How Voice Search is Shaping the Future of SEO

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The way we use our mobile devices is changing. Like most of you, I grew up talking on my phone. Now we talk to them, and guess what? They can talk back. From Siri and Cortana, to Google Home and the Amazon Echo, virtual assistants are becoming an invaluable part of our daily lives. We rely on them to set our alarms in the morning or turn off the lights at night when we’re too lazy to get up from the couch. And we’re also using them to find answers to our most important questions, like “How to hire an attorney?” or “What is my cat thinking?”

According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report, 20% of mobile searches were made using voice search last year, and the numbers are only expected to climb throughout 2017 and beyond. So how do we, as SEO experts, keep up with the change in search dynamics? Here are just a few useful tips for making sure your sites rank well during the rise of the voice search.

Keep Keywords and Content Conversational

We’ve always preached organic content, and it’s now more important than ever. Technical jargon turns readers off, and it doesn’t do your website any favors when it comes to voice search, either. Unlike a typed query, voice searches are obviously more casual and conversational in nature.

It’s important to consider the words and phrases real people are using. What kinds of questions are potential clients asking when they call you? Are they more likely to say “automobile” or “car?” How about “money” or “compensation?” Use these to rethink your keywords.

Answer Frequently Asked Questions

A great way to make your website more voice-friendly is to create FAQ pages. These pages should focus on conversational keyword phrases and answer complete, direct questions.

But how do you find out what questions people are asking? One strategy that we rely on frequently at PaperStreet is to use Google’s predictive search feature to brainstorm a list of common questions. The predictive search feature shows exactly what people are searching for, and how they are searching for it.

Developing well-crafted, query-based content can also increase the chances of your website claiming “position 0” — a sought-after spot reserved for Google’s featured snippets and direct answers. These listings typically show up above all organic search results. Talk about prime real estate!

Define Your Location

The vast majority of all Google searches rely on a user’s location, and voice search is no different. In most cases, it actually relies on location even more than typed queries! From shopping malls and restaurants, to doctors and law firms, people are constantly seeking out local results that are nearby. Make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, and make sure it’s well-optimized. The more reviews, photos and information you have, the better.

Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Google has been teasing its “mobile-first” index for quite some time now, and with good reason. According to SearchEngineLand, nearly 60% of all searches came from mobile devices in 2016! You can make sure your website is up to par by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and checking out their guidelines for mobile SEO. Long load times, broken images and un-crawlable content are just a few factors that can impact your website’s overall usability.

Stay On Your Toes!

The world of search engine optimization and internet marketing is always changing, and voice search is just another example of that. But while it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest SEO developments, don’t forget the basics. The growing popularity of voice-based search might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t mean you need to scrap everything you know and reevaluate your whole strategy. Build on your time-tested tactics, and adapt to the changes as they come.

How are you making sure your site is ready for voice search? Let us know in the comments!


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