Whether it’s asking Siri for directions to the nearest restaurant or asking Alexa to play your favorite radio station, voice search is more popular than ever. According to ComScore, half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, and, as of January 2018, there were already one billion voice searches happening a month. The use of digital assistants is fast, convenient, and here to stay.
Voice Search is Altering the Marketing Landscape
Voice search is the use of digital assistants to search for information using our voice instead of using traditional text search. Because of the prevalence of mobile devices, as well as the introduction of digital assistants like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, it is easier than ever to use our voices to interact with the internet. This is changing the way that marketers think about digital marketing and search engine optimization.
Voice Search vs. Text Search
The way that we ask a question using voice search differs from the way we would ask a question with text. Usually text search queries are comprised of short keyword phrases. For example, a phrase like “Titanic director” would be typed into Google. Voice search queries, however, tend to be conversational. Because we are talking to our devices, we tend to speak in full questions, as if we were actually asking a person. For example, someone might ask Siri, “Who is the director of Titanic?”
Voice search devices are used most often for informational requests. When someone uses Siri or Alexa, they aren’t looking to browse between multiple pages to decide on a purchase. Instead, they are looking for directions to the nearest coffee shop or weather information. Digital assistants are used to obtain quick, relevant information.
Voice Search queries also tend to yield more localized results. In fact, voice search is three times more likely to be localized than text search. This is largely due to the usage of mobile devices for voice search. Mobile searches often utilize the location features of your smart phone.
Optimizing for Voice Search Rankings
Because of the recent growth in digital assistants and voice search, digital marketers are changing the way they think about content and website optimization. Different strategies must be used to target voice search rankings because of the inherent differences in the way people use voice search and text search. Some strategies for optimizing for voice search include:
Use Conversational Language
As previously discussed, voice search queries are asked with conversational language. To improve voice search rankings, think about the way that your targeted customers would search for your product or service. The average Google voice search result is written at a ninth grade level, so it’s important to create content that is simple and easy-to-read. Not only is this great for voice search queries, but it is a general best practice for improving you search rankings.
Use Long-Tail Question Queries
Because voice search queries are usually for informational requests, they often employ interrogative words like who, what, where, when, or why. They use fully formed questions that focus on long-tail keyword phrases instead of short keywords. Incorporating these phrases into your content is a great way to improve your voice search rankings.
Emphasize Featured Snippets
When a digital assistant is asked a question, it will usually relay back the designated featured snippet. Going after “position zero” is the best way to capture voice search traffic. In order to gain this top spot, it’s important to create content that is informative and concisely answers the questions that your audience want to know. This will improve your website’s authority, telling Google that you are the go-to source on that particular topic.
Optimize for Local SEO
Searchers are often looking for business or services in their area, so having your Google My Business page updated is extremely important. If you don’t have a Google My Business page already, it’s a good idea to get one set up right away (it’s free). Another easy way to optimize for local SEO is including your location in your meta description, title tags website copy.
Improve Page Speed
Improving your page speed will not only improve your voice search optimization, but your overall website optimization as well. The majority of voice searches are performed on mobile devices, and bounce rates on mobile are 9.56% higher. Google prioritizes pages that are quick to load and mobile-friendly. The higher you rank in search engines, the more likely you are going to be found through voice search.
Fast page speed is also important for voice inquiries because of inconsistent cell reception. If your page loads quickly and doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth, it can be recommended to all mobile users, even those without the best cell phone service.
For help optimizing your website for voice search, contact us today