How Voice Searches Are Changing SEO

How Voice Searches Are Changing SEO

With a reported 68% of adults owning smartphones in the United States as of 2015, the ability to access information has never been easier. This is especially true since most of these devices now include the newest incarnation of what we would have previously referred to as Artificial Intelligence. We know them better by their names: Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa, to name a few. These Virtual Assistants have changed how we interact with information, not only providing options and answers, but also helping users to complete tasks related to their searches.

Voice Search vs. Traditional Search

Search engines such as Google build semantic graphs, which are collections of heavily structured data that help to narrow searches down to relevant content. These knowledge bases are built with assistance from algorithms such as RankBrain, which search websites internally to ensure not only their relevance, but also fit numerous other criteria.

While Virtual Assistants can perform tasks specifically within the functions of our devices (“Call Mom,” “Play my workout playlist,” etc.), their ability to conduct an online search provides us with a different experience than we would have if we were to do the same search on a computer. Desktop searches give users options, providing content publishers the opportunity to direct consumers to their website. Typically, Virtual Assistants don’t provide us with a list of search results; they simply give us the answer.

While only 50% of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices – and only 20% of those are voice searches – the numbers have continued to grow every year. Media analytics measuring company comScore estimates that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice, while the 2016 KPCB Internet Trends Report shows how Google voice searches have increased more than 3500% over the last eight years.

Optimizing Your Website for Voice Searches

Since using Virtual Assistants to search the web is becoming more common, understanding how they conduct their searches is the best way to keep your website relevant. A few areas to focus on are:

  • Long Tail Keywords: People searching on a computer use different words than they do when searching with voice. Rather than focusing exclusively on single keywords, optimizing your content with full sentences will help Virtual Assistants find and funnel consumers to your site.
  • Including Schema Markups: This is a specific type of code that not only tells search engines what your data says, but also what it means. Essentially, it makes the existing data on your website more specific, helping to make it more relevant to search engines. Focusing on this area also helps in traditional web searches, as well.
  • FAQ Pages: Voice searches generally begin with any of the big five questions: Who, What, When, Where, or Why. An FAQ page written with this verbiage provides consumers with more relevant content and answers tailored to their query, making them more likely to engage.

Organic and Local SEO Services from Utah SEO Pros

Search Engine Optimization has become an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to running a business in the digital age. Driving qualified traffic to your website – and leads to your business – through emerging channels such as voice search, can give your business the edge it needs. The experts at Utah SEO Pros realize that every company is different, which is why we customize every service we offer to your specific set of needs. Contact us today for a free quote, and let us help your voice be heard.

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With a degree focused on writing, photography, videography, public relations, marketing and digital media, I offer numerous multimedia and technological skills gleaned in an academic environment and applied in the real world. I first fell in love with journalism at the age of 17. Since then, I have been published a number of newspapers in the state of Utah, including The Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and the Millard County Chronicle Progress.

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