voice search

Hey Google! Teach Me About Voice Search

Voice search is the latest trend to hit the internet, and if you are not prepared your business could suffer.

What the heck is voice search?

Voice search is a function that allows users to search the web using spoken commands rather than typing in a query.

If you’ve ever used your phone to ask Siri a question than you’re already using voice search. But it’s not all about your phone. Both Google and Firefox support voice search on your computer and there are an array of voice-activated assistants including:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Microsoft Cortana
  • Amazon Firestick

How is voice search being used today?

Today most of us are using voice search on our mobile phones to look for entertainment-related information, such as:

  • The address of a restaurant
  • Store hours
  • Movie times
  • Who played Hans Solo?
  • Play U2’s latest song

If you’re thinking this type of thing doesn’t apply to your business and you don’t need to worry about it, think again.

Analysts are predicting that in just two short years, 50% of ALL SEARCHES will be performed through voice-activated technology. With this in mind, it would benefit you to start working toward enabling your site for voice search.

How do I get started?

As the name implies, voice search is a search function which means it falls under the umbrella of SEO (search engine optimization).

The main difference is that when you go to Google.com and pop in a search query you get a list of results you can choose from.

When you ask Alexa a question, you don’t see that list of results. Alexa will choose what she feels is the most relevant information. This means that now, more than ever, it’s important to rank well in Google.

It’s worth keeping in mind that we search differently when we talk than when we type. When we speak, we’re more likely to ask full questions, such as “How long does it take to get from DC to New York?”

When we type in a search, we’re more likely to enter a shortened version such as “DC to NYC.”

In some ways it’s easier to optimize for voice search as you’ll be using natural language. However, it can be tricky to optimize for questions as you’re unlikely to repeat the phrase “What’s the difference between butter and margarine” several times in a single page.

This is where Google snippets come in.

When you perform searches on Google, you’ve likely seen a highlighted piece of information that gives you the answer to your question without having to go to a website. This is called a snippet.

Voice activated technology is very likely to use snippets to answer questions, so it’s worth considering what type of questions you can answer with your website.

I’d also recommend making sure you have contact information and information such as your business hours easily available on your website. Making sure this information is accurate on sites like Google My Business and Facebook will also help.

Have more questions about voice search?

This is a guest blog post from our friend and frequent collaborator, Nicole Krug, President of Social Light. Nicole is a digital brand strategist focused on helping small businesses grow. Since founding Social Light in 2009, she has helped clients hone their digital marketing strategies to bring more exposure to their brands and boost their bottom lines.

If you’d like to learn more about voice search, give her a shout!

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

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