What is Voice Search? And Other Questions .


What is Voice Search?

Voice Search, or Search by Voice is a method of conducting online searches using Digital Voice Assistants, conducted by speaking, instead of typing into a traditional search engine. Digital Voice Assistants and Voice Search functionality can be found today in smartphones, operating systems and home devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home.


What can you do with Voice Search?

Voice Search not only allows a user to utilise Search Engines by simply speaking, but also offers a wide variety of helpful functions already embedded within the respective device. For example, users can ask their Digital Voice Assistant to set reminders, add items to shopping lists, send text messages, begin recording video, or call people on their contact list. For a comprehensive list of Google Now queries and functions, click here.

Why Would Anyone Use Voice Search?

Voice Search offers a user the ability to search the internet, and carry out requests completely hands free, via speaking. This situational advantage is mostly taken whilst driving, carrying things, or cooking. A user might ask for “How many pounds in a kilogram?” whilst rolling dough, or for directions whilst driving, for example.

Is My Phone Always Listening to Me?

Yes and no. While Digital Voice Assistants do require a microphone to always be listening in order to pick up trigger phrases (“OK Google” or “Alexa”, etc), recordings and audio files are not stored. Google, Amazon and Apple are known to store Search Terms and Queries, but these are text based just like traditional Search Engine usage. In other words, the Amazon Echo and your phone is not spying on you, despite what many may believe.

Can I Use Voice Search for Marketing?

Voice Search is arguably intended for marketing, as many Digital Voice Assistants are intent on keeping users within their network. The Amazon Echo for example, will always defer to their own online store if a user asks to order something online. Similarly, Google will always pull answers to questions from their own Search Engine crawl. Beyond that, marketers may use longtail, conversational keywords to appeal to Voice Search users, making judgements based on the likely intent of the user. Click here to read my full guide to taking advantage of Voice Search for Marketing.

Does My Phone Have Voice Search?

There's a very easy way to find out! If you have your phone close by, try speaking it’s trigger phrase from the examples below:iPhone: “Siri” Android: “OK Google” Windows: “Cortana”If that doesn’t work, you may need to try entering your settings to enable Voice Search in your device.

Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with Android.

Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with iPhone & iPad.

Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with Windows phones.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

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06 Jan 2017 - 5 minute read
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