Not long ago after taking a hard look at end-of-year trends for 2018, something dawned on me. Smartphones that use Google Assistant (or Siri, Cortana, etc.), and smart home speaker devices, like Alexa, are becoming a popular alternative to searching for something manually on the Internet.
I took the next few days analyzing my own site data, general theories swapped among my fellow digital marketing consultants, and speculation about what Google will be implementing via updates, to see exactly how voice search applications are going to affect Internet traffic.
Here are my findings, and a little later, I’ll show you how to prepare for its inevitable take over.
So…What is Voice Search?
Let’s start with the basics. Simply put, voice search (also known as voice-enabled) offers users the ability to use voice command to handle a specific task. Most of the time — at least at this point in time — voice search is used for searching for services or goods, as well as asking general questions, via the Internet. Most devices used to accomplish this are either mobile devices or smart home speaker devices.
With the advent of smart home speaker devices, now is the time for websites to take action in updating their SEO accordingly. Don’t believe me?
According to a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, 71 percent of people surveyed would rather use some form of voice assistant for their queries rather than typing it out and hitting the search button.
However, voice search isn’t exclusive to smart devices like Alexa or your smartphone either. People also use their desktop PCs for voice search as well.
How Will Voice Search Affect My Business?
This is the million dollar question.
There are many ways that voice search can affect your online business, but nothing showcases the power of voice search so clearly as this report conducted by BrightLocal. In short, BrightLocal found that:
- Around 58 percent of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.
- 46 percent of consumers use voice search to look up local business information on the daily.
- 27 percent of consumers who use voice search then visit the website of said local business.
To be clear, voice search is just another method that consumers use to find online businesses, local or otherwise. But it’s important to be aware that if your website isn’t properly optimized for voice search, you could be losing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
That’s why hiring an experienced digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Piña, to open many of these potentially lucrative opportunities for you is well worth an investment.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Now that we know why optimizing our business website for voice search is important, how do we actually go about doing it? Even though many top-tier companies have foreseen this happening for years, voice search implementation has been a relatively slow process.
That being said, a few of the following tips for updating your SEO to incorporate voice search may seem a little familiar, as I’ve talked about them in the past, but essentially you’ll want to:
1. Use Natural Speech – Data from Google shows that 70 percent of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in “natural language.” In order to be effective in our efforts to attract more clients to our websites, SEO strategies for voice search must reflect this.
2. Try Long-Tail Keywords – This is important, especially in conjunction with tip number one. Long-tail keywords are, in a sense, specific phrases that people use when searching on the Internet. They generally run around three to five words long and are more specific than what you would expect from regular keywords.
To illustrate this, let’s say that you run a small business that sells vintage vinyl records from the 60s. Since your business is small, it may be a bit challenging to go up against massive businesses that sell vinyl records as well. Instead, it would benefit your business if you used targeted long-tail keywords like “vinyl records from the 60s” to attract customers looking specifically for the type of product you’re selling.
3. Use “Near Me” to Your Advantage – Since our devices are connected to the Internet, chances are high that they know where we live. Since the “near me” trend is rapidly increasing in use, it is only natural that we optimize accordingly.
Why? Because users use natural language when using voice search, and voice search optimization is based on conversational speech. Saying “near me” comes off more naturally for someone searching for a local service or good.
4. Take User Intent Into Consideration – User intent tells digital marketers and SEO gurus why users are utilizing a search engine in the first place. In most cases, it is fairly obvious why if an individual is using words like “buy” and “how to” in their query. But other times it takes a little finesse to figure it all out.
And by finesse, I mean Google’s 2013 update Hummingbird. This update did a lot for helping Google understand the context in search queries by analyzing the most relevant content. That’s why when you enter in a search for “Super Bowl winners,” Google will show the most recent champion, rather than the winner from 25 years ago.
Optimizing your site to understand user intent and helping them get quick answers is what will be important in the near future. If you do it right, you will reap the benefits from the next tip.
5. Beef Up Your Featured Snippets Game – Usually, when people use voice search, their digital assistant will read aloud the copy in the Google snippet.
You will want to take advantage of this. Doing so will establish you as a leader in your industry, which will then, in turn, gain the confidence of shoppers looking to make a purchase. That’s why it is well worth your investment to hire a digital marketing consultant to help you create quality content that answers users’ questions.
6. Improve Your Page Speed – This is something that we should all be doing, anyway, as part of our website optimization process for mobile devices. Page speed will still continue to make a difference as we focus more on optimizing voice search because people still want quick answers.
“Alexa, who is one the best digital marketing consultants in the Rio Grande Valley?” Answer: “Mauricio Piña.”
If you’re looking for guidance on how to update SEO for voice search queries or have any other digital marketing questions, do not hesitate to contact me today at (956) 566-4998.