Feb 11, 2018
The Impact of Voice Assistants on the Future of SEO
Voice assistants are changing the technological landscape. As technology evolved from PCs to mobile, from typing to voice controls, companies had to adapt to these changing environments.
Voice search is growing at an exponential rate and will become the norm. Comscore predicts that voice searches will make up 50% of all searches by 2020.
Since people are looking for information using voice commands, that will certainly impact search engine optimization.
Will your company be prepared?
Keep reading to learn how voice search will impact SEO and how you can prepare for it.
What Are Voice Searches?
A voice search is an internet search that’s done using your voice, instead of typing.
They’re done by using voice assistants, the main ones being Google Home, Cortana, Alexa, and Siri. You can find these assistants on any number of devices, from smartphones to home speakers.
The big reason why mobile searches are on the rise is that they’re fast and convenient. We can only type about 40-60 words per minute. We can speak 150 minutes per minute.
They’re also easily accessible. All you have to do is make a verbal request to your phone or your speaker and you can have your answer instantly.
How Will Voice Assistants Impact SEO?
Voice assistants are changing the way we search for information, which means that search results will be impacted, too. Here are the top things you need to know about how SEO and voice search.
The Rise of Micro moments
The first major change to SEO is how people are searching. The same way that mobile changed how we search, voice search is expected to follow a similar trend. Searches have become more urgent and impulsive on voice and mobile.
Google classifies these searches as micro-moments. They’re the moments when we want to know something immediately and we pick up a smartphone to get the information.
There are four types of micro-moments.
“I want to know” moments happen when someone is researching, but not ready to buy. They want useful information.
An example would be if someone sees a TV commercial and wants to know more about the company or product.
“I want to go” moments are when people are looking for a local business. Most of these searches are for restaurants near me.
“I want to do” moments happen when people are looking for information on how to do something. This could be how to do a home project or how to lose weight.
“I want to buy” moments occur when someone is ready to make a purchase. They might need more information on what to buy or how to buy.
The lesson for your business is to be the one to provide the information at that moment. You have to be mobile friendly. Plus, your information has to be relevant to the questions at hand.
Search Results are More Personalized
Keywords are still relevant to search results, but they won’t dominate search optimization the way they used to.
There’s been a shift from keyword-based results to semantic results. That means that Google is getting better at understanding what you’re really looking for.
For example, if you search for “movies Cold Lake,” you’ll get results about the movie theatres closest to you and their movie times.
Voice assistants integrate with your smartphone and other devices. They already store data about the apps you have on your phone, what you’re searching for, and places you’ve been.
That information allows search engines to give you the information that is most relevant to you.
How Can You Prepare for Voice Search?
It may seem overwhelming to understand how your search results will be impacted by voice assistants. There are ways to prepare your site, and it’s not as difficult as it may seem.
You just need to put yourself in the user’s shoes.
A Mobile Site is Non-Negotiable
If you were to only do one thing to get your site ready for voice searches, it is an absolute must to make that one thing to get your site ready for mobile searches.
That starts with having a responsive website.
Google has already taken a step in that direction by implementing mobile-first indexing, which means that it will crawl the mobile version of a site to see how it should appear in search results.
You’ll want to check to see how mobile friendly your site it. A good place to start is by using Google’s Mobile Site Speed Test.
It will tell you how your site operates on mobile devices and give you tips on how you can make it even faster.
Local SEO is Critical
Just like on desktop and mobile searches, local SEO holds the same level of importance in voice searches.
Think about the “I want to go” micro-moments. How can you position your company to be in those search results?
- Claim your Google My Business and Bing Places Listings. These listings have to be completely filled in and with photos.
- Encourage online reviews. This is part of the directory listings. Google knows that when people are looking for information, they’re looking for the best. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely you’ll appear at the top of search results.
Create Content That Answers Questions
Content still matters for SEO. With voice assistants, you need to shift your content strategy because search has become a two-way conversation.
People are generally looking for immediate answers to questions. Search terms start with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
These phrases come naturally when we speak, but not so much when we type.
For example, when you type a query, you might just type “Sinclair CANWNT” to learn more about Christine Sinclair’s career with the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team.
When you’re speaking naturally, you’ll say “When did Christine Sinclair start with the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team?”
Your task is to create content around such questions as they relate to your business. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about how they would go about finding information about your product or service.
Voice Assistants are the Future
Voice assistants are an exciting wave of the future.
By understanding how they are used, you can prepare your business to pounce on the emerging opportunities.
If you have any questions about how you can get your business ready for voice search, contact us today.