It’s 2021, and voice search is taking the internet by storm. Amazon Alexa, Siri, and other voice search assistants are transforming the way people use technology. All signs point to it growing exponentially, with an expected 9.7% increase to 122 million users in 2021. What was once a luxury or rarity is now commonplace, and it is time that businesses take this into account. In fact, according to eMarketer, 39.4% of U.S. internet users operate a voice assistant at least once a month.
Optimizing your website for voice search is going to be key in 2021. Unlike the old days where people would pop onto their search engine and type in keywords, voice search hits different. You can no longer string together a bunch of keywords that don’t match normal phrases people would use when talking. According to statistics, when users voice a query, the results or answer they receive is often not the first result on Google. That’s a huge change from traditional searches!
Your SEO strategy needs to think more like users when they’re using voice search.
Statistics have shown that a majority of these searches are taking place while users are driving or within their living rooms. A majority of those searches happen while they’re preoccupied and unable to put their full attention into the search.
You also have to consider the fact that Google is no longer the king. While 92% of traditional searches happen on Google, it’s not the only player in the voice search world. Google Assistant and Siri are the most popular amongst smartphone users, while Amazon Alexa owns the top spot for smart home devices.
All of this is key in understanding that your approach to voice search optimization in 2021 has to be different. You need to understand what this means for your business, for your SEO strategy, and for your customers. Here are a few ways to help you optimize your content and website voice search this year:
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
A majority of voice searches happen with the intent of finding or interacting with local businesses. The main place most of these search assistants will turn to is your Google My Business listing. You can think of it as your virtual business card for search assistants. This is a quick and free space that can host a litany of pertinent information, including your address, business name, hours of operation, website, and phone number, to name a few.
Other popular sources search assistants will pull information from includes Bing and Yelp. Using all 3 of these in tandem is a great approach to make sure you are optimizing your website for all the major players.
For example, if a user asks their voice search assistant to “give me directions to Starbucks,” it will utilize their current location to find the nearest Starbucks to them through listing information. It is vital that you make sure your listing(s) contain(s) the right information. Since most people utilize voice search while occupied, i.e., while they’re driving if the address is incorrect, the user may end up in the wrong location. This creates a poor experience with your company and can lead to bad reviews a loss of business.
2. Make Your Content More Conversational
As we said, people are no longer typing in long-tail keywords like they used to. Now, they’re using their voices, which means they are often using more conversational language for their searches. Instead of “best furniture store downtown,” it is more likely someone would search, “what are the best furniture stores near me.”
You can help your content pop up in these more casual searches by making your content more conversational and relatable. Use smaller keywords alongside long-tail keywords, and don’t over-pack your content with them. It shouldn’t go from “furniture store” to “furniture stores,” “best furniture stores,” etc. Research has shown that the average voice search is 29 words long, so you have a lot of room to play around!
3. Optimize Your Page Speed & Load Times
It is no secret that Google and other search engines will always favor websites that load faster. This is true for mobile and desktop searches, and it is true for voice search as well. When a user asks a virtual assistant a question, they will normally get an answer back within a second. Most average webpages load in around 2 seconds, which is a huge detriment to how they rank when it comes to voice search.
Right now, research shows that working on optimizing your mobile page speed is the most important when it comes to voice search. Utilizing quick loading pages like FAQs is a great way to achieve this.
This may seem overwhelming, but if you incorporate voice search optimization into your SEO strategy, it will pay off big. These simple tips are a sure-fire way to make the most of 2021!
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