By 2020, it’s estimated that half of all online searches will be made through voice search. Smart speakers and personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant have become firmly integrated into everyday life, changing the way people use search engines. In the ever-changing digital world, you may be wondering how your brand’s presence online will fare amidst these changes. Do you need to completely overhaul your existing SEO efforts, leave them as-is, or make a few edits? If you have worked hard to climb up the SEO rankings, the good news is that you only have to make a few optimizations.
Say you want to find out information about one of your favorite books. When using a text-based search, users generally type in something like, “To Kill a Mockingbird author.” However, if they’re asking one of these digital companions, that query would be more like, “Who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?” To increase your chance of appearing in the top results in both types of search, you need to include both kinds of language into your webpage’s copy.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when someone conducts a text-based search, they can scroll through pages and pages of results. On the other hand, a voice assistant will only read the top result, and, if that’s not you, your brand won’t cross the user’s mind.
Semantic search seeks to provide a contextual understanding of search terms — something that’s easy for humans to understand, but marks a huge leap forward for computers. Unlike users who are typing in their questions, those who use voice search are more likely to ask a series of questions regarding the same subject. Something like “Who plays Will in Stranger Things?” may be followed up with “How old is he?” rather than “How old is Noah Schnapp?” When a search engine can realize the “he” in this example is “Noah Schnapp” and provide relevant results, this is an example of semantic search.
As voice queries grow increasingly more prevalent, search engines are necessarily growing more sophisticated at discerning user intent. While this functionality doesn’t imply huge changes for SEOs, it’s worth noting that they way we’re using search engines — and what we expect from them — is changing rapidly.
While there are many similarities to optimizing for voice search and text-based SEO, here’s how you can make sure your website is ready for the ever-growing voice search audience.
More people are beginning to utilize the voice search capabilities on their phone and home assistants, which means you need to start ramping up your efforts to meet them where they are. Taking the time now to increase your visibility on search engines will reward you down the line with more impressions and, hopefully, more conversions. Now, all there’s left to do is say, “Hey Siri, put an SEO brainstorm on my calendar for tomorrow.”