There’s a significant trend happening right now across Search, and that’s voice queries on mobile.
The increasing use of smartphones and the arrival of voice enabled ‘personal assistants’ such as Siri, means that voice search is becoming more and more prevalent. According to a Mobile Study by Google, [https://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/omg-mobile-voice-survey-reveals-teens.html] more than half of teenagers (13-18) use voice search daily—to them it’s as natural as checking social media or taking selfies. Adults too are getting the hang of it, with 41 percent talking to their phones every day and 56 percent admitting it makes them “feel tech savvy.”
So how can businesses take advantage of this growing trend and refine their SEO strategy to gain more mileage from voice search?
Google Hummingbird, a new algorithm release back in September 2013 was aimed at improving Google’s ‘knowledge graph’ – a feature designed to provide quick, accurate answers to users’ queries about people, places and things.
You can see the knowledge graph in action in this search snippet when searching for ‘chicken korma recipe’ the user doesn’t have to click into any search result to find what they’re looking for:
This new algorithm bought semantic search into action; helping Google understand the intended meaning behind the searcher’s query, rather than the query itself.
With the growth of intelligent personal assistants, context becomes even more important in voice search queries. They are designed to help the user with direct answers rather than merely providing a list of websites.
So how can we adapt our SEO methodologies to meet this growing trend?
Adapt content for human conversation
Creating content that answers the questions your customers are asking in a natural, conversational tone is the best way to prepare for voice search. The more you can understand the nuances of conversational search queries, the better you can adapt your content for voice search.
Understand user intent
Voice search queries are more conversational in nature and can reveal new levels of intent. For example, when looking for a bike hire with text search, a user may search: “bike hire Cornwall.” With voice search, their query may change to, “Where can I hire a bike in Cornwall?” Voice search queries are longer than their text-based counterparts and normally focus around “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how.”
Your content therefore needs to contain more of the who, what, where, when, why and how so that Google can pick up these longer tail keywords from your content.
Opportunities for local businesses
For local businesses, voice search is a BIG thing, as mobile phones become more of a prominent source for consumers to gather info about local businesses. Ensure that you experiment with keywords – both long tail and short and include local landmarks and neighbourhood places as suffixes, so that both the user and Google can easily identify your local business against local landmarks, events and places.
Voice search is still developing, but it is undoubtedly changing the Search landscape and presenting a new opportunity for businesses, particularly local businesses who we believe will be the most to benefit.
For more information on how to adapt your SEO strategy for voice search, contact our SEO team.