Apr 22 2020
“Ok Google, how many people use voice search daily?”
“Roughly 27% of the global online population uses voice search.”
27% is a massive chunk of searches that we could be missing out if not optimised for voice searched or mobile devices.
It is no surprise that voice searches have grown and continue to be a growing function for people. We have Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google being the three prominent voice searching platforms.
There are two main reasons why voice search is increasing in popularity.
1) It’s easy!
It is so simple to say a phrase, question or item as opposed to opening the browser, typing it in and pressing search. 65% of Google Home or Amazon Alexa owners said they couldn’t go back to the days before they had one.
When our hands are busy, or we don’t want to reach for our phone on the table, just speaking the search is easy.
2) It’s faster!
Speaking a phrase is almost 4x as fast as typing it. Plus, we know how annoying it can be when we press the wrong buttons or when autocorrect takes over. This added advantage of just asking the question directly to Google has had far-reaching consequences.
These two reasons, combined with advancing technology, has skyrocketed voice searching as a standard method of gaining information. And this newfound voice search fame has had an impact on SEO and if we don’t recognise that we may be left behind.
Optimising for voice searches
To optimise for voice searches, we need to understand their structure. Google studies suggest that voice searches use “natural language.” So the exact phrases searched for are more conversational and how humans would interact with each other rather than how most of us would typically type things into a search engine.
For example, if we were scrolling through Instagram and noticed this new Dalgona Coffee trend and wanted to try it, we would probably write “make dalgona coffee” into the search bar.
But if we were to use voice search for the same concept, we may say, “Hey Google, how do I make Dalgona Coffee?”
We can see how one is more robotic, while the other, although longer, is more conversational and in some ways, friendly.
BE HUMAN, NOT A ROBOT!
In terms of SEO, most sites will aim to target specific keywords. Pages may have the keyword filtered into the meta as well as headings and then scattered throughout the page content. The way people are using voice search challenges the SEO model, meaning brands will need to adjust their on-page SEO as well as keyword research.
Don’t worry – this is not a bad thing! If you are reading this, it means you have a unique opportunity to start optimising for voice searches now, before your competition figures out the trend.
Another way the voice search trend is impacting SEO is through the “near me” function.
Local SEO is becoming more and more critical because nowadays, people ask “Hey Siri, what are the best coffee shops near me?” when speaking to their device. In fact, Google has reported that “near me” searches have increased 150% over the past two years.
Having a Google My Business correctly set-up and optimised, developing a clear and functional mobile website and establishing a strong presence in a specific community is essential if you want to rank for the “near me” queries.
Voice searching can even be more hyper-specific such as “coffee shops near me that are open right now.” Again, this means that if you are not on top of this trend, you may miss out on potential customers.
SERP features are a gamechanger
Another dimension to voice searching is that often, people may not even click on your site to gather necessary information. Google is setting up its search results in creative and efficient ways to showcase vital details easier.
SERP features are becoming smarter and can display graphs, answers and featured snippets of websites, all without the user having to click onto the site.
For example, if you search “how tall is the tallest building in the world?” The answer is displayed in the results. You don’t need to click through to the site.
The same is true for various other bits of information that Google will display without requiring the user to click. Having optimised content that directly answers search queries could mean your site is featured.
Again, this creates a better online experience because rather than rewarding websites that merely have the targeted keywords, Google and other search engines look at the intent, structure and overall page content. This means your site’s content is a significant key to an effective SEO strategy.
Fixing the content is one thing, but the development of voice search also means an adjustment to how you should conduct keyword research.
Before, it may have been easy to try and optimise for single words or connected words because we think “people don’t search for long phrases.” But when voice searching, the phrases can be longer, so picking a multiple-word keyword phrase may be beneficial.
For example, “gardeners Sydney” may have been the keyword you were targeting in the past, but for voice search, you might want to focus on “hiring an experienced gardener based in Sydney.”
It is longer, but Google can pick up that phrase anywhere on your page and then offer it as a result.
Videos are another way Google is shaping how people search. When you search for “how to tie a Windsor knot tie“, a featured snippet may be a video entitled with that exact phrase. Humans not only love watching videos, but that content is also excellent for SEO rankings.
Where possible, consider creating or adding videos to your site which answers people’s questions about the product or service you provide. This does not apply to every field, but it is still handy to recognise.
SEO strategy is key!
It isn’t enough to know about how impactful voice searches are. We need to understand how to rank for them.
Having a solid and holistic SEO strategy will ensure you are covering all the bases, including voice search.
Being optimised for mobile devices is the first step. Google won’t care to rank websites they know do not perform well on mobiles. They want the user to have the ultimate experience.
Secondly, it would be tackling the content. Having relevant, concise content that answers people’s questions or queries is critical—choosing a style that is more personal rather than robotic or only “keyword” based.
Any established and effective SEO provider can work with your brand to ascertain a robust mobile presence that will have you better equipped to handle the growing voice search trend.
Don’t wait any longer – now is the time to be thinking about all the platforms your business can utilise. And voice searching isn’t the next big thing; it is already here!
To boost your business even further, talk to our friendly and knowledgeable team about solutions today!