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voice search

Many of us have some new friends. The friends go by the names Siri and Alexa. We can be heard in conversation with them at home—“Hey, Cortana” or “Ok, Google”. They’re always there when we need them, answering our questions with expediency. Virtual assistants are changing the way we conduct internet searches. By 2020, it’s predicted that between twenty and fifty percent of all searches will be voice-initiated. That means it’s in your best interest to optimize your business content for voice searches.

Answering the Call

According to AdWeek, 67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in the US by 2019. Voice search primarily takes place on mobile. People tend to be on their phones when looking for information such as directions, phone numbers,  business hours, and other immediate-need information. By using structured data, you can highlight this kind of information on your website.

One tip: try not to overstep. Burger King drew a lot of heat for their innovative advertising campaign that co-opted Google Home.  It was a clever use of the virtual assistant’s voice-activated capability, but many regarded the stunt as invasive technology.

Talk the Talk

voice search
Voice search optimization boosts SEO

There are differences between the way people conduct a standard internet search that’s typed into an engine like Google and what’s said in a voice search. Looking for lunch near Key West Video could use these search words: Italian food lunch Vaughan ON. If we were to use a voice search, it would probably sound like this: Find Italian restaurants near me. Each search has five words, but only one word in common. Because people searching via voice use conversational language, you need to optimize for a variety of related, long-tail keywords for the best SEO results. It’s an SEO best practice to optimize content for voice search & virtual assistants.

How Do I Optimize?

voice search
Voice searches often look for something local

So what’s the best way to get your content promoted to the top of search returns? Start local. Typically, people conducting voice searches are using their phones while they’re busy and they want an immediate answer. That could mean they’re near a shop and need to know the hours or the exact location. Make sure your location, address and phone number are prominently featured on your website.

Algorithms change all the time and make content optimization a moving target. However, there are ways to move your content toward a voice-friendly designation. Think about the questions your customers are asking. Then parse those questions into keywords and write content that addresses the queries. So the next time someone asks How much does it cost to make a video? You have that answer sitting in your FAQ content and your video production business is a top search return.

Communication Breakdown

Computers have gotten better about learning the patterns of human speech. Back in 2013, Google launched an algorithm change called Hummingbird. It took into consideration user intent and the contextual meaning of searches. The computer program even learned how to understand speech patterns and accents by using Natural Language Processing. These changes eventually led to voice search.

The kind of communication most closely related to voice searches may be the phone conversations you have with customers. What they’re asking—and how they’re asking it—is a good indication of voice searches. Keywords in a voice search include when, how, what, where, and who. Keep in mind that customers aren’t looking for marketing messages from their devices. If you think of service first, your content can reflect an answer to the question Where can I buy a bed frame? A bedframe described as artisan oak finishes to cradle your mattress is a marketing message. A web page with the phrase Where to buy a bed frame does a better job of matching the consumer’s query.

Upgrade for Voice Search

You can make your website friendlier for voice searches without a total redesign. Start by looking at each page on your site to determine what questions you’re trying to answer with the information provided. Then optimize that existing content with relevant search terms, using conversational language. You want the phrases people are using to appear in your content. FAQ pages and blogs are good places to use this kind of language.

Accessibility is a great shortcut to optimize content for voice searches. Web content accessibility guidelines have the goal of making websites useful to ALL users. This short video explains how web accessibility works with voice recognition.

Loud and Clear

People are letting their voices be heard when it comes to internet searches. Hear what they’re saying and take advantage by optimizing your content for voice searches. Go ahead and try it when you search for a corporate video production partner and we’ll be talking to you soon.

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