Talking The Talk: Why Your Brand Needs To Optimise For Voice Search

Voice search is a major factor to consider in SEO and content marketing. It has already been a catalyst for change in SEO, and it’s usage is still on the rise. Here’s why you (and your business) should care.
  • Ranking well in voice search could dramatically widen your potential audience.
  • A way to future-proof the site’s rankings.
  • Identify what questions people likely to buy your product or service are asking

Voice search is a major factor to consider in SEO and content marketing. It has already been a catalyst for change in SEO, and it’s usage is still on the rise, with Google stating that 20% of mobile queries are made using voice search.

What is voice search?

Voice search is any search conducted hands-free.

Many of us use voice search regularly because of the convenience it represents when our hands are busy with day-to-day activities, such as cooking or driving a car, and we’d like to search for something at the same time.

The market for voice search is huge, with major companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon all vying for a share, so this emerging technology has become very widely used over a very short period of time. In fact, according to research commissioned by MindMeld at the end of 2015, 60% of smartphone users who used voice search and/or digital assistants had only started doing so within the previous year.

In addition to that, ranking well in voice search could dramatically widen your potential audience as a whole, owing to the fact that younger children, anyone who cannot read and anyone not physically able to type effectively can now use search engines freely with the help of voice search.

Mobile usage, local search and voice search are all closely connected

76% of people who use mobile search to find something nearby will visit the resulting business within a day, and 28% of these searches will result in a purchase. According to a survey commissioned by Google on mobile voice search, 40% of adults use voice search to ask for directions. Therefore when a user is multi-tasking or on the go, and asks their mobile device about an establishment nearby that performs a service similar to yours, it’s important that your business ranks highly.

So if your business has a physical location, then you should ensure that you’ve optimised for local as well as vocal search. For tips on how to optimise your site for local search, check out our blog on how to optimise for local SEO.

50% of search will be voice search by 2020

Mobile usage is already popular, with smartphone usage overtaking laptop usage and becoming the number one device for internet users in 2015. As smartphone usage and The Internet of Things continues to increase, we can safely assume that voice search will as well, owing to the fact that 41% of adults and 55% of teens were using mobile voice search more than once a day in the US in as far back as 2014. There remains a high frequency of voice search conducted via mobile technology to this day, due to the fact that there are so many mobile apps and devices which have inbuilt voice search capabilities.

Therefore a business should not consider optimising content for voice search as a way to help it’s website rank better on Google in the short term, but rather as a way to future-proof the site’s rankings.

How to optimise for voice search

Since the advent of voice search, long tail keywords have become more and more important for SEO.

While desktop search often results in short tail keyword usage, voice search is conversational by its very nature. Therefore optimised long tail search phrases can lead to higher rankings in voice search.

For example, instead of asking Siri, “best bar shoreditch”, voice searchers are far more likely to form a full sentence and ask “where is the best bar in shoreditch?” So if you own a bar in Shoreditch, you should consider identifying high potential, conversational long tail keywords similar to this, and incorporating them into your content, both onsite and off. Any keyword with an added reference to your location is a plus, as it will boost your local search rankings as well.

Long tail search terms can also reveal intent. For example, queries beginning with the phrase “What price” reveal far more intent to buy than “What is” or “How does”, because it shows a desire to purchase. Therefore you should identify what questions people likely to buy your product or service are asking, and optimise your onsite content to include the answers.

This need for informational content which is optimised with long tail keywords is yet another reason why including evergreen content on your site is a great idea. FAQ pages on your site can be particularly useful for incorporating long tail query keywords and their answers into your page.