As the age of mobile-first marketing crescendos on the brink of a new decade, business owners are left wondering how their search engine optimization will be affected by voice search. Gone are the days when technical content and narrowly defined keyword rankings determine how powerful your presence is online.
A tremendous amount of internet searches are now conducted by voice, and this trend is not expected to slow down any time soon. Voice search optimization has nuances that differ from traditional SEO. In order to maintain or develop your online presence moving forward, you must adopt these strategies to be successful via voice search.
This strategy proves true for traditional search and voice search alike. The more robust your local SEO, the more you will appeal to a voice search query. Over a third of voice search users are verifying business information, such as hours, closures, phone numbers, etc. Ensuring this information is correct is a priority, and this includes updating your Google My Business listing.
Another way to improve local SEO for lawyers, aestheticians & cosmetic surgeons, dentists, and ophthalmologists is to capture recent and consistent reviews. Research has shown that most users will trust an online review the same or even more than a verbal recommendation from a friend. Having a good amount of recent reviews, and responding to those reviews, will demonstrate authority and sentiment – two things that users respond positively to.
When someone uses voice search to ask “What are the hours of operation for my nearest dentist?” and your information is not correct, that lead is now squashed due to misinforming the user. And, similarly, since Google is user-centric, the search engine strives to provide the user with a correct and valuable answer each time. So, when the information is correct for your listing , and a happy customer writes a positive review on Google, guess who shows up in voice search again – your business.
Improving your site speed will increase the likelihood that mobile users will stay on your site. Bounce rates on mobile – where the majority of voice searchers live – are almost 10% higher than on desktops. Site speed also affects your listings in voice search; a fast site speed will warrant a better position in voice search results than a slower one.
Imagine a victim in a motorcycle accident hit and run; they are undoubtedly in a hurry to find an attorney. They will use voice search to look for said attorney, and the faster loading sites should index towards the top. Upon clicking on your listing, users are more likely to stay on your page the faster your site loads. And, with the right content and calls-to-action, the more likely these users are to call your office.
People tend to use more conversational keyword phrases while speaking compared to while they are typing. We call these full-sentence keyword phrases long-tail keywords, and incorporating them into your pages and blog posts should optimize your site better for voice search.
This behavior of asking questions in full sentences is due largely in part to the era of voice assistants. Voice assistants like Siri or Alexa are replacing humans – but they keep the conversation going. Most users will interact with a voice assistant the same way they would ask a friend a question. For example, you might ask Siri, “Where is the best eye doctor near me?” instead of simply saying “best eye doctor” or “eye doctor near me”. This presents an opportunity to include long-tail keywords in website content to better match voice search. Take a look at Google Search Console to determine the most popular long-tail search terms in your area to start.
Like the conversational language of voice search, the rest of your site’s content should be engaging, interesting and complementary to common questions in your industry and market. Voice search has opened another channel to the featured snippet by prompting voice assistants to read them aloud. That’s right, Google Home and Google Assistant will currently read featured snippets when answering voice search queries. If you thought position zero was good before, it’s even more effective via voice search.
You can start by reviewing popular search queries and including the full question as a header on your page. Then, answer the question clearly. Google is more likely to show a featured snippet that is an exact match to a search query with the best answer.
Be careful not to use industry jargon, and provide content that speaks to the perspective of the user. If you’re posting a blog describing different types of breast implants, for example, first look for the most popular search queries regarding this topic. Post your blog “Breast Implant Options” with the search query as your header “Which type of breast implant am I a candidate for?” Then, provide the answers clearly and concisely without a lot of fluff in between.
In the last ten years, the evolution of voice search and mobile usage in general has been explosive. Voice search is now supported in 60 languages and across a dozen virtual assistants. Despite the popularity of this method, Google has yet to provide a metric to track this activity. This capability may be available sometime in the future, but for now your best option is to optimize your website by the aforementioned guidelines. Some of these tenants share origins with traditional SEO, while others are more specific to voice search alone. The common thread between them all is that they are no longer suggestions, but absolutely essential to survive online. Staying on top of search engine optimization trends can be daunting. If you need help improving search rankings for your practice, please contact MyAdvice at 435.575.7470 today for a free website and digital marketing consultation!