Apple's Siri kicked-started the voice assistant revolution. Since then Google, Amazon and others have joined the party.
From basic voice instructions like, 'play my Bowie playlist' and 'what's the weather today?' to the more intelligent virtual assistant Internet of Things (IoT) commands such as 'turn the kitchen lights on', voice activated technology has come a long way.
As time has passed, and as we become even more embedded in our mobile devices and their technologies, it's no surprise that voice search is on the increase.
With every innovation there are early adopters. According to an Ofcom survey, one in eight households own a smart device/speaker. This may not seem as a significantly high number, but it does indicate that the adoption of smart devices in our homes is progressing. Over time the laggards will catch up.
There's no escaping voice search is on an upward trend. And it's not going to stop. In the US for instance, over 100 million people used voice search in 2021 (Source: Truelist).
With the increasing demands on businesses to maintain SEO traction, they now need to seriously consider optimising their websites for voice search. It's popularity is soaring to the degree that 58% of people use voice search to find a local business online. (Source: Truelist).
Why does voice search matter for SEO?
Using the spoken word to communicate with search engines is on the rise. Google claims that 20% of their mobile search queries are voice-driven. Put that into perspective for a moment. Think about how many mobile search queries are performed on a daily basis. It's a lot. Perhaps billions. And 20% of that is a lot too. And it will only increase.
SEO opportunities for voice search are in demand. Getting ahead of your competitors and future proofing your business's audio identity is essential to staying ahead of the curve.
Although search engine algorithms essentially do the hard work like indexing and crawling, there are some additional optimisation techniques you can apply to your website to get the very best from voice search.
- Optimise business information: Ensure your business information is up-to-date. Things like address, phone number and opening hours are essential to letting prospective customers know about your business
- Long tail: Because voice search is a more natural process than typing, it's important you target those long tail keywords to ensure that a voice activated search query surfaces the right long tail search engine result in voice enhanced search engines like Google.
- Queries to questions: Think about search terms as a conversation. Somebody isn't going to ask you something using a single word. They'll expand and add some context to it For example, instead of asking about your 'clogs' they'll comment and ask where you purchased them from. For search, try turning that relatively flat and generic keyword of 'clogs' to a voice related question like, 'where to buy the best clogs?'
- Optimise content: Make your content voice friendly by not over-stuffing it with keywords.
- Mobile first: Voice search is geared to mobile devices. As such, take a mobile-first approach to your transformation project. At Codehouse, we've been applying a mobile-first approach to all our website builds for over a decade.
- Lighten your tone: Adapting your content to a more conversation tone makes it voice friendlier.
- Include FAQs: People ask many things when using search. Having a dedicated FAQ page that addresses questions people are likely to 'literally' ask will put you in good stead. This is linked to targeting those long tail keywords and changing queries to questions.
- Target the snippets: A featured snippet, or position zero, is a search result that appears at the top of the page under the search in the form of a video, list, paragraph etc. Achieving a featured snippet is a feather in the cap when it comes to your SEO strategy. It means you're doing something right and are outranking your competition. Focusing your keyword efforts to achieve maximum organic voice rankings will drive traffic and increase conversions.
- Adjust for PPC: Understanding your keywords will enable you to hone your PPC campaigns to voice search
When 'Hey Siri' was the (only) thing, it may have been considered as a novel and disruptive technology. But today talking to a device isn't novel at all. It’s increasingly probable that in a few years, not talking to your device will be a novelty.
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