Voice search – It’s one of the key trends for 2020 that we wrote about in our last blog post. And despite the possibility of having your private conversations listened to by the Siris, Alexas and Googles of the world, your customers wanting to use voice search on their device isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, ComScore research estimates that 50% of all search traffic will by done via voice search by the end of this year. Yes, you read that correctly. And that’s likely to double in the next 3 years to 8 billion users worldwide.
Got a bit of catching up to do? Yep, so do a lot of others. Okay – that’s a US-centric piece of research, but tech-savvy Australians are never far behind.
Remember about 5-7 years ago, we were moving to a mobile-first world where everything had to be designed for tablets and phones? Well this is more of that – just for voice search done via smart speakers like the Google Home, wearable tech like smart watches and other IoT devices too.It’s not a case of just adding some tech to the side of your site, it’s a case of re-optimising not just your website, but your content and in some cases your business if you want to keep up. A voice search is different – so the results will be too.
So today we thought we’d look at what you can do to optimize your website for voice search.
Use natural language rather than ‘keywords’
Yep, so everything you know about keywords is now heading in the direction of being defunct unless you’re really, really, REALLY sure people won’t use voice search to find you and your products. It’s now no longer about a subject followed or preceded by one or two descriptors leaving out filler words – aka ‘autumn + woollen + jumper’. Rather your customers are likely to say something like “Hey Google, find me a woollen jumper for autumn with possums near Parramatta” like they’re having a conversation with a friend or a real assistant. Which of course means that you need to change the way you optimise for anything from 6-10+ word searches including filler words (to, for, a, on the, with, etc). Hello, long-tail keyword searches! Make sure these are part of your on-page SEO as well as your paid search terms.
Write your content like humans speak
If your content was written a little while ago (or you’ve put in a truckload of keywords throughout your text because that was what you were told was needed), you need to go back and write for humans, not the bots of old. How? Make the sentences actually make sense. Write for ease of reading and that means so that a 9-13 year-old with average reading ability could read it. You should check your ease of readability every time you write something. If you run a WordPress website, you might install the Yoast SEO plugin which gives you a readability score for each piece of content. Or you can pay for something like Readable.com or try the free //readabilityformulas.com/. And whilst you’re writing for your most important humans, really listen when they speak to you or take note when they email or message asking questions. Then write pages or blog posts around those questions – as they’re the questions that are likely to get asked via voice search.
Think about your customer’s intent
Not all customer queries are created equal. When a customer asks who or what, they’re on a fact-finding mission. It’s generally early research or general interest. When a customer asks voice search when something’s open or where something is or how much something is, they’re generally a whole lot closer to actually purchasing. Understanding and adding in that kind of nuanced speech can help the AI bots driving voice search get your customers the info they need to see faster. Just because you might be interested, did you know that phrases containing who, when, where and how are seeing year on year growth (as opposed to what and why).
Know your customer
Yep, not the first time you’ve probably heard this one. But knowing who your customers are will give you a heads up on how quickly you need to be across voice search. US data (from 2018) showed that of those in the 18-29 bracket, more than 70% use their mobile/home assistant, with almost 60% of those 30-43 and then just over a third for those aged 44+. And around 20% of those users will even voice search from the bathroom (Scary!)
Voice search for local business
If you’re a local business, make sure that you get yourself onto some local listing sites. Why? Because Google and Siri will assume that your customers want something nearby wherever they’re searching from. And now that mobiles (that you can’t touch whilst driving in the car) and watch-screens are small, a voice search will only show you a limited number of results – of which business listings are usually first. So make sure you’re there. Still not convinced? If you’ve got a bricks and mortar store, it might interest you to know that 50% of local mobile searches lead to a store visit within a day. Make sure that you’ve got “near me” in your title tags, meta descriptions, internal links and meta text. But also make sure that Google’s across your hours of operation, contact info, business category, directions, holiday information on your Google My Business page and don’t forget to submit a detailed sitemap to Google too.
Of course, if you’re looking to build your business this year and deliver greater customer delight with a more streamlined last mile or fulfilment service that keeps your customers delighted every time they interact with your business, we’d love to chat further. You can get in touch through the form below.