As we move into the second half of 2017, SEO still remains an integral part of online business, and optimization strategies are continually evolving. The popularity of voice search has grown in recent years. As such, you need to review your SEO strategies and determine whether your online business is well-positioned for the imminent emergence of voice search and digital assistants in the not-so-distant future.
Peopleuse their phones to find the nearest businesses. As a result, one of the areas most affected by voice search is local SEO. In fact, Google has revealed that 20 percent of searches onsmartphones are performed through voice searches.
This figure is certainly higher if you take into account other devices and voice assistants, such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Home, and Amazon Echo. It has been speculated that, by 2020, about 30 percent of all searches will be done without the use of a screen.
The Rise of Voice Search
At first, voice searches were seen as a mere novelty. However, for people on the go, it has grown to become a necessity on numerous devices around the home.
The accuracy of voice search has increased over the years, with error rates now at around 6 percent in Microsoft’s latest voice system, down from 20-30% percent 15 years ago. Digital assistants, which seem to parse and answer questions in human-like fashion, have made voice searches more useful.
People have adapted and they now know how to use voice search. It is therefore a good idea to figure out how you can adapt your website to users who use voice search. In fact, according to Google Trends, voice searches in 2016 are 35 times more than they were in 2008.
Consider results generated by digital assistants
Digital assistants generally use the same process as search engines to generate results. There are, however, a few differences between voice search and typed searches.
- Searchers use different phrases and their tone is more conversational.
- Some digital assistants also search through files and apps on the device.
- Results are influenced by previous searches, questions and learned preferences.
- Results from assistants are aimed at providing quick answers rather than lengthy browsing.
- Digital assistants use knowledge graphs more compared to typed searches.
Optimizing Your Site for Voice Search
Long-tail keyword research
First things first: you need to work with experienced SEO Consulting Services and do adequate research on relevant long-tail keywords for your brand. Focusing on long-tail keywords will help your SEO. The way you do your research will depend on whether the content is for product/service pages or downloads/blogposts.
When using voice search, users employ a conversational tone. They also use longer phrases/sentences along with colloquial phrases. Consider phrases that people will say out loud when optimizing your content.
Questions and answers
A lot of users nowadays ask questions and expect to get answers. The answers offered by typed searches and digital assistants varies, but the end result is the same.With this in mind, you may want to optimize the content and pages on your site in a way that answers questions related to the products or services your business offers.
This is especially the case for products/services people tend to use while onthego, while driving, or within a specific locality.In other words, your brand would get good rankings on voice searches if you generated content that addresses long-form queries by people looking for a business like yours.
Take into account incorrect spellings and words
Research has found that beyond the 35 percent of expected word recognition errors, 22% were caused by pronunciation and 31 percent were as a result of noise. So while working on your voice search optimization, take dialect and pronunciation issues into account.
Another possible issue with digital assistants is homophones (words that are pronounced the same way). There may be times when the digital assistant does not know which of the two to use. Additionally, some words are commonly misspelled by people.This is usually the case with brand names with complicated terms or specific family names.
Rather than being done on desktop, more searches are now being done on mobile, meaning that a majority of searches are location-based. It has, in fact, been reported that mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be related to location.
Since location is accessible to smartphones and digital assistants have improved greatly in recent years, an increasing number of people are likely to use ‘near me’ voice searches instead of typing place names into search engines. For example, it’s far easier for users to say “find fast food restaurants near me” than to type in and search for “fast food restaurants in location X”.
Optimize your site for voice searches by including it in all the right websites, such as local directories, that are related to your business. Ensure the name, address, and phone number are correct.