Voice search, powered by technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa, may still feel like a gimmick, but it’s quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. In 2017, about 20% of all mobile searches were voice search instead of text. In 2018, we know that roughly 40% of all adults use voice search at least once every single day. Voice search isn’t a novelty. It’s already quite popular and is only going to continue its incredible growth as voice technology becomes more powerful and more commonplace.
While actual advertising specific to voice search has yet to come to fruition, there are still ways you can get a leg up on your competition by optimizing your existing strategies for voice search. This gives you a great advantage now on the significant number of voice searches already being made and puts you in the driver’s seat as it becomes more prominent.
Here are three simple ways you can tailor your existing digital marketing strategies to account for voice search.
1. Focus on Conversational Keywords
Think about how most people use text search versus voice search. Using a keyword, you might enter something like “Philadelphia bakery”. By using voice search, you’ll probably say “Find me a bakery in Philadelphia”. The difference is subtle, but it’s important. Think about how people would ask questions relevant to your business via voice search, and what it would sound like conversationally.
Inevitably, you’ll end up with a substantial list of long-tail keywords. You’ll want to create content around these conversational long-tail keywords and keep the tone conversational and natural. Additionally, you should consider developing a fleshed-out knowledge base. These allow you to put common questions right on your page, giving you a chance to grab traffic from people asking those exact same questions.
2. See What’s Already Working
One of your very first steps should be to see what traffic you’re already getting from voice searches. As long as you have an AdWords account, it’s extremely simple. Simply download a search query report and filter search terms for the most commonly used voice search assistants. Specifically, you should look for “OK Google”, “Siri”, and “Alexa”.
With this list in hand, you’ll see the phrases that drive voice search users to your website. It’s not important to focus on every single term, but you’ll be able to take a strong guess at what they were trying to say. Use this information to figure out what long-tail phrases are important to focus on.
At the same time, use this information to build your negative phrase list. If you’re seeing any search traffic driven that isn’t really relevant, pull the common phrases among them and add them to your negative list.
3. Refresh Your Local SEO Strategy
Google doesn’t provide information on exactly how many voice searches are local, but consider how people use voice search. You might be hands-free in a car looking for a local restaurant, or on the run looking for an answer right away. There’s no doubt that improving your existing local SEO strategy will also benefit your voice search strategy. You can do this easily by reviewing the following advice:
- Take control of your online presence – verify your page on platforms like Yelp, Untappd, or whatever is appropriate for your business. Encourage reviews and respond to inquiries. This enhances your presence on these platforms and also in search results.
- Include relevant local terms in your SEO strategy – for voice especially, include conversational terms in addition to proper names. For example ‘San Fran’ instead of San Francisco, or ‘Philly’ instead of Philadelphia. Think about what locals the area and let that dictate your strategy.
- Add location pages – this is important especially if you have multiple locations. Include hours, directions and contact info, reviews, anything you think will be important for people on the run.
- Mobile optimization – local searches tend to be mobile, and sites that aren’t optimized get penalized heavily.