Voice search now constitutes 20%+ of all searches in Google. That’s startling growth since voice search made up less than 1% of searches just last year.
Voice search encompasses searches in Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, as well as searches via the new category of digital personal assistants that includes Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
Since Amazon Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products for Amazon this Christmas, and Google Home users are estimated to have quadrupled over the holiday, I think we can safely assume that voice searches will continue to rise.
Ranking at the top is imperative since voice searches usually return few (or one) results. In other words, second place doesn’t cut it. And that means marketers need to be leaning forward here, ready to answer, “How do I ensure my business will be found in this new search landscape?”
The good news…we’re offering some simple steps toward improving your brand’s visibility in this new landscape.
- Include long-tail keyword phrases on your website
- This is the biggest change in the search landscape. User behavior in the past was to type in a few succinct keywords, just enough to get an accurate result. Now, searches are like having a conversation.
- Going forward, use natural language that has a conversational style. You can research these long tail phrases to see how users are naturally searching and use that to optimize paid search campaigns and SEO.
- Consider creating Q&A pages on your site to naturally include these phrases
- Be local friendly
- Ensure you have accurate local listings for your business across the web, but especially on big sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp and City Search.
- Start incorporating microdata, schema and rich snippets into your listings. Some examples include:
- Phone Numbers
- Store Hours
- Directions from major highways
- Optimize your site’s mobile performance
- Google and Bing give priority to pages that load quickly in mobile. If you haven’t updated and optimized your website for mobile, now is the time.
- Submit a sitemap to Google and Bing
- This is a basic SEO step, but bots must be able to crawl your site before they have a chance to determine that your site is a valid source for voice results.
Given the fast rise and exponential growth of voice search, it’s time to implement these strategies now. Remember, in the world of voice search, second place doesn’t win. if your brand is not the first result, users will no longer know you came in second.