Voice search is changing the SEO game…
This is no joke. As technology keeps going forward, users’ practices keep changing with it. As a result, businesses have to be continuously adapting if they do not want to be left behind. What yesterday was an absolute fact, today may not be as true as it looked.
This is what is happening today with SEO. Until now, there was no doubt about how most people searched their queries: texting. But with the rise of voice search, this is about to change.
How will this really affect SEO practices? In many ways, as we are about to see!
But let’s first explain what the voice search is. In simple terms, it would be an online search done with your voice.
But why is it so important now?
With the revolution of smartphones, we were able to communicate in ways that were unthinkable in the past. People’s attention started to shift from computers to mobile phones. But there was a slight problem: texting. This is ok for certain matters, but it requires more time and sometimes, more than one trial in order to find what we are looking for.
Summing this up, we could say that the main reason is time. We have become more and more exigent with our devices. We want instant results. And the fact that we can just speak and get them sounds easier and much more efficient than texting.
For this, big companies already have different digital assistants: Alexa and Echo (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and Google Assistant (Google) are the main players in this new voice war. This should already be telling us how important this is becoming.
Stats are also very illuminating: in January 2018, Alpine.AI estimated that there were over one billion voice searches per month. And according to ComScore, in 2020, 50% of online searches will be via the voice search.
How is voice going to affect SEO?
Until now, many websites have been discussing the best practices to increase the site’s traffic organically. Although a big part of those actions will still be really important, some others will have to change with voice search SEO.
Imagine you are looking for a place to eat Indian food. If you use a voice digital assistant, what would be your words? Will they be the same as if you were using the keyboard? Absolutely not.
If I were speaking, I would go with something like this: “Hey Alexa, which is a good place for eating Indian food around here?” While, if I were typing, I would go with “Best places to eat Indian food in Madrid”. As you can see, the keyword difference is huge.
- Mobile search, local
Apart from this, the results will be different as well. In my first question, I did not say anything about my location. And that is because, if I am searching via mobile, it already knows where I am. And voice search is mostly mobile at this moment. So another big difference will be that searches will be more local-based. Better for local businesses, worse for big companies.
Another important matter will be how our voice could reveal our degree of intent. Depending on our question, we could be saying if we are just interested, or about to purchase.
Let’s put it in an example. If I just want to know different types of Nike shoes, I would go with: “Siri, show me the Nike shoe catalog”. This will tell there is an interest in Nike shoes. But imagine I say this: “I need the blue Nike’s Jordan, size 7”. Different, right? This will reveal that I am probably about to buy those shoes.
What can we do today?
As we said before, here lies a great opportunity for businesses. If you adapt your SEO strategy at this very moment, you will have a big advantage over your competitors. Here are some of the practices you can already implement:
1. Let’s start with keywords
In texting, most of the searches were compressed in 2 or 3 words. With voice, this changes completely. Most of the voice searches are longer, normally in the form of questions. So this means long-tail keywords got longer. Be sure of selecting the best tools for this.
Also, think about the words you use when asking a question. As you probably have deducted, the most used ones are words like how, what, where, when, why, or best. So including these in your SEO strategy will deliver great results.
2. Objective: featured snippet
When looking for something on Google, sometimes you can see some results inside a featured snippet on top of the page. This snippet normally is a summarized answer to your question.
This is referred as “position zero” and is the absolute goal of SEO. The main reason is that in most cases it appears above the paid and organic results. Interesting, right?
Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting there:
- Using words like how, best, what, etc.
- A good responsive design (remember most of the voice searches are mobile)
- Writing pages for answering specific questions. You can use FAQs pages as well!
- Optimize your word count.
- Use lists, paragraphs, and tables.
- Use Headings (H1, H2, H3)
- Keep linking
- Optimize images
Apart from these, have in mind that Google still take into account other classic good SEO practices, such as page speed and load time, social engagement, backlinks or HTTPS.
3. Create natural, conversational content
With voice, content is going to be more conversational than ever! Adapt your content to answering your customers’ questions in a simple but clear way. The more you do this, the more chances you will have of having your site top-ranked.
Here you should also adapt your SEO strategy to the degree of intent of your customers. What would they be asking if they were about to buy your product or service? Imagine real conversations, and forget about text!
The future of Voice Search SEO:
As we see, voice search SEO will play a big role in the future.
Optimizing your SEO strategy from early on will give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Try different techniques, measure them, correct, and try again. Soon you will get better and better.
Whether we like it or not, voice search is here. So let’s accept it and start adjusting!