The way we use the internet is always changing. And because Google tries its best to keep up with those changes, that means marketers need to be highly adaptable. Being able to roll with the punches can allow you to increase your brand’s audience and ensure your site stays in good standing with Google.
One thing that both marketers and search engines care about is how consumers use technology to get the answers they need. While typing a few words into a search box was once the standard, norms have shifted to include the use of voice-powered search queries. If you want to improve your site rankings in 2021, you’ll want to discover the possibilities of voice search SEO. Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in voice search, why it matters, and how you can start optimizing your website with voice search SEO in mind.
What is Voice Search?
First, let’s establish what voice search is. When you conduct a traditional search online, you’re probably typing (or tapping) letters on a keyboard into a query field. But when you perform a voice search, you’ll use audible speech to find the answers you seek.
This is accomplished through the use of dialogue systems, which basically allow humans and computers to communicate effectively. When you summon Siri or ask Alexa for her attention, you’re using a dialogue system. These capabilities have been around for over a decade, but they’ve really caught on over the last few years due to advancements in voice recognition technology.
While they can’t offer 100% perfection every single time, voice searches have become a convenient way to find relevant information in a hands-free manner. Whether you’re occupied in the kitchen, are in the middle of a workout, or simply don’t want to go to the effort of typing in a complicated string of words, voice search functions can help you get what you need.
Why Does Voice Search SEO Matter?
You may understand the basic principles of conducting a voice search. But does it really matter all that much? There can’t be that many people who rely on voice search regularly… right?
Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mobile traffic now accounts for roughly half of all web traffic — which means that mobile users play a crucial role in search. Because people who search on mobile devices are also more likely to use voice search (since voice search features are so convenient), that means voice search frequency is only going to increase as technology advances. While mobile browsers are still critical for mobile search, voice search is typically right behind it in terms of popularity.
A recent survey from Adobe found that 48% of consumers were using voice search for general web searches, with 85% of respondents saying they had used voice search technology on their smartphones. Around 44% of respondents answered that they used voice search technology on a daily basis, while 79% of consumers agreed that voice search technology improves and contributes to their quality of life. And while accuracy remains a concern, users regularly use voice search technology to obtain driving directions while operating their vehicle, checking the weather forecast, and even shopping for goods online.
Considering just how popular smartphones and smart speakers are, voice-powered devices aren’t going anywhere — and they’re only going to improve with time. Data shows that voice search has driven billions in sales, which isn’t surprising when you think about how many voice searches are conducted on a regular basis (hint: it’s also in the billions!). It’s proving incredibly useful for locally-owned businesses, as well, and optimizing for voice search can allow your website to be more readily found online.
In other words, you can’t ignore voice search SEO. People love voice search because it’s quick, convenient, and versatile — so it’s imperative that you optimize with voice search in min. But what exactly should you be doing to align your site with voice search principles? We’ll delve into that next.
How Can I Use Voice Search SEO to Market My Business Online?
Now that you have a better understanding of voice search SEO and the role voice search will continue to play in digital marketing, you might be wondering how to use this knowledge to your advantage. Optimizing your site for voice search should be high on your list of priorities for 2021. But how exactly can you start adding voice search optimization to your site in order to reach new web visitors? Check out some simple strategies below.
Focus on Local SEO
Earlier, we mentioned that voice search is especially important for local businesses. Because Google knows that web users who utilize voice search are more likely to be on their mobile devices, they also assume that these users are looking for results within close proximity to their location. Studies show that voice searches are significantly more likely to have local intent, meaning that people want answers that are nearby. Search queries that contain the phrase “near me” are also incredibly popular with voice search, which means users want to learn about restaurants, gas stations, bathrooms, entertainment and shopping centers, and other businesses that are close by, as well as location-specific information like time, weather, traffic, and more.
While local SEO isn’t unique to voice search, prioritizing local optimizations can make your site more likely to show up in voice-powered searches. Make sure to optimize your site with keywords containing your location or service area, as well as phrases that include “near me,” to show up more prominently in local-oriented voice searches.
Create an FAQ Page
It’s important to note that the way we use voice search differs quite a bit from traditional web searches. With typed search, it’s common to see queries consisting of just a few important words. While Google has gotten pretty good at understanding context, most of us don’t write in complete sentences when we type something into the search bar. But with voice search, we often do use complete sentences — and most of those sentences are in question form.
FAQ pages have been popular for years, but they serve a new purpose with voice search optimization. By including complete questions that voice search users are most likely to ask on a dedicated webpage, you’ll be in a better position to capture user intent — and maybe even show up in a featured snippet!
Complete sentences are a big part of voice search trends, but you’ll also need to think carefully about the keywords you target. Voice SEO keywords tend to be a bit longer and more specific than keywords you might target with conventional web searches.
Long-tail keywords are going to serve you better when optimizing for voice search — and you need to pick keywords that reflect how users actually talk. Your content should be on the simple side and it’s important to keep things casual. Rather than crafting an article full of flowery language, work on delivering direct information in a way that really speaks to most people.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
We’d be remiss to leave out this last tip: make sure your website has a mobile-friendly design! As we mentioned before, most of the people who use voice search will be doing so on their mobile devices. If your site isn’t responsive or is frustrating to use on a smartphone, optimizing for the right keywords won’t really matter. Google will be more likely to reward your efforts if your site can be easily viewed and navigated on mobile devices, so make sure your site will deliver the best user experience as you optimize for voice SEO.
Now that you know the low-down on voice search, you can establish your digital marketing goals for the year and get to work. As technology becomes more advanced, optimizing for voice search will allow you to be found — even when the searcher is on-the-go.