Seven ways content marketers can leverage voice SEO in 2021
As the use of voice search technology continues to surge, capitalizing on it may prove trickier for content marketers in financial services than those in other industries.
First, the good news. Nearly 40% of all internet users in the US used voice search in 2020, and analysts expect a 10% increase in 2021. Moz reports that the keywords “financial” and “personal finance” have a combined monthly search volume of about 200,000, while “finance” boasts over 1 million.
The less-than-great news? A study by Answerlab found that privacy and security concerns make it tough for customers of financial services to fully embrace voice. Of the smart-speaker owners surveyed, only a third or less were interested in applying for a credit card, less than 40% were interested in checking their credit score, and less than 40% were interested in getting financial advice (29% were not at all interested in getting financial advice from voice-enabled interactions).
But lose not hope!
The data isn’t as dire as it may appear. Let’s explore seven ways financial content can overcome these headwinds and capitalize on voice SEO.
- Focus on the how/why/what/when/where questions of personal finance…
Voice searches are longer and more conversational than typed search. More than half of users perform voice searches to ask a question on mobile. So target “How much should I have saved for retirement by 40?” instead of “retirement savings by 40.” Or “What are the current tax brackets?” instead of “tax brackets.”
- … but don’t get too personal.
We mentioned earlier that smart-speaker users were not too interested in applying for credit cards or checking credit scores via voice search. It’s too personal, so don’t waste your time there. Instead, think of adjacent questions someone might have: “What is a good interest rate for a credit card? What should I know before applying for a credit card? How are credit scores ranked? How can I improve my credit score?”
- Keep it crisp. Sixty-one percent of consumers say voice search is most useful when their hands or vision is occupied. When writing for voice search, assume your audience is distracted. Don’t waste time and effort on complex things that can’t be explained in a moderately short voice response. And though always a no-no, jargon is a cardinal sin in this case; use plain language that a busy listener can comprehend.
- Aim for a featured snippet. You’ve seen a featured snippet, even if you didn’t know its name. A Google featured snippet appears near the top of page-one results and actually pulls content from a page and displays it in the search results. Google doesn’t always include one, but when it does that snippet steals 8.6% of clicks on average from the number-one result. Plus, more than 40% of voice search results come from featured snippets. To increase your odds of landing this coveted real estate, target a long-tail keyword and include the question followed immediately by a one- or two-sentence answer in your copy — the higher up the better. Legal and compliance review can be a pain point here, so get those reviewers on board from the beginning and ask them to weigh in earlier in the process than usual. (We’ve seen it work.)
- Take advantage of FAQs. Frequently asked questions answer a number of specific inquiries around a topic in a single post. The format is a win-win for voice search: the inherent question-and-answer flow makes it easy for Google to match your answer with someone’s question, and succinct answers make for ideal featured snippet fodder.
- Only consider questions someone would be comfortable searching aloud. Targeting questions like “How to prepare for an audit?” or “Who qualifies for housing assistance?” may not be worth pursuing, as few will feel comfortable asking those questions aloud, even if they’re alone.
- Think local. Voice searches on mobile are three times more likely to be locally based than text searches. Forty-six percent of smart-speaker users perform voice searches to look for information on local businesses on a daily basis; 28% of those searches result in a call to the business. Admittedly, this is less about content and more about Google My Business optimization, but still worth mentioning. Make sure any brick-and-mortar locations are taking full advantage of My Business so they’ll appear in searches like “car loans near me” or “financial advisor near me.”
To leverage voice search and voice SEO, financial services content may have more considerations than other industries. But if the tech continues to grow as expected, the rewards seem worth the work.