Just when you thought your website was search engine optimized and then mobile search optimized we have another challenge--voice search optimization.
Yes, that’s right. According to Bright Local’s Voice Search for Local Business Study, 58% of consumers used voice search to locate information about a local business. Nearly half of that number (46%) voice searched every day and 28% about once a week. If you’re not thinking in these terms, you’re missing out on a lot of possible web traffic.
Who’s Using Voice Search?
The quick answer is everyone. What started as a novelty for early tech adopters has now become something we all do as part of our multi-tasking. But if you need demographic information:
18-34 year-olds: 76% had used voice search to find information about local businesses in the last 12 months. 15% who hadn’t said they would consider it.
35-54: 64% had, 24% said they’d consider it.
55+: 37% had, 33% said they’d consider it.
As the technology becomes easier to use and voice recognition software gets better, more people will begin using it and realize how easy it is to speak into a phone (or device) when you’re on the move.
While smartphones are still the number one way people conduct voice search voice-enabled devices (like Alexa, Siri HomePod, and Google Home) that will continue to grow in popularity so it’s important to understand how you can optimize your web content to return advantageous results for your business.
Tips for Improving Voice Search Results
Consumers are most likely to search for food services like restaurants and cafes (51% of searches for these businesses are voice searches), grocery stores (41%), food delivery (35%), retail clothing stores (32%), and lodging (30%). If you’re in one of these businesses you must think about voice optimization. But it’s a good idea even if you aren’t. When creating your business website content keep these things in mind:
Answer questions. People ask questions or question phrases of voice search. For instance, “What’s the best pizza place in Queens?” or “Best Italian in Clearwater.”
Know why they search and provide the info. The most common reason people use voice search is to find out: about reservations, pricing of goods or services, if something is in stock, or information to make a purchase.
Optimize your Google My Business listing. Most voice search is local, asking for info on things around town. Having a complete business listing on Google will help get more traffic to your site.
Think about how people ask about you and your services. There are a lot of ways people refer to your goods and services. For instance, some people may ask for “Italian food”, “Italian” or “Italian restaurants.” They may also name a specific like “best pizza” or “homemade eggplant parm.” Think about the terminology and use it in different ways throughout your site.
Keep it casual. Very few people are formal in voice search. You want to write your content the way you/they speak.
Use commonly asked questions as headers in your copy.
Add solutions as headers. If there’s a solution you provide that other places don’t, use that language in your copy, especially in the headers. For instance, “24-hour plumber” or “immediate assistance with plumbing problems” may be an important advantage in selecting your business and you should make sure people who search for that find you.
Remember voice queries are usually longer. Keep that in mind when structuring the way you phrase your keywords in your headers and throughout your content.
Fix slow loads. It doesn’t do you any good to optimize your content for mobile search if you have a slow-loading site. People who use mobile search are often on the go. They want easy answers. If it takes a long time to access your site, they’ll go elsewhere.
Voice search is growing in popularity across the demographics. You’d be wise to consider it if you want to stay at the top of local search.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, Event Managers Blog, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.
As an introverted writer, she’s on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere while single-handedly combating the overuse of exclamation points.