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SEO

Voice Search, Longer Queries, Locality, Drive Search and SEO

Mobile search drives voice queries which impacts your SEO

In 1966 on an episode of Star Trek titled, “The Conscience of the King,” Captain Kirk uses voice search to locate information about Anton Karidian, a protagonist in the episode. Kirk’s manner of search is, like most things Star Trek, predictive of future technology. Star Trek was also the source of the personal communicator which, itself, was an evolution of a two-way radio, commonly used in the 1960s. Today’s personal communicator is the mobile device which performs both voice search and mobile calls. We keep our mobile devices with us most of the day, using them in lieu of desktops. 

Mobile search dominates

We already know that the great majority of searches in the United States are conducted  using mobile devices. It’s been said that perhaps 60% voice searches are done on mobile devices. As reported in Search Engine Land, “A recent report from Hitwise (registration required) argues that in the US mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume.” With the increasing use of mobile devices, we also have the increase of voice commands which are common. These days people are searching the web with mobile devices and they are doing so using verbal (voice) search to either Siri or Google.

According to Search Engine Land, “The range of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa, and now, Google Home, are collectively training people to search using their voices and to become more “conversational” with search and mobile devices.” Not only are voice searches being conducted more frequently, they are longer containing more characters than typically used by users performing a search using a desktop. The ease and convenience of voice search is driving us to ask more detailed questions.

How does voice search affect your SEO?

When people voice search, they use natural speech rather than boolean search terms or simple keywords. Years ago, people seeking a sushi restaurant, would have searched for “sushi restaurants in Charleston, SC.” Today, all we need to do is ask Siri or Google for “sushi restaurants near me.” The search engine returns a map, populated with pins locating restaurants serving sushi. This indexing of GPS enabled data from the phone, combined with local restaurant types gathered from both Google My Business and website indexing, drives a powerful result and you get the sushi you crave quickly.

SEO, content and website development

Google’s stated aim is to provide users the information they desire immediately. To this end they have developed all the tools which allow users to reach their goals quickly. These include the use of structured data and snippets, as well as latent semantic indexing (LSI) [Click to read our article on LSI] which analyzes the words on a page and immediately recognizes the corollary phrases and words relevant to your search.

What actions can you take to make certain that your content is helpful, useful and findable to search engines?

As you develop content for your website, recognize that you must now structure your content to contain key phrases. Key phrases are those which are used in spoken searches. For example, someone searching for specialized insurance for their automobile, might voice search using the query, “I want to buy automobile insurance for a collectible car from 1960.” Optimizing your content (if you are a firm selling such insurance) with a post or page or even a subhead marked up as a headline [H1, H2, H3, H4], with a question or statement: “Why is it important to purchase insurance specifically for collectible cars” will help your website visitors find you more quickly via voice search. Questions, statements and phrases emulating what a user will input during a voice search enhances your content’s attractiveness and usability for site visitors. Phrases are indexed and used to provide the answers you see in search results as seen in the image below.  PRO-TIP: Extend this analogy to your industry, services, or products in order to help build helpful content (which can be text, images, and/or videos) for your website visitors.

An example of structured data results from a Google voice Search

Add your business to Google My Business

Adding your firm to Google My Business provides local searchers the relevant information they need [Click to learn how it works]. Not only that, it allows you to see when, how, and what searchers interact with. The tool allows you to consolidate location, product, and frequently requested data into a single place and you are able to manage reviews right in the dashboard of Google My Business. It’s critical to add images that are helpful. These images are shown to users performing map searches. You can allow your prospective customers to see inside your business, see product photos, and view images of your key personnel. You can update your listing anytime you need to with seasonal hours, and up-to-the-minute information. You have the power to affect how your business is listed by Google. Take advantage of it.

Use a structured data markup tools in your website

If your website is based on self-hosted WordPress, you can add tools such as Yoast SEO, and Local SEO from Yoast to enhance your content and seamlessly and easily insert the right metadata to signal to search engines where your business is located. If you prefer to include structured markup yourself, Google has a tool to give you the assistance marking up your metadata. If you have already added the right markup to your site you can also test it using Google tools. Click to test your website’s structured data markup.

If this information is more technical than you care to digest, call us. We’ll be glad to have a look at your website and provide you with a few ideas about how we can help make certain that your website is properly indexed, and helpful to your site’s visitors.