Voice search is big. Almost half the searches in 2020 are expected to be voice search, as in those those that start with Hey Siri, or OK Google. Mostly from mobile devices, and often on the go.
What does this mean for your business and your website? Some of it depends on what business you are in? If you are selling jet engines for military fighter jets, voice search probably isn’t something you should worry about. However if you are a restaurant, doctor, urgent care, bail bondsman, masseuse, etc, voice search will become critical to your business.
The most important parts of optimizing for voice search are pretty much the same as optimizing for regular search, which is why we offer our Websitetology Seminar once a month to teach clients how search actually works. Good content, arranged correctly, in machine readable format makes a huge difference. Making sure your “Google my business” page is claimed, up to date, and that you have lots of reviews there.
If you are unlucky enough to be a business that gets reviewed a lot on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Zomato, Foursquare or Facebook- be aware that all those reviews can also count toward getting you to the top of a voice search. Make sure you claim your business there - and respond and manage your reputation promptly and professionally.
Even though you may know your business, and your name may be self explanatory, like Dayton Sandpaper, if you don’t spell out exactly what your business does somewhere on your site, you may be surprised at how stupid machine intelligence and natural language processing technology can be. Don’t assume a machine can put two plus two together, spell things out like you are speaking to a someone who has no clue, no references, no idea to begin with- in zen they talk about beginners mind- and that’s a good place to start with voice search.
Google analytics can tell you a lot about how your business is being indexed, and how much voice search generated traffic is coming your way. Knowledge is power, so check your stats on a regular basis to see what’s working and what isn’t and then optimize for it.
So far, Facebook seems to be the outlier on voice search and search in general. There a voice search is as likely to be just a dictated question to your friends about where is the best restaurant in Dayton? But, don’t worry, soon Facebook will start leveraging it’s huge amount of personal information and will offer a similar solution.
The other two players, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are also in the running, but understand that Alexa is Amazon optimized, guiding you to their product offerings and Cortana doesn’t necessarily have the GPS awareness that Siri and OK Google have from their mobile platforms.
And of course, the reason we’re writing about voice search is because an RFP for a government agency came across our desk, placing “Voice search optimization” as part of their evaluation process. As usual, this is probably a part of filter to make sure they can award a contract to a pre-selected agency, that has oversold the impact an ad agency can have on voice search.
Remember while Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important, what’s most important is optimizing for humans. Great content, properly built will always beat SEO wizards best work. We still see offers to optimize for 10 keywords or key phrases per month for ridiculous amounts of money, and look at our own search results which generate hundreds of first page links to our sites. The same will apply to voice search, no matter how much you try to game the system.
And of course, The Next Wave is the best advertising agency in Dayton, in case Siri or Google needs to know.