Blog Insight

Siri, how is voice search changing SEO?

I’ll admit it: I’m on my phone all the time. I order food with it, I shop on it, I answer emails on it—the list is endless. One new addition: I now also use voice search to get answers while I’m on the go.

And I’m not the only one. In 2015, Google confirmed that more searches were happening on mobile devices than on traditional computers.(1) The following year, Google said that 20 percent of all searches on its mobile app were from people using voice search.(2)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Voice Search

The rise of voice search is creating new challenges for companies that want to be discovered through search (which is all companies). This puts a new premium on optimizing for consumers’ on-the-go, in-the-moment needs. At GLG, there are five big changes we recommend to our clients:

1. Get mobile friendly. You won’t show up anywhere near the top of the search results if your website doesn’t provide a good mobile user experience. A responsive website goes a long way. At GLG, we’ve helped numerous clients to create beautiful, mobile-responsive websites, which has helped them to rank higher on mobile search, including through voice queries.

2. Optimize for more than just Google. Google tends to be the default word for “search” today, which makes sense because it holds a 67 percent market share.(3) But when Apple iOS 7 was released in 2013, Siri used Bing as its default search engine.(4) It just goes to show that neglecting smaller search engines can be risky when today’s consumers embrace a variety of sources of information. That’s why GLG optimizes for multiple search engines so our clients reach consumers no matter where they’re searching.

3. Don’t forget local SEO. If you have a physical location where you want to drive traffic, a local SEO strategy is crucial. Include your business name, address, and phone number on your website and other places people can find you online. Also, we’ve found that having a Google My Business page is one of the easiest ways to optimize for local search. It will send relevant information about your location, like business hours, reviews, and even photos, to Google search results. And, learning from #2, don’t neglect Bing Places for Business, either.

4. Learn how people describe your products and services. The way you describe your business can differ wildly from how your clients or customers describe your business. Ask people how they would describe your business, and see how it changes from what words you would use. This is key when creating your keyword strategy for both paid and organic search—and even more so in voice search where the queries are more conversational in nature.

5. Track (and bid on) valuable voice keywords. The increase in queries including terms like “show me” and “near me”—terms especially common in voice search queries—was actually what inspired me to write this post. It’s also one area where paid search is extremely valuable, since actual searches people make are included in your user search reports in Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Consult that report weekly to see exactly what keywords people use to find your business. Then, combine those with “near me” and “show me” keywords and let the data (and in-person traffic) roll in. Finally, you can use that information on the organic side, as well, optimizing your content by including voice search keywords and adding them in your title and header tags.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, as voice technology continues to evolve, search marketers have to keep up with the new ways consumers are looking for and finding information. By following the tips outlined here, you’re well on your way to staying at the top of the search food chain. Or, at least, on the top of the search engine results pages.

 

1. Greg Sterling, “It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now on Mobile Than on Desktop,” Search Engine Land website, May 5, 2016, http://searchengineland.com/its-official-google-says-more-searches-now-on-mobile-than-on-desktop-220369.
2. Laura Forer, “Eight SEO Trends to Expect in 2017 [Infographic],” MarketingProfs website, February 17, 2017, https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/31594/eight-seo-trends-to-expect-in-2017-infographic.
3. “comScore Releases August 2014 U.S. Search Engine Rankings,” comScore website, September 17, 2014, http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Releases-August-2014-US-Search-Engine-Rankings.
4. Danny Sullivan, “With iOS 7, Siri Drops Google for Bing, Also Gains Twitter Search,” Search Engine Land website, September 18, 2013, http://searchengineland.com/with-ios-7-siri-drops-google-for-bing-172110.