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Mobile-First Drives Conversational Search for 2017

Posted on 1.09.2017

:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::

We all know that being mobile friendly is important if you want to rank better on Google. Sometimes as 'Net professionals, our immense focus on Google guidelines distracts us from the very reason search exists, which is to help users easily find information.

Most of us use our smartphones on a daily basis. When you need information or directions, you grab your phone and ask a question. “Near Me” searches are exploding because of this fact.

Voice searching, for many people, is still a newer concept. If you tried it in the past you can probably remember talking into the phone and it not quite understanding you, or typing the wrong word. Thankfully those days are over. The advances in our phones ability to quickly and accurately determine our query is the driving force behind the massive growth in voice search. Unlike in the past, talking to your phone is now just as accurate as typing and a lot faster, especially when you are on the go. This combination of speed and efficiency is leading to the continued growth of voice search.

How Many People are Using Voice? 

According to over half of teenagers and 41 percent of adults use voice search daily. These numbers are up considerably from 2015 and are expected to grow aggressively through 2020.

The Difference Between Text and Voice Search

Picture this, you’re driving down the road and realize that you forgot to order the cake for the party on Friday. You can’t risk forgetting it again and traffic is too crazy to just pull over. What are you going to do? Mostly likely you are going to start by saying “OK Google” or “Hey Siri”.  Now, think of how you would voice search it. Most people don’t use short tail keywords when voice searching. If feels a little awkward to say “Hey Siri, bakery.” Now, when typing it is completely normal to just type “bakery” but when you’re voice searching people are more apt to  ask Google or Siri an actual question. “Hey Siri what are the hours of Kroger’s bakery?” “OK Google, what is the phone number of Kroger’s bakery?” 

With conversational search, we voice a question and get answered back with options from the search engines. The search engines (Google and Bing) are now asking if we want this information or would rather have a different type of information about our search. 

In case you missed it, Bing is now the default search engine Siri uses, meaning Bing is likely to get a slightly larger market share of voice searches in 2017. Tech savvy users can simply switch Siri back to Google search, so the impact is not as big as it could have been for Bing. Nevertheless, don’t rule out Bing in 2017.

What Should You Be Doing to Get Traffic from Voice Search?

There are several things you can do to increase your likelihood of capturing traffic, leads or conversions from voice searches. Here are a few to get you started:

Implement structured data

Create content around long tail keywords and “near me” queries

Verify your hours, location, and NAP information are correct and consistent

Develop easily digestible information sorted into specific sub-sections on a page

Create a detailed FAQ page around your main keywords

Use ample sub-headings, bullet points and numbered lists for content

Be sure to answer: Who, what, when, where, why and how with your content

Aside from voice search specifics, taking the time to make sure you have a well-optimized local presence is key. If you show up well in the map results and organic searches, you are more likely to be the featured snippet or listed as the source in the knowledge box. The three basic pillars of SEO are just as important in 2017 as they have been in the past. Before you worry about capturing voice search, take some time to make sure your technical SEO, website content and link/citation profile is on point. Otherwise you will be trying to build a house on top of a crumbling foundation.

How do you think voice search is going to impact SEO over the next three years?

About the Author

Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Franklin, TN. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz

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