Voice Search, Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants: Be the Right Answer to the Right Questions.
Voice search is fast overtaking typed queries. Whether on phones or smart speakers, customers are finding your business by speaking questions into devices.
- Google expects 50% of searches will be voice initiated—and many if not most of these are local.
- People tend to be on the move, with 53% using voice search when driving and 21% more when doing another activity.
- 240% of adults now use mobile voice search once a day or more.
Clearly, mastering voice search will earn your businesses immediate dividends.
Get Ready for Natural Language
When people search by voice, they use regular sentences, often beginning with question words like “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why,” and be full sentences. That means optimizing your content around single keywords or short keyword phrases is no longer enough. The average query is six or seven words long—what are known as long-tail keyword phrases. Search engines are increasingly using machine learning to discover search intent, looking at context as much as keywords.
Mobile and Immediate
When people use voice search, they are looking for direct and immediate answers—especially on mobile devices. That is a gold mine for small businesses. If you can rank for these types of searches, your business will be front and center for someone who is interested and ready to buy now.
How to Benefit from the Voice Search Trend
- Your content needs to work for natural speech. It must include common questions and phrases that people use when talking about your business, services, and products.
- Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs—are a natural way to incorporate search questions in content. It is important to prioritize sentences that include the words ‘why,’ ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and, of course, ‘where’ in copy—not only on the FAQ page, but on blog posts, about pages, product and service descriptions and more.
- Optimize around long-tail keywords. Intent is increasingly important, so in addition to optimizing around specific words and phrases, entire sentences that describe your business, your location, your services, etc. matter.
- A website that works on mobile devices has been a must-have for a decade. Your business simply cannot hope to rank without being mobile friendly, even mobile first. That means your site has to be easy to use on small devices, but that is not all. Your site has to load super-fast, even on a 3G connection. Mobile users will not wait many seconds for your site to load.
- Your business has to be on the map. Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) need to be clear and accurate. Consistency is everything. If you have old information on various listings or your listing sometimes says “street” and other times says “st.,” your rankings will suffer. It is absolutely vital that your NAP data be clean on every one of the 150+ platforms out there.
- Google My Business is at the heart of ranking for voice. Your listing must be complete and accurate—and can we say enough about NAP consistency? You need a rich listing, too, meaning plenty of quality photos, potentially downloads and video, and a steady flow of positive reviews.
- Use structured data or schema markup on you content. This extra coding on your website tells Google and other search engines what you think is your most important business data. NAP data clearly falls into this category. Think of what you want customers to see in search results and make sure your content is coded accordingly.
Voice search hold tremendous opportunity for local businesses. Doing it right will give you an edge on the competition and help you capture all the business that could be coming your way.