What the rise in voice searches means for your website

Google recently revealed that one-in-five search requests are spoken rather than typed.

eBusiness UK voice search

A study by Salesforce found that 40 per cent of millennials prefer voice search to typing, and even among the age group least likely to adopt new technology – the over 55s – only half were against trying voice search in the future.

These figures are on the rise, too, with some experts predicting that half of all searches in 2020 will be spoken.

There are many reasons for the increase in use of voice search. The most obvious is that for many it’s the easiest method.

Artificial intelligence has evolved its understanding of human speech. It is now capable of interpreting questions and demands and has a fantastic ability to respond correctly.

In addition, mobile networks are improving their data coverage and the prices of data packages are falling, meaning that it’s easier than ever to conduct a search while on the go.

Added to the mix is the proliferation of smart watches and home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.

Easy-to-use voice-controlled gadgets, widely available data and advanced AI have combined to make voice search not only a reality, but a favourite tool for many.

So what does this mean for your business and your website?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between text searches and voices searches. Text searches, for the most part, are short and heavy on keywords. Voice searches, by contrast, are often posed as questions, and are therefore longer.

A user might type “hammers” with their fingers but speak “where can I buy a hammer?” into a device.

The second trend we have noted is that voice searches are more likely to be location-specific. Voice searchers are often on-the-go, wearing their devices or taking advantage of mobile data. They want to know more about the world around them: places to eat, shops selling specific items, tourism spots to explore.

Knowing this, it’s important to tailor SEO in two key ways:

  1. Answer questions on your site
    As well as considering the keywords relevant to your service or product, consider the language a potential customer might use when looking for you. What questions might they ask? Build these questions into your SEO. Better still, consider writing blog posts that use common questions as a headline.
  2. Use your geography
    If customers demand things nearby, it makes sense to ensure your location is clear. Make your address visible, and ensure you’re properly listed on services such as Google Maps. A search engine can’t recommend you as a local company if it doesn’t know where you are.

With all that in mind: don’t dismiss traditional SEO. While voice searches are a valuable way of finding new customers, a majority of queries are still typed and it’s vital to cater for these, too.

If you’re not getting the results you want from your SEO, or you’d like to know more about the future of voice search, contact Nasir Kothia on 01254 279998 or email nasir@ebusinessuk.com.

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