Every generation has their life-changing technology leap. The leap of the late 1800s generation? The invention of the automobile. If you lived in the early 1900s, your leap was the in-home refrigerator. The 1970s generation saw the birth of the cell phone, and the 1980s ushered us into the world of the internet.
So what is the current leap? Do the names Alexa, Siri, and Cortana mean anything to you? Our homes are filled with devices smart enough to run them with a simple voice command from you. Not only is this an age of incredible convenience, it’s also an age of a huge shift in the way the general public is connecting with information.
The induction of these smart devices and services into our lives has also ushered in the practice of voice searching, or speaking a query instead of typing it into a search engine. Doing a voice search is almost as common as sending a text message. In fact, “76% of smart speaker users perform local voice searches at least once a week.” (source)
This massive shift in consumer behavior already has a major impact in how potential customers will find you online. So how do you ride this technology wave instead of floundering around in its wake? Here are three places to start:
#1: Understand what you bring to the table.
People who are voice searching need information, quick. “___near me now” searches have grown 150% over the last two years, according to Google, and searches are being performed literally everywhere, from home to a restaurant bathroom. (source) If your company has multiple locations or is an industry leader in your area, you need to make sure that information is front and center on your website. Including information like hours of operation and proximity to landmarks will help the person searching for “the best bacon cheeseburger near me now” when it’s dinner time and they’re in a new city.
#2: Think about how people speak.
Voice searching differs from traditional searching in many ways, but probably the biggest distinguisher is the fact that searches have many more keywords now (called long tail keywords). When you’re asking someone about where to buy a nice couch, you wouldn’t ask, “Best couch in Anytown, USA?” You would ask, “Where’s a good furniture store around here with good deals on couches?”
These longer searches are using more “natural language” keywords, which means if you want your website to show up in Siri or Alexa’s results, your website content needs to include these keywords. Blogs are a great opportunity to do this, by writing on a subject in a more conversational tone. So, don’t be afraid to use the longer keyword phrases (remember, think about how your customers would speak, not type!).
#3: Consider adding FAQs to your website (or beef up the ones you already have)
Google tends to answer voice searches with answers that average 29 words long, which is a pretty perfect length for an FAQ answer on a website. Many voice searches start with words like “how,” “what,” and “when,” which is how most FAQs begin, too. If your site doesn’t currently have FAQs living on it somewhere, consider adding them if it makes sense with what your company does. If you already have an FAQs page, check them to make sure they read as conversationally as possible and feature shorter answers that also read like someone would speak.
Optimizing your website for voice searches is an interesting process to take the time and energy to go through it well. If you’d like help making sure your information is being read by your audience’s smart devices, the Marbury team would love to work with you! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.