Every single person who operates a website or owns a business understands the value of search engine optimization (SEO). For years marketers and people hoping to grow their blog would carefully craft their keywords and use these words sparingly throughout their content in an effort to best Google’s algorithm and appear at the top of page one when potential customers search their keywords.
Voice search has effectively shaken the SEO system many marketers feel they have mastered and adds a brand new dynamic worth looking at if you hope to grow your business. We are going to take a look at the history of voice search, how it works, and how you can improve your voice search visibility in 2019.
The creation of voice search
Voice search, particularly as it relates to Google, has grown exponentially in value. The primary reason for this increase in value is simple, it’s just more accurate than it once was.
Back in 2013, Google stated that their voice recognition software was able to pick up the correct word or phrase 80 percent of the time. Between 2013 and now, that number has grown to a shocking 95 percent accuracy. The end goal of voice search programmers is to develop technology that is accurate 99 percent of the time.
This increase in accuracy would likely turn even the most skeptical user into a frequent voice search user. When a customer is able to make a request such as “Movie theaters near me” and get nearly flawless results, there’s going to be an increase in users.
The explosion of voice search
When you think about voice search, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Odds are, you’re thinking about your smartphone and Google Assistant or a smart home device like Alexa. These devices, when combined with constantly growing accurate results, is the primary reason for the explosion of voice search.
Instead of opening Google, typing in your query, sifting through results and then clicking through to a page, you can simply hold your phone’s center button or activate your home smart speaker and talk directly to the search engine.
According to Think With Google, 72 percent of people surveyed said that they couldn’t imagine going back to their daily routine without their smart search assistant. The data in this survey shows that voice search is booming, people love it, and there’s no sign of it slowing down in the coming years.
How to generate conversions with voice search
Now that you can see how popular voice search has become in a little over a decade, and understand how attached people have become to their smart devices that allow them to search by just uttering a few phrases, it’s time to learn how to use that information to generate more conversions and draw in potential customers/readers with voice search.
Create an easy to read site map
Your sitemap is the way that search engines recognize your keywords and their relevance to the user’s search. When you’re creating new pages on your site think about the keywords you’re choosing and how this will compare to what people are looking for online.
If your sitemap is clean and organized, the search engine will be able to instantly recommend your site if the user does a voice search for the proper keyword or phrase. It’s also a good idea to go back and look at some of your previously published content to see if there are revisions you could make in the URL link. This small change will help you reach your audience when they are looking for information relevant to your niche.
Rethink your keywords
One of the toughest things for marketers to cope with is the idea that their tried and true SEO keywords may not be as effective in a few years. It’s estimated that by 2022, 52 percent of households in the US will have a smart speaker. Combine that number with the fact that virtually every adult has a smartphone with voice search capabilities, and it’s easy to see why you may need to rethink your current keyword strategy.
Instead of searching for ‘gardening supplies’ people are searching for ‘gardening supply stores near me,’ or ‘how to grow a perfect garden.’ Since people are able to speak into their smart devices to search, the topics they are searching for are much more specific. We need to think about how the average customer would ask a question or initiate a search and target those keywords, instead of a generic phrase that many people used to just type into Google’s search bar.
The Snippet Strategy
If you’ve ever used Google voice search, odds are you received what’s called a featured snippet. Typically, this snippet is short (less than 50 words) and features an answer to the question you asked. Your goal is to appear as a featured snippet when people ask questions using your keywords or in your niche.
As you anticipate getting more voice search traffic, think about ways you can make your writing more concise while answering multiple questions a user might have when they land on your page. If you consistently deliver high-quality content, there’s a good chance your piece could become a featured snippet. By answering multiple questions or concerns in your post, and getting featured in one snippet, you improve the chances of getting featured for multiple questions with the same piece of content.
Voice search is changing SEO forever, there’s no doubt about it. As smart home devices pop up in more homes alongside an increased accuracy among AI search tools, now is the best time to start thinking about your voice search strategy. This evolving process is going to prove to be a big win for marketers who know how to adapt. Change is coming, and with the right tools and resources, you can keep your place at the top of Google’s search engine.