords have a Featured Snippet. Not only should you target keywords that return Featured Snippets within your industry or niche, but also those you’re already ranking for. Try to improve upon the experience current pages provide but stick with a similar format.
  • Think about language – This is particularly relevant with local searches, which tend to take the form ‘pizza takeaway Leeds’ on mobile and desktop. But when it comes to voice search, users are much more likely to speak in full sentences with longer, often unnecessary words in-between such as ‘Where are the best places to get takeaway pizza in Leeds?’.  So, think carefully about your use of adjectives, connecting words, and prepositions with voice search-optimised content.
  • Create FAQ pages – FAQ pages follow a format that is tailor-made for voice search; a conversational question with a concise answer below. Also, as mentioned above, voice searches are often long-tail queries, which are commonplace on FAQ pages. Another compelling reason to go down this route is the fact very few voice search results contain the exact keyword in their title tag. It is more beneficial to write long-form content that answers several different queries on a single page rather than optimising individual pages around each keyword.
  • Set-up a HTTPS-secured website – For the time and money it takes to set-up a HTTPS-secured website, you might not think the ‘minimal boost’ Google promises for voice search is worth it. However, Backlinko’s study found that 70.4% of voice search result URLs have adopted HTTPS (compared to only 50% of Google desktop results). Once again, this relationship could be chance correlation, but its worth serious contemplation given voice search’s single answer responses.

While this advice will by no means guarantee voice search prominence, it can’t hurt your chances and could even propel existing SEO efforts further.

So what about the brands that have managed to succeed with voice-based content marketing? Is their activity limited to Google Home or do they work across other voice assistants like Amazon Echo (Alexa)?


Voice search winners and losers – content marketing examples

Whereas several brands are targeting Google in their quest for voice search greatness, others believe Amazon Alexa and its ‘Skills’ represent a better opportunity to be heard by consumers.

Alexa Skills allows users to perform voice-activated controls that range from news and information to education, games, and shopping.

Brands that have capitalised on the content marketing potential of both Google Home and Amazon Alexa include:

  • Hellman’s – Several food brands have developed skills for users based on their product offerings, but Hellman’s goes one step further by expanding the ways in which to discover recipes. Whether they’re based on the ingredients you have or found via browsing ideas, Hellman’s will send you an email containing a link to your chosen recipe, thus increasing the mileage of content.
  • Vogue – Fashion magazine Vogue recently delivered engaging voice content to users through a partnership with Google Home. By saying, ‘Okay Google, ask Vogue to tell me more about Jennifer Lawrence’, writer Jason Gay would provide behind-the-scenes insights into his interview with The Hunger Games star, thereby extending the reach of existing content.  
  • Tide Stain Remover – Perfectly aligned with voice search intent, Tide’s Stain Remover skill tells you how to get rid of coffee spills or grass stains from your clothes. You receive step-by-step instructions, product recommendations (Tide, obviously), and a follow-up text message. Bringing additional devices into the fold gives Tide a clever multi-channel marketing advantage.
  • Burger KingIn one of the most innovative examples of voice search marketing yet, Burger King released a TV commercial which featured the line, ‘Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?’ Any device listening at home would immediately read out the information provided on the brand’s Wikipedia page. Although clever, it somewhat backfired when the Wiki entry was changed to include ingredients such as cyanide and rat meat.  A whopping mistake…


Clearly, there is huge scope for voice search to work hand-in-hand with content marketing. It might need an original, or indeed paid-for approach, but as long as the content meets user intent and encourages further interaction, most efforts should result in positive outcomes.


Voice search and content marketing – key points

Voice search continues to gain popularity as a legitimate (and socially acceptable) way of interacting with digital devices.

It not only delivers relevant content quickly, but also makes the whole experience easier when you’re otherwise occupied or can’t be bothered to use your hands – that’s a serious reason and not just condemnation of 21st century laziness.

For these reasons, brands should be mindful of curating content experiences just for the sake of voice search optimisation, as most of the time, user intent will be absent or non-applicable.   

But in instances where content could make use of voice search, brands are advised to follow a set of precise guidelines, several of which already make sense from a marketing perspective.

It’s also a good idea to think about the voice search or voice assistant device your content marketing activity would be best suited to – Amazon Alexa has taken off with lifestyle brands, whereas Google Home (and the way it sources content from high-ranking web pages and Featured Snippets) is more open to optimisation and innovation from virtually any enterprise or industry.


Voice search clearly has a future, even if it’s limited to household or entertainment devices. But where there’s opportunity for brands to be featured as the answer to a question or provide a concise slice of information, the role content marketing could play should not be underestimated.


Want to learn more? Check out our post covering everything you need to know about voice search.