OK, Google: How Do We Optimize Our Sites for Voice Search?

Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Amazon Echo, Google Home…it’s likely you’ve used at least one of these voice recognition services in the last week. According to a recent Google study, over 50% of teens and 41% of adults in the U.S. use voice search at least once a day, and those numbers are only increasing. There are few people left in civilized society who don’t know what voice search is. Even my seven-year-old nephew uses it, and companies like Forbes have officially declared 2017 the year of audible searching. A market research report by Technavio says voice recognition will become a $601 million industry over the next two years, and it’s expected that 50% of all searches will be audible by 2020.

Why is voice search so popular? Well, for starters:

  1. It’s incredibly convenient. Using your hands to search? Yeah right. Snooze.
  2. It’s pretty entertaining. Asking a computer what it eats for breakfast or what it thinks will happen when it dies is, like it or not, endless amusement.
  3. It’s like having a personal assistant, and who doesn’t want to feel that kind of important?

The convenience factor alone means voice search isn’t going anywhere, as we’re now a society that thrives on multitasking with ease. So with so many people frequently using voice search, why aren’t more marketers talking about how this new normal will affect SEO? We at Textivia have been thinking a lot lately about ways to optimize our sites and marketing efforts for voice search, knowing that being in the SEO industry means constantly changing the script to stay ahead of optimization demands. It’s clear search engines, particularly Google, have begun changing their algorithms to accommodate audible search queries, so agencies like ours need to have a plan for meeting these evolving SEO requirements for our clients.

How Are We Aligning Our SEO Efforts with Voice Search?

With the conversation being relatively new, it’s likely to take a while before everyone figures out a solid plan for structuring their SEO checklist around ranking for all kinds of searches. However, there are a few things we know for sure. Here are a few of the most common strategies our team is utilizing to stay in the voice search game:

  • We’re creating keyword strategies using more long-tail keywords. Most people don’t voice search the same way they type. They search how they speak, which is more conversational and uses fuller phrases. It’s the difference between “Italian Restaurant Raleigh” and “Where can I find good Italian food in Raleigh?”, which forces us to change the way we think about keywording.
  • Our content will be increasingly conversational. When people interact with a voice recognition service, they’re generally asking it a question beginning with why, where, how, what, or when. Our content needs to incorporate more of those queries as well as answer them, and we have to make sure the keywords we use would naturally be involved in the typical person’s question.
  • We’re taking local optimization to the next level. While voice searches are more conversational, they’re also known to be more precise and tend to include locations. So, for voice search optimization, we’re making sure all of our clients with local businesses have sites that are optimized in this way, creating complete Google My Business pages, being consistent with full NAP details, and generating local reviews that gain credibility for local businesses across search engines.
  • Our sites are getting more and more responsive. A site that’s optimized for use across multiple devices is necessary today, as it will receive preference from search engine algorithms and be of better service to users. More searches are happening on smartphones, tablets, and the like today than ever before, but your site isn’t going to rank well among them without being functional enough to provide value to the searcher.

 

So that’s where our heads are at now. We fully know, however, that the face of SEO could change any day, and we’re prepared to keep ahead of voice search optimization needs for our clients. Still not sure about this voice search thing? Give us a call. We’d love to discuss this important evolution in SEO with you. Don’t feel like dialing our number? Siri will do it for you.