By Kyong E Lee on Oct 20, 2023
The way consumers search for information online is rapidly evolving, and businesses that don’t keep up will be left behind. One of the most significant shifts in recent years is the rise of voice search. With the increasing popularity of smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo (with Alexa) and Google Home, as well as voice-activated assistants like Siri and Cortana, more and more people are using their voices to search the web.
For small businesses, adapting to this trend by optimizing for voice search is crucial for maintaining visibility and staying competitive. Here’s 9 things you need to know to take advantage of this important and growing trend.
People are using voice search more every year. In 2023, the number of voice search users has already been reported at 125.2 million, up from 123.5 million in 2022. In fact, over 50% of adults worldwide use voice search daily. Yes, that’s right. Daily.
Voice searches are different from text searches. People tend to use natural language when speaking, meaning their search queries are more conversational. For instance, while a user might type “best pizza near me” on a keyboard, they might ask, “Where can I find the best pizza nearby?” when speaking. Adapting to these changing search patterns is crucial for ensuring your business shows up in search results.
You will need to pay attention to long-tail keywords that are more conversational in nature. Also, you will want to be sure to create FAQs, because a question and answer format is similar to how people voice search.
Many voice searches are made by people looking for local businesses or services. They might make a voice search such as “Find me a plumber nearby.” Small businesses, especially those that cater to local audiences, must optimize for voice search to capture these potential customers.
For a start, be sure to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile. Ensure your business name, address, phone number and business hours are accurate. Also, add high-quality photos and proactively gather positive reviews.
Another way to help local searches including local voice searches is to use local keywords such as neighborhood names and landmarks. Integrate local keywords into your content, meta descriptions and title tags.
By adding schema markup to your website, you can provide search engines with more detailed information about your content and put it in context. Schema markup can enhance your website’s visibility in search engines and improve how your page displays in search results with enhanced features like rich snippets.
Rich snippets are a type of Google search result that show extra details about your website. These might include prices, reviews, pricing product availability, images and more. This makes your website’s search result more informative, which leads to better click-through rates.
When someone asks a voice-activated device a question, they’re usually looking for a quick and concise answer. This is where featured snippets on search engines come into play. Voice assistants often read out the featured snippet which occupies “position zero” result in Google search. The first Google search result that appears above organic SEO listings is position zero.. To aim for this spot, provide concise answers to common questions in your content. If your content can rank as a featured snippet, it’s more likely to be the response given by a voice assistant.
Do not confuse featured snippets with rich snippets. Rich snippets are enhanced search results providing extra information like ratings and pricing, while featured snippets appear as a box at the top of search results, summarizing an answer to the user’s query directly from a web page.
One of the key reasons for the rise of voice search is that today most searches are performed on smartphones, in the neighborhood of 60%. Most people have a smartphone with voice assistants such as Siri or Google assistant, and it’s an easy way to search when on the go.
While voice search optimization is growing in importance, not all businesses have caught on. By adopting voice search strategies now, small businesses can stay ahead of competitors and capture a larger share of the voice search audience. But if you neglect to do so, you will most certainly fall behind.
Optimizing for voice search often means improving site speed, creating conversational content and ensuring mobile-friendliness—all of which enhance the overall user experience. A positive user experience leads to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.
It is more important than ever that businesses make their websites accessible to those with disabilities. Not only do you gain a larger audience, but you protect your business against fines for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Voice search helps those with visual, motor disabilities or other disabilities access your site.
If you are concerned that your website is not optimized for voice search, contact our Umbrella Local Experts through our website or call (646)440-1426 for a free consultation. We will be happy to discuss the best way for your business to optimize for search engines including voice search.
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