Everyone is familiar with Search Engine Optimization or SEO even if some still don’t quite understand how it works. However, the next big trend that has already been happening for a while is the growth of voice searches. Did you know that 40% of the adult population today perform at least one voice search per day?
Whether you use Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or any other smart voice assistant, the trend is only going to grow in the coming months. As far as age groups and generations, Millennials once again are the most frequent adopters of voice search. In general, it is projected that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, per comScore.
Add to that the fact that about 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020, per Gartner. And don’t get me started if you still think your print ad is going to be effective…
There are many reasons why voice search is growing so rapidly and quickly becoming the new organic search. I predict that voice search will eventually kill SEO as we know it just as ‘video killed the radio star.” As of 2017, 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker per OC&C Strategy Consultants. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.
If you’re wondering who’s using those smart speakers (aside from me), 52% of people keep their voice-activated speakers in their living rooms, per Google. 25% keep them in their bedrooms, while 22% keep them in their kitchens. I keep mine in my home office most of the day and move it to the bathroom to when I take a shower. Yes, Alexa plays my favorite music while I take a shower.
But it’s not just limited to smart speakers. Smartphones are great voice search devices too. It’s simply a matter of practicality. What’s easier, to walk around looking at your phone screen, bumping into people while trying to type in a search phrase, or simply saying it out loud to your mobile device? In fact, 25% of individuals ages 16-24 use voice search on mobile, per Global Web Index. And those same individuals will continue to do the same as they get older.
This means one thing—voice search optimization should be your top priority. Adapting your existing SEO strategy with voice search in mind is not only needed but essential at this point. It shouldn’t be too hard if you have a good SEO plan already in place, however, you will still need a few tweaks.
Keep your keywords, titles, descriptions using common conversational terms and not a twisted run-on sentence stuffed with keywords. Put yourself in a situation where you would be performing the voice search for your service. Would you say “best spa in Scottsdale” or rather “where is the best spa in Scottsdale?” In other words, be less of a robot and more human when it comes to writing your main tags.
Similar to niche product SEO techniques, you will want to use long-tail keywords that are also more conversational and accurate for your particular product or service. Use descriptive keywords that separate you from your competitors.
By the same token, when it comes to voice search, it is even more important that your copy is easy to read by the average human being. Notice that I wrote the “average” human and not the undergrad, postgrad, or engineer. A recent study by Brian Dean found that copy written at a 9th grade level performs better with the average Google result. Way to go 9th graders!
As it is the case with traditional SEO, (good) content is still king with voice searches. A high word count article or section on your website will rank higher than a similar article with just a few words. The average word count of a Google voice search was 2,312 words according to the same study.
It’s adapt or die time again, only in the digital marketing arena, you must adapt quickly if you don’t want to fall far behind. If ComScore is right and 50% of the searches will be voice searches by 2020, will you be ready for it?
Thank you for reading, until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)