From smartphones to smart homes, voice-activated devices are fast becoming a part of people’s lives as technology shifts from traditional models of input to more convenient ways of communicating with smart devices, i.e. talking. Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana and Alexa have popularised the idea of conversing with smart devices, making it a daily experience, making it personal and entertaining. Amazon Echo and Google Home have moved beyond devices with screens and function completely on speech recognition technology. Instead of typing out a query, people are simply asking their devices for information. For content marketers, this means re-evaluating their existing SEO strategies and finding new ways to optimise online content for voice searches.
Speech over Typing: Why people now prefer voice searches
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said voice searches account for 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices. Another report stated that 50% of the searches done in 2020 will be voice-based. These figures point to a clear shift in search trends where people choose to search for information by simply talking. These trends are hard to ignore, and content marketers should not ignore the need to optimise web content to accommodate rising voice queries.
Here are some strategies you can adopt to optimise for voice searches:
Long tail keywords:
Users will take a more informal tone and a more direct approach when making their voice queries, which means your SEO efforts should focus on keeping the content more conversational. Emphasis should also be on selecting long-tail keywords designed around specific phrases people tend to use when making voice searches – avoid disconnected phrases. Make sure the content you have on the websites includes detailed descriptions of the products you sell, including benefits, key features, etc.
Use a more conversational tone:
Typing is very different from speaking. While typing a query, people often use short sentences, for e.g. nearest petrol station; however, while speaking into a device, people tend to adopt a more informal or conversational tone, e.g. where can I find petrol? This is an important aspect of voice-based searches. Content marketers should focus on creating content that mimics natural speech patterns.
Search requests that are typed out usually provide a little context to determine the exact need. Typing in the words ‘laptop’ does not tell the search engine if the person is looking to buy a laptop, sell one, or get one repaired. This changes when a voice query is made. The person will now be clearer while making the request. For instance, the query will now be, ‘Where can I buy a new i7 laptop?’ This means more questions will be focused and direct usually starting with a “who”, “where”, “what”, “how”, and “why”? One good strategy is to include a FAQs page on your website that answers all the questions that begin with these adverbs.
People are more likely to make voice-based searches if they are looking for something locally. This means businesses with a local presence must optimise for voice searches or risk losing out on a chunk of business. Make sure your content for business uses a lot a language that residents in the area will use. For instance, mention prominent landmarks next to your business, if there is a local term used for your suburb or area, make sure you add it to your content and keep your business listing on Google updated with correct information.
Voice search is here to stay and not to be ignored, and websites that neglect to take it into account stand to lose in the long run. Make sure your website is ready to embrace this shift in how people search and adopt the right strategies to make sure you thrive in this new and exciting space.