Tom Jager

The Future of Voice Search is Now

By: Tom Jager | October 4, 2018 | 
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The Future of Voice Search is NowTake a look at your client’s (or your own) website analytics.

Are you satisfied with the current traffic volume? Or has it seen a decrease in recent months?

If the answer to the second question is “yes,” then you might have a problem.

Ultimately, the issue is optimization.

And normally, that would be limited to your SEO strategy and tactics.

But now more than ever, you have to pay attention to voice search.

You may be thinking, “Voice search? But the site is SEO-optimized, isn’t that enough?”

Well, it depends on whether the SEO has been updated for voice search. If not, then read further.

The Rise of Voice Search

Have you used your smartphone’s voice assistant to find something online recently?

If you have, you’re among 58 percent of consumers that rely on voice search to supply them with information about local businesses.

According to the Voice Search for Local Business Study done by BrightLocal, that’s how many consumers use voice search these days.

Researchers also found 46 percent of voice search users look for local businesses on a daily basis. And 27 percent land on a business website after searching with voice.

It appears to be the start of a trend that will make quite an impact on online search.

With more and more companies investing in voice search technology, we should expect even more widespread use of devices.

According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of smart speakers using voice search is growing at an annual growth rate of nearly 50 percent.

The volume of smart speaker sales in the U.S. alone is predicted to reach over 76 million units. And it’s certainly possible that sales will be even higher.

For online business owners or those developing strategies for them, this means one thing: more people will be using voice to search for information, products, and services.

So what can you do to survive and thrive in the world of voice search? Let’s look at four ways.

Perform Keyword Research to Update Your SEO Strategy

A typical text-based online search and a voice search are significantly different from each other. Why?

It’s because people tend to speak in a more natural, conversational language when performing a voice search. The words they use, and how the phrase them, are different.

Voice search is essentially a conversation with a device. And voice queries are longer than typical searches.

For example, to find a coffee shop, you might type “best coffee shops.”

With voice search, you might ask “What is the best coffee shop near me?”

The solution for getting people to your site? Adjust the keywords you’re optimizing for.

You could also use Google’s People Also Ask feature.

For example, if you ask “What is the best-selling car in the world?” you’ll get an answer and a short list of like-minded responses.

These are representations of the other ways people are searching for your business.

You might also try using online SEO tools which generate lists of commonly used keywords related to keywords your business uses.

A good tool is Answer the Public. You provide a root keyword, and the tool will generate a map and a list of frequently asked questions related to that keyword.

Write Content in an Informal Tone to Connect with Readers

“The content written in formal tone won’t be the best option about getting voice search traffic, so try to write your content in a colloquial style,” recommends Karl Blakeney, senior content writer at Proessaywriting.

A good way to capture voice search-friendly keywords and write content in conversational language is by creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

There you can describe natural-sounding questions and phrases about your business.

For example, questions like “Do you sell basketballs for outdoor use?”  Offer quick, concise answers that people are searching for online.

A good example is Dollar Shave Club. They have a great FAQ/Support page.

Why?

  • The questions are nicely categorized. And the help center has categories visitors can use to find answers, including Sign Up Questions, Shipping and Billing, Products Questions, Policies, and App Questions.
  • The tone of writing is informal and inviting. Questions are written in natural language that calms visitors and reminds them the business is prepared to help, even after they’ve made a purchase.
  • The answers are concise and to the point. And that is exactly what people are looking for.
  • The company didn’t ignore negative questions. Mistakes happen, and chances are some customers will be disappointed for whatever reason and want to ask questions.

By facing all questions head-on, Dollar Shave Club has earned a reputation for providing immediate and clear answers to help customers, while improving the overall UX of their online store.

This tactic can also be used to enhance your SEO by including keywords in the questions and answers.

Ensure the Best UX with Responsive Site Design

Does the website in question have a responsive design? Does it deliver a flawless browsing experience to mobile users?

If you’re not sure, you can check this using Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.

But how, and why, does responsiveness have anything to do with voice search?

It’s simple. A large share of voice search – as well as traditional search – is done via mobile devices.

As a result, Google has been adjusting its search algorithms to make sure mobile-friendly results are prioritized.

Optimize for Local Search

Many mobile searches are done on the go. And that means a large percentage of voice searches are location-based.

To appear in these search results, you need to optimize your website for local search.

For example, users might include a specific location in their query or use “near me” keyword combinations.

In addition to the type of business, people ask for specific products (e.g., “Best donut shops near me,” “Does the Starbucks near me have smoothies?”), business hours (e.g., “When does the Starbucks near me close?”), and other business-related information.

So, it is important to make sure you claim your free business listing on Google.

Consider Voice Search in 2019

Take voice search into consideration when developing or adjusting your SEO and communications strategy. And it’s vital to consider voice search in all of your activities.

In the past, your efforts may have gotten you page one ranking results.

But as voice search becomes the norm, you’ll have to be number one or number two to be considered by consumers.

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

About Tom Jager


Tom Jager is a professional blogger based in London. He covers topics related to digital marketing, blogging, social media and business in general. He is always seeking to discover new ways for professional and personal growth.

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