When was the last time you used a voice search app such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant?
Probably not too long ago.
40% of adults now use voice search at least once per day, but according to a U.S. study, just 4% of businesses are actually ‘voice ready’. There’s an evident disconnect between companies and customers.
As the number of people who utilise voice search increases, many more companies will begin utilising voice search SEO to optimise their websites.
Keep reading to find out why voice search SEO is so important and what you can do to optimise your website for voice search.
What Is It?
Voice search utilises advanced voice recognition technology that allows people to perform searches just by speaking into their device. You can find voice recognition technology in most smartphones, tablets, laptops and of course, home assistant devices.
Voice search is all about convenience. People can use Google and look for answers even when occupied with other things (e.g. driving or cooking). It’s also a great solution for people with disabilities.
Voice recognition technology has been around for some time but has only recently reached a point where it can be reliably used. Mind you, it’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there.
If that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps now would be a good time to take a look into some of the major voice search statistics. Almost a third of the 3.5 billion searches that are performed on Google every day are voice searches. 71% of people between the ages 18-29 use voice search and it’s predicted that by 2020, 50% of all web searches will be voice searches.
Why Does It Matter?
Voice marketing affects digital marketing, and digital marketing has a direct effect on your company’s success. Long story short, voice search trends affect your business. Whether voice search will have a positive or negative effect depends on how well you can adapt your strategy and campaigns to the technologies of the future.
Voice search is convenient. Convenience translates to an improved user experience, which, as we all know, is Google’s number one priority: people should be able to find what they want fast. If you’re able to optimise your website for voice search, Google will reward you with higher rankings.
Voice search is bound to change SEO and digital marketing for good. This is because people search differently when typing to search than when speaking to search.
Voice searches are usually longer and much more conversational. This is one of the main reasons why long-tail keywords are helping websites rank higher and higher.
Let’s say you’re looking for a restaurant in Sydney. If you’re typing in Google, you may search for ‘best restaurants in Sydney’ or ‘best restaurants around me’ or something along those lines. If you’re using voice search, you’re much more likely to form a complete question: ‘What are the best restaurants in Sydney?’
This is why you need to create content that sounds natural and conversational. It’s also been proven that websites that are optimised for voice search appear as featured snippets much more often than websites that aren’t.
Adding a few keywords here and there will just not cut it. You need to incorporate short and long-tail keywords in an understandable and readable context.
How Do I Optimise My Website for Voice Search?
Voice search SEO techniques are not different from regular SEO tactics and strategies. The basic principles are the same and particular focus is placed on delivering meaningful content to the right people.
Make sure you are using natural-sounding language. Gone are the days where you could rank higher just by stuffing a bunch of keywords everywhere. Of course, you still need to use relevant keywords, but focus less on density and more on meaningful delivery.
In fact, it’s believed that increased repetition of keywords can mark your content as low-quality and hurt your rankings, even if the information you provide is otherwise accurate and insightful.
Try to form queries into question phrases. Think of how your topic could be phrased into a question by a reader. Your answers should be concise and to-the-point. Think of what you would like to see if you were asking the same question. What is your user’s intent and how can you best help them?
Target long-tail keywords when you can. Most SEO experts will tell you that long-tail keywords just perform better. They help you reach niche markets and people who are looking for something very specific.
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, fast and secure. Nowadays, everyone has a phone; the same is not true for desktop computers. Your website needs to be fast and optimised for mobile.
Voice searches are action queries. People using voice search are not just simply looking for information. They’re actively looking for places, products and services around them. Stand out by taking the users’ needs into consideration: offer prompt and effective services.
Home Assistants and Voice Search
Voice search technology may not be something new, but home assistant devices have taken the market by storm. Amazon has sold the most devices, but Google assistant seems to have the highest percentage of general knowledge among Siri, Cortana and Alexa.
Google Home is relatively new in Australia but has been in wide use in the U.S. since 2016. Ranking on Google Home is all about creating relevant and concise content that can answer a specific question.
If a user is looking for a particular piece of information, Google Home simply pulls content based on what it thinks best suits the user’s intent. However, if a user is looking for a local service or product provider, results are focused on:
- Relevance – How well the listing matches what someone is searching for. This is why it’s extremely important to have a complete and detailed profile on Google’s ‘My Business’ page.
- Distance – Self-explanatory: How close a business is to the user who’s performing the search.
- Prominence – Refers to how well-known a business is, even if they’re not that prominent online (e.g. famous museums, landmark hotels and notable sights).
Companies with the most optimised local SEO profiles rank higher with Google. Optimise your Google My Business page to ensure that all displayed information is accurate and updated regularly.
Your local SEO strategy doesn’t need to change much, but you need to understand how people use voice search and phrase queries to create content that will drive more traffic to your website.
Voice Search and The Future of SEO
Numbers don’t lie. 20% of searches in the Google app are now done by voice, and this is just the beginning. SEO strategies will shift as people begin to change the way they perform searches online.
If you want to come out on top, you’ll have to be ready to adapt to a marketing landscape largely shaped by new voice recognition technologies.
The reality is that as a marketer, you have nothing to worry about, as long as your strategies focus on delivering quality and meaningful content, products and services to your audience. With minor adjustments and minimal effort, you’ll be ready to face any challenge that comes your way!
For some easy SEO copywriting tips that will put you on the road to success, check out this post!