Get Ready for the Voice Search Revolution
Voice search is on the rise.
And that number of voice queries will likely continue to rise as Americans embrace another voice-enabled technology—smart speakers.
According to a 2018 Nielsen poll, about a quarter of American households own a smart speaker, and that number continues to rise. Of that 24%, at least three-quarters of respondents said that they use their speakers to look up real-time and factual information.
From these stats, it’s clear that the voice search revolution has begun, but is your business equipped to handle it?
How Voice Search Differs from Traditional Search
Newsflash: No one speaks in real life like they do on the internet. We don’t speak in the same way we write.
When we search for an answer online, we’re not usually putting it into a complete thought. On Google, we might simply type out “install new door” and trust Google to take us where we need to go. On the other hand, the language of voice search is usually framed as a question, for example: “Hey Google, how do I install a door?” Longtail keywords are more relevant for voice search because they more accurately reflect how people speak naturally, and incorporating them into your SEO strategy could give you a leg up in voice search results.
But remember, Google isn’t the only big player on the voice search scene. Amazon’s Echo speaker (featuring the voice assistant Alexa), which uses the search engine Bing to deliver answers to users’ queries, is also wildly popular. Unlike traditional search where Google reigns supreme, there’s stiff competition in the smart speaker market. Businesses should keep this in mind going forward and start using Webmaster Tools and Bing properties to optimize their content for Alexa users.
One final distinction to note is the prevalence of searches with local intent in voice search. In about half of voice searches the user is searching for a local result, which makes sense considering the appeal of voice assistants as hands-off tools that can be used while commuting. While optimizing for local searches is important for both traditional and voice searches, the rise of voice search in particular puts even more emphasis on local SEO.
Because voice assistants like Siri only reply to a user’s question with one answer, hitting that top spot is more crucial than ever, and while there may be plenty of differences between voice and traditional search, SEO best practices still apply to both. Google prioritizes detailed content that utilizes smart keywords, meta-descriptions, title tags, and high-quality links. Writing good long-form content (like detailed blog posts) makes it more likely that your site will rank high in the search engine results of both traditional and voice searches.
Tips to Optimize for Voice Search
Focus on the Questions Your Audience is Asking: Do you know what you audience is looking for online? What are their pain points? Their biggest questions? You can use a service like Answer the Public to find out what questions people are asking in your niche.
Consider Creating an Alexa Skill or Google Action: This software makes it possible for voice assistants to interact with your content directly. They basically allow users to have back-and-forth conversations via voice to find information that’s relevant to them.
Improve Your Local SEO: Make it easy for search engines to find your location and match it to interested users. You don’t need to include the words “near me” to optimize for search. Just make sure you location information is accurate across all channels and maybe create a location-specific page on your website to attract local users.
Think Mobile: In recent years, search engines have pivoted to a “mobile first,” giving mobile friendly sites a leg up in search. Most voice searches come from a mobile device, so by optimizing for mobile, you’ll get the added benefit of also improving your site for voice search.
The future of search is voice. With more than 66 million Americans now owning a smart speaker, voice search is not only here to stay, it’s rapidly expanding.
A strong strategy incorporating general SEO best practices will lay the groundwork for this revolution, but to truly thrive in a voice-first world, you’ll also need to consider how people’s search behavior is adapting to this new technology.
Speaking of voice, why don’t you give our team at Michaels Wilder a call? Our team of experts is ready for the next evolution of the digital landscape, so contact us today to prepare for the voice search revolution!