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How Voice-Driven SEO is Changing Search, and What Businesses Should Do About It

Voice recognition software is everywhere in 2017. Google Home, Siri, and Alexa are just a few names of voice-driven technology that have quickly become common household tools. At Google’s 2016 annual developer conference, Google I/O, it was revealed that half of Google’s queries are from mobile devices, and 20 percent of those are made via voice search. In fact, voice search is the fastest growing type of search. Nowadays, people aren’t just typing searches into a text box on a computer screen. They are using the hands-free, convenient, multi-task friendly option: their voice.

What does this mean for SEO? The primary result is that search queries are more conversational in tone than in the past. People conduct their search as though they are asking a friend, rather than in a shorthand way. For example, a person looking for movie times near their house might search “movie times 07724”. By contrast, when a person speaks, they are more likely to phrase it as “What movies are playing near me tonight?”

The increase in conversational queries spawned the birth of semantic search in 2012. Semantic search is the search engine’s efforts to put a search term in context. Now, if you search for fish, you might get results for bass, cod, shrimp or salmon. Before, a searcher would only get results for pages that literally mentioned the word fish.

The result of their work is noticeable. Voice search is now capable of interpreting and providing answers for these types of searches, among others:

  • Spelling corrections
  • Context based on location
  • Context about personal details, such as home address

How Voice Driven Search Impacts SEO

In terms of optimizing a website for search engine queries, it is now important for marketers to consider the context of their entire content and not focus as much on specific keyword variations. Instead of using keywords verbatim, marketers focused on SEO will need to consider all of the different ways a person might make a query. Content writers should focus on creating excellent content that is written in a conversational tone.

Some other ways to optimize your site for voice search include:

  1. Focusing on long-tail keywords
  2. Ensuring that XML sitemaps are readable
  3. Adding FAQ pages that answer questions like “Who” “What” “When” “Where” and “Why”

More than that, though, your content needs to be the best possible content related to any given search in order for you to rank and drive traffic to your site. Your content will need to be supported by evidence; positive online reviews, social media activity, past user behavior and detailed content are all indicators of quality.

Above everything else, user behavior is the most important thing for SEO in 2017. What does your website do to help improve the lives of searchers? Businesses who successfully tackle that question will reign supreme in the age of voice-driven search.

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By | 2017-02-10T19:51:12+00:00 February 21st, 2017|SEO and SEM|0 Comments

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