Mobile is no longer the latest frontier for search. With the rollout of the Google mobile first index, the switch has been made, and it’s on to the next big thing. For most of us, that means voice search and as a web design company in NY, we are always ready to design and optimize accordingly.
The history of voice search
Before we delve into the mechanics of optimizing your site for voice, it’s worth noting that voice search has been around for quite a while. Probably a lot longer than you realize. In fact, Google already had voice on its radar way back in 2013 – in 2014 it said that voice search volume had doubled. Of course, as a web design company in NY, we’ve noticed it’s come even further in the last four years thanks to the growth of mobile device use and the proliferation of smart speakers and voice assistants such as the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Siri and Alexa. Google Home is now available on more than 400 million devices worldwide, according to official statistics from the search engine, while ComScore predicts that over half of all searches will be made by voice by 2020.
There is little doubt that consumers are adapting, and whether because it’s more convenient to go hands-free and talk rather than type, or simply because it feels more natural to speak rather than search, voice shows no signs of going anywhere. The big question for brands and businesses of all sizes and niches is how to adapt to this challenge and apply search engine optimization for voice search. If you’re ready to grab a slice of this emerging trend, read on for our three top tips to optimize for voice this year.
Tip 1: Use natural language
By its very nature, voice search is more colloquial than traditional text searches. When we speak to Alexa or Siri, we’re participating in what feels like a conversation. That means language tends to be colloquial with properly structured sentences which mirror that of an actual conversation with a real human being. Compare this with text searches which will often be truncated, punctured by keywords and very rarely written in full sentences.
Voice search: Siri, what time is Radio Shack open until today?
Text search: radio shack, opening hours
The first step to optimizing your content for voice search is, therefore, to go back to the drawing board and start your keyword research all over again. You’ll need to identify questions, sentences and phrases that are a more accurate reflection of natural language use. Rather than trying to squeeze a single keyword into your page title, blog first paragraph and H1 headers, focus instead on creating content that better reflects natural language use. This may mean reverting to writing in a more natural style – a style that you probably favored before SEO demanded that you shoehorn stunted phrases into sentences as often as possible. Any professional web design company knows content structure is going to be very important.
Tip 2: Think about your content structure
Voice search functions in a very different way to the traditional act of pulling up Google, typing in your search query and then sifting through answers. When someone opts to conduct a voice search, it’s likely because they want an immediate response. Your content should, therefore, reflect this demand for answers. In practice, this could mean that you approach your content as a resource and focus on answering questions, offering guidance and impacting advice.
The pet food brand Purina is an excellent example of an early voice adopter doing just that. It has created an Alexa skill called Ask Purina, which gives owners a space to ask a question about their pet’s health or habits or seek recommendations for care.
Tip 3: Make sure your Google My Business listing is up to date
Some voice optimization preparations will take place away from your website. Voice search is closely linked to mobile search, which is closely related to local search. This means that when people turn to voice search, they are often searching for local information. To ensure your business is easy to find, claim your Google My Business listing and populate it with as much relevant, useful information as you can from store opening hours to phone number, web address and even payment types accepted.
We’ve been established as a web design company in NY for several years and one of the first things we tell our clients is to prepare your website for local search. Give us a call today! 516-883-3851