Voice Search is here and it’s not going away.
Serious consideration is in order to tweak SEO as a result. To give you an idea of the rapid rise of voice search…
Voice search is already how more than 60% of smartphone users search for what interests them.
On average, humans speak 150 words in the same time a human types 40 words.
Around 25% of all online searches are currently done by voice. ComScore predicts that by 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches.
It would help to look at where people use voice searches and to think about how your business could make an effort to include them.
Local searches are more likely
More than half the people using voice search, do so in their car. It’s 3 times more likely that, when a mobile phone is used, search results are intended to be local.
Word of mouth now has its online equivalent. Google’s recent innovation, Google My Business, identifies, verifies and aggregates the local relevance of participating businesses, by linking to their social media accounts, websites, testimonials and reviews.
In order not to incur the wrath of its users and ensure the best voice search results, Google insists on stringent conditions to validate this information and links.
Try using voice search yourself.
Change in search terms and algorithms
Google’s algorithms are learning to decipher what users are searching for. The code responds to context, rather than simply words used. The fancy term for this is “semantic search” and it allows Google to deliver more relevant content.
So, when you search for hairdresser or motor mechanic from your device, Google puts 2 and 2 together and determines that you would most likely be looking for those services within your local area.
But now that voice search is de rigeur, search terms and algorithms are changing again. For example, people are now using the search term “near me”.
Optimising for voice search
Here are a few tips on how to optimise for voice search. If you don’t get with the program, your website could very quickly disappear from view.
And by that, I mean failing to be included on the first couple of pages of relevant Google searches. Instead do this:
You really have no choice in this matter. If your site is not, at least, Mobile Friendly, your site will never make it to Page One on Google. Ever.
Mobile Friendly is a bare-minimum mobile design strategy—typically, a slimmed-down version of a website designed for desktop view. Better is Mobile Optimised, which reformats itself for mobile users and is designed and built with a mobile-first approach. It acknowledges that users navigate, read, and act differently when viewing websites on mobile devices.
Your Google My Business
Google makes completing your Google My Business listing a simple procedure. Your physical address is a must, for validation (you don’t want an imposter making claims). You can get the most from your Google My Business profile by including pictures and maintaining your social media pages and managing your online reviews. See Item 5 below.
Use long-tail search terms
Voice searching involves spoken language and incorporates long-tail search terms such as, “Where is the cheapest landscape supplies near me?” Include such language in your website wherever possible.
As you might imagine, writing questions in your website copy can pose a challenge. Many sites include an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, a practice that happens to rate very well on Google.
Answer the questions
Sites that are high up on SERP (Google’s Search Engine Results Page) can go a step further with a Featured Snippet.
A Featured Snippet directly answers people’s questions and it can be seen at the very top of Page One of SERP—the coveted “Position Zero”, a position that can, wait for it… double your click-through rate. Google basically grabs a small slab of your webpage content and runs it at Position Zero.
This can be very good for business. Users of the Google Home app will even be sent a link to your website from the Featured Snippet. To be in the running, your potential Featured Snippet copy should:
- Target a simple but often-asked question related to your field.
- Clearly and directly answer to that question.
- Go beyond the direct answer to offer further valuable info.
- Make it easy for users (and Google) to find this copy on your website.
A good format for copy that might end up in a Featured Snippet is tabular and bullet-point information.
- Make The Most of Your Reviews
People are regularly online and on their way to spend. Often what they’re looking for are opinions. Consumers trust online reviews—85% trust them as much as they do personal recommendations.
Rather than feeling miffed, thinking a bad review is an attempt to sink you, it’s an opportunity for you to show you can respond like a boss. Close to a third of surveyed consumers pay attention to how a business responds to its reviews.
How to write better for Voice Search
Voice search language is natural-sounding and generally in question form, with the keywords being:
For most businesses, “where” is more often than not, the appropriate question. “How” and “why” questions provide users with helpful info, often as guides and potentially as Featured Snippets.
Another significant word for searchers is “best”. And don’t forget the all-important, aforementioned “review”.
Build your content around the old newspaper “Inverted Pyramid” model— start with the most important answers to the questions that identify consumers’ needs. Follow with more detailed information beyond the direct answers. Wrap up with case studies.
How Google sees consumer behaviour
With Google, it’s all about ‘micro moments’. Consumers take action in these moments:
- I want to know
- I want to go
- I want to go
- I want to buy
In the eyes of Google, these are defining moments in consumer behaviour. And we’re not about to refute them.
You may find our previous post “Why Your Business Needs To Be Investing In Adwords” of interest to you: