People are inherently curious. We ask A LOT of questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? And we want our questions answered... quickly. Is it humankind's curious yet impatient nature that has made voice search so popular? Maybe.
What Is Voice Search?
Voice search is what allows people to search the internet using spoken-word voice commands issued to virtual personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Voice Search.
Why Care About Voice Search for Business?
Voice search enables us to ask questions out loud using simple voice prompts. This saves us time, as we no longer need to type our questions directly into a search engine to get them answered. It's no wonder, then, that voice search has been embraced by so many.
This popularity surge is why you should sit up and take notice of voice search for business, especially when you consider how many voice-search-enabled devices are out there. From the mobile phones in our pockets to the Amazon Echoes and Google Nests in our homes, today's smart devices have become integral parts of our lives.
For example, many of us use voice search to preview menus while making restaurant decisions, to check the weather before heading off to work, or to find out the final score of a sports game that we fell asleep while watching.
While the concept of voice-activated devices has been around since the 1950s, technology has taken screenless browsing to a whole new level with advanced artificial intelligence. In other words, today's smart devices are understanding more, and we're using them to help us do more - like find brands, products, and services on the web. Thus, to reach voice-searching customers, businesses need to adjust their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for their brands, products, and services accordingly.
Is Voice Search a Passing Fad?
The fact is... voice search is here to stay. While search engines have been around since the beginning of the internet, their algorithms have been improved upon so that favorable organic search rankings cannot be gamed. Gone are the keyword-stuffing black-hat SEO practices of yesteryear! To be ranked favorably in today's organic search results, it's important to deliver a positive website user experience.
Google is quite open about why user experience factors in its rankings. Google's goal is to “make the web more delightful” and note “that this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.” Part of making the web more delightful to contribute to business success, then, requires optimizing your website for voice search.
5 Ways to Get Your Company on Voice Search
- Get listed on Google My Business. Getting listed on other relevant sites and online directories like Yelp, Facebook, and the Yellow Pages helps, too.
- Get positive online reviews. If you were to do a voice search of the best Italian restaurants nearby, you’d likely find that the restaurants in the results average four-star ratings or higher. Thus, the more positive online reviews your business has, the more likely it is that your business will be included in voice search results.
- Get conversational with keywords. Search queries differ when typed vs. when spoken. For example, when looking for house painters near you, you’d type out something like: “best house painters west palm beach”. But when using voice search, you'd say something more conversational like, “Ok, Google! Who are the best painters in West Palm Beach?” This difference in phrasing distinguishes keyword targeting for type search vs. voice search.
- Get a mobile-first website. Not only is mobile-first indexing enabled by default on Google Search for all new websites, but also a new update called Google Page Experience is slated to go live sometime in 2021 and will include the evaluation of mobile-friendliness. Plus, survey data from 1,700 U.S. adults reveals voice is gaining on mobile browser as the top choice for smartphone-based searches.
- Get help from THAT Agency. THAT Agency is a West Palm Beach web development company with specialized SEO knowledge that can help you optimize your business website for voice search. Contact us today at 561-832-6262 to get started with our SEO services.
Voice Search for Business: A Word of Caution
With voice search, people typically don't get a chance to hear competing results. Because voice search only serves up one answer (the best answer it thinks it can find), your business' website must be ranked the highest to get traffic from most voice search queries.
There is also evidence suggesting that each of the virtual personal assistants might be taking in slightly different information. This is similar to how the different search engines operate (e.g., Google, Bing, etc.). If you rank well in one search engine's results, you might not rank as well in another. The same goes for ranking in one virtual personal assistant's results.
Both points only serve to reinforce the need to partner with a company like THAT Agency for the voice search optimization of your business' website.