Definitely one of the most hyped technologies introduced in the last few years, Voice Search is the fastest growing search type worldwide. To showcase this growth take into consideration the fact that last year, according to Google, 20% of all mobile queries were voice searches. Voice searches are mostly done on smartphones and with Google now switching to a mobile index it’s easy to understand why they’re so important in a mobile-dominated digital world.
Naturally, with the ever-increasing popularity of voice search, marketers all around the world have to adapt, as the old SEO strategies won’t be effective. Here’s how voice search influences and shapes the future of SEO strategies:
1. Mobile First
First things first, your website has to be optimized for mobile. As earlier said Google’s focusing on mobile, and ranks your website accordingly. Therefore, when you make sure your website runs smoothly on smartphones and provides a solid, high-quality experience to visitors. Furthermore, it’s highly important to make sure your location settings are up to date, as they play a vital role in voice search queries. Just think how many times you wanted to find “restaurants near me”, or “shops near me”.
2. Conversational content
As obvious as it may seem, people don’t talk the same way they type. Try reading out loud your average website, and you’ll notice the difference. Some of the written content may sound off, with phrases too long or words that are not really used when talking. Furthermore, you’ll notice that some websites have a far too formal tone that’s quite dry when reading out loud. When it comes to comes to queries you can see the differences quite clearly. For instance, when typing, it is natural to write “Restaurants Colosseum”, to find out which restaurant is closest to the Colosseum in Rome. When using Siri or Google Assistant the natural approach is to say something like” What’s the closest restaurant to the Colosseum. In a nutshell, your content should have a conversational tone as opposed to a very formal, dry one, and incorporate the different, every-day expressions.
3. Long-tail keywords
Given the fact that people use long phrases in voice searches, it’s only natural that the short, simple keywords are less and less relevant. Marketers have to pay attention to the specific conversational long-tail keywords that the people use when voice search for a product or service. This means that to boost your SEO efforts, you have to use keywords that showcase the details and benefits of your products, and if needed include specific phrases and sentences.
4. Frequently asked questions
A useful thing you can do to improve your SEO strategy is to include in your website A Frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. People usually use voice search in the so-called micro-moments. These are moments in which the person using voice search has a specific urgent need and wants to solve it. They are divided into four groups:
- I want to know: The voice searcher has a curiosity and wants to satisfy it. The person is purely looking for information and not to buy something.
- I want to go: The person is searching for a local business, and is considering buying a product or service - a shop, a restaurant, a hotel etc.
- I want to do: The person has either bought something or is about to do so. In this moment, the voice searcher is looking on how to do something right, or how to do something new.
- I want to buy: This is an extremely important moment. The person is basically in the last stage before buying something and is trying to decide on the details (From where to buy, how to buy, etc).
Having a frequently asked section that virtually answers in a conversational tone the questions from every micro-moment is going to take your website a long way.
With the virtual assistant trend on the rise, we can definitely say that the voice search is here to stay. Perhaps one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with it, and learn how it works, and how you can use it to your advantage is to start using it yourself. Give it a try, see how can you adjust your digital strategy to it, and who knows, maybe you’ll actually like it.
Cover Illustration: Daniela Manole.