Voice Search and What it Implies For Your Local SEO Strategy

Man uses smart phone for voice search image
Image Source: https://theamericangenius.com/tech-news/voice-search-technology-use-rapidly-increasing/

Voice Search SEO is Now Key As Voice Search Technology Use is Rapidly Increasing

That’s right! The future is here. You can just ask Siri, Cortana or Alexa about neighborhood pizza joints to Prada sales, and you will get instant answers. Voice search is on a steady rise thanks to smartphones and the ubiquity of virtual assistants. Therefore, voice search SEO is an ever more important strategy to adopt.

A report from last year shows voice searches have gone up at least 35 times since 2015. 60% of all voice search users from the US adopted the practice in 2016. Currently, it makes up for 20% of all searches made from Google’s Android app.

It’s easy to understand why. Voice searches are easy, fast and convenient. Even when your hands are full, you can find relevant information by asking your “smartphone” the right questions. It is a hands-free option most moms love, most daily drivers enjoy, and lazy netizens worship. We speak about 150 words per minute. On the other hand, we can barely type 40 words per minute. This is both convenient and reliable for everyone.

Voice search instances have increased in the last year due to improvements in technology and sought optimization. About 35% of all users cite technological development as the reason for their conversion. Before 2015, voice search had an accuracy below 80%. It was laggy, bugged and more of a hassle than help. Right now, the efficiency is surging over a comfortable 90%.

What does that imply for you?

Inclusion of natural language –

When we perform regular searches, we usually just type in keywords like “nearest pizza place open times.” However, when we are engaging in voice searches, we are more likely to use complete sentences. For example – “what time does the nearest pizza parlor open”?

Right now, Google is doing its best to accommodate these “natural language” queries. As a webmaster, you will be able to see a sudden surge in CTR if you include such natural question forms in your website content.

This comes after Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, revealed their Assistant’s ability to process follow up questions. Users don’t have to state the content anymore to reach relevant results.

More mobile searches –

2016 already marked the victory of mobile over desktop. Now, with the sharp rise of voice searches, desktop searches are becoming more irrelevant. Voice searches on desktops don’t make much sense although you get Siri and Cortana for Macs and desktops.

Another very recent survey shows that 53% of the voice search users were driving when the last used their voice searches. A significant 21% were doing chores and moving about while using their voice search. It is certainly not for the sedentary Google user.

More local searches –

Since people used voice searches more while driving, it is easy to assume the users were looking for an address or directions. As per the Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2016, most voice searches from mobile are likely to be local-based. In fact, they are three times more likely to be local as compared to regular searches. This lays a new emphasis on local SEO that was ebbing out by mid-2015.

This is a challenge for many franchises and companies who have multiple business locations. Their primary challenge is to make sure that Google does not penalize them for listing in multiple locations. This takes some effort and skill. The best SEO Company in your locality can provide the latest tips and tricks for improving your local business ranking.

How should you modify your marketing strategy?

Google is never resting. It is either coming up with new algorithm updates or new search features that are keeping SEO experts on their toes. If you have a business website, you should accommodate voice search by making the following changes to your local SEO

  1. Get your local listing updated –

This should have been your primary task as a business owner. Due to some new algorithm updates and changes from the house of Google, it has become mandatory for all business to update their local information. The game has changed quite a bit since Google Answer Box intervened into the Google search domain. Local businesses are striving for their private space in the Answer Box.

Make sure you have claimed all your businesses, verified Google My Business, added the correct NAP and collected reviews. You need to fill in the precise descriptions including updated contact numbers and high-resolution photos. This is critical for CTR and conversion rates.

These are a few primary things required for updating Google business listings.

  1. Long-tailed keywords –

You need to change your keyword game a bit. To rank high for relevant voice searches, you need to start using long-tailed keywords. As we have mentioned before, the scales are tipping towards complete sentence searches.

A FAQ section or a dedicated page is a good idea to boost your ranks. Answering the most commonly asked questions in a part of your website will automatically direct the search engine towards relevant answers to user’s questions.

  1. Go mobile –

You should have done this in 2016. However, if you are still thinking about it, don’t. Just go ahead and do it. As of October 2016, 51.3% users are already browsing from mobiles and tablets only.

You need to make sure that your target customers can find all relevant information. Mobile users should not miss out info just because they are using a smaller screen to view your website.

The ideal strategy is to start with a mobile site and then optimize it for the desktop. However, if you already have a desktop site, a good website development company or even an SEO company can fix up your layout for multiple mobile devices. This is imperative if you own a business that caters to a local crowd.

User intent has related Google voice search and local SEO. Google is currently perfecting its strategy for a better user experience. Voice searches grew by 65% (USA) in the last two years. More people are adopting it because it is easy to access while multi-tasking. You need to up your game and make sure that Siri, Cortana or Alexa can read the information on your website and present it to your potential customer on voice search right now. Leave us a message at Rankingbyseo.com for consultations and strategies.

It is now more important than ever to seriously consider voice search SEO as part of your overall SEO strategy. Those who fail to adapt will get left behind in the fast moving web marketplace.

Gavin is an internet marketer and co-owner of Vectorcentral.com. Gavin lives in Barry in south Wales with his wife, Didem and cats, Munchie and Pixie.