Voice search is undeniably growing at a rapid pace, and for good reason — it’s fast, convenient, allows you to search on the go, and it’s just cool. Even better, as the technology behind voice search services like Siri and Cortana improves, it’s becoming increasingly reliable.
Because of this, smart marketers are developing ways to tailor their SEO strategies for voice search. As typed-out search terms become less popular, it’s going to get more and more important to start making those adjustments.
Here are some ways that the rise of voice search will shape the future of SEO, and some tips on how to prepare.
1. Use Of Natural Speech Patterns
Most people don’t type the way they speak, especially when it comes to searching for something online. Think about it, when you’re searching for something through typing, you tend to use shorthand (like typing in “weather Santa Cruz” if you’re looking for the forecast in Santa Cruz). When you speak, it’s more likely that you’ll use the complete question (“What’s the weather like in Santa Cruz tomorrow?”). Because of this, it’s growing more important for voice search and SEO to pick up on users’ natural speech patterns.
As the programming behind voice search gets more refined — in 2012 the word error rate was over 20%, but now it’s as low as 8% — it’s getting much better at picking up our speech quirks. This means that marketers interested in voice search SEO will need to reflect this in their strategies.
One great way to do this is using voice query research tools like Rank Tracker. This tool lets you type in keywords with wildcards to help you develop language that better reflects the natural speech patterns of voice search users.
You should also consider your online content in the context of voice search. To boost your search rankings, it’s important that you incorporate natural speech in your content. Consider using a more conversational tone to pick up on the nuances of everyday language.
2. Long-tail Keywords
In a similar vein, short tail keywords are quickly becoming less relevant when considering the natural phrases people tend to use in voice searches. And with 20% of mobile queries being voice searches and the ratio of voice search growing faster than type search, it’s getting more important than ever before to ensure that you’re using the right keywords to capture voice searches.
As voice search gets more popular, it’s growing more important to use conversational, long-tail keywords to boost your SEO. These tend to be longer and involve very specific keyword phrases that are used by people closer to the point of purchasing something. Because of this, you should have keywords that describe your product features and benefits as detailed as possible and involve proper phrases or sentences.
For example, if you sell classic furniture, the short keyword “furniture” probably won’t be too helpful to capture people using voice search. Instead, you should use keywords like “modern art deco-inspired low sofa” to better reflect what your potential customers are looking for.
3. Even More Emphasis On Mobile
The huge popularity of mobile devices is pretty old news at this point. However, with the emergence of voice search, mobile is becoming even more important. With over half of all search queries coming from mobile, marketers are focusing on it in the context of voice search to boost their SEO.
In this day and age, the best marketers understand that mobile should come before desktop. And since most voice searches are done on-the-go via smartphones, this means that you need to make sure your content is optimized for mobile devices to appear higher on voice search rankings.
One way to do this is by taking Google’s mobile-friendly test, which will let you know if your web page will rank in mobile search (hint: it won’t unless you pass the test). You should also make sure all of your resources are crawlable, avoid Flash since it isn’t supported by most mobile browsers, and optimize your load time by compressing images. This way, when someone asks their smartphone a question related to your content, your web page will pop up to the top of the list.
The popularity of voice search is certainly exciting — it’s often easier and more convenient than typed-out searches, and younger generations are attracted to its “cool factor.” Because of this, it’s important that marketers pay attention to how this may affect their SEO. By researching the effects of voice search on search engine results, you can stay ahead of the competition in getting users to your web content.
What are some other ways you think voice search will impact SEO in the future?