Devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are causing a rapid increase in the use of voice command. This could ultimately change the way Google implements Search Engine Optimization (SEO) due to the fact that people are relying on voice commands more, as speaking into a smart device is more convenient than typing. This behavior change is something that businesses need to be aware of and adapt their SEO strategy accordingly, to ensure they continue to rank well when people search on Google and gain new business.
According to Search Engine Journal, 55% of smartphone users utilize voice search to ask questions. People are increasingly more inclined to use voice search functions on both their smartphones and smart home devices’ because the hands free element is easier in people’ busy lives.
The ability to be able to search using our voice is incredible, but this brings new challenges to common SEO marketing practices. While Google’s algorithm has not implemented SEO change due to voice control yet, it is only a matter of time before Google starts to adapt to the increasing amount of searches that are conducted via voice command.
To ensure businesses are not on the back foot, it is extremely important for marketers to start researching and planning new SEO strategies that center around voice control. To take full advantage of this new search behavior, you must understand the ways in which people use voice control and the strategic possibilities they hold.
Voice Search and SEO
Voice search is the capability to speak into your smartphone, smart home devices or laptop to find out information instead of typing it into a search box. This method of search is more efficient and natural for people, which is why it is increasing in importance for SEO purposes.
People are beginning to use voice search for much more than a quick weather update. Shopping, finding music, ordering food and getting answers to questions are just a few ways people use their voice search capabilities. Similar to current SEO, this provides great opportunity for companies if they can manage to get to the top of these voice search results.
When we are looking up information through text, we type quite differently than how we speak, which is why SEO strategies implemented for text will not apply to voice search. People speak less directly and more conversationally than how they type.
Individuals are also more likely to ask questions when utilizing voice search. Questions starting with “who” and “where” are much more common when people use their voice controlled devices to find out information. In addition to question based searches, people often use more words to search when they’re talking rather than typing because we are so used to condensing information when web browsing textually.
The contrast between how people search with their voice and how they search via text is clear. Keywords and phrases, along with other major components of SEO will need to be adjusted to factor in voice activated commands. In order to stay competitive, it is imperative for companies to incorporate voice search specific SEO as well as normal SEO practices.
So, how can companies stay ahead by adapting to voice search capabilities?
Researching Target Audiences
Understanding your target audiences’ voice search frequency and what they are using voice search for is a great first step in understanding how to tailor your SEO strategies toward voice search. According to Forbes:
- 76% of consumers between 18 and 34 used voice search to find information about local businesses in 2019.
- 64% of consumers between 35 and 54 used voice search to find information about local businesses in 2019.
- 37% of consumers 55 and older used voice search to find information about local businesses in 2019.
The numbers above and the frequency of voice search are likely to grow. Researching your target audiences’ voice search frequency along with what they use voice search for will help develop potential SEO strategies. This includes if they typically find local products/services with voice search or not.
People often use their smart devices to find activities or dining options “near me.” This function has proved to be helpful for text-based searches, so tailoring SEO keywords toward common conversational phrases will keep your business at the forefront of voice searches.
This function is especially important for mobile devices because people often search for “places near me” when on the go. It is important to make sure your business’s online search presence is not forgotten when voice search comes into play.
As previously mentioned, people speak more inquisitively when using voice search. Because people ask more questions vocally, making sure your website has a detailed FAQ list that favors how people would typically ask a question is crucial for your SEO strategy. This optimization tactic will help your company be listed at the top when a consumer is asking a question about certain products or services your company may have.
Voice search is still in its infancy in terms of Google tailoring their algorithms, but it is definitely going to become more prominent in the near future. Knowing this information now opens up the opportunity for your company to get ahead and remain informed. Keeping your target audiences in mind and conducting extensive research regarding voice search and SEO strategies will help ensure your company is not behind.