Hey Siri, what are the restaurants around me?
Search is no longer just within a browser and SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is no longer a competitive advantage. It has become an absolute necessity for any and all businesses looking to compete online. Search engines have evolved rapidly over the years, but so have users. In fact, the way people are searching for information is changing; with AI bigger than ever, people are using voice search with programs like Apple's Siri and Google’s Alexa to find the answers to their queries. By 2020, it is estimated that 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice.
This begs the question: how does voice search change the way you approach your SEO efforts?
For one thing, voice search changes the language and keywords used in queries. Where people may type a more formal question, when speaking to an AI, they are likely to use more casual, conversational language.
On the contrary, research shows that users are more likely to use long-tail keywords versus short-tail when searching vocally, as they are better suited to natural speech mannerisms. People are more likely to be specific when speaking than they would be when typing.
The intent with voice search is generally different as well. 22% of voice searches are for local content, and a lot of them are looking to have questions answered. This being said, there are similar elements and best practices that you want to consider when comparing voice SEO to normal SEO. When answering questions, AIs often read and reference the top result on the search engine results page. Ensuring that you optimize your Google My Business page, build backlinks, and optimize your website’s on-page signals are crucial factors in determining your organization’s placement on the search engine results page. Because if you aren't first, you're last with search SEO.
It is also important to think of next steps of voice search. A majority of voice search is conducted on handheld devices, like cell phones or tablets. While the search may be conducted via voice search, the results are likely to be viewed on the device itself. This means ensuring that your site is mobile responsive is more important than ever. Additionally, it has been noted that fast loading websites appear to perform better in voice search.
SEO should be a focal point in your marketing efforts now more than ever. With a variety of ways to be found, whether it be classic search tactics or voice search, your organization can’t afford to lost out on the leads generated by organic search.