The Rise in Importance of Voice Search
The key to developing stand-out SEO strategy is being able to account for future developments and trends.
And one of the most game-changing developments in SEO so far is voice search.
In 2016, Mary Meeker’s Internet trend report revealed that 20% of searches were already being made using voice technology. One of the predictions in the report is that by 2021 as much as 50% of all searches will be done via speech or image querying. That’s a big number – and with big names like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all jumping in on the digital assistant game, we can only expect voice recognition software to become increasingly relevant in the near future, as consumers do more of their shopping and searching from the convenience of their own living room.
Why Voice Search Optimization Matters
As technology increases, so does the need for speed. Voice technology allows for questions to be delivered faster – and this means quicker answers.
This is why all the big names in tech are continuing to throw big dollars at voice assistant and voice search technology, and this trend isn’t likely to subside any time soon.
The good news? Not a lot of site managers have optimized their web pages for voice search yet. There are some first mover advantages here that can net some major wins for your site if you jump on the bandwagon and leverage voice search now.
Voice-optimized SEO will improve both SERP ranking and user experience. And as we all know, user experience is one of the most important indicators of ranking according to Google. The intersection of user experience and voice search is particularly impactful for e-commerce site owners, in fact. The ability to reduce the friction between search and sale is greater with voice search, and e-commerce merchants – who often have countless product pages in fierce competition with other similar products – as well as other site owners can get some impressive ROI by integrating more of a human touch into their site content.
What You Need to Know About Voice Search
The key to SEO optimization for voice search is an ability to integrate the subtle differences between the way people type and the way that they speak. These are some of the key points to focus on to help you strike this delicate balance between human and algorithm.
Long Tail Keywords
It is faster to say a longer phrase than it is to type it, so voice searches are generally more detailed than a typical typed search term. This means that we can expect long tail keywords to become more relevant than ever with the rise of voice assistive technology.
This also can translate into valuable information for anybody wanting to up their SEO game, since voice search makes the precise intentions of the user much more clear. For most small and medium-sized businesses, long tail keywords are the best way to get your business in front of late-stage buyers – the folks who already know they want to buy something specific, they just need to decide where to buy from – without costing an arm and a leg.
One of the key differences between typing and texting is that people tend to use a more casual tone when they speak. This means that a voice optimization strategy needs to account for the subtle but noticeable differences in formality between speech and text patterns.
As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to write your content in a way that can easily be read out loud. A good place to look for inspiration here is at the bottom of a Google search results page, where Google offers related searches.
Take this example of a search for “best pizza restaurant london” (which is more mechanical than casual):
Notice how the suggestions are more casual?
The phrase “london pizza places” stands out in particular. While it’s not a longtail keyword, it is definitely casual and indicates that using less mechanical language on your landing pages will help you rank better.
Location Relevant Keywords
More and more mobile users are using search technology on the go to find what they’re looking for, and these direction searches can be a great source of local traffic.
To cash in on this trend, be sure to use keyword groupings that are relevant to your business's location, and of course, make sure that your site is optimized to be mobile friendly.
One of the easiest ways to conquer voice search technology is to increase the amount of content on your pages so that it can be more mapped to the search keyword strategy.
Just be sure to make sure that longer tail keywords are sprinkled in thoughtfully in a way that sounds pleasant and natural and to always keep user experience in mind.
Voice search technology is the way of the future, and this means that it needs to be taken seriously in terms of any successful SEO strategy.
However, keep in mind that this approach is also in its infancy. This means that your optimization for voice search requires a little patience and a lot of testing.
In general, the best way to go about your voice search optimization strategy is in small tweaks versus major overhauls. While it can be a bit of a process of trial and error, as you collect feedback it will become easier to improve your results.