For several years now, voice search has been a particularly hot topic, and for a good reason too. According to data from Hitwise, more searches, an increase of about 60% compared to previous years, are being performed on mobile devices. Such an increase is something that should change how SEO agencies think. But there’s more. With voice searches increasing, 2018 looks promising and should be the big year for voice search.
Consider it this way: For Apple device users, Siri is your indispensable companion and is now part of the laptop and desktop operating systems and iPads and iPhones. As of June 2015, way before it was even added on to different devices, Siri was already handling well over 1 Billion requests every week. As of May 2016, a ¼ of all searches made on Windows 10’s taskbar were all voice searches.
With this information in mind, it is worth noting that in 2015, 1,700,000 voice-first devices were bought and shipped to new users. By 2016, this number had risen to 6,500,000, and in 2017, about 24,500,000 devices had been shipped. And all this is before Apple’s Home Pod, which is Apple’s incursion into the virtual assistant/speaker world and is something that has been scooped up by Apple’s faithful followers.
What is the value of voice search to businesses? According to information provided by the President and Founder of Milestone Inc., Benu Aggarwal, during a presentation at the 2017 SMX, about 82% all mobile users use their devices to search for local businesses. Half of them visit a store within one day of searching, and about 18% of this number make a purchase.
As more of these searches are being performed using Cortana, Alexa, OK Google, and Siri, it is becoming more important to rank top on most of these searches, especially for those searches related to your business.
What does that mean? It means that your domain shouldn’t only be optimized using the proper keywords, but the content therein should be optimized for both typing and the more conversational voice search according to Matt Woodward.
So how does one optimize for search?
Answer All The Right Questions
Here’s a breakdown of voice search according to a report presented by Internet Trends: 30% of searches made by users are for general information, 22% for local information, 21% for entertainment and fun, and the remaining 47% use voice as personal assistants.
So, what questions should you be answering? If you run a local business, it is vital that you rank at the top of local searches made by people looking for services or products your company provides. It is almost certain that most of these searches are for the same things, be they services or products, most users are looking for.
If your main aim is to get users to find you by providing them with the information they need, it is vital that you answer the general niche-related questions and queries most people ask. Ensure that your voice search answers are precise and to the point as this will prove that you are an expert in the area.
Keep It Simple
If you want to rank on voice search, it is vital that you optimize your website for commonly asked questions in a simple, yet straightforward manner. Consider it this way – when a user queries a simple cookery question like “How long does it take to boil an egg until it’s done?”, the best reply to this question for a voice search answer should be something simple like “allrecipes.com, suggests that you bring an egg to a boil, and let it stand in hot water for about 14 to 17 minutes.”
Substitute the question and answer, including your website name. This not only helps with branding but also with what it can do for your conversions and the bottom line in moments.
As a person running a local business, you should do your best to ensure that you are the answer a user finds when searching for something like “best coffee house (or burger joint, or what it is you provide) in (whatever location you are in).” As such, it is vital that you use the right keywords, and that you keep your website and content on your homepage simple.
Do It Better
Why do allrecipes.com recipes come up first on most voice searches? Because the answers they give are simpler and way better than those provided by their competitor’s, well, at least for now. The Incredible Egg or Good Housekeeping may have great answers tomorrow, and may soon outrank them, but that’s if they are working on optimizing their websites.
The key to ranking better than your competition in voice search is working on improving your answers as you move forward.
Dig Deep For Click Through
Apart from branding, how do you get your users to click on your links and visit your business or site? The only way to do this is to go deeper. With that being said, where users land is important. For restaurants, you need to have an excellent menu page with contact information and photos of your top cuisine prominently featuring on your homepage. This way, when users visit your website on their phones and other mobile devices, the read and see things that will motivate them to visit your joint.
For recipes, consider including instructions below the answer you give that exactly explain why you do not really boil eggs, and the 3 to 8-minute timer your grandma gave you will not produce great results.
To get clicks, you will have to dig deeper by providing a more comprehensive answer. When you do this, the clicks you get from your “spot on” content will eventually lead to conversions.
Understand The Aim of Voice Search
The main aim of voice search is mostly building expertise and brand recognition. Conversions are often a result of these things. Nevertheless, voice search doesn’t always guarantee organic traffic. Once users have a good enough answer, especially to general questions, they probably won’t read beyond that – and they do not have to.
The important thing is that you have provided them with the information they wanted, and the rule reciprocity dictates that the more often you do this, the more likely users will buy from you. The goal is to building expertise and brand recognition and to increase conversions. However, this does not guarantee an increase in organic traffic.
However, the more you satisfy users with your voice search answers, the happier search engines like Google will be with it, and the more likely you’ll continue to rank – a win-win situation for everyone.