Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are rapidly entering homes across America and smartphone devices are at every individual’s fingertips. As technology related trends continue to emerge and evolve, the way consumers search for local businesses and buy online is transforming. Cue the “voice search” phenomenon. Is your business positioned to leverage this trend to drive growth? Let’s explore what it means and what you can do.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is a form of speech recognition technology that allows a user to prompt an online search with a voice command. Once initiated, a search of the web is performed using Artificial Intelligence to locate keywords and phrases that match the user’s criteria. Within seconds of saying “Hey Siri,” multiple options appear on the user’s screen to answer their question. Today, voice search is everywhere including smartphones, television remotes, and home assistant devices, but what does this suggest for your business? Experts believe that businesses that adapt their websites to voice search early-on will see a noticeable increase in digital commerce revenue.
How Can Your Business Optimize its Website?
If you ask Siri: “How can I make my website compatible for voice search queries?” The response will likely include some of the following suggestions which can be integrated into existing marketing efforts to boost awareness of your business and its online presence. Making a few tweaks to your website to fit the modern user could significantly enhance both the foot and online traffic your business experiences. Here are a few easy tips to get started:
- Get Listed Online—it’s one of the best ways for consumers to find your website. The goal is to list your business: name, address, phone and website url—on places such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo! Local and the Better Business Bureau. These online directories improve visibility and the backlinks from these sites can help with search engine optimization (SEO). Social media sites are another way to increase online presence. If you use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Yelp, then make sure your business profile is complete, accurate and updated frequently.
- Reduce Page Load Time and go Secure (https). Google considers both when ranking search results and users expect it! Studies show that 47% of people expect a page to load in under two seconds and as mobile devices increasingly account for most internet traffic, your website needs to be optimized for mobile usage! Once found, having HTTPS security provides customers assurance that you are protecting their information.
- Review Your Content. Voice search has changed the way search engines crawl the web for answers. Basically, you want to think about user intent – do they want information or want to buy something? The goal is to create content that will increase the relevance of your pages to their search queries. The top results pages returned by Google tend to come from long-form content pages with an average of 2,300 words, have concise answers of approximately 29 words and are written at the 9th grade level or lower. Keep this in mind along with these three ways to boost your content:
- Adapt natural language. In today’s fast paced world, people want information that is clear, concise, and to the point. Make sure your website has a conversational tone throughout and don’t overcomplicate topics. Speech recognition picks up on different results than if a user typed out their query. This means it’s worthwhile to adjust website content to factor in some slang or shorter sentences. Another great way to incorporate more natural language into the website is by developing a blog.
- Add an FAQ page. Chances are users will be searching question-related phrases starting in “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and, “why.” Having a frequently asked questions page will give your business a higher chance of being recognized by a voice search query. You can do this by discovering questions your audience commonly has and finding opportunities to answer them directly. If you’re not sure what questions to ask, talk to some customer-facing employees about common inquiries.
- Create long-tail keywords. Your business can alter content for voice search by using long-tail keywords, which are more direct to match the types of searches. Voice searches typically have four or more words compared to typed search queries, which have 2-3 words. Typed search looks very different than voice search. Listed below are examples that compare both:
- Increases SEO and website traffic. This is especially important to small businesses that are trying to be found in a competitive space. This type of recognition helps a business stand out, when they otherwise may be overlooked. Websites should be positioned to answer questions, so the more you can tailor content to do this, the more likely it is to attract traffic and achieve a higher SEO ranking.
- Call-To-Action. Voice search displays a variety of options for the user, whether they are looking to get directions to the store-front, call or visit a website. It’s all right there. According to Forbes, 28% of consumers call the business, 27% visit the website, and 19% visit in person. This confirms that voice search promises a strong call-to-action for businesses.
Is Voice Search Optimization Right for Your Business?
Studies have proven that particular industries perform exceptionally well when it comes to voice search. Food-related businesses are most frequently found through this technology. Check out the percentages of consumers who use speech recognition and see where your business fits in.
- 51% of consumers use voice search to find restaurants and cafes.
- 41% use it to find grocery stores.
- 35% use it to look up food delivery
- 32% use it to find clothing stores.
- 30% use it to find hotels and breakfast places.
As technology trends continue to emerge and transform the way we work and operate day-to-day, businesses should reevaluate their strategies yearly. Studies have shown that at least half of all searches will be made via voice query by 2020. Voice search is used by consumers to check business hours, make reservations, find contact information, and more. If your business already has an online platform and is interested in adding an extra boost to its marketing strategy, making some simple updates to your website for better voice search optimization may go a long way to improve its efficiencies and boosting ROI. Voice search continues to grow and is a trend that won’t slow down anytime soon.