When you’re contemplating the development of an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, you probably envision blog posts and website headings. However, have you considered the significance of professional SEO services in this equation? Many people overlook the role of SEO services when building their online business, and by doing so, they’re missing out on potential profits.
Voice search is becoming increasingly prevalent as we spend more time on our smartphones. A study by Perficient discovered that 55% of users they surveyed use voice search on mobile devices, and 39.4% use some form of voice assistant at least once a month.
These individuals are searching for nearby restaurants, stores, and other local businesses. For many of us, it’s now more convenient to ask Siri for information rather than typing out a search on Google. Voice search can also provide quicker results and is more user-friendly, especially for people who may have difficulty typing due to a disability. So, optimizing for voice search, with the assistance of SEO services, is a smart move for your online business.
What is voice search?
Voice search functions as a conversation between a person and a computer interface, whether that’s on a smartphone, a home smart speaker, or any other device that understands speech.
Voice assistants rely on a technology known as natural language processing (NLP) to become familiar with your speech patterns and to recognize your voice over time. While this technology isn’t flawless, it’s continually improving. The more you utilize it, the more it adapts and becomes better at understanding you.
Why are more people using it?
Convenience plays a significant role in the growing popularity of voice search. Uttering an activation phrase such as “Hey, Google” and posing a question just as you would in a regular conversation feels more natural compared to typing into a search bar.
Voice search allows for a hands-free experience. Imagine you’re in the kitchen, in the middle of a baking recipe, and your hands are covered in flour. With voice search, you can simply ask your phone to display the recipe steps without worrying about getting it dirty.
Statista’s data reveals that people use voice search for various other reasons, such as:
- It brings greater enjoyment than a standard search.
- It’s faster than opening an app or starting up a computer.
- Typing on mobile phones isn’t favored by people.
- You can use it hands-free while driving.
- People think it provides a more precise method for searching.
Younger generations use voice search frequently, but people of all ages are incorporating this tool into their daily routines. Although it’s in its early stages, businesses that embrace this trend now will be better equipped to take advantage of voice search SEO compared to their competitors.
How does voice search SEO set itself apart from other search methods?
People conduct voice searches like they’re having a conversation with someone else. This creates several important distinctions between voice searches and traditional keyboard-based searches.
Voice search now uses longer and more conversational keywords.
Many people use voice searches to ask for things like “What’s near me?” These are typically folks looking for the closest gas station, restaurant, or dry cleaner at that very moment. According to Google, from 2016 to 2018, the number of searches with “near me” and variations of “can I buy” in them skyrocketed by 500 percent.
Before the pandemic, these kinds of searches were becoming more common in public spaces, as people relied on them to quickly find what they needed while they were out and about. People also used local voice searches to discover places to go and find accommodation.
Local listings receive a boost in voice search rankings.
Many people were using voice searches for “near me” questions before the pandemic. They were trying to locate the closest gas station, restaurant, dry cleaner, and more, right at that moment. According to Google, between 2016 and 2018, “near me” searches that included some variation of “can I buy” increased by 500 percent.
These searches were becoming more popular, especially in public places, where individuals relied on them to quickly find what they needed while they were out and about. Local voice search also saw widespread use for discovering places to visit and finding lodging options.
Voice search quickly gets to the point.
Voice search aims to deliver speedy results, presenting the most relevant information in an easily readable snippet right at the top of your search page. This is done because folks who use voice search are usually multitasking, like driving or cooking, and they require information promptly.
When you use Google, the featured snippet you’re probably familiar with, located at the top of the search page, is what voice search shows. This not only provides faster results but also allows a voice assistant to read these results aloud, eliminating the need for you to check your screen.
Optimize Your Website for Voice Search: Active Strategies
Once you grasp how and why people use voice search, it becomes simple to determine where your business comes into the picture. Implement the following tips to make the most of the searches people perform on their mobile phones and smart devices.
1. Comprehend the customer.
Not everyone uses voice search in the same way or for the same reasons. To better engage with your audience, it’s essential to understand their demographics.
For instance, Millennials and Gen Z are likely to be frequent online users, making more extensive use of voice search compared to their Boomer or Gen X counterparts. Different demographic groups may also have preferences for various voice-enabled devices. Some might favor mobile voice assistants, while others opt for smart speakers like Alexa.
2. Focus on conversational keywords and user intent.
People tend to talk to voice assistants and smart speakers just like they would in a conversation with a real person. Instead of using a few keywords, they prefer to use complete sentences. So, it’s a good idea to create your content with this in mind.
Consider the kinds of phrases people naturally use when searching for your business using voice commands. Make sure your website and business listing provide answers to these questions and as many related ones as possible.
For instance, you should optimize your business listing and website for searches like “coffee shops near me,” as well as “coffee shops in Houston, Texas,” or “What are the best coffee shops in Houston?”
3. Implement schema markup to help search engines categorize your page more effectively.
There exist tools, in addition to backlinks and specific keywords, that you can employ to inform web crawlers, those programs responsible for scanning web pages, about the content and purpose of your page. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by utilizing a tool called schema markup.
Schema markup involves adding HTML elements to your website, serving as labels for web crawlers. These elements inform search engines like Google about the relevance of your site to specific user queries.
By using schema markup, you assist web crawlers in categorizing your website accurately, thus enhancing your site’s SEO by making critical information more accessible. This, in turn, ensures that people who use voice and mobile search can reach your website more quickly.
You need not fret if you lack extensive coding knowledge. There are free tools available for applying schema markup to your website. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper proves to be especially handy. Simply provide your website’s URL and follow the prompts to choose the data you want to appear in your site’s search listing.
4. Optimize for mobile.
When people are out and about, the device they probably carry most is their smartphone. So, they’re likely to use it for a “near me” search.
Once your business appears in the search results, you definitely don’t want to lose potential customers because of a poorly optimized website. You need to make sure that all your web pages load quickly, provide relevant information, and make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for.