The Voice Search Boom: Time to Change your SEO Strategies?

Emma Grant

Head of SEO

Results-driven Emma heads up our SEO team. A champion of best-practice SEO strategies for search engine success that lasts and delivers best value, Emma’s work focuses on boosting clients’ online visibility with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. Emma applies her extensive skill and experience to create strategies that pay off quickly for faster results. She knows precisely what to do to reduce clients’ paid ad spends for greater profits, and how to boost organic leads for better long term return on investment. After close of business, when she’s not organising exciting travel adventures, you may hear Emma strumming classical guitar tunes or working on her jazz riffs.

It is reckoned that by 2020, 50 per cent of all internet searches will be voiced-based. With the explosion in popularity of voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, things really have changed when it comes to search.

The days of typing what you want to find out into a search engine are starting to wane. For us, this seems a natural transition and doesn’t really feel like too much of a jump. From the point of view of the search engine however, it’s quite a major leap. Here’s why.

When you type into a search engine, the keywords you use are condensed down for speed. So instead of something natural sounding like ‘I need a chemist in Kingston’, you’ll type, ‘chemist Kingston’. If we all conversed using the same style language we use to type into Google, it would sound quite ludicrous. But we know that search engines understand this language and, let’s face it, we just don’t have time to type in reams.

Voice search SEO

The days of typing what you want to find out into a search engine are starting to wane.

Things have taken a natural turn.

When it comes to asking for things by speaking to a voice assistant however, we tend to use our natural language style. So we will say, ‘Alexa, find me a chemist in Kingston’. Perfectly understandable so far. But how does this all translate when we’re doing search engine optimisation? Is it time to change tack? Let’s take a look.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising a website for the keywords people use when searching for what you sell. So, for example, our SEO agency in London would work with a chemist in Kingston to include ‘chemist Kingston’ across its content, because that’s what people are typing into the search bar. By partnering with an SEO agency in London, businesses can improve their online visibility and rank higher in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to find and engage with their products and services.

But what happens now people are speaking to a voice assistant instead of typing into a search bar?

Keyword phrases are about to grow.

Content now needs to be optimised not just for the shorter phrases used by typing searchers, but also for the longer phrases used by voice assistant fans. Now you’ll need to think more along the lines of spoken language. Thankfully, it’s more natural, so it should be easier to work into your content. You’ll also need to think about the sort of things people will ask their voice assistant. Using our chemist example, things like, ‘chemist that’s open all night’ or ‘chemist on the high street in Kingston’.

Keyword phrases are getting more specific.

When you talk to a voice assistant, it’s like talking to someone you know. It’s more natural PLUS you’re going to be more specific with your questions. So you might say, ‘I need a chemist on the high street that’s open now and sells hay fever remedies’. If your website content includes keywords like these then it will rank higher and come up in voice searches asking for these specifics.

Content needs to be easy to say.

A voice assistant can only speak in a simple style. So your content needs to be made up of short, clear statements. Consider how you would respond to your question, ‘find me a chemist in Kingston’. The most obvious response would be, ‘the nearest chemist in Kingston is Lloyd’s on the high street.’ So you need to include these kinds of statements in your content.

Time for change.

voice search

So, there’s definitely a transition going on. It’s time therefore to start introducing key phrases into your content that work for voice search. Research says that more than half of teenagers are already using voice search, and over 40 per cent of adults have adopted it. The importance of gearing your content and SEO campaigns to this market cannot be stressed enough if you are going to gain competitive edge.

Need help optimising your website for voice-based search? Maybe you just need SEO advice in general? It’s all part of what we do here at Figment. Why not get in touch to discuss how we can help get your business in front of today’s chatty audience?

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