Voice search is coming and you better be prepared for its arrival. More and more people are using their voice and natural language commands to find stuff online. It’s estimated that 40% of adults are now using voice search on a daily basis. If you’re not already doing everything you can to prepare your content marketing strategy for the rise of voice, it’s time to get back on the ball.
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) November 3, 2016
In 2016, Google officially stated that 20 percent of mobile queries had become voice searches. Worried that you’re not doing enough to stay on top of this giant move? Fear not! In this article, we’re pointing out the best measures you can take to prepare your brand for the dominance of voice search in the coming years.
Get a grip on your audience and their natural language queries
You might think you have a very good understanding of your audience, but things are changing so there’s a brand new wave of behaviours to learn. Natural language queries are the actual sentences that people will use when asking Google to find them something. These sentences will be very different to the standard keywords you’re already familiar with. New tools can help! Platforms like Answer the Public let you identify some of the most important natural language queries that your customers are using.
Rather than targeting specific keywords, you’ll need to factor in longer keyword queries that are better suited for Googles RankBrain. Queries are going to become more complex, more general and diverse. You no longer need to be as careful with the words you select as you would with typed searches. Now, as long as you throw out a question that’s remotely decipherable, you’ll be thrown back a range of responses that best match your remarks.
Here’s Neil Patel’s how-to guide on how to optimise for Google’s RankBain
Voice search isn’t all that suitable for long sessions of deep research. It’s far more applicable to quick interactions and spontaneous hunts like finding the nearest chinese takeaway or confirming the name of a certain actor from a movie. Shorter interactions mean limited attention. When people look for you on search, you’ll have less time to make a great first impression.
Gear your content to provide instant answers as well as pull viewers in to find out more. The first few seconds of every bit of content is going to be more crucial than ever before.
Local search plays a huge role
As much as 22% of voice queries are for local content. People are using mobile devices to find things close to them, or they’re looking for local services with a super quick and convenient search while sat at home. “Near me” searches have grown by well over 100% in recent years, as users reach to their phones to get around, find local businesses and identify the most practical options for their needs at any given time.
What does this mean for your brand? It means local search optimisation is going to become increasingly important in direct correlation with the rise of voice search. Think about how you can relate your brand to actual locations, landmarks, things to do lists and other location-based dynamics that will place your offering in front of those looking for goodies right around the corner.
Establish your “Google my business” listing
Google any query for a shop or local business and you’ll see the first block of options returned in a neat shelf at the top of the rankings. These are businesses that have claimed their “Google my business” listings. This is where you wanna be especially if you’re running brick and mortar that relies heavily on local traffic.
Your listing needs to be consistent with the information on your pages as well as with any other listing platforms you might already feature on. Check a detailed guide on getting this done the right way in this step-by-step article.
Just as we mentioned above, more and more people are using voice search to locate local products and services. By making sure your business is suited and booted on Google’s latest voice command friendly feature, you’ll be setting yourself up to take full advantage of the swarms of users looking for local options.
Be mobile friendly
If everyone’s speaking to their mobiles to find you, it makes all the sense in the world that your site has to be as mobile friendly as possible. Use test tools to evaluate your website’s performance on mobile devices and identify specific areas for improvement. Once you get a result saying you’re good to go on mobile, you’re ready to take the next step.
Simply put in your website and you get a straight up answer to ‘Is your site mobile-friendly?’
Speed is king when it comes to not only your SEO performance, but also you mobile performance. GTmetrix is the place to go to test the load speed of your pages. People prefer using voice commands over typing because it’s easier, more natural, and can be done without much thought while you’re taking on other things. What does this tell us about the people searching this way? It says they like things done fast. If it doesn’t happen right away, it doesn’t happen.
Even our reading habits are changing drastically as these new devices make surfing faster and easier than ever before. We don’t read headlines anymore, we scan them. Graphics and textures are no longer appreciated as much as they’re seen as disruptive nuisance. When it comes to optimising your site for mobile and voice search, minimalism is the approach you need to be going for.
Strip away design elements, photos and even words you don’t need. Place the essential information clearly right from the start, as voice searchers won’t have the attention spans necessary to accept anything less than exactly what they want as soon as they reach you.
Those are our picks! These are the best ways to prepare your online presence for the revolution of voice search. Make sure you follow the pointers above to keep your pages relevant the growing sea of users increasingly reliant on vocalising their desire for stuff nearby.