Voice search is starting to achieve significant gains in search marketing, and many businesses are falling behind. According to one study by Search Engine Land, less than 4% of businesses are ready for voice search.
The question shouldn’t be whether you can afford to optimize your website for voice search, but whether you can afford not to. In this post, we are going to discuss some of the trends in voice search in 2019, as well as projections for 2020 and beyond.
We’re also going to discuss why you should start thinking about optimizing for voice search now, and finally how you can get your website and other web properties ready for the shift to voice queries.
What’s Going on With Voice Search?
Voice search is rapidly gaining popularity over traditional search methods. Consumers of all ages are adopting voice search as their go-to method of researching and ultimately buying products and services. Here are a few of the factors bringing on the revolution in voice search:
Nearly 40 million Americans now own voice-activated smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. In the third quarter of 2018, global smart speaker sales rose by 200% year over year.
According to the international consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants, 55% of households are expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022.
It’s no secret that these voice-activated devices are gaining popularity, and people are using them for much more than playing music or setting reminders. Research shows that consumers are frequently using their device to make purchases directly or assist with researching products to purchase.
According to a survey by BrightLocal, 76% of smart speaker users use their device to perform searches to research or locate businesses in their area.
Mobile Voice Search
In addition to smart speaker adoption, nearly every modern smartphone is equipped with voice search functionality. This function is provided by Apple Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon’s Alexa.
Voice search on mobile devices has had a significant impact on how consumers research products and interact with brands. It’s had a huge impact on local search, in particular, allowing consumers to quickly find local businesses that offer products or services they are looking for.
Why You Should be Thinking About Voice Search Now
According to Google, nearly 20% of all mobile searches are voice searches. Many marketers project that 50% or more of search traffic will be voice-activated in 2020.
We know that more households are adopting smart speaker technology, more consumers are using mobile voice-search assistants, and that they are using this technology to assist in finding brands and making purchases.
Businesses who prepare their websites and other digital assets now will be positioned to take full advantage of this emerging consumer behavior.
Any business owner, but especially local business owners, should be leveraging voice search to increase their incoming leads substantially in 2019 and 2020.
How to Get Your Website Voice Search Ready
Business owners can begin taking measures to prepare their websites, social media profiles, and other digital assets to rank for voice search queries. Here’s what you need to do.
Focus on Your Website Content
The first thing you need to do is to understand the nature of voice queries. These searches are usually conversational questions that demand clear, concise answers. The top three words which begin voice queries are “how,” “what,” and “best.”
Your website content needs to provide concise answers to your customers’ most common questions in plain, conversational English. The average voice search result is just 29 words. Keep your content clear, relevant, and to-the-point if you want to improve your voice search performance.
Because of the conversational nature of voice searches, you should also be optimizing your content around long-tail keywords. While a typed query might look something like “best roofer NYC,” a voice query will be longer and include more natural language.
Try to Earn Featured Snippets Placements
Google often uses featured snippets to resolve voice search queries. Featured snippets, sometimes called “position zero,” appear after the ads, but before the first organic search results.
These snippets are usually short pieces of content, pulled directly from a website, that aims to quickly answer a user’s question. Optimizing your content to earn featured snippets placement will earn you more visibility in voice search queries.
Make Sure Your Business Listings are Complete and Accurate
For local businesses, you need to ensure that all your business information is accurate and consistent across the business directories on which it is listed. When Google ranks businesses in local search results, it pulls information from more than 68 business directories across the web to determine that business’s trustworthiness and relevance to the search query.
If you want to perform well in local search, whether on desktop, mobile, or voice search, you need to make sure you are not only listed in the most important directories, but that these listings are accurate, up-to-date, and consistent. Adding photos, additional business information, and keywords to these profiles can also help your search visibility.
Overlooking this key element of voice search readiness will make all your other efforts meaningless.
Optimize Your Website’s Page Speed and Security
Search engines such as Google want to provide voice queries with quick, clear answers to their questions. Websites which have fast loading times overwhelmingly perform better than slower sites.
Similarly, pages which are not secured with HTTPS lag far behind those that do. Luckily, these are two of the easiest issues to fix for most businesses.
Now is the Time to Prepare Your Business for Voice Search
Businesses that are not prepared for voice search are going to be missing out on tons of leads in the remainder of 2019 and 2020. Beyond 2020, we predict that voice search readiness will be a leading factor in local businesses’ ability to compete in their local markets.
If you’re behind on the curve on voice search readiness or you have any additional questions, get in touch with apnTech today to speak with a marketing expert.