Voice search has emerged as a significant online search trend a few years and has been growing steadily since. Searching with voice makes a perfect sense: basically, it’s a conversation with a device, which is something people like better than typing.
If you’re using digital voice-enabled assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, or Amazon Echo, you’re also a part of the voice search revolution. Why am I calling it a revolution?
Because it’s become so popular among Internet users, just a few technologies enjoyed such success. For example, BrightLocal’s study on the popularity of voice search found that 58 percent of consumers have used it to find local business information.
And it’s pretty effective, too. According to the same study, 27 percent of consumers say they visit the website of a local business after making a voice search, and this percentage is very likely to go up in the next 12 months.
In fact, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done using audio-centric technologies such as voice-enabled personal assistants, Gartner suggests.
Since Google is also working on improving the experience of mobile Internet users, many of whom use voice to search, optimizing for voice became a must for websites.
In this article, let’s talk about the impact of voice on SEO and what techniques your website should use in 2019 to remain relevant and competitive in the ongoing shift from text-based search to voice search.
How will Voice Affect SEO?
It’s clear now that the number of voice searches will continue to grow, so we should be ready. Understanding how voice impacts SEO is an excellent first step to ensure that you can implement a successful optimization.
So, let’s begin. There are a number of ways in which voice search already affects SEO, including the following.
Mobile-Friendly Website Design
With the rise of voice search, Google has decided to adjust its algorithms to make sure that mobile users who search with voice can do so comfortably. The result was the so-called Mobile First update that was implemented earlier this year.
According to Google, having a fast-loading, mobile-friendly website can be helpful to perform better in mobile search results because the responsive design will be one of the ranking factors.
“Today, having a non-responsive website that doesn’t deliver a good browsing experience to mobile users is a big no-no if you want to rank high in Google’s search results,” says Damian Derrickson, an SEO expert from Assignment Helper.
In addition, audit your mobile SEO by testing the speed of your responsive website. Another recent change in Google’s algorithms, the so-called Speed Update, affects websites that deliver the slowest experience to users.
Takeaway: make sure that your website has a responsive design by checking it with Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test.
Another free tool from the search giant called PageSpeed Insights is perfect for auditing the speed of your website.
“A long-tail keyword is essentially a phrase based on a head keyword and added with more to make it sound more natural and conversational,” explains Delon Miles, a digital marketer from Bestessaytips.
For example, if someone wanted to buy a smartphone for a teen, they would type something like “smartphones for teens.”
Since voice search is essentially a conversation, this request would sound a little bit different if we choose to ask, not type. People prefer to make longer requests when they search with voice to include more details, so it’s very likely that this query would look like this:
“Google, what are the best smartphones for kids under $400?”
This is a long-tail keyword because it’s longer than head keyword and sounds like a question from a typical conversation, which brings us to the next factor, content.
Takeaway: use more long-tail keywords in your content to increase the chance of being displayed high Google’s search results, especially for mobile users.
Voice-Search Friendly Content
Michael Green, a senior digital marketer from College-paper, recommends doing the following to make your written content friendly to voice search:
- Anticipate questions asked in a natural, conversational manner. As we already know, people use conversational language when they search with voice. This means that you should write your content that provides specific answers about your business and products/services you’re selling.
- Include more long-tail keywords in your content.
- Optimize for local search by including local keywords. As it was described in the introduction, 58 percent of consumers had used voice search to find local business information. This means that you should optimize your content by including information about your location and nearby sights to increase the chance that your business appears in local voice searches. Also, this means claiming your free Google My Business listing.
Another important consideration here is the creation of featured snippets-friendly content. Chances are you’ve seen these many times before: they appear as answers directly from a website above the rest of the results.
For example, here’s the featured snippet that answers the question “What’s the tallest tree in the world?”
Takeaway: write featured snippets-friendly content to increase the chance of appearing in one. Here are the essential tips you need to know:
- Try to use keywords that are most likely to be used when searched for your content. For example, if you’re writing about digital marketing, include the definition, statistics, trends, and strategies for businesses.
- To know what keywords are popular when searched for your website’s head keywords, use Google Analytics.
- Make sure one blog piece has answers to similar questions. Google has gotten very good at determining related and synonymic questions, so it makes a perfect sense to create content that answers similar questions as well; for example, you can describe multiple ways to accomplish something and use different wording throughout the article.
To sum up, voice search is among the next big things in online search that all website owners should respect to stay relevant and competitive. More and more people are choosing to search with voice instead of text, and this shift is already making quite an impact in the word of SEO and online business.
Digital marketers and owners of online businesses should know that voice search affects SEO in a number of ways, and failing to optimize for it may undermine a website’s position in voice search results. Your goal at this point is to follow the latest recommendations from Google to ensure that your website is ready for voice, therefore can be displayed in search results of voice searchers.
Feel free to use the takeaways given in this article to optimize your content and website. Doing so is now more important than ever to keep your online business discoverable in 2019!
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