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What Steps Should You Take to Stay Visible as More Users Embrace Voice Search?

What Steps Should You Take to Stay Visible as More Users Embrace Voice Search?

In a previous post, we here at Triple Canopy Media discussed the rising trend of users seeking out the products, services, and information they want to find through the use of voice search.

In short, as voice search apps and personal assistants become more commonplace, users will grow more comfortable using them, even in public. You’ll want to make sure that your company is prepared for this rising trend.

What steps can you take to make sure your website will still end up near the top of the search engine results even as voice search takes over? Read on!

Be Natural

How do you generally hold conversations with your (human) loved ones? It’s unlikely that you speak to them as though you’re a robot out of a science fiction movie from the 1950s. (But if you do this, contact us and we’ll take you out for a virtual lunch.)

If you’re proficient when speaking in a particular human language, you probably don’t have to think too hard when responding to basic questions. If someone asks you, “Where did you park the car?” you, without dwelling too much on the construction or sequence of the words in the sentence, will answer the questioner in the same conversational manner. Thus, you’re probably going to reply by saying something like, “I parked on a side street near the bakery,” rather than, “side street near bakery.”

In other words, you would respond in a way that sounds natural. That’s what we mean here at TCM when we say that your content writing should be conversational in style. And that’s more important now than ever before as voice search takes over and people speak to their devices as though they are (almost) human.

Consider constructing at least some of your chosen keywords as though they could have been lifted out of a sentence that one person would say to another person.

Speaking of speaking in sentences…

Longer keywords, longer tails

As TCM explained at length in an earlier examination of this aspect of SEO, the explosion in the use of voice search means that you’ll want to experiment with longer keywords in your website’s content. (And these longer keywords are often at or nearer to the end of the “long tail” on a search engine results graph.)

Sure, fewer people are going to search for a very long keyword compared with a shorter one, (thus, the position of those keywords on the long tail of the graph), but that means there’s less competition for ranking with regard to that keyword. That makes it easier for you to get near the top in the rankings.

And as people conduct more and more searches using voice search, they are going to be more likely to speak (that is, search) using longer keywords. Think about incorporating some nearly-full-sentence keywords into your content, if indeed your business is the best answer to the question that a user is likely to ask their device.

Be an authority

Keep in mind that people perform searches not just to find products and services they want to purchase, but also to get information. (Getting information, of course, is often research that people engage in when they’re planning to buy something—like what your business offers, for instance.)

Your website should be full of content that benefits users. It should be relevant and informative, in addition to being readable. Make yourself a repository, an authority. Compose your content with the goal of answering questions users are asking.

When writing with a set of keywords in mind, think about not only the questions people might ask, but the way in which they might ask them. Look at it this way: how are searchers trying to get the information they want and, most importantly, how are they framing their questions? The use of “question keywords” has been on the rise, in large part thanks to voice search. Composing your content with this in mind might produce real ranking benefits for your site.

Featured Snippets and FAQs

Another strategy? Try creating content for your site that might help you land in Google’s coveted Featured Snippet box. What’s a Featured Snippet? It’s the information in the box you see at the top of the page in the screenshot below.

A screenshot showing a Featured Snippet

The Featured Snippet in this screenshot of a question about Featured Snippets explains what a Featured Snippet is. In case you can’t quite make it out, the Featured Snippet is Google’s idea of the most direct, “best-fit” answer to a query. The Featured Snippet appears above the organic search results without displacing them, providing information while also showing a link to the page that is the source of this information.

Featured Snippets will take on increasing importance as voice search dominates searching methods in the future. It’s good to be listed above the organic search results on any page, obviously.

But if someone is using a virtual assistant designed to respond to voice commands and questions, (as opposed to a phone or a laptop that has additional interfaces), that device isn’t going to read off pages and pages of results in response to a query. Instead, it’s going to read out a short, best-fit answer from the Featured Snippet.

Thus, if you can write content that puts your website information in that spot, you’re going to be the only result for an increasing number of searchers.

You can’t order Google to make your content part of a Featured Snippet, obviously. But you can try to rank there through good, relevant content.

If your website has a Q&A section, for instance, the information you provide there can also go a long way in helping you to rank highly—maybe even in the Featured Snippet spot. Providing clear, concise answers in response to questions that users commonly ask their devices about your industry is a great way to get Google’s attention. And it’s well worth your time and energy.

In conclusion

Voice search is on the rise. And with the growth of personal assistant devices, that trend is not likely to reverse itself anytime soon. To stay competitive in searches, you should be composing good, relevant content, as always. Keeping voice search top-of-mind means making sure that the content you post is informative and answers common questions using the language people use when speaking to each other.

Find your voice, and others will find you by using theirs!

More of Your Clients are Embracing Voice Search. Will This Trend Continue?

More of Your Clients are Embracing Voice Search. Will This Trend Continue?

The world of SEO is constantly evolving. Naturally, your business and your business website will want (that is, need) to keep up with the ever-present changes in the online world in order to keep getting clicks, eyes, and the positive attention that come with them.

When it comes to SEO, many of the strategies that have worked in the past just won’t cut it in 2019. This statement isn’t limited only to tactics that might diplomatically be termed “underhanded.” No, it can also refer to the most basic elements of content creation.

That’s because people don’t search for answers to their problems in the same way that they did even just a few short years ago.

What’s changed? A lot of things, actually. One of the biggest ones? The advent of voice search.

A very short history of voice search usage stats

To many of us, finding answers using voice search has become almost second-nature. That means it’s surprising to some to find out that this method of looking for information online has only just recently become commonplace. But this searching method that started out small has grown tremendously in a relatively short period of time.

Google first added the voice search feature to Google Maps way back in the summer of 2008. It wasn’t until 2012 that the company launched a broader, more general version of voice search that went beyond the one used by the company’s web mapping service.

By May of 2016, around 20% of searches on Android devices were voice searches. In fact, by the summer of 2018, voice searches were being conducted 35 times more often compared to their levels in 2008. And it’s estimated that by 2020, roughly half of all searches will be voice searches.

That means voice search will keep growing

Although we might see ups and downs when measuring certain aspects of voice search trends from year to year, the overall arc is turning toward an increase. And you can see this in 2019 through the heavy competition various voice assistants are engaged in to try to win your business.

But regardless of whether you prefer to search using Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or one of the multitude of others, the way that you conduct searches by voice is going to be very different from the way you conduct them when you have to type out your queries.

Why is the way people search using voice search so different?

We here at Triple Canopy Media have touched on voice search before, notably as a rising trend in 2018, and as a major factor in determining the importance of long tail keywords.

If you’ve been a fan of Triple Canopy Media’s blog posts (and thanks, by the way), then you may already have a clue about how to answer this question.

Brevity likely shaped the old way you conducted an online search for a product you wanted to buy or a service that you needed to help address a business pain point. That’s a fancy way of saying that when most people have to type something out on a keyboard, they probably use fewer words than when they get to talk to a voice assistant.

People are more likely to speak in complete sentences when they use voice search as opposed to the fragments that they might hammer out using the old-school method of typing.

To help illustrate this, let’s say that I need some repair work done to the brakes on my car. I may very well use the same language to conduct that search whether I’m conducting it by voice or typing out my request. But I’m more likely to speak to my device the way that I would converse with a person.

Below are a couple of screenshots illustrating how that could make a difference in the search engine results pages that I will get.

Both of these searches were conducted using Google on a desktop and are tied to the ZIP code 44240.

The first one was a typed query: “brake repair near me.” That seems like a logical set of words to use, right?

A screenshot showing the SERP based on a typed search

In contrast, the second one was done using voice. Since I was speaking, it seemed more natural to ask a question in the form of a full sentence. In this case, I went with, “where can I get my brakes fixed [?]”

A SERP screenshot based on a voice search

As you can see, these two queries produced a different set of results. If your auto repair shop specializes in brake repair, obviously you want to be as close to the top as you can get in both of these searches.

But as a business owner, one of your main takeaways should be that the importance of the number one spot in the voice search query is going to grow exponentially as people use this technology more and more to find solutions to their problems online.

Can my business get found by users performing voice search queries?

We’re glad you asked!

The answer is yes! But as always, getting found involves content. It’s a good thing that Triple Canopy Media knows a thing or two about content strategy!

Getting found when it comes to voice search starts with getting found to begin with.

When it comes to content, your company’s website should have lots of it. But it’s not just about content volume. You also need to make sure, of course, that the writing on your website consists of high-quality content.

Your blog posts should cover topics that are relevant to what your business does. The content on your company website should illuminate some aspect of your industry. Inform your audience, answer questions that readers are asking, and do it all in a readable, engaging, and conversational manner.

To sum up: The writing on your site ought to provide readers with value. That will help keep their eyes on the page once they find you, and that should get them to come back in the future.

In a follow-up post, we’ll discuss some of the step-by-step approaches you can take to make sure your content will get the attention you want from voice search browsers as the voice search revolution continues.

And, as always, feel free to contact us here at Triple Canopy Media for all of your SEO-related queries. We want you to get found, so find us!