Why Businesses Can’t Afford to Ignore Voice Search

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    Voice Search Key Takeaways:

    • Less than 4% of businesses are ready for voice search, indicating a significant gap in optimization.
    • Voice search is rapidly gaining popularity, with smart speakers and mobile devices driving the revolution.
    • Nearly 40 million Americans own voice-activated smart home devices, and 55% of households are expected to own a smart speaker by 2022.
    • Mobile voice search has impacted how consumers research products and interact with brands, particularly in local search.
    • Google predicts that by 2020, 50% or more of search traffic will be voice-activated.
    • Businesses that prepare for voice search now will have a competitive advantage and can take advantage of emerging consumer behavior.
    • Website content should provide clear, concise answers to conversational questions and focus on long-tail keywords.
    • Optimizing for featured snippets can improve visibility in voice search results.
    • Local businesses should ensure their business listings are complete, accurate, and consistent across directories.
    • Website page speed and security are crucial for voice search optimization.
    • Voice search readiness will become increasingly important for businesses to compete in local markets beyond 2020.

    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:

    Smart Speakers

    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.

    Voice search is gaining popularity and less than 4% of businesses are currently ready for it, so ignoring it can put businesses at a disadvantage.

    FAQs

    How are smart speakers impacting consumer behavior?

    Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are increasingly common and consumers are using them not just for entertainment but also for research and making purchases.

    What is the significance of mobile voice search?

    Nearly every modern smartphone has voice search functionality, contributing to the rise of mobile voice search as a preferred method for consumers to find information and interact with brands.

    What is the projected growth of voice searches?

    Google predicts that almost 20% of mobile searches are voice searches, and it is expected that more than 50% of search traffic will be voice-activated by 2020.

    How can businesses benefit from optimizing for voice search?

    Businesses that optimize their websites and digital assets for voice search will be able to take advantage of the increasing consumer adoption of voice search, potentially driving more traffic and conversions.

    What should businesses consider when creating website content for voice search?

    Website content should focus on providing concise answers to conversational questions that users ask in voice searches. Additionally, using long-tail keywords can help with optimization.

    How can businesses improve their visibility in voice search results?

    Earning featured snippets placements can enhance visibility in voice search results, as these snippets provide quick answers to user questions and are prominently displayed.

    Why is it important for local businesses to ensure accurate business listings across directories?

    Local businesses need accurate and consistent business listings across directories to perform well in local search results, including voice search, as search engines use this information to determine relevance and trustworthiness.

    What role does website page speed and security play in voice search readiness?

    Optimizing website page speed and ensuring security is crucial for voice search readiness, as fast-loading and secure sites tend to perform better and provide users with quick answers.

    Why is it crucial for businesses to be prepared for voice search?

    Being prepared for voice search is essential for businesses to stay competitive in local markets and capture leads in the coming years, as voice search continues to grow in popularity and usage.

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