Back in the day, the internet redefined the world of technology by paving the way for a new dimension of unexplored and unfathomable possibilities. And today, technology is redefining the internet. Gone are the days where you must type your query into your desktop’s keyboard to search the web.
Artificial Intelligence has empowered the concept of ‘search’ to evolve to a new level where all you have to do is speak (or ask a question) into your smartphone or smart home device to get specific answers.
Voice search is truly an amazing advancement in the realm of web search and given the convenience it offers, it’s only going to get more popular. Which is probably why marketing experts and SEO specialists are raving about how voice search is going to significantly impact business marketing and SEO.
And they’re right. Voice search is definitely changing the way people search the web and this means your business must follow suit to optimize for it. In this post, we’re going to deep dive into voice search to understand how it affects your marketing strategy and what steps you can take to make the most of it.
What is voice search?
According to TechTarget, “Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field.”
Whereas E-Business Institute defines voice search as, “The ability to talk to a device and get answers back. Ask Google what the weather is, and it will tell you the current temperature and forecast for your location. Ask Alexa what is the most effective way to remove a wine stain, and you will get tips and tricks as well as the most relevant product for that particular topic.”
Typically, though, voice search is common amongst smartphone users who use virtual voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana to search the web.
Why is voice search gaining popularity?
In a survey of SEO trends for 2017 and beyond, voice search stood at the third spot. Well, for starters, voice search makes for a supremely immersive and intuitive search experience. And if that wasn’t enough, voice search is vastly superior to text-based search because unlike the latter, you can conveniently search on the move while driving or commuting or lazing about on your couch.
But the secret to the growing popularity of voice search is down to the omnipresent and efficient virtual voice assistants on smartphones. Siri, Alexa, Bixby, Cortana, to name a few, are changing the way people search the web on smartphone devices.
What are the features of voice search?
People using voice search have a clear intent and are absolutely sure about what they are searching for. This means voice search results are lightning fast. For instance, if someone wants to search for a nearby dessert parlor, s/he will perform a voice search for nearby dessert joints. Google will immediately respond with the names and addresses of the nearest dessert outlets based on the user’s location.
Longer search queries
Since text-based search is cumbersome, people tend to keep it short and to the point. Whereas voice search requests are usually casual and conversation like. This makes voice search queries long. For instance, a person looking to shop for formal shoes online will say ‘Where can I buy formal shoes near me?’ or ‘Where’s the closest shoe store?’.
Best suited for local businesses
Voice search is well suited for local businesses since most searches include the phrase ‘near me’. In fact, Google recently revealed that their “near me” searches have grown more than 130% YoY. This is primarily because people use voice search mostly to look for things near them. This means your website should include keyword-rich content along with longtail keywords and phrases such as ‘near me’ or ‘close to me’.
How you can optimize for voice search?
1. Optimize your content marketing strategy
Hands down, the best way to optimize for voice search is to first optimize your content marketing strategy for SEO. This means including relevant longtail keywords in your content, crafting blog posts that address customer queries and including a thorough FAQ page.
Here’s how you can go about including relevant keywords into your SEO strategy:
- Deep dive into understanding what words and phrases people are using to describe your business. You can do this by social listening (observing how people interact with your brand on social media and studying customer reviews). Include these words and phrases that people use to describe your neighborhood and your business to target the right audience.
- Include the phrase ‘near me’ or ‘close to me’ in your title tags, meta description, internal links, and anchor text
- Repeatedly mention all key landmarks around your business’s location
2. Invest in a responsive web design
Voice search is primarily used on smartphones. This means your business website should be optimized to load quickly on a mobile device. Not just that, your website needs to be designed to look smart and slick. Because a wonky or haphazard web design will severely impact the brand experience and simultaneously give search engines a negative indication about the usability of your website.
This will not only cause people to bounce off your website, but it will significantly impact your website ranking as well. It would be wise to review how Google renders your website on mobile and make the required adjustments and improvements.
This way you can offer a cohesive and immersive user experience, so your visitors stay longer on your website. Because if your website isn’t responsive to work seamlessly on a mobile device, you’ll never make it to the top of search engines.
3. Ace the radio test
As mentioned above, voice search is a conversation-like longtail search. This involves saying the name of the brand or the URL out aloud and the results are met with a virtual voice assistant that also spells out the brand name or URL out loud.
For your brand name to be easily understood by search engines and voice assistants, you need to pick a domain name that is short, memorable, and crisp. More specifically though, you need a domain name that passes the radio test.
A radio test is an assessment of how easily people can understand your brand name or domain name when they hear it or come across it for the first time. To ace this test, you need a domain name that is free of any lingual or grammatical errors and one that is devoid of any abbreviations, special characters, and numbers.
For instance, a real estate firm that goes by www.squre-feet-site[.]com will not fare well when it comes to voice search. However, www.squarefeet[.]site will work well. Which is why you need to get smart with your name choices and opt for easy to spell monikers on new domain extensions.
With hundreds of new domain extensions such as .SITE, .SPACE, .TECH, .STORE, .PRESS, to name a few, now available, you can pick a definitive name on a meaningful domain.
4. List your business on online directories
One of the most effective ways to optimize for voice search is to list your business on online directories such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. And given that voice search is best-suited for local businesses, listing your business will do wonders for your voice search results ranking.
When uploading your business’s information be sure to include a complete listing with high-quality photos, positive customer reviews, and correct contact information. Search engines will use this information to rank your website. Also, don’t forget to choose the right business category when filling in your Google listing.
There’s no denying that voice search is here to stay. Therefore, your business needs to begin optimizing for it in order to remain sustainable and to outwit the competition. So, what are you waiting for you? Use this guide to begin!