Roughly 56% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search on their mobile phones every day, according to Northstar Research.
For example, modern consumers in Boston are much more likely to ask Google Now, Siri, Cortana, or Amazon’s Alexa to find the nearest coffee shop than they are to type "coffee shops near Boylston Street in Boston" into a search bar on Google's homepage.
This truly creates a challenge for search engine providers and for the providers of those personal assistants. But as consumers increasingly turn to voice search on their mobile phones, those Boston coffee shops will now have to rethink their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy if they hope to show up in voice search results.
Search is a science, and the rules are different for text and voice search.
It will only become more vital that business data on a company web site such as store locations, hours, and contact information is accurate and up to date. Businesses will also need to make sure that they are portrayed accurately on local review sites like Yelp.
Companies also need to consider how and where consumers are conducting their voice-based searches. When using computer-based search, it's assumed that a user is at a computer, so there is more screen space and more time to search. When using a mobile device, it's assumed a user is out, time is short, and the user needs access to quick bits of information on a small screen.
Therefore web sites need to be designed so that they dynamically adjust to fit any screen the consumer is using.
Google and Bing use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in their SEO algorithms. Both Microsoft and Google offer tools to help companies determine whether their sites are mobile-friendly. The tools look at factors such as loading speed, the width of page content, the readability of text on the page, the spacing of links and other elements on the page, and the use of plug-ins.
When it comes to voice search, web content that delivers the answers consumers want, in the quickest way possible, will ultimately win. The information should be concise and to the point, with more of an emphasis on usefulness than visual appeal.
Web content should be presented in more of a natural, conversational style and structured more like FAQs, answering the questions consumers might pose in voice search queries without requiring them to click on additional links or take other actions. Voice searches might be initiated in the car while someone is driving.
Companies also need to consider how consumers ask for information through voice search. More often than not, voice search queries are phrased using the same types of who, what, when, where, how, and why questions that are part of natural conversations. During these conversational, natural language search queries, consumers do not typically use the same keywords or metadata that are the hallmarks of text-based searches. Using basic keywords to set SEO parameters alone is no longer enough.
Use long-tail keywords. Rather than relying on a single word or phrase, long-tail keywords involve multiple keyword phrases that are very specific to whatever the company is selling.
Companies need to teach their systems and the search engines a very specialized lexicon that corresponds to their product and service names.
SEO rules keep changing and so SEO strategy needs to change accordingly.
Galaxy Consulting has many years experience with search. Contact us for a free consultation.