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How Voice Search is Changing SEO Strategies

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Hey Google! Find me the best burrito in Toronto!

If you’re one of the thousands who rely on Google Home, or other virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, you’re probably used to yelling out search requests on the fly. From checking the weather to finding a local barber in an unfamiliar city, people are using alternate methods of search more often than ever.

It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that the increasing popularity of “voice search” is changing corporate SEO strategies. As people shift from typing in their search queries to verbalizing them, websites and their content now need to accommodate this new channel. Any forward-thinking web development company will need to incorporate this into an overall web strategy.

Here’s what some of these changes look like.

How will voice search affect SEO:

Voice search terms are longer and more conversational

For one thing, when people speak a request into a phone or device, they are likely to phrase it differently than they would type it.

For example, while people tend to type requests in the briefest fashion possible, they would verbalize that same request quite a bit more conversationally. This could mean the difference between “best burritos + New York” and “Hey Google, I need to know where the best burritos in New York are.”

Studies show that text searches tend to stay around 1-3 words, while voice search requests often reach up to 7 or 10. Longer queries like this are often called “long-tail keywords,” so working these into your keyword strategy – like into an FAQ page, for example – can be a great way to generate higher SEO for voice results.

To get an idea of what kind of conversational phrases people might be searching for in relation to your business, pay attention to the kind of things your vendors or customers ask you in person or on the phone.

Page speed counts

When a device is in charge of finding you the results you need, they tend to depend a lot on how fast a web page loads, which isn’t quite as much of a priority with text searches.

As you might imagine, voice search results are often the ones that load significantly faster. This means that you need to be working with a web development company that knows how structure and content can impact page loading times.

Leveraging your location makes more sense than ever

When someone uses a voice-search query, like “I need a nail salon” or “find me a steakhouse,” mobile algorithms will prioritize someone’s location. Your smartphone knows where you are at any given time, so even if you’re not requesting a location-specific item, chances are it’s a local result that will pop up.

If your company information isn’t up to date on Google listings, you could be missing out. Considering that up to 22% of voice search queries are requesting local information, this is kind of a big deal.

If you want to leverage voice-activated SEO, make sure your Google My Business listing includes an accurate phone number, address, hours of operation and a business category.

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Voice search and SEO – summary

As people learn to use their devices in different ways, companies must adapt their digital strategies, and almost nowhere is this more crucial than in the world of SEO. Leveraging SEO is one of the primary ways many companies attract new customers. With the increase of voice-activated requests – whether on mobile phones or through devices like Google Home – it pays to look at how this might change the content and structure of your site.

Ready to see how we can make your website more attractive for voice search requests? Get in touch today!

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