If you’ve set up an online presence for your business, it’s most likely because you want to be found by more people, more often. But the rules of the game change often, and while Google text searches are still the most common, marketers are now looking at the next big thing in search results: voice.
Kevin Hawke, COO and Partner at KNOW Agency in Atlanta, says we’re out of the early adopter phase in voice search. As of late 2017, more than 20 million Amazon Echos and more than 6 million Google assistants were sold. These voice assistants can turn on lights, store your calendar, set alarms, answer questions and buy things. According to a report by Adobe, at least 22 percent of consumers are using voice assistants to purchase items.
So what does this mean for your SEO strategy?
“E-commerce and local businesses [should be] concerned first,” Hawke said. “If your business counts on local traffic then voice search is key.”
With voice, searches will return fewer results, so matching those results as closely as possible increases your chance of being found by potential customers.
Hawke also emphasized there is still priority for solid SEO basics first, such as a website that has a keyword strategy, is optimized for mobile, has easy-to-find components like contact information, and gets updated often. But if you’ve mastered the basics and are ready for the new frontier of search, here are a few good places to start.
Use Google as a tool
Finding keywords and phrases can seem difficult, but Google actually gives you suggestions all the time, Hawke says. Using common language in both copywriting and search algorithms has been a strong trend for years now, and Google will give suggestions of what it thinks you may be interested in searching for based on other searches. By typing “best pizza in Atlanta,” Google also gives the following suggestions: best pizza in atlanta 2017, best pizza in atlanta delivery, best new york style pizza in atlanta, vegan pizza atlanta. Based on those popular suggested searches, if you were a pizza place with vegan pizza, advertising that on the website would probably be a smart move.
Google also offers Google Search Console, which you can use to find the queries that direct people to pages on your website. With the direct query data, you can adjust and optimize your keywords and phrases to provide better content for the people using those search terms.
When you search for pizza in Atlanta, are you just searching for pizza or are you searching for the “best” pizza in Atlanta “near you”? For voice search especially, the more natural language typically comes out as a longer statement and question. Where a person might type “pizza open late ATL,” their voice search may be more like, “Hey Google, what’s the best late-night pizza near me?” For voice, always consider how you observe people talking into their speakers, whether by phone or other device, to request a search.
Structure your data
This is a standard good SEO practice, but structuring the data on a website according to Google’s best practices will increase the chances of being found by Google search voice or text. Contact information and location needs to be easy to find for both Google and your customers. If they make it to your website, you want them to have a few easy steps to convert into customers. Putting it in the footer is a good place to start, and consider adding it in other places as well.