Voice search strategy – top tips, blog by Urban River

Do you have a voice search strategy? If you’re reading this, you probably don’t! And who could blame you – when was the last time you asked Siri for anything? Probably when Siri was first released! However, we’ve come a long way since Siri, with Google Home and Amazon Echobecoming must-have gadgets. It’s time to start building voice search into your SEO strategy.

Is it really worth worrying about now?

Yes! In May 2016, 25% of Bing searches were performed through a voice search, and 1 in 5 searches on an android phone were, you guessed it, voice searches! The chief scientist at Baidu (China’s answer to Google) has predicted that by 2020, at least 50% of all searches will be through image or speech. It’s time to jump on that bandwagon and get building a voice search strategy!

We know that voice search has been around for a while, with software like Siri leading the way. However, despite the research thrown behind it, most of us would be highly embarrassed to be caught having a conversation with our mobile’s robot assistant. But with products like the Amazon Echo hitting the market (and completely selling out during the festive period), it appears that voice search is something that is finally starting to take off.

Local searches

The nature of conversational language means that we won’t ask Google for an “Italian restaurant in Newcastle”. We may type that, but this is a conversation after all, so we’re likely to say “Italian food near me”. This renders your locality keywords are absolutely useless. Google tackles this query by using Google My Business listings – so if you haven’t got one, get one. And keep it up to date!

Answer box results

Did you know that Google Home and Amazon Echo pull answers to their owner’s questions from the featured snippets? Don’t know what that is? Try asking a specific question now, like “how do I carpet stairs” and you’ll see a boxed short answer, pulled from a website. Not only will home assistants read this answer out, but these answers jump to the top of the search results. Think about what questions your customers would ask, and build a succinct answer that is easy for Alexa to read. If it isn’t that straight forward, answer as much as you can in the first sentence, then split the rest into bullet points.

Conversational speech

As pointed out above, voice searches have a conversational nature to them that we wouldn’t use when typing. For example, if I wanted to know how much sugar was in a packet of Malteasers – I would most likely type “Malteasers sugar content”. But I would say “Ok Google, how much sugar is in a packet of Malteasers?”. You might find that you rank highly for the typed search, but don’t appear in the voice equivalent. Start looking at your long-tail keywords and think about how you can add new ones that are slightly altered to grab the voice search results.

Don’t throw away your current SEO strategy just yet!

Whilst you definitely need to add to your current strategy to account for voice search – don’t abandon your current strategy for typed search! We’ve got a long way to go before voice search is the number one way to browse the web. So typed search definitely needs to take priority. Truth is, we don’t know a lot about voice search, we don’t even have reporting for voice search traffic yet (but it could be on its way). So make a start on a voice search strategy – without leaving typed search behind.

Urban River, Web Design Newcastle can help! They are SEO specialists with the ability to build an SEO strategy that brings in new customers. Get in touch to find out how they can help you.

Urban River is a valued members of Design Network North. Design Network North is part of RTC’s new programme called ‘Designing Better Business’ – launched in 2016 - which will provide support for north east businesses looking to continue to innovate and design better world leading products.
RTC was founded in 1989 with the sole purpose of helping businesses innovate and create new higher value products. Today, the business operates out of offices in Sunderland, Gateshead, Leeds and Daresbury and specialises in helping companies develop new products, embed new skills through training and access funding for innovation.
Designing Better Business’ is part funded by European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.