Is Your Business Ready for Voice Search? Make It So!

Is Your Business Ready for Voice Search? Make It So!

by Pia Larson

Is your business ready to take full advantage of Voice Search? If not, it’s well past time for you to catch up, because Voice Search has been blowing past text searches for almost four years now! Back in 2014, a groundbreaking study by Thrive Analytics concluded that use of Personal Assistants like Apple’s Siri had doubled over the previous 12 months. This rise in use could be seen in all age demographics, with the largest in the ever-important 18 – 29 and 30 – 43 age ranges. And that was all three years ago! Today, with Cortana, Google Home and Amazon Echo now in the mix for consumers, voice searching has grown exponentially–56% of adults now use Siri, Google Now, or Cortana. This means that every business needs to maximize its ability to take advantage of voice searching in order to stay competitive. Voice-activated technology is changing how your clients find you online.

So let’s get you on board this fast-moving information train, shall we?

First, let’s make clear how voice searching differs from text searching. Believe it or not, voice searching does have distinctive differences from the basic text searches that we’ve all lost precious hours over the years typing into our favorite search engines, hoping we somehow find the results we need. We could get very technical about it all, but others have done that for us already (insert link–https://moz.com/blog/how-voice-search-will-change-digital-marketing-for-the-better). In short, voice searching leads to more precise and complete results because it uses more precise and complete language.

As a general rule, we speak differently than we write. This is especially true when it comes to voice vs. text searching. Say we want to find a place for excellent seafood in Seattle (and there are many choices there!). A text search into Google or some other search engine will most likely be best seafood restaurants Seattle. But using Siri or Cortana on our phones to state a more natural and complete sentence like, What is the best seafood restaurant in Seattle, will get us better results than the basic text search.

So how can you maximize voice search to work for your business? Here are three easy changes to make to your website that will help you take advantage of the current voice search revolution (and its continued evolution):

  • Write website copy with natural language speech in mind. Again, when someone types a search, they use computer language — “Seattle Lunch Deals,” for example. A voice search says “Which Seattle restaurants have the best deals for lunch?” So, make sure that in your website copy you include sentences that will match up with such spoken searches. For example, using the above spoken search sentence, have copy in your website that says things like, “if you are looking for the Seattle restaurant with the best deals for lunch, look no further than us!”

This greatly increases the possibility that your business will appear much higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) than it would with just a basic text search. It is well known that businesses that appear on the first SERP get much more business than those who appear on later pages. After all, we use searches to find answers quickly, so it makes sense that the first answers found will get more attention and be more likely to be used.

  • Try adding some relevant question keyword phrases to your keyword list, again keeping full sentences that sound natural verbally. Let’s use the generic “Joe’s Diner” for example (no offense to the real Joe’s Diners out there!):

What time does Joe’s Diner open?
Does Joe’s Diner have parking?
Does Joe’s Diner serve seafood?
Does Joe’s Diner have any lunch specials?

These full phrases, not just the obvious keywords like “open” or “parking” or “lunch specials,” will match up well with copy that says things like “we have parking available behind our building,” or “we serve seafood that will bring you back again and again.”

  • Write your web copy and blog posts with buyer intent in mind. If I searched for “dishwasher,” you’d have no idea whether I wanted to buy one, have one repaired, or was simply looking for images of dishwashers. In this example, we don’t know if the person searching wants to buy or is just doing research. The best way to use keywords to capture those who are looking to buy is to find ways to use what can be called “intent words” into your copy.

What are “intent words?” These are ones that tell us what searchers want:

“Where” (as in “where can I find the best dishwasher?”)

“When” (“when does Joe’s Diner open on Sundays?”)

“How” (“How can I get a dishwasher delivered?”)

“What / Who” (“What store sells the best dishwashers” / “Who sells the best dishwashers”)

These are all simple and quick fixes that can help lead to significant boosts in business and in visibility (which go hand-in-hand, don’t they?). Make these changes in your website copy and all you’ll have to do is keep providing the excellent service you already do and watch your business flourish!

Good luck and good (word) hunting!