The rise of the virtual assistant is upon us, and modern users are becoming ever more receptive to the boons of voice search technology.
In fact, by 2020, experts predict that more than half of all searches will be conducted via voice search. Internet users value convenience above all else - we expect highly relevant answers delivered instantly, and voice searches enable us to conduct hands-free searches - immediately, wherever we are. As such, those who craft and design SEO content would be wise to keep abreast of this global trend towards voice searches. Read on for powerful ways to harness voice search capabilities in 2018-and beyond.
Get Noticed With Featured Snippets
"Featured snippets" refer to the featured result displayed at the top of any search. Moz, an online community devoted to all things SEO, analyzed more than a thousand voice searches in order to provide insights about how Google's algorithm sorts, analyzes, and synthesizes voice search results. About seventy percent of the featured snippets tracked delivered relevant voice answers, and according to Moz's research, questions beginning with the word "what" generated far more featured snippets than questions beginning with "when," "where," "who," and "why." Questions beginning with the words "how" or "how to" ranked similarly to "what" questions. It pays to know what's saturated the SEO scene - and what holes we have left to fill.
From a search marketing standpoint, the momentum for voice optimization is building, and experts suspect that the demand for voice optimization will peak in the next several years. Meanwhile, it might be worthwhile to research which major keywords or questions are being asked within your field of expertise. And remember-featured snippets, especially when formulated as text-only, already yield voice answers almost ninety percent of the time, and appear prominently on desktop and mobile searches.
Take Google's Advice - Focus on "Buy" and "Find"
Desktop and mobile searches tend to vary greatly. Google reports that "near me" searches, for example, come overwhelmingly from mobile devices. These types of queries, also coined "I want to go" queries, offer rich terrain for SEO experts looking to expand voice search capabilities, since understanding which keywords are being used is the first step to optimizing.
Plus, Google reports that it's thirty times more likely for voice searches to focus on action queries, which tend to include terms like "buy" or "find." Mobile voice searchers are also looking for basic business information, like business hours-and that knowledge can help any marketing professional to target a voice-based audience with more intention.
Advertise - with Voice
Google's made it easy to optimize your content for voice - especially where advertising is concerned. If you've already created a structured data markup, Google enables you to convert that markup into an "action"-something people can ask their Google Assistants. Transforming markup into actions means your content is more visible - and it's easier to find, too. Just claim and hone your Google directory listing-you're filling a gap, and making use of another voice search channel at the same time. Plus, you're helping Google users to locate optimal, relevant results.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm - With Voice
Because voice-activated searches are just starting to develop, it pays to be an early adopter. Getting involved early - and optimizing for voice today - will likely mean higher ROI in the later phases. Plus, tweaking to make small adjustments is far easier than starting from scratch - especially as the service sees an increase in popularity in years to come.
About the Author: Seth Worby is the CEO and founder of Champ Internet.
Seth Worby is the founder of Champ Internet Solutions, a pioneering SEO and SEM strategist with over 18 years of experience in the field. With a breadth of technological and business knowledge, Seth drives results for clients in areas such as SEO, e-commerce, marketing, and integrated solutions. With a successful career at companies such as Verndale and Catalyst Online, Seth has proven to be an expert in the field, managing and strategizing for industry leaders such as Pfizer and Procter & Gamble. A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in E-Business Management from Champlain College, Seth is passionate about delivering results and building strong relationships. In his free time, Seth enjoys snowboarding and cheering on the Red Sox.