Do you ever feel like you need an assistant for your life? If you’re like 41% of American adults, you probably use an assistant everyday without really realizing it. That assistant? Your voice assistant, either through Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, or Cortana.
Between 2008 and 2016, use of voice search increased 35-fold, and ComScore found that by 2020, more than half of all web searches will be made with voice-based technology. Voice search optimization is an area where many businesses are giving away opportunities, largely because the best practices for that optimization are evolving so fast. So, now is the time to make sure your website is designed to bring in as much of that voice search traffic as possible!
Mobile-Friendly Website Design
Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices like smartphones, and since search engines now rank web pages according to their support for mobile devices, polishing your website’s design for mobile-friendliness is at the top of the list. In addition to providing fast-loading pages and adaptive or responsive page design that automatically adjust for the display on each user’s device, you should check that there are no “intrusive interstitials” like pop-ups blocking any of the text on the landing page for mobile users. Make sure that users can find your contact information without having to scroll, and, if possible, without having to click, though a single button leading to a page with physical and email addresses and business hours will also work.
Write Web Content in Natural Language
When people make text-based searches, they tend to use short phrases or single words. When people make voice searches, though, they tend to use natural speech, as if they were asking a real person a question. “Where’s the nearest dry cleaners?” “How long do I bake chicken?” “Is it okay that my dog just ate three pieces of chocolate?”
Web content that’s written the way people actually speak and includes natural variations on keywords and queries, are more likely to answer those conversation-style questions best, and rank higher in more search engine results.
Claim & Correct Your Local Business Directory Listings
Search for your business on local business directories like Google Business, Bing Business, Yelp, and YP.com, and manage the listings for your business. Once you claim them, you can add information like business hours, and verify that the rest of the information on the listing is correct and matches the listings on other local directories. Check your locations on Apple Maps and Google maps, as well, to make sure people are getting the correct information to find your business on the apps they likely have on their phone. You can also use a software solution to find and manage your local directory listings, which streamlines the process significantly, helps you stay on top of everything going forward, and ensures consistency among your local directory listings, which will contribute toward better SEO.
Voice search is an important factor in effective SEO and promoting a local business, and fine-tuning your online presence to increase your visibility to mobile users is as close to a sure bet as you’ll ever find in the world of digital marketing.