Very soon, half of all searches could be done without any keyboard typing or mobile phone tapping. “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020”, according to comScore. As voice search grows, many businesses are increasing their SEO efforts and adjusting their strategy.
Voice search helps people find information by speaking rather than typing text into a search box or browser. You can initiate voice searches with a prompt such as “Hey Google”, “Siri” or “Alexa”. Typically you will use your mobile phone or a device like Google Home or Alexa. Recently there has been a significant jump in voice search popularity. Although it started in 2012, 60% of voice search users just started using it in 2017 according to Edit.co.
Imagine your phone listening to what you say and then typing your words into Google for you. After saying your search out load, your words are converted into text using voice recognition software. Then your query is entered into a search engine and you get the information you want.
– Faster and easier so search queries tend to be longer.
– Speaking rather than typing text means more natural language is used.
– More likely to be local or geographically close to the user.
– 52% of voice searches are made while driving according to SEO Tribunal.
– More question based searches than typing text.
Google has suggested that voice search queries are, “30 times more likely to be action queries”. Searches that lead to action are valuable because they lead to buying decisions. Optimizing your website for voice search helps you attract people with a high intent to buy. If you don’t attract these buyer you can lose business to your competition.
Local businesses have a lot to gain from the growth of voice search. Mobile voice-related searches are 3 times more likely to be local-based according to Search Engine Watch. Effective SEO is more important than ever if you have a local business. Make sure you claim your Google My Business page then complete each section of your page. Be sure your business information is 100% accurate on Google and other local directory listings. Also managing your online reviews effectively is important. What’s your plan to get more positive reviews? Do you monitor reviews so negative reviews get a quick response?
User experience has already developed into a bigger ranking factor. Now it will be even more important with the surge of voice searches. Think about how visitors navigate your website and build a user-friendly interface. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and test your website… Does it feel like visiting your website is a good experience? Be sure you are monitoring website performance. Page speed is key for a user-friendly website along with a mobile responsive design. You can test your website page speed at PageSpeed Insights. Then you can test if your website is mobile friendly at Mobile-Friendly Test.
Voice searches have a tendency to use a more natural language. The words used can be more familiar and the structure of the sentence more casual. If you want to optimize your website for voice search, consider more content that has everyday language or an informal tone. Test the content on your website by reading it out loud. Does it sound natural? Does your content sound like an actual conversation you would have with customers?
Long-tail keyword phrases will be more important now. With voice search, queries overall are getting longer with a higher number of words. This makes sense because it’s easier to speak a search than type a search. Think about phrases a customers might say in a search rather than just a keyword they would type. Look for long-tail keyword phrases your competition might overlook to uncover new ideas for website content.
Searches will more likely be in the form of a question with voice search than text. So consider building website content around questions. Draft a list of typical questions your customers ask about your business. Is your website answering these customer questions? Consider adding a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page to your website that provides helpful answers to those customer questions. Try using Answer The Public to find relevant questions for good content ideas.
It’s smart to include Structured Data in your Voice Search SEO strategy. Your website content needs to be as relevant as possible for the specific search phrase. Site Maps and Schema Markups make it easier for search engines to crawl websites and return relevant results faster. Make sure your website has a Site Map and it is submitted to Google Console. Schema Markups is code that helps Search Engines understand your website better which increases your chances of higher search rank. Learn more about schema details for a Local Business at Schema.org.
It’s crucial you have a SSL Certificate so your website uses HTTPS protocol. The “S” in HTTPS stands for secure. 70.4% of Google Home voice search results were secured with HTTPS, according to Backlinko. The SSL Certificate allows you to use HTTPS so your website is more secure and trusted. Chrome is the most popular web browsers. Any website with HTTP gets a “Not Secure” message next to the domain in the Chrome browser. So if you website doesn’t have a SSL Certificate it can make visitors question your credibility.
Voice Search isn’t going away, it will increase. So capitalize on this growing trend with the right SEO strategy now. Gain an edge over your competition while positioning your business for long-term success in Voice Search.