Since the dawn of search engines, search trends and styles have been changing. With new technology and programs comes a new era in user behavior.
The emergence of voice search and assistance has altered the way people search the internet. Knowing this, it’s imperative that marketers and businesses adapt so that they aren’t left speechless.
How Search Has Evolved
In the prehistoric days of Google (1990’s to early 2000’s … feel old?), people would search using much smaller, broader phrases such as “Allentown Restaurants.”
Today, you’d be more likely to search “What are the best restaurants near me?” Or, “Where is the best pizza in town?” You’ll notice two things about these new-age searches.
- They are more conversational.
- They are more geared toward requesting information.
Users are no longer just typing words into a machine or program, they’re interacting with it.
The Importance of Voice Search
As voice assistant technology continues to become more prevalent (think Siri, Alexa, Google Home, Cortana and the like), the importance of voice search grows as well. So much so that Comscore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches.
This isn’t that surprising when you consider that nearly one in five U.S. adults has access to a smart speaker (Voicebot.ai). That’s not even counting the built-in voice assistant on smartphones.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
Clearly, it’s a trend that can’t be ignored. The question then, is how to optimize for it. Glad you asked.
Local Listing Optimization
Mobile voice searches are 3x more likely to be local-based than text (Search Engine Watch). That means to capture that audience, it’s vital that your local listings are up-to-date, optimized, and accurate.
Optimize for Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that contain 3+ words. While they certainly don’t share the same amount of search volume individually as short, broader keywords do, collectively, they hold their own.
Ahrefs conducted a study where they analyzed their entire database of keywords for the US (about 1.4 billion keywords). They found that nearly 40% of all searches are coming from long-tail keywords. That’s a massive and respectable chunk that will only continue to grow.
Optimize for the 5 W’s (+ How)
As previously mentioned, many of the voice searches today are information seeking. Users are prefacing their request with words such as who, what, when, where, why and how. To optimize for this, you should:
- Conduct question-based keyword research
- Find out what the top questions being asked in relation to a specific topic/industry are.
- Create an FAQs pages
- Craft content that answers questions your audience is likely to have
Implement Structured Data
Structured data gives search engines more information about your site and content – beyond just the visible words. It allows them to easily define what your content is about, which makes it more likely to appear in all searches, including voice.
Don’t Forget About Bing
Bing may be often looked at as the stepchild when it comes to search engines, but in voice search, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Bing is the default search engine for several major search assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana (surprise) and Siri.
Make sure your site is optimized and indexed properly on Bing and your Bing Places account is set up!
Voice search isn’t going anywhere. With more and more voice assistant devices being purchased, it will only become more common.
Does voice search optimization sound like more than you can do on your own? We hear you. Let’s chat.
About David McDowell
David is an SEO Specialist at Liquid. He is responsible for creating strategies, as well as monitoring and analyzing all activities within organic search programs for local and global clients.