2019 has ushered in some changes in terms of digital and mobile marketing, as well as search engine optimization. Whether you’re planning to develop a custom app this year, or you’re revamping your website, there’s going to be one big consideration that you should prioritize: optimizing for voice search.
The following are both general and specific things to know in 2019 when it comes to voice search optimization.
Why Is Voice Search Optimization Important?
Undeniably, the way people look for information online and on their mobile devices is shifting. People are increasingly using voice search as the primary way to locate the information, products, and resources they’re looking for.
Consider the popularity of home voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home devices.
Almost 60 percent of all searches are now performed on a mobile device according to Hitwise, and that’s one of the big reasons for the growing popularity of voice search. It’s simply easier and more convenient to use voice search on a mobile device for a lot of people.
Rather than having to type in a question or subject, people can simply ask for the answers they want. It’s much like having a conversation. That’s a key term to understand when it comes to optimizing for voice search—conversational.
How Is Voice Search Different From Traditional Keyword Searches?
Most people have become pretty adept and well-versed at typing in keywords and phrases to succinctly and efficiently find what they’re looking for online. Those keywords have become a foundational element of most businesses’ marketing strategies.
However, keywords are different from voice search phrases. As was touched on above, voice searches are much more conversational with a more natural flow.
This means not only are voice search questions going to be phrased differently, but they’re usually also longer than what people would typically type in for a keyword search.
Neil Patel wrote on the topic and gave a good example. If someone was using a traditional keyword search and they want to find out where to eat, they might type in the “best restaurants in X” with X being the city or neighborhood they’re looking for.
With voice search that might look something more like “what restaurants near me are open now” or something along those lines. You can see the words in those two are almost entirely different, with the exception of “restaurant.”
Local Voice Search
There is a lot to know about voice search and how to optimize for it across your app and website, but one thing that we see a lot of is locally-driven searches. For example, people might be driving and using their voice search feature on their mobile device to locate a business close to them that offers the products or services they’re looking for.
Along with thinking about the actual key phrase optimization element, if you’re optimizing for local voice search, you should make sure you’ve claimed your Google Business listing a well.
Some other tips as far as local optimization include:
- When you’re creating your SEO strategy make sure you’re thinking about the words and phrases that are often used to describe your location and the neighborhood around it
- Use “near me” in your key components of your SEO such as your title tags and meta descriptions
- Include the names of landmarks located near you in your SEO strategy
This is more of a technical consideration, but when it comes to optimizing your site or app for voice search, you want to make sure it has a fast loading speed. According to research, websites that are fast-loading tend to perform better in Google voice search results.
There’s probably a fairly simple explanation for this—people want to find answers quickly. Can you imagine asking your home assistant a question and then having to wait for an answer? Probably not.
More than likely page speed is a key ranking signal for voice search.
A lot of the other ranking signals that seem to help a site do well with Google voice search are similar to the tried and true SEO principals. For example, content that’s highly shared tends to rank well.
If content is easily readable and can be well-understood, this is also going to be a good thing. Again, there’s a simple reason for this. If it’s easy for Google to understand, they’re more likely to access the content.
A lot of what’s held true in terms of best SEO practices is still true with the onslaught of voice search, but there are also some changes your business may need to make along the way.