Growing Potential of Voice Search and Its Implication for Your Business
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Growing Potential of Voice Search and Its Implication for Your Business

By Syed Zainul Haque October 10, 2018 - 4,826 views

A ComScore estimate recently suggested that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice-based. To further support that claim, 40% of adults already used voice-based search back in 2016. By the end of 2018, it is not really about why you should implement voice search, but how quickly you can do it.

Web browsing is more personalized than ever, and Google has been at the forefront of bringing individualized web browsing experience to its users, including an emphasis on voice search. Google’s Voice Search has necessitated businesses to take voice search seriously and to implement it as quickly as possible.

In this article, let us take a look at the implications of voice search on businesses and what you can do it stay ahead in the race.

  1. A growing number of people use voice search to find businesses

By 2020, the number of people who will use voice search in the US will shoot to 21.4 million, according to Activate. Unfortunately, most businesses are not prepared for the increasing number of voice queries.

Business implications: Technologies such as Siri and Google Voice Search learn to recognize keywords and voice commands by using natural language processing. Over time, these technologies learn users’ unique characteristics of voice, how they speak, their behavioral patterns, and even browsing interests. Businesses that are not ready to handle these hyper-personalized voice-based search queries will lose out in the long term.

What you should do:

  • Audit your current strategy and ensure that you focus on long-tailed keyword phrases most-likely used by your target audience.
  • Brainstorm new keyword targets, and try to provide the best answer for each possible query.
  1. People type keywords but speak out conversational keywords

While people type keywords to look for information on browsers, the way they search via voice is different. Search queries tend to be more conversational, and entire sentences or questions are spoken out during voice search.

Business implications: Voice search reflects how people really speak a certain language. Their queries tend to reflect real-life usage of a language and thus, keywords tend to be conversational and long-tail+. Long-tail+ indicates that long-tail keywords need to be optimized for conversational queries. Older keywords that are shorter will not be acceptable for voice search optimization.

What you should do:

  • Your keyword strategy should be conversational and should mimic the way people talk in real life.
  • Imagine scenarios in which people might search for services and products your business might offer.
  • Document and record queries that your customer service representatives frequently encounter when they speak to customers.
  • Shortlist long-tail+ key phrases and create content pages that focus on these shortlisted key phrases.
  1. Increasing requests for specific information

As Siri, Google Voice Search and other tools get smarter, people will continue to seek specific information via voice search. Generic web content will not rank very highly in voice search results.

Business implications: As discussed above, people tend to speak out sentences or ask questions in a conversational manner when they search for information. Specificity of search queries will render previous content and SEO strategies quite redundant.

What you should do:

  • Optimize your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to reflect long tail and conversational keyword phrases.
  • Natural sounding questions and answers on your FAQ page will tackle hyper-specific queries better.
  • Apply correct schemas and use structured data markup to optimize your web content for voice search devices.
  1. Voice search is contributing to queries in the vernacular tongue

Most voice searches tend to be local in nature, such as “Where to get the best coffee in Wickham” In addition, local search in vernacular languages other than English will constitute a large number of search queries.

Business implication: If you do not optimize your content for local search queries, and if you do not take vernacular languages into account, you may lose out on a number of voice search queries. Most web users will tend to speak English in their vernacular accent or dialect, and they may even use languages other than English, depending on where your business is located.

What you should do:

  • Ensure that you claim your Google My Business listing, and enter your phone number, business hours, address, and business description. This helps in your business showing up when someone makes a voice search query.
  • Secondly, optimize your content to suit local languages and dialects, and focus on local SEO.
  1. Voice searches mostly come from mobile devices

While people prefer to type on their laptops or desktops, they tend to speak to their mobile devices, thanks to improved voice recognition technology. Google Assistant is currently available on more than 400 million devices, most of which are mobile.

Business implications: Not being prepared for voice queries emanating from mobile devices can have real consequences on a business’ revenue. If your business is not mobile-optimized, and if the content is not optimized for voice queries, you may lose out on traffic arriving from mobile devices via voice search.

What you should do:

  • To begin with, make sure that your website is mobile responsive, and optimize your website for mobile queries.
  • Improve overall user experience on mobile browsers such as fixing slow loading pages, making sure that videos can be played in full-screen when a user holds their smartphone horizontally and reducing the number of interstitials.

A few points to remember

Voice search is getting more popular than ever, and businesses need to change their current SEO strategy to include voice search. It is important to remember that voice queries tend to be conversational in nature and employ natural language. As the use of natural language results in more specific queries, optimizing FAQ pages with long-tailed keywords is important. In addition, voice search tends to be local and vernacular in nature, which necessitates local SEO, and content optimized for local visitors. Finally, it helps to optimize websites for a rich mobile experience as most voice searches come from mobile devices. If you need assistance implementing voice search strategies, contact us today.

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