Can You Hear Me Now? How to Strategize for Voice Search SEO

June 9, 2017

Things are changing again in the digital world. What was once a text-only platform–namely, search—is now getting much more personal. Voice recognition is taking over not just mobile devices, but home devices as well, with personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo or Apple’s brand new HomePod. Google estimates that 20 percent of all searches conducted on mobile devices start with a voice request. Here’s the question: how are you going to handle the voice search SEO challenge?

Voice Search SEO is a Whole New Ballgame

The implication for marketers and brand builders is that voice searches are growing in importance for every business sector. So, how different could it be? The truth is, voice search SEO changes the game considerably, because most people speak differently than they type, so those in charge of developing search strategies,  and those who advise them, must think differently, too.

ComScore, the industry-leading cross-platform measurement company, states that by the year 2020, as many as 50 percent of searches are likely to be voice-initiated.  In just a few years, half of your audience will take their lead from voice searches, whether they are looking for the closest cup of coffee or want to remortgage their home. Mobile search strategies used to require you to think strictly about keywords and phrases, but that all changes with voice search SEO.

Getting into the Conversation hands holding cell phone with local search map and listings for Restaurants on screen

Let’s look at the guy wanting to buy a cup of coffee. His text search might include a few keywords to get him there like:

  • Coffee Lincoln
  • Starbucks
  • Cup of coffee

That same thirsty guy needing a pick-me-up will be more casual when asking his favorite personal assistant for help finding a hot cuppa:

  • Hey, where can I go for a cup of coffee?

The voice search audience doesn’t necessarily connect the dots between doing a mobile search and asking a verbal question. The average person is going to talk to the phone like it’s an old friend, not an electronic device.

What SEO Looks Like in the Verbal Digital World

It’s time to start optimizing for voice search to make sure you reach that verbal searcher—but how? Start by adding natural language to the content of your business site. Instead of:

  • Best Little Coffee Shop – Lincoln,

you want:

  • It’s the best little coffee shop in Lincoln.

Take the time to speak what you see on your site, to make sure it comes off as conversational.

Think about what’s under the hood of your mobile website, as well. Reconfigure the tools that pull search engines to your site, so that they are conversational, as well. Focus on updating your:

  • Microdata
  • Schemas
  • Rich snippets

The impact of voice search means it is more important than ever to list your business in all the mainstream directories. Casual speakers use terms like “near me”, “in the neighborhood” and “close by.” The search engine will pull up location information from the device and go from there.

Voice recognition is here now, and it’s getting more attention from consumers all the time. Are you ready for it? Here’s a smart way to get a handle on Voice Search SEO and ensure that you remain competitive: contact a digital growth agency for expert advice customized to your audience needs and your business capabilities.

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