Voice search is becoming more common with devices like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant. ComScore says that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice.
PricewaterhouseCooper surveyed 1,000 people and found that voice technology is, in fact, the future. The survey found that consumers ages 18–64 heavily use voice technology in their day-to-day lives. With the rise in voice technology, it is clear that we have to start changing the way we interact with consumers. Search trends and SEO are beginning to adapt, and if you want to keep up your digital marketing has to evolve.
Here are five voice search strategies to help get you closer to the top result:
Featured snippets are boxes that appear above the search results that are designed to answer the user’s question without them having to click on a link. When asked a question on a voice assistant device, it will read out the featured snippet that gives the best answer — the one in position zero. The best way to be featured is to create content around a specific query that is understandable and informative.
In order to create the best answer, you have to know who your target consumer is and understand what their needs are. One great way to find out if your content is relevant is by looking at the “people also ask” box on the search results page. This will help you anticipate what information people are searching for.
While optimizing a particular page on a client’s site for a featured snippet, one study found that getting that featured snippet led to a 516% increase in sessions on that client’s webpage. Although you want to make sure your snippet is informative, you can also add some promotional messaging that brings attention to your business.
Google gives users a list of predefined headers to select from for Google Ads. We recommend pairing the specific product/service you are advertising with the appropriate header, as Google will acknowledge these headers during a voice search. For example, for one of our entertainment clients, we chose to use the header titles “shows” and “dance” since we were promoting their upcoming broadway shows. When these headers are triggered during a voice search, Google will read off the different shows our client provides.
Another difference in the way people search using voice is that they often use longer, more specific phrases. Instead of typing in “movie times,” they will ask, “What are the movie times for the theater near me?” There is often less competition for long-tail phrases, so it is more likely that you will be seen.
Long-tail keywords often lead to higher conversion rates than one-word keywords. One reason is that when you are creating a more specific keyword you know exactly what the user is looking for. Another reason is that you are often targeting people who already know what they are looking for, which means they probably have intent to make a purchase or use a service.
For one of our medical clients, we identify common trends and use them to create keyword phrases. When creating their ads we use phrase match keywords, which allows our ad to show even if someone adds something before or after our keyword. For example, when we used the keyword phrase “spider vein treatment near,” it picked up any search query that used that phrase — even when they added something more specific to it.
When someone talks they often use a more natural language than they do when typing into a search engine. It’s almost like they are having a conversation with their voice assistant. Therefore, when you are writing your content for voice searches you need to make sure you are applying language that your consumer would be using.
Keyword stuffing will not help you with voice search. You have to make sure you are using clear and natural-sounding language. You will have a better chance of being the first response if your content best matches the search.
Another way we adjust to conversational language is by using broad match keywords. This tactic allows your ad to show when people use similar keywords and terms or close variations.
Voice assist is now accessible wherever you are. Therefore, it is important that you have a mobile-friendly website. The best way to lose a potential customer is by not being easily accessible on all devices.
Another thing you need to be aware of is your website’s speed. This is a big factor for SEO and ad users often abandon a search if it takes too long to load. Google states that 53% of users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
We have seen campaigns not work because of poorly designed websites that don’t work on mobile devices. That is why we recommend our clients use responsive web design. This approach allows you to optimize your website for desktop as well as all kinds of mobile devices.
Answer Question Queries
It is important to understand customers’ intent so that you can predict what questions will be asked. Keywords are not as important as semantic search and creating content around a question. Voice search queries often ask a question characterized by words like who, how, what, where, why and when.
When creating content for our clients’ websites, we anticipate the questions and searches our target customers will be asking. For one of our other medical clients, we designed the content for their website to answer any FAQ.
Unlike typical search engine results, voice searches only present one result. This fact makes it even more important to ensure that your website is ranking first on the search engine results page (SERP). With new developments in technology appearing daily, this is the chance to grow your digital marketing strategy. These tips will give you a good chance of achieving results in 2020.