Most businesses are invested in a strong SEO strategy to boost their reach. However, most businesses only focus on written words. The world of SEO is constantly changing, and one of the most recent changes include voice searches. Though many businesses have a strategy in place, they may not have a strategy for voice search.
Most people understand that the way we speak is different from the way we type. Reading a sentence via text leads to a very specific kind of interpretation, whereas a totally different method of interpretation is necessary for the same sentence conveyed face to face. Though this concept is familiar, it’s not necessarily intuitive when it comes to things like running a website. The internet world is often viewed as sterile and robotic, somehow removed from the warmth of human experience. This could not be further from the truth. Now that voice search is changing how search engines find users answers, the way we speak is even more crucial to understand than ever.
Why Voice Search Matters
If you oversee a corner of the virtual world, you’ve probably spent significant time developing your SEO tactics so that your site comes up faster in a Google search. With the advent of voice search technology, the logistics of search engines have become increasingly more human (and therefore more complicated), and your SEO may be already less effective than it was when you implemented it.
Internet Usage Is Changing
Though voice-activated assistants like Siri began as more of a toy than anything, they’ve grown into a widely used tool for surfing the web. As of this year, approximately 50% of searches will be voice-activated, meaning that the way users are searching the internet is changing rapidly. What began as a feature on a cell phone has turned into entire home systems, such as the Amazon Alexa or the Echo Dot, that rely entirely on voice commands to function.
Though part of the purpose of these gadgets is to control the heat and lights in a home, they are more commonly used to order products or obtain information. Whereas search bars used to be the primary source of information, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that voice-activated search devices will overtake search bars in the very near future.
As the expectations for multitasking rise, the public’s dependency on voice commands will only rise; they provide the unique opportunity to search the web and continue whatever activity is at hand. At the same time, humans are realizing our over-dependence on devices and making more of a concerted effort to appreciate our surroundings. In the newfound need to divorce ourselves from screens, hands-free options such as Siri and Google Nest will continue to skyrocket in popularity.
What This Means For Your Website
The more ways there are to use the internet, the more work each website has to do. Because voice-activated searches are vastly different than manual search engine requests, the SEO you spent hours perfecting is not as effective as it was. Though optimizing your search engine viability with keywords and photo tags is still immensely helpful when it comes to website legitimacy, one also has to consider if the website will come up in a voice search of the same topic. Search results that populate when one manually searches for “local women’s hairdresser” probably won’t come up when the same person shouts, “Alexa, I need a haircut!” from their couch.
By ignoring these differences, your website becomes obsolete in the 50% of searches that are done vocally. That means your website traffic is half as great as it could be. To stay viable, websites need to implement optimization methods for each method that humans use to search.
The Device Matters, Too
Voice search optimization is about more than just how people speak. What they are speaking to is important, too. At the advent of voice commands, Siri was the industry’s leading lady. Because Siri is a product of Apple, all Siri-activated searches run through Safari (Apple’s internet browser). Websites who tailored their SEO to Safari’s algorithm had an advantage because they were coming up first when people searched for anything vocally. Soon after, Google’s Pixel perfected its voice commands. Suddenly, “Hey Google,” could get you whatever you wanted from the kings of the search engine. Because these companies developed cell phones, their search engines became the go-to by default for millions of people.
Nowadays, there are significantly more options. Not only do cellphones have voice-activated searches, but there are also watches and home systems and cars and even microwaves. All of which can be controlled by a simple command, each with their own set of coding about which search engine’s algorithm to use. SEO and keywords that do wonderfully on a Google Nest won’t do as well on an Alexa or in a Siri search. The algorithms for each are just so different. Similarly, the reasons each device is used are vastly different.
While Alexa might be used to order paper towels, Google Nest might be used to answer a question about the traffic. Siri might settle a dispute about which of the Marx Brothers was taller. Making sure your website comes up on your customers’ most used device is key.
Details Are Key
Understanding the intricacies of the talk to text revolution lies in understanding the details of how it’s generally used. If your company is looking to attract a specific group of people, SEO and Voice Activated Search Optimization is the best way to do it. Surprisingly, Millennials are using voice-activated searches at nearly four times the rate of Baby Boomers, with nearly 25% of teenagers using this method every day.
With this understanding, it stands to reason that websites geared toward (or aiming to be geared toward) those 35 and younger should adapt to keep up with their desired demographic. Nearly 25% of holiday shopping was done with voice-activated searches, making it a prime tool for products and services that work well as gifts. Voice-related searches are three times more likely to land local results, a perk for small businesses and locally-sold products. Understanding when and how consumers use speak searches really highlights how they can be used to their full potential.
So, How Do I Get My Website To Come Up When I Ask Siri/Alexa/Google Assistant?
Just as Search Engine Optimization helped with manual searches, Voice-Activated Search Optimization can help with speak-activated searches. Website developers use tags specific to voice searches that will help your website come up for voice-activated searches. Some examples of these techniques are:
- Using longer, more conversational tags
- Emphasizing the location of the website (“near me” searches are common when using voice)
- Providing succinct answers to customer’s common questions
- Adding filler words like “the,” “to,” and, “for,” and question words such as “who,” “where,” “why.”
Why This Works
Conversational tags and filler words are effective because of human speech patterns. Where a person may not want to type or text out an entire question, saying it out loud to a device feels natural. It’s natural when asking questions to muddy the sentence with filler words, such as “the grocery store on Maple Avenue,” rather than typing “grocery store Maple Avenue.” In the case of questions, proper sentences are more likely to be used in voice searches. For example, someone might ask, “Who is the Prime Minister of the UK,” rather than typing “UK Prime Minister.” By highlighting these seemingly unimportant words, your developer lines your website up with more words in the search and bumps you up in the algorithm.
Providing succinct answers is important because of the natural impatience of the human brain. When searching manually for something like, “How many pounds in a ton?” one’s eyes naturally skim over the text to glean the necessary information. When using voice search devices, one is not any more inclined to want to hear extraneous information in the answer. If your site starts rambling off more information than the consumer wanted, they’ll likely start the search again and avoid your website.
Remember, It’s Human Nature
Though the internet can seem overwhelming, always remember that it’s ultimately trying to mimic human behavior. Just as you wouldn’t want a friend to launch into a long-winded story to answer a simple question, people using your website to fulfill their needs want Siri to get to the point. Remembering how human behavior is different when face to face rather than online can ironically really help with voice-activated internet searches. In fact, 41% of users say that their voice-activated speaker makes them feel as if they’re talking to a friend. With that being the case, it’s your job to use your website to act as a friend would. If you can hack that, you can hack voice-operated search optimization.
Contact Sites by Sara for Voice Search Optimization Tactics
Even if you feel like you understand the logic behind this concept, it’s natural to be lost on the mechanics of implementing it. Just as with SEO, it’s vital to your website that your Voice Activated Search Optimization is done well. Sites by Sara is composed of an experienced team of website designers who are experts on website optimization and creation of all kinds. We can help you optimize your site for voice search, too. Reach out online for a free quote, or call (385) 355-5351 to talk about your needs.
VOICE COMMAND SERVICES
|Voice activated landing pages||5 landing pages optimized for Voice commands|
|Voice platforms||Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Bixby|
|Marketing methods||Video marketing, image marketing|
|Number of search terms optimized||20-30 keywords|
|Number of cities to be targeted||5|
|Voice Keywords in top results||4-5 keywords in 30 days|
|Top of Voice results timeline||90-120 days|
|Results||Every month keywords will keep on getting better|