Voice search is becom­ing more pop­u­lar than ever, thanks to smart­phones and home devices. In fact, a 2017 study by Com­score esti­mat­ed that half of all online search­es would be voice-based in 2020. The rise in voice search­es means that, as a direct-to-con­sumer (D2C) com­pa­ny, mak­ing sure your web­site is opti­mized for voice search­es is crit­i­cal.

Why Voice Search?

Now, you might be think­ing that typ­i­cal SEO tac­tics are enough to help you rank for voice search­es. How­ev­er, there are sev­er­al dif­fer­ences between how peo­ple search when they’re typ­ing ver­sus when they’re talk­ing.

We ask longer ques­tions. When using a voice assis­tant to search for the near­est restau­rant or know whether a par­tic­u­lar store is open, our search­es are longer than the ones we type. For exam­ple, if you want­ed to com­pare two prod­ucts and were typ­ing, you’d prob­a­bly search “prod­uct A vs. prod­uct B.” On the oth­er hand, if you were using a Google Home or Echo, you’d prob­a­bly ask, “is prod­uct A bet­ter than prod­uct B?”

Local results mat­ter. Bright­Lo­cal sur­veyed U.S. smart­phone users in 2018 and found that 56% searched for local busi­ness­es using voice search. Often, using a voice assis­tant to search online will add “near me” to their query, so they only receive results in their local area. This means that it may be time to invest in your business’s local SEO, if nec­es­sary, so you’re not miss­ing out on these high­ly tar­get­ed search­es.

We only receive one answer. While typ­i­cal search­es bring up many results for a par­tic­u­lar query, voice search­es are only giv­en one answer. In Google, this is usu­al­ly the Fea­tured Snip­pet, and typ­i­cal­ly a sen­tence or two that answers the person’s query. Appear­ing in the Fea­tured Snip­pet can be dif­fi­cult, depend­ing on your indus­try, but fol­low­ing good SEO prac­tices can help. See the sec­tion below for more infor­ma­tion.

Going mobile mat­ters even more. We car­ry our smart­phones with us every­where, whether it’s to the store or at our job. Voice assis­tants are wide­spread as well; most smart­phones equipped with voice assis­tant tech­nol­o­gy and are more com­mon­ly used for voice search­es. This makes mobile opti­miza­tion crit­i­cal for your busi­ness if you want to remain rel­e­vant online in 2020.

How to Make Sure You’re Ready for Voice Searches

As more and more of your cus­tomers begin to use smart speak­ers and voice assis­tants, being ready and opti­mized for voice search­es will become more impor­tant. By tak­ing the time to ensure you’re ahead of this trend, you’ll be able to improve your cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and dri­ve voice-based search­es to your web­site.

Optimize for mobile devices

When it comes to mobile search, Google is the cen­tral place to be since it accounts for 95% of search­es. Because Google has adopt­ed a mobile-first index­ing method, mobile opti­miza­tion is crit­i­cal to rank­ing high. How­ev­er, devel­op­ing a mobile-friend­ly web­site will also improve your appear­ance as a mod­ern and rel­e­vant brand to your cus­tomers and prospects.

Speed is a sig­nif­i­cant rank­ing fac­tor in mobile search­es. Google esti­mates that 53% of web­site vis­its are end­ed if a page takes more than three sec­onds to load. Use Google’s Test My Site tool to assess your site’s cur­rent load time.

Design­ing your web­site to appear con­sis­tent on all types of devices is essen­tial, too. While this applies more to web devel­op­ment and can get pret­ty tech­ni­cal, there are many guides avail­able online to help you get start­ed.

Optimize for mobile devices

Aim for the Featured Snippet

Google is con­tin­u­ous­ly adjust­ing its algo­rithm and the appear­ance of search results to pro­vide bet­ter results, and one of its most pop­u­lar fea­tures is the Fea­tured Snip­pet. Hub­spot found that con­tent appear­ing in the Fea­tured Snip­pet received twice the amount of click as oth­er types of results.

Here are three tips to help you appear in the Fea­tured Snip­pet:

  1. Research com­peti­tor snip­pet results and write sim­i­lar con­tent.
  2. Answer ques­tions as direct­ly as pos­si­ble.
  3. Write infor­ma­tive and valu­able con­tent for your audi­ence.

Target long-tail searches

Key­word research is a great place to start for any seri­ous SEO effort. Long-tail key­words are high­ly spe­cif­ic queries we use to find par­tic­u­lar infor­ma­tion. As men­tioned ear­li­er, voice search­es are more con­ver­sa­tion­al than oth­er search­es, so tar­get­ing them with direct respons­es will boost your SEO. Neil Patel received 172,336 leads just by using a long-tail key­word strat­e­gy.

To find long-tail key­words, use Answer The Pub­lic, a free tool that aggre­gates com­mon ques­tions about key­words. This is a great way to get an idea of the ques­tions and con­cerns cus­tomers have that are rel­e­vant to your tar­get key­word. It’s best to answer ques­tions direct­ly, so you rank for longer queries in voice search results

Invest in local SEO

As said pre­vi­ous­ly, local search results are key to find­ing and keep­ing your cus­tomers. Although there are many aspects of local SEO to con­sid­er, here are some tips on get­ting start­ed:

  • Cre­ate a Google My Busi­ness pro­file.
  • List your busi­ness on pro­files like Yelp, FourSquare, and oth­ers.
  • Ask cus­tomers for reviews on Google or anoth­er pop­u­lar plat­form.
  • Make sure the con­tent of your web­site is opti­mized for local search­es.
  • Start a blog and cre­ate valu­able con­tent for your cus­tomers.

Be Ready for Voice Search in 2020

As SEO changes and shifts with tech­no­log­i­cal advances, keep­ing pace is crit­i­cal to stay­ing ahead of your com­peti­tors and remain­ing rel­e­vant for your cus­tomers. Show­ing up when cus­tomers search for your prod­ucts using Siri or their Google Home isn’t easy, but it’s pos­si­ble. By fol­low­ing the tips in this arti­cle, you’ll be that much clos­er to cre­at­ing a bet­ter expe­ri­ence for your cus­tomers.