Are you wondering what might be the next big trend in marketing? Are you trying to prepare your website to get ahead of the curve while ensuring consistent growth and sales conversions? If the answer is ‘yes’ to either one of these questions (or both), you need to understand how voice search works and the role it will play in your future marketing decisions.
Voice search technology isn’t new, but it’s becoming more popular because technology is getting better and allowing for more accurate search results. The accuracy of these search results makes it easier and quicker for people to find the answers they want by simply speaking into their phone, computer, tablet, or smart speaker (without having to type).
Major search engines use speech recognition technology to ‘hear’ what a user is saying. This technology then converts what is heard into an algorithm that allows for the search engine to find relevant results based on both the individual words and the context of previous searches.
For any voice recognition technology to work, it must be set up or ‘trained’ by the user. This training only takes a few minutes but requires several phrases to be spoken, allowing the voice search feature to learn how the user pronounces certain common sounds. As voice search is used, the technology begins to understand more of what is being said as well as the possible context of searches, offering better results each time.
As speech recognition technology has evolved, it has become easier for these search engines to use common syntax to help filter results, finding the best possible matches to your queries. Voice recognition software can understand common syntax while searching provides a lot of possibilities. Users pose their search as a question instead of speaking in keywords to yield the best results.
As a website owner, you should keep in mind that search engines are quite intuitive. They can use someone’s previous searches to provide more relevant information on new searches, almost as though the user and the search engine are having a conversation.
How to Optimize Your Website for This Technology
When trying to optimize your website for voice search, you might be overwhelmed with the pointers, tricks, and guides found online. While many of them will work well and help your voice search ranking, it’s important to remember that your focus needs to be on how well your websites match what your customers might ask about or search for. To do this, make sure that your content is conversational.
Other than that, you will want to:
Make sure that your website loads quickly, especially on mobile devices, as most voice searches are performed.
Focus on question keywords. For instance, “how do I optimize my website for voice search” will probably rank better than “optimize a website for voice search.” Along with this, don’t be afraid of using longer-than-usual longtail keywords.
If it’s feasible, focus on “near me” searches – this means include those words and your location. This is especially true for brick and mortar stores, retailers, and service providers.
Include a FAQ page that answers common questions about your business and industry; this falls into using a conversational tone and question keywords.
Ensure your content is used as a featured snippet by providing quality content, knowing what your customers are asking, and offering relevant answers to their questions
If you haven’t put it together yet: voice search is conversational. Therefore your website should be too! Yes, people still want easy-to-read content, but the information also needs to answer direct questions that are so common with voice searches.
Be aware: not all voice searches automatically use Google as their primary search engine. For example, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana use Bing. This can be a great time to leverage your ranking on other search engines if a first page Google ranking is improbable or impossible.
Voice Search Can Improve Your Website’s Traffic
If it’s been difficult to rank your website in the past, the prominent use of voice searches might change! Because using voice search is so user-friendly and ranks websites based on matching contextual results, you may already benefit from this technology without exerting much effort.
If you’re able to have a featured snippet listed on Google or otherwise rank well within voice search results, your brand recognition can quickly grow as the information presented often includes your site. (According to “your website’s name…”)
As voice search continues to grow in popularity, more and more companies will be optimizing their websites. Because this searching method is already common, there will be some competition – but not as much as following standard SEO practices for written content marketing.
The key to securing your ranking will be to establish yourself and your business as a major influence with the right information as soon as possible. This will help steadily increase your website’s search engine ranking, domain authority, and overall traffic.
Knowing What’s Next
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to predict the future updates to voice searches. However, you can choose to keep yourself informed about any new search engine requirements to ensure your website always falls within each search engine’s guidelines. You can also follow the basic steps mentioned above to help your website provide the type of content that people are actively searching for to boost your voice search rankings.
The key point to remember is that you are focusing on bringing traffic to your website; search engines focus on providing people with the best information to keep people’s trust and ensure their competitive edge. Search engines don’t have a loyalty to you, but to the users who are searching!
Tom Slipkus is a writer and content strategist who helps B2B companies and agencies develop content around a wide range of topics. He specializes in writing mid and bottom-funnel articles that educate and engage audiences, helping increase traffic, get more subscribers, and turn readers into loyal customers.
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