Is Your Site Prepped for Vocal Search?

More and more, people are bypassing the standard query box searching the internet through voice search. Growing numbers of users are turning to Siri or Alexa to track down the information they need, and we see this trend continuing into the foreseeable future.

As voice search grows in popularity, it’s especially important for smaller or mid-sized businesses to recognize this shift and take steps to ensure their websites remain fully optimized for voice searching. Here at Spilled Milkshake, we continually research these types of new developments, to keep our clients on the forefront of website effectiveness.

The Popularity of Voice Search

According to Google, the Google Assistant app is now available on more than 400 million devices. Over 50% of US teens and 41% of adults use voice search on a daily basis. The website eMarketer revealed that some 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month in 2017—a year-over-year increase of 128.9 percent.

As consumers become increasingly comfortable with the technology, the will increasingly adopt this trend. Businesses are reacting accordingly: voice commerce sales reached nearly $2 billion last year; they’re predicted to reach $40 billion by 2022. Your website should reflect this new reality.

Voice Searching and SEO

You likely won’t need to totally reprogram your website around voice search: we’ve highlighted a few tactics that should help ensure your site is optimized for voice.

  1. Advertise to a Local market.

According to one recent study, 75% of smart speaker owners search for local business information on a weekly basis, while over 50% do so daily. Consumers are becoming much more locally oriented. This is especially true for voice searches, so be sure your SEO is receptive to these “near me” queries.

  1. Get Your Name Out.

Because vocal search tends to have more localized uses, it’s important to have your business listed on the major online business listings. Focus on Google My Business, Apple Maps, Yelp, and Bing Places for Business, since the more popular devices search those listings for information first. Be sure your information is correct, up-to-date, and consistent across all directories.

  1. Speak Conversationally.

Voice searches are much more conversational in tone. Instead of a single keyword, users are more apt to phrase a question as if speaking to another human. Rather than search for “Costco store hours,” a voice searcher might ask “How early does Costco open on Saturdays?” It’s important to add more conversational keyword phrases to your SEO to accommodate voice searching.

  1. Ask and Answer the Questions Yourself.

Consider adding (or adding to) an FAQ section: think about the words or phrases that best describe who you are and what you do. Then come up with QUESTIONS people might ask that will LEAD them to those answers. Have an entire page devoted to that information.

  1. Increase Page Load Time.

Fast-loading websites simply rank higher in Google searches, including voice search. That means one of the most important things you can look at is your website’s loading speed. According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds –52% faster than the average page, and notably faster to load (4.6 seconds) than most web pages (8.8 seconds).

  1. Focus on Clear Content.

Again, people tend to be more conversational when using voice search;  they’re hoping for conversational responses, too. Make sure your site can supply quick, concise  answers–28 words or less is best. Include trigger words like who, what, and how, which people use in voice searching.

The voice search phenomenon has exploding in recent months, and shows no signs of slowing. We’re mere months away from 2020, the year we’re predicted to hit the 50% benchmark for voice search adoption…but seeing as how smart speakers are now being used by nearly 46% of the US, we may even hit that mark earlier.

While you don’t want to completely overhaul your website for voice search (and thereby cancel out all the SEO tactics already working for you), making appropriate adjustments so that traditional and voice search SEO tactics can complement each other, and lead to greater success. Let Spilled Milkshake Design help you create a website that builds your business…now and in the future.