With the advent of smart devices over the last decade, it seems like the accompanying voice search commands, such as Siri, Alexa, and others, have been with us forever.
It’s hard to imagine a world where we can’t just press a button, say a command, and let the computer do its work for us.
However, in the larger scheme of things, this technology is still in its infancy, and e-commerce entrepreneurs and digital marketers are scrambling to understand what it means for themselves and their businesses.
Some Basic Truths About Voice Search And SEO
1. It’s Still Changing.
Even though many homes are moving towards becoming more interconnected, the technology is still not as advanced as it should be to make it more widespread. Also, the price point for many people is still somewhat out of reach.
This means that while voice search is on the rise and will eventually be a player, the change is not happening overnight, so it’s not as immediate a concern as some would claim. You should be aware of its impending acceptance, however, and begin to make changes now.
2. It’s Primarily Local…
For now. At the moment, most voice commands are locally-based, such as GPS locations, local grocery stores, etc. This is a side effect of the majority of voice commands being on mobile phones instead of on home-based devices such as Alexa.
As the technology grows and digital personal assistants become more prominent, expect this to shift from primarily locally-based voice search commands to more global requests.
3. It’s Primarily Embraced By Young People.
Older generations have historically been behind the curve in regards to emerging technology, and voice commands are no different (although they are getting more and more on board).
SEO is the primary situation affected here, as older generations will use more text-based commands manually entered in search engines, whereas voice commands will be used by the younger people.
When targeting younger demographics, expect to increase your ad spend in order to include spoken commands.
Voice search is still an emerging technology, but even though its use is not very widespread right now, especially among certain demographics, doesn’t mean that it won’t be.
Getting ahead of the technology and setting your site up for SEO success now is the key to maintaining a competitive edge among your peers.
4 Ways You Can Prepare For Changes To Come
- Include More Long-Tail Keywords
Spoken commands are usually phrased in the form of questions or declarative statements, such as, “Find me a good Chinese restaurant nearby,” or “What is the alternative to Google on the market today?” These search engines will then take this information, feed it into their algorithm, and spit out the search results accordingly.
What this means for you is that you will have to begin including more long-tail keywords, at the bare minimum, in order to remain competitive and optimize your searches.
Google caters to websites that reward their searchers with relevant data, so make sure that you are answering what people are typing – or in this case, speaking – into their search bars.
- Optimize For Local
The way that people will search for things fundamentally changes when it is spoken, as opposed to typing. Someone searching for Chinese food may say, “Find me a Chinese restaurant nearby,” instead of “Chinese Food Toledo.”
The person’s device will process that command, track the person’s location, and then connect it with businesses who have their location on their website.
Online business listings are some of the key places that the search will extract this information from, so make sure your website business information is accurate and keyword optimized.
Furthermore, make sure that any other listings that have your business included are up to date as well, as some search engines use that information to rank within a local search.
- Make Content Conversational
Successful voice search means that content needs to be optimized towards more conversational sounding text. In many cases, this may not change the type of information you already have, but should impact what type of content you create moving forward.
For instance, create more Q&A style content to match up your site with the questions that people are searching for, and utilize the data your analytics feeds you to make sure you’re actually answering the questions that bring people to your site.
Creating natural language style content will help connect the natural sounding search queries with your website, and reward you with better search juice.
For now, the dominant sector within this market is absolutely within the mobile platform, so make sure that your site is optimized for mobile today.
Make sure your content is scan-able and easily read on a mobile phone, including images and infographics. Move buttons farther apart to prevent accidental thumb clicks, and check your performance regularly.
This isn’t just a tip on how to improve your search quality in the future, optimizing your site for mobile performance is something you can, and should, implement right now.
According to one study, mobile bounces are nearly 10% higher than desktop, in large part because of un-optimized pages. The best way to capture leads that find your site, as well as leads that have abandoned other web pages, is by getting this right.
“As consumers increasingly turn to their mobile phones, it is critical for businesses to understand the range of “mobile conversions” that can occur, such as phone calls, store visits, or purchases on other devices. In partnership with Nielsen, Google analysed over 6000 mobile searches and the actions that resulted, drawing precise and measurable connections between mobile searches and the online and offline conversions that they drive.”
Voice search is still a ways off but, don’t let the fact that it’s not as prominent today make you slow to implement these tips. Most people will continue on with their businesses until they start seeing red flags. Set your site up for success today to handle any burgeoning technologies, as that will set you apart from the rest and help your business thrive.
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