Voice Search might seem like a bit of a gimmick or a fad, but it’s the next big thing in terms of how we search for information online. And that means it’s the next big thing for SEO. According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Google’s voice search tool launched way back in 2008, but voice search has grown rapidly in the last couple of years with the advent of home devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa.
With voice search on the rise, what does this mean in terms of SEO for your business?
1. You need to aim high!
When you search for something on a phone or laptop, Google will serve you pages of options including several ads. When you use voice search, you are returned one answer – the one that ranks at the top of the search results. This means that being in that number-one spot is key, and becoming a featured snippet is even more important.
2. Think carefully about what people are searching for.
The way we search on a traditional search engine is different to how we use voice search. It’s worth bearing in mind here that a lot of voice searches will also be done on a mobile phone, perhaps whilst travelling about: “find me the nearest mechanic” when a car breaks down, for example. Optimising content to take these differences into account can make a big difference to how your site performs in voice searches. To do that, you need to really try and think like your ideal customer, and try to figure out what they will be saying to their devices. Google has suggested they may add voice search to Google Search Console so that you can see what users are searching – but they’ve not said when that will be.
3. Local SEO is more important than ever.
Because people will be using voice search to find information on local businesses, your location-specific content will need to be ready for this. Things like making sure your Google My Business page is up to date, including business hours and contact details. The last thing you want is for your business to come up in a search result, but then find that users cannot contact you, or are disappointed to find that you’re closed when Google thinks you are open.
4. Site speed and mobile friendliness are key.
If you’ve been meaning to get around to optimising your site for mobile, now is the time to do it! The majority of voice searches are conducted on mobile. If Google directs users to your site and sees that they can’t find what they’re looking for and bounce back again, this will affect your ranking badly. Google has said that bounce rates are 9.56% higher on mobile. Remember: Google is always watching what users are doing and how they behave! Similarly, if your site takes too long to load, Google will just find another site that does load quickly and you will miss out. According to Yoast, 2019 will be the year that average site loading time drops from four seconds to three. How does your site measure up? Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out.
What does the growth in voice search mean for your business?
The good news is that if you are a Jago client we are already working on this sort of thing for you.
If you’re not a Jago client yet, and you’d like to talk about how your site could be improved, get in touch for an informal chat.