“Hey Google, how can I improve my website to find customers searching by voice?”
You may have experienced this personally, but industry data has also shown a dramatic increase in the amount of voice-activated searches, as the rise of the voice enabled applications has made this an increasingly convenient option for people searching online. This can be conducted via digital assistants provided by Google, Amazon, Apple and the like, or increasingly from voice recognition applications on mobile devices. Who wants to type each character when they can speak in their normal way of talking and find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
This trend is not going away and is definitely something that should be taken into account when optimizing your website and developing your SEO strategy.
Some statistics to reinforce this trend:
- In 2018, 1 in 6, or 16%, American households now own a smart speaker, which is about 39 million people (Source: Techcrunch)
- ComScore research shows that 50% of all online searches will be voiced activated searches by 2020 (Source)
- Virtual assistants are collectively training people to search using their voices and to become more “conversational” with search and mobile devices. (Source: Search Engine Land)
What does voice search mean for SEO?
While optimizing your site and content for a voice search isn’t overly complicated, there are some concepts to keep in mind. One of the first steps is to develop your content to reflect how your targeted audiences speak to their voice activated devices, which can vary when compared to how they type.
For example, someone searching for a pizza place by typing may type, “Pizza Restaurant Fairfax Virginia.” A direct descriptive term, as who wants to type more than they have to. On the other hand, somebody using voice search, may be more likely to ask, “Which Pizza restaurant in Fairfax delivers Saturday nights?” Having new content based on speech patterns can you give your site a better opportunity to be matched by Google with that potential customer.
Additionally to content modifications, you should consider creating a list of common questions, concerns or problems faced by your potential customers. Having this content laid out on a FAQ page for example, should directly answer these questions and provide clear answers. This type of list can be optimized for voice searched-based queries, and will send a message to Google that you are presenting the most helpful information and that your content is the most relevant to meeting the intent of that individual searchers needs.
Examples of possible questions asked by the ‘voice’ searcher looking for pizza:
- What pizza restaurants are offering delivery specials in Fairfax?
- Are there additional fees for pizza delivery in Fairfax?
- Do any pizza restaurants in Fairfax sell vegan pizza?
- What is the most popular pizza for delivery?
- What happens when my pizza is delivered damaged?
If these questions are asked often and repeatedly, or if there are seasonal questions, they can also be effective blog posts.
So while this strategy should not upend everything you’ve done to date for SEO, it’s an additional consideration when looking to modify your website content. It’s a trend that you should not ignore.
Think about how your potential customers would speak, and develop content that dovetails nicely with those questions and queries.