Start Preparing for Voice Search and Answer Engines
Digital assistants are changing the way people interact with search. Is your business ready?
Last week in this blog we talked about current trends in the SEO world. One of those trends was the steady emergence of voice search. With digital assistants in all of our phones, sitting in the corner on the kitchen counter, and even in our cars, voice search is picking up some serious steam.
In fact, according to Backlinko’s Voice Search: The Definitive Guide, 41% of adults and 55% of teens use voice search every day. And it’s not just on phones. It’s reported that 25% of all Windows 10 desktop searches are done with voice as well.
When folks utilize their favorite robot, whether it be Alexa or Siri or Cortana, or say “OK, Google,” they generally ask questions. There’s also a tendency to use more conversational language than one would when typing out a search query. “Where’s the closest burger joint?” “Do they do body work at Joe’s Garage?” “Is Lotus Flower Salon cash only?”
Google can generally handle the more relaxed approach, but you will still have to make sure your company’s SEO strategy aligns with voice search to ensure you’re showing up in the results and/or providing the information that’s actually being asked for.
As search engines transform into answer engines where they’re being asked to address very specific questions, one of the problems is that often the feedback is from a single site. How do you make sure it’s your business that’s at the front of the line? Likewise, how do you know if you’re covering enough ground with what a person might ask?
“Google Home and Amazon Echo read out Google Featured Snippet results for answers to voice queries, so optimizing for Featured Snippets has never been more important,” says UpCity Director of SEO Jim Milan. “To optimize for Featured Snippets, mirror the structure of the answer that is currently ranking in the Featured Snippet you are aiming to acquire. If it’s a list, use a list. If it’s a paragraph, use a paragraph. If it’s a table, use a table.
Milan says it’s also a good idea to research what people are actually asking when using voice search.
“It also helps to use Answer the Public or SEMRush to find questions around the subject you are writing about, include those questions as H2s in your article, and then answer them in a concise manner in the subsequent paragraph,” he says.
Right now, the key categories for voice search from an SEO perspective are Facts & info and Local guide. A great starting point is to focus on your local identity with your GMB profile and make sure you’re squared away in Google Maps. Keep in mind that one of the most common things you’ll find at the end of voice searches is the phrase “near me.”
In order to appear higher in local search, you need to make sure your business is listed in as many relevant local directories and industry directories as possible. Additionally, your business NAP (name, address, phone number) must be accurate, up to date, and consistent across the web. Small differences in name (e.g. using “Inc.” at the end of your business name in one spot but not another) and other info can hurt you.
Fortunately, there are many exceptional national and local SEO firms on the UpCity Marketplace that can help, and there are several great resources available online to help you figure out how to make sure your site is ranking for voice search. Here are a few with some very helpful information to put you on the right path to optimizing for voice:
Learn how voice search affects keyword strategy, get tips for optimizing your content for voice, and a lot more in this compelling guide.
Get a better understanding of the answer engine transition and find out how you can make sure your SEO strategy is keeping up.
This article is packed with helpful tips, and it explains how you can optimize to make sure it’s your site that Google’s Featured Snippet pulls from at “rank zero.”
In addition to highlighting how the keyword landscape is changing, this piece explores important question words and provides a guide to helping your business adapt to voice search smoothly.