Is your website’s content ready for voice search?

Voice SearchWhen you’re planning a website and thinking about people finding it, you’re usually thinking about what keywords someone might type into Google to find your website. Then you plan your content to accommodate those searches. But have you given any thought to voice search?

What is voice search?

Voice searching is when someone asks their device (computer, phone, Alexa, Google Home) to search the Internet by speaking the words rather than typing the words into the search engine. It’s estimated that half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. The number of people who own voice-enabled speakers in their home is increasing each year. Apparently people like to talk to their electronics!

Why are people using voice search? Because it’s fast. It’s easy. They can do it on the go and they almost always have their phone close at hand, when they want to know information when they’re at a restaurant, in the car, or at a sporting event.

What does that mean for search?

When people search using their voice instead of their fingers, it means a few things. For one, the search phrases are longer because people tend to ask in complete sentences rather than just typing in keywords.

Example search in Google on Desktop:

Voice Search

But if I was asking Siri or Alexa, I probably wouldn’t just say “voice search.” Instead, I would probably be more likely to ask a full question.

Example voice search:

“Siri, what are voice search statistics for 2018?”

Digital assistants like Alexa, Google Home and Siri are programmed to understand natural speech, which naturally means that our searches are going to be longer. So when planning for SEO, our keyword choices may need to be longer.

The future of SEO and voice search is going to include more long-tail keywords.

A long-tail keyword is a keyword that’s typically three to five words or longer. Instead of optimizing for “voice search” I might optimize for “voice search trends in 2018” or “voice search statistics for SEO.”

Not only are long-tail keywords going to be less competitive to rank for, but they’re going to be more likely to come up for voice searches in the future. You could spend years trying to rank for a common competitive search term with no results, but if you focus on a number of long-tail keywords, you can get great results.

What should a business know about voice search?

  • First, the majority of voice searches that would lead to your business are asking for your phone number or address. Don’t hide that information in an image or only on a contact page. Update your Google Business listing so that your address, phone number, and website are readily available if someone searches for you by name.
  • If your customers are local, make sure to optimize your Pay Per Click campaigns for the phrase “near me.” Searches that include “near me” in them have increased by over 500% and that is totally due to voice searching.
  • Structure your content for user-intent. What is your user looking for? How will they try to find it? Plan to answer those questions. Google wants to give people answers to their queries.

Pro-tip: Write blog posts that answer questions

Guess what? If people are searching by asking questions, you can start claiming those search results by using those questions in your blog post titles, and then answering the question. What kind of questions are people asking about your industry? Create a series of blog posts that directly ask the question in the title and answer it in the body. You cannot have too many of these types of posts. Not only do they specifically address direct questions users might try while using voice search, but it provides the answer they are looking for.

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Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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