Voice search is one of the fastest-growing trends in online search. In a matter of just a few years, voice searching went from a tech novelty to a formidable force in the SEO/SEM industry. Today, over 54% of teens say they use voice searching, and Google says that somewhere between 20 and 25% of all searches they see now include voice intent.
Is your business keeping up?
Voice Search Stats You Need to Know
Digital assistants like Siri and Hound are almost entirely responsible for the sharp uptick in voice searching. Over 40% of people who regularly search using voice commands say they’ve very, very recently started doing so, thanks in large part to the proliferation of phone assisting software. But why do people use voice search to the tune of 35 times as often as they did just eight years ago?
People’s most common reasons for voice searching are self-explanatory. About 61% say they use voice commands when their hands are busy, say, holding a baby or cooking. It’s interesting that about 30% of users do it because it’s faster than typing, a stat that’s even higher among Asian markets where characters are difficult to type. Even more interestingly, over 12% of people use voice search to “avoid confusing menus,” meaning they use it to get right to what they’re looking for. This is big news for Search Engine Optimization.
What Does Voice Search Mean for SEO?
Obviously, people use voice search differently than they do traditional desktop toolbars. This disparity is changing the way SEMs are tagging and linking, and also the way Google and other search giants are indexing sites and serving up links. But how?
The biggest difference when it comes to optimizing for voice search is the use of conversational phrases rather than keywords. A traditional search might look something like, “indian restaurant in Alpharetta” whereas a voice search with the same intent might look something like, “that place with all the vindaloo near me.” The language used for voice searching is more rambling and requires search engines to use what they call “semantic search,” which is sort of an AI learning tool that allows them to infer what you mean without all the right words.
The next implication of a rise in voice searching is that searches are becoming more and more local, even hyper-local, which makes local search tactics all the more important. Listing services like Yext and Moz Local are increasingly crucial to help Google determine which results to serve where.
How Can You Optimize Your Site for Voice Search?
Since voice searching is still in its infancy, best practices are still being developed, but there are a few things that absolutely can help. To maximize more long-tail, conversational search phrases, smart SEMs are including a lot of rich, natural content on static pages. Blogs and product pages are a great place to do this, and the more conversational the tone, the better. Tagging images with typical voice search phrases like “near me” is another good strategy, depending on the number of local searches a business receives.
For companies that depend on localized searching, listing directories like Yext are crucial. Optimizing listings – and keeping them current – are an important way to communicate with Google and other search engines about what your business offers and who the engines should send your way. Using Google Places in combination with social presences like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter provides a one-two punch. The truth is, if your businesses’ SEO strategy isn’t already optimizing for voice search, you’re already a step behind.
Want to find out how Clickready Marketing provides real, data-driven results for our clients when it comes to voice searching? Contact us today to talk about your strategy and how we can help make it better.