In marketing, we hear it constantly: get ready for Voice Search. It’s something that’s been in the peripherals of a good SEO strategy for a few years, but as it isn’t yet a ranking factor, it isn’t ever the full focus. Unfortunately, because of this, research that analysed around 75,000 businesses has showed that only 4% of them were ready for voice search.
Voice search is everywhere. It’s how we use our AI assistants, search whilst we’re driving, or just From Siri & Alexa to Google, every major player is making their bid to become the name in voice search. It has developed far from the early days of Siri, where the standard response was simply ‘sorry, I didn’t quite get that’. Now accuracy is up 92% and the capabilities just keep growing. Google tells us that about 20% of their searches are from voice. As the technology grows and learns, that number is set to skyrocket. That’s why we think it’s already overdue to include voice search into the world of a good SEO campaign.
When it comes to business owners, it’s hard to ignore the potential that voice search brings. Typed and voice search queries tend to bring up different results, so an SEO strategy that doesn’t include any voice is missing out on traffic. The consumers who are adapting to using a voice search will no longer be able to find your business, losing your visibility and credibility.
As SEO experts who watch and analyse the market constantly, we think that it’s only a matter of time before Voice Search becomes a ranking factor, high on the list of what Google considers vital to gain placement online. For business who act proactively, the 20% of searchers who are using voice search are all yours. Then, when Voice Search becomes a ranking factor, you have a headstart on the competition when everybody else starts scrambling to get their websites in order.
Ranking for voice search starts with what we’d consider a ‘standard’ approach. There are on-site basics that would need to be covered, which would also contribute to your national and local SEO campaigns. It’s important to make sure your site is well optimised as a foundation before any specialisations are added.
We’d then incorporate long-tail keywords into the content onsite to capture the search terms that tend to be used with a voice search; questions that need answers and long phrases instead of a quick typed query. We’ll add structured data and snippet-worthy content that the Google crawlers are looking for to lift relevant data from a site. It’s important to prepare the site for both Bing and Yahoo crawlers as well – voice search doesn’t have the same monopoly as a desktop search.
The next steps are off-site. We’ll make sure that the data sources for local voice search queries (Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing) are all filled with the correct, consistent information.
Inside and out, a site optimised for voice search needs to use a tailored plan. It’s not just a case of hoping that Alexa will be able to find your site – you need to deliver exactly what they’re looking for.