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How to prepare your business for voice search

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Anna Howley
27-Jun-2017
How to advice

Typing is so 2 years ago! These days, a rapidly increasing number of internet users are turning to voice search to find the products and services they need online. With smartphones in virtually every back pocket, your company’s digital marketing approach needs to evolve to ensure you can still be found.

If you wanted to find out who the CEO of Instagram is, what would you search for?

If you were on your computer and typed in a search phrase, it’s highly likely you would search for something concise (requiring less typing) such as “Instagram CEO”.

However, if you were talking into your phone, using a digital personal assistant like Siri or Cortana, it’s likely that you would use a voice search query such as: “Who is the CEO of Instagram?”.

Without even being conscious of the fact, people radically alter their search behaviour when using voice search, as opposed to typing.


Voice will impact how local businesses are found

Research shows that the majority of voice search queries are for products or services in the user’s current location. Furthermore, the research also shows that voice search users have a greater intent to buy than those searching using text.

For example, voice search queries such as “Where is the best Thai restaurant near me?” and “Where can I rent a car today?” are common examples of voice searches. These types of questions indicate strong user intent to take action or buy. What’s more, they are distinctly local and lead to search results that allow the user to act without going to a web page.

Reviews, a “call” button, and a “book now” button are becoming common place on the search results pages for these kinds of searches. Users don’t have to come to your website to complete their intention.

 

However, don’t let this fool you into thinking your website is no longer important! You still need a strong online presence (and search engine optimised website) to appear on the search results page.

To make sure your digital marketing plan is “voice search optimised”, make it a priority to keep your local listing (Google My Business), your business listing, and your crowd-sourced sites (Yelp/Trip Advisor etc.) updated and active. These sites have a great deal of power when the search doesn’t leave the search results pages. Check if your address, hours and your phone number are correct. Are there customer reviews you need to manage too?

It’s worth the time to keep these all up-to-date.


How we should adapt to voice search

  1. Write content in a natural, conversational voice
    Website content in the era of voice search isn’t about keywords, it’s about writing content in the way we naturally speak (a conversational voice), as this will boost your site’s relevance when people use voice search. Challenge the formality with which you write (even in professional services such as accounting/law) and adapt your content to suit the way your target market/clients speak with you.

  2. Ask and answer questions in your website content
    With most voice search queries being questions or commands, it will help your search engine ranking efforts if your website includes articles on commonly asked questions, case studies on common problems your product or service solves and information on industry related terminology. Where possible make page headings or sub headings questions, as your target market may ask them of you in person. That way, when they ask that question, your website will have a highly likelihood of being deemed “relevant”.

  3. Make it easy for search engines to understand what your website content is.
    Try typing “How tall is Donald Trump?” into Google. Go on. Give it a go… I’ll wait. Depending on the device you used, you should have found an information “card” at the top of the search results page that told you precisely how tall Trump is. This doesn’t happen by accident.
    The website that this information is being pulled from was specially setup to attract Google to choose their answer to profile. This is achieved by using microdata.
    In brief, microdata allows developers to explain to Google’s search engine bots that this page (that you’re reading right now) isn’t just any old page, it’s an article. What’s more, microdata allows us to explain to Google that the heading of this article is a heading, that the first block of text directly under the heading is the article date, followed by the author name and so on. This makes it easier for Google to understand the various elements of a page of content is and deliver this to interested users in the best possible way.

The key to preparing for voice search is to consider how your customers talk to you and try to weave those turns or phrase and natural speaking language into your website copy. Start here and you’ll be well on your way to preparing to attract voice search users.

For more information on voice search optimisation, please contact the friendly Xplore team.

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