Search engine optimization (SEO) has helped many brands establish a strong presence, both online and offline. By securing an optimal spot on search engine results pages or SERPs, your business attracts a good amount of website traffic.
Your online visibility carries over to the physical space as well. It helps consumers recall your business name and location when your brand is quickly searchable in digital platforms. This lets them easily navigate their way into your brick-and-mortar store or restaurant.
SEO has come a long way. Before the age of spiders, the Panda, and the penguin, search engines struggled to give satisfying answers. But with every algorithm update, Google and other search engines have evolved into machine-learning, hyper-smart systems capable of breaking down even the most complex queries to provide users what they’re looking for.
Search engines continue to evolve alongside technology. And one tech has been looming on the horizon of digital marketing for a while now: voice search.
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In 2011, Apple introduced Siri on the iPhone 4S – the first-ever voice assistant capable of holding a conversation. This software helped users get things done just by asking – from making calls, sending texts, searching the internet, and more.
Since then, voice search has grown into more advanced technology. Several competitors have entered the market since Siri, including Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa. These digital assistants give people options, encouraging them to try out the software. More importantly, voice assistants fulfill consumers’ need for immediacy.
The value proposition of voice search is simple: it’s so much easier to talk than type. This feature is extremely attractive to today’s impatient consumers.
Buyer expectations have changed drastically over the years. Empowered by their smartphones, they can quickly search the internet for answers to their problems and queries. So they expect you to respond just as fast. Because of the availability and convenience of voice search, it’s set to only become more popular.
Many industry experts predict that voice search is the disruptive tech of 2020. This year, half of all online searches will be done through voice.
As a brand, this forecast means stepping up your SEO strategy to accommodate the characteristics of voice searches. But if you’re a local business, the boom of voice search means so much more.
Voice queries have characteristics distinct from typed-in ones. First, they use natural language and longer search terms – usually in the form of a question. Second, the figures vary per source but many industry experts say that a good chunk of voice searches are location-based. People like to search for stores or brands “near me” when they’re on the go or on a hurry. And performing this query through voice speeds up the process even more.
Third, voice search mostly happens on mobile devices. In 2016, 20 percent of mobile queries were voiced, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Again, voice queries are made through smartphones because the searchers are typically on the road.
With voice search positioned to flourish this year, milking the rising technology’s capabilities can bring you plenty of benefits. For one, optimizing for voice helps you rise to the top of SERPs, driving more traffic both online and offline.
Effective voice optimization techniques are hinged on the key attributes mentioned earlier.
Win voice searches by focusing on these two things: “near me” searches and featured snippets.
Featured snippets provide concise, direct answers to queries, so they occupy “position zero.” Most voice assistants will only read aloud the top result, which should be the most satisfying answer to the query. Since 12.29 percent of searches return featured snippets, it makes sense for you to optimize for these.
SERP snippets also help you win zero-click searches. Many queries are answered directly on the results page through rich snippets. Because consumers have grown more impatient than ever, not having to scan several web pages works to their advantage.
Below are some techniques for winning rich snippets:
You can target “near me” queries by including the following keywords in your content:
Here are other ways to win “near me” queries:
Ultimately, the goal of voice search optimization is to provide a better search experience for users, helping them find what they need as fast as possible. Create your web pages with your
audience’s ease of use in mind to facilitate their progression from site visitor to lead, and eventually, to loyal customer.
With expert help, you can have a website that is voice-search-optimized – user- and search-friendly anytime, on any device.
Digital Beverly offers premium digital marketing services, including search engine optimization. Powered by the industry-proven techniques and the latest research, our strategies produce actionable data and goal-oriented results.
Read our local SEO case study, “Starting from Zero,” to find out how we used SEO best practices and market research to improve an Italian restaurant’s online
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