Should You Be Optimizing for Voice Search? Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Yes!

It’s no secret that there’s been a noticeable shift towards using smartphones and other handheld devices for online searches. With this shift comes an alternative way to search - using your voice instead of text. Assisted voice search has been made easier with the help of AI technology such as popular smart “assistants”, Alexa and Siri.

AI is not only available through smartphones, but also home virtual assistant devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These tools provide instant information for everything from the closest open pizza place to why the sky is blue. With this convenience becoming the preferred way to search, you should be optimizing your SEO for Voice Search technology.

Shift in Devices 

Studies are showing that more people are using their smartphones for search and they are also spending more time on mobile sites. From 2016 to 2017, visits to websites from mobile rose from 57% to 63% and the mobile bounce rate dropped from 52% to 47%. These figures show trends toward increased device use as well as increased engagement.

Mobile phone users in Canada total 70% of the population, and in the U.S., it's 77%. That is an astounding number of people who can be targeted with AI search optimization in North America. If you can optimize your site to make it mobile friendly by improving site speed, using AMP optimized pages, and structured data, you will see better results.

Top Rankings Count

In the case of Google Voice Search technology, the answer provided is from one source and one source only – the top ranking page. In fact, in response to a query, Google reads featured snippets in “position zero.” This highly coveted spot sits above the top ranking and lists several sentences taken from the content.

Rich snippets dominate voice searches, offering more information for quick, valuable responses. Because there’s no longer a view of other rankings, AI search gives a single verbal answer. That means your SEO strategy will have to include optimizing your snippets.

Change in Queries

When typing, people tend to go for the short and sweet version. However, when speaking a query, people ask the entire question. That means a search for the nearest hotel goes from “hotels NYC” to “Siri, where are the best hotels in New York City?”

Query patterns change from randomly ordered words to full, grammatically correct sentences. With this search method, content creators will be able to stick to conventional language and a better flow for their blogs. It also means that longer tail keywords incorporating conversational language will comprise the future of SEO. Content can include questions commonly asked on the customer journey to leverage voice searches.

Geo Implications 

With voice queries being integrated into Google Maps, there can be more opportunities for local businesses. Searches will be answered with the user’s location in mind, which will make it even more important to ensure businesses are incorporating a location into content. Taking full advantage of Google My Business listings will meet the rising popularity of voice searches. So claiming your business listing through Google My Business is an absolute must.

AI and Voice Search are here, and they are here to stay. That’s why businesses that want to capture modern shoppers and searchers will need to prioritize adapting SEO efforts to include Voice Search.

 

Posted in SEO

About the Author: Andrew Marsh

Andrew is an Account Manager with Search Engine People. He is passionate about digital marketing and traditional marketing (but to a lesser extent of course).

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