With personal assistant devices leading the way, voice search usage is seeing unprecedented growth. According to Google, more than 20 percent of its mobile queries are voice searches. The total number of voice searches is much higher when we take into account personal digital assistants such as Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Cortana and Siri – tools that are purely based on voice recognition.
Why the increase in voice search? There are many reasons. First, voice search is getting more accurate. According to the KPCB Internet Trends 2016 report, the accuracy rate of voice search is almost 92 percent. Second, advanced devices such Alexa and Google Home are bringing voice search to the everyday customer.
Considering the growth of voice search, it is going to affect how local businesses are found. In order to stay ahead of local search, you must start thinking about optimizing your website for voice search.
Optimizing your website for voice search queries
If you are optimizing your website for voice search, most of the SEO rules will apply: relevant content, responsive website and focus on needs of target audiences. Here are some of the most effective ways to make your website voice search-friendly.
- Focus on long-tail keywords: The search focus must shift from awkward keywords to long-tail or even complete sentences. This is because voice searches use natural language. The way we talk is different from the way we type. The keywords and phrases that we use during voice search are different than those we use when typing. Content optimized for voice SEO must focus on this aspect of voice search.
- Develop conversational content: According to ComScore, voice search will account for half of all mobile searches by 2020. If businesses want to seize this opportunity, they will need to focus on developing conversational content that provides brief and accurate answers to voice queries. This does not mean that long-form content will be ineffective. It just means that the content needs to be written in a way that helps the user looking for quick answers.
- Optimize your website for local SEO: According to recent research, voice search is three times more likely to be used for local queries. Keeping this in mind, businesses should keep critical content, including contact information, up to date, since this is what Google will display to answer queries such as, “Where can I get the best cake in New Jersey?” It is essential for businesses to get their websites optimized for mobile, local SEO and voice search. For a potential customer to choose your business, your mobile-friendly site must load quickly, display updated information, contain relevant content for local SEO and generate correct answers in response to voice search queries.
Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, it is essential to have a have a mobile-friendly website. If a user does a voice search, comes to your website and has a bad experience, you have lost a potential customer. This not only impacts the individual user but also results in a high bounce rate. A website that is not mobile-friendly may negatively affect your Google ranking.