In 2021, it’s as if we’re permanently attached to our mobile devices. In fact, smartphone usage soared to new heights last year.
But that doesn’t mean we’re always giving our thumbs a workout. While typing and texting are still prevalent, these aren’t the only communication options we have.
Phone calls may not be preferable for many young people, but we’re still using the spoken word to express ourselves through technology.
Voice-powered searches have emerged as a convenient way for mobile users to access the information they need with even less effort than before. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these searches so unique, why they’re an important consideration for your business, and how to make sure your site can be found online.
WHAT IS VOICE SEARCH?
First of all, what exactly is a voice search?
Voice-powered technology has existed for many years, but it didn’t really catch on until more recently. Basically, voice-powered technology involves a type of dialog system, allowing human users to communicate with computers.
When used in the context of a web search, it permits mobile users to vocally interact with digital assistants in order to find the information they require. Individuals can use a voice command feature, rather than a keyboard, to search a website – or even the entire internet.
If you’ve ever asked Siri out loud to provide an answer to your question, you’ve used voice search technology. And if you think that voice searches are rare, you’ll want to keep reading.
Why Does Voice Search Matter?
You now realize that voice search technology exists. But does it actually play an important role in how you market your business.
The answer is a resounding “yes.” According to Think With Google, 27% of people worldwide were using voice search technology on their mobile devices in 2018. A year later, an eMarketer survey found that almost 40% of US internet users were utilizing voice search. By 2021, that organization predicted that there would be 122.7 million voice search users worldwide.
So why is voice search so popular? For one thing, it’s incredibly easy to use. Because most mobile users are looking for information on-the-go, it’s not surprising that they’d want a hands-free way to get the solutions they need. Oberlo reports that almost 71% of consumers say they’d rather talk than text when performing web searches.
People who use voice search technology also tend to be further along in their buying journey. Since most voice search users are accessing this technology via their mobile devices, it stands to reason that they are probably looking for answers close by. These customers are more likely to visit a store within close proximity right away – which means you’ll want to make every effort to reach these consumers.
HOW CAN I OPTIMIZE MY SITE FOR VOICE SEARCH?
It’s clear that voice searches aren’t merely a passing fad. They may not yet be a replacement for text-powered searches, but they are becoming much more commonplace.
As a result, business owners can’t afford to ignore the need for voice search SEO. By optimizing your site for voice-powered searches, you’ll be in a better position to be found online. And given how far voice search technology has come in recent years, there’s never been a better time to focus on voice SEO.
The question is: what should you focus on when optimizing your site for voice search? Here are just a few strategies you should try.
CREATE A FAQ PAGE
One of the key things to remember about voice searches is that they’re performed a bit differently from traditional searches. When we type in a search query, we’re likely to include only a few of the most important words. But when we speak into our smartphones, we communicate more naturally.
As such, most voice-powered searches tend to be in the form of a question. Instead of conducting a search for “best plumber Houston TX,” we might ask Siri, “how do I fix a clogged drain in my bathroom?”
To increase your website’s chances of appearing in voice-powered web searches like these, you’ll want to include some relevant questions. Creating an FAQ page can provide helpful information to potential customers and help you show up more prominently in voice search results. (It’s also a great opportunity to use local SEO, so don’t forget to optimize for your service area or physical location in your answers!)
INCLUDE SCHEMA MARK-UP
Schema is a type of website code that human visitors can’t see – but bots can. It can provide important contextual information about your site or webpage, which is especially useful when you’re trying to optimize for search engines.
Schema mark-up will provide extra meaning to the content on a page, allowing search engines to deliver more relevant results to web users. Since schema can help search engines better understand how we naturally use language, it’s a good idea to include this step when optimizing your website for voice SEO.
IMPROVE USER EXPERIENCE
This last suggestion won’t merely help you appear in voice-powered searches; it’ll usually boost your rankings overall.
User experience is more important than ever. Google prides itself on providing quality results for users, so search engines want to reward websites that provide a great experience. If you want to rank well in SERPs – whether they’re voice-powered or not – you need to address the needs and expectations of web users.
At the bare minimum, this means your site needs to be fast, secure, and mobile-friendly. Be sure your site has an SSL certificate (meaning your URL starts with “https”), that your website design is responsive, and that you reduce your loading speed as much as possible. Your site should also be easy to navigate and provide the valuable content that web users are looking for.
If it’s been too long since your site had a redesign or you’ve heard complaints about user experience, it’s time to address these problems. In so doing, you’ll improve your brand perception and the likelihood that you’ll appear in all kinds of web searches.
DO NOT SLEEP ON VOICE SEARCH
It’s sometimes easy to dismiss the need for new technology. But the reality is that consumers have already embraced voice-powered searches. By optimizing your site for voice search SEO, you’ll maintain your relevancy and your reputation while improving your ability to reach new customers from both near and far.