For so long, you optimized your website for browser searches. Because that’s all there was. But as more and more people are making voice search a regular part of their lives, the rules for SEO are changing. Between smartphones, smart speakers and wearable devices, it’s becoming so easy for users to find what they’re looking for through voice search. Over 1 billion voice searches are made every month, and in 2020 30% of all browsing sessions included voice search.
So how can you use this knowledge to your advantage, to drive traffic, increase conversions and drive sales?
The Rise of Voice Search
First, let’s talk about our options for voice search devices. The most common, by far, are smart phones. Everyone’s got one and, c’mon, it’s a phone. It’s designed to be spoken to. Between Google Assistant, Siri and other voice input features, voice search is just an inherent part of how people interact with the internet.
So, who is using it? And what are they using it for?
In a recent survey, 57% of respondents use voice search on their phone compared to 27% on smart speakers and 14% on wearable devices, and 31% of smart phone users use it at least once a week. It’s the 18-29 year old crowd that uses the function the most, with a whopping 71% using voice search regularly.
And those numbers are growing.
In 2021, a 9.7% increase in users in the US, a total of 122.7 million people in the country. That’s almost a third of the country!
As this trend continues it’s important to ensure your content is reachable through this path. Because optimizing for it is not the same as optimizing for browsers.
Optimizing Your Site Content
People use voice search differently from a traditional browser search. And they’re looking for different things. You need to be able to anticipate how this function is being used and cater to that need.
So what are people looking for?
Generally, they’re looking for quick answers to questions. Things like directions while driving, checking the weather, getting recipes while cooking. On top of this, 43% of voice-enabled device owners use their device to shop.
People also phrase their searches differently in voice search than in browser search. They ask things in the form of questions, rather than just entering the main keywords they need, like they would if using a traditional search engine.
If you want to optimize your content, you need to think of things in terms of snippets like this.
Your keyword game needs to be on point, but you also need to think about how people are searching?
How do you make your SEO work to suit this trend?
There are several ways you can optimize your site content, including:
Using conversational language.
Transforming short keyword searches into long-tail question queries.
Placing greater emphasis on featured snippets.
Ensuring your content is clear, informative and authoritative.
As this trend continues, these are all important aspects to keep in mind, but you also need to have a clear idea of what exactly you expect your visitors to get from interacting with your content. Why are they coming to you? And does optimizing for voice search make sense for your business?
Is optimizing for voice search right for you?
Well, that depends on what your goal is. Remember that not all content that works with a traditional browser search will work for a voice search. You can’t play videos on a smart speaker, for instance. And people aren’t looking for long readouts of things. People are looking for answers. And you need to ask yourself: what answers are you looking to provide, and can you provide them?
This is where featured snippets are huge. Can your content provide a concise, go-to answer to someone’s query? If so, then optimizing for voice search is for you.
But it’s important not to go all-in on optimizing for voice search, either. You don’t want to fully change your content to fit the SEO model and sacrifice the hits you rely on from browser search. You need to think of voice search as one more option for reaching your audience, rather than the only answer.
The world is changing, but people are still using traditional browser search, so don’t sacrifice that traffic just because of trends. But it’s an absolute must to keep in mind, especially if your product is best accessed through this feature.
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