With mobile being one of the most popular ways for people to search the web, and voice apps such as Siri and Google Home taking a lot of the arduous typing out of the equation, voice search is on the increase. This means instead of people typing their search request into a search engine like Google, they are simply “speaking” what they want to find.
But does it really matter whether someone speaks a request or types it?
It can. For starters, people are by nature lazy typists. We see it all the time in text messages and platforms with limited space like Twitter. Everything gets abbreviated, words get left out, and in the case of text messages, a whole new language has virtually been developed.
Because speaking what you want to find is far quicker and easier than typing it, people tend to say more and be more specific when asking Google to search for something as opposed to typing in a request.
While someone who is searching for a plumber in Adelaide might simply type “plumbers Adelaide”, a spoken request might also include added extras, such as “plumbers in Adelaide located near XYZ street” and so on.
While most people won’t be bothered typing a long request, they will speak it.
Some sources state that at least 40% of people will use voice search over a typed search at least once per day, and that some 20% of all searches on a mobile device are done via voice search. In fact, since 2008 (10 years), voice search has grown a massive 35 times more than what it was back then, and this figure is likely to continue to increase.
So, Should You Optimise Your Website and Content for Voice Search?
While voice search is still nowhere near taking over from typed searches at this stage, it’s still wise to start optimizing your content to achieve better results when people do use voice search.
For starters, when choosing the main keyword for a piece of content – whether it’s a blog post or a website service page – it’s a good idea to tie in a longer, more detailed version of that main keyword phrase, as per the example mentioned earlier.
As many searches (particularly voice searches) are usually a question, then it only makes sense to target keyword phrases that are questions. If you do adopt this method for your keyword research, then don’t forget to provide the all-important answer to that question within the content. Even if the entire article provides the answer overall, it’s a good idea to briefly answer the search query as early on in the article as possible.
Obviously getting your content ranked on Google’s first page will help you get traffic whether people are searching by voice commands or not, so first page rankings are always the primary goal. And if you can get your content into a featured snippet, then even better. Featured snippets tend to provide a question and answer scenario, so if your content readily covers both, then the more chance you will rank really highly in a voice search.
There is a common phrase often used in voice searches on mobile devices when people are out and about searching for something, and that’s the phrase “near me”. Utilising the mobile device’s GPS tracking function, referring back to the plumber example, someone out looking for a plumber might simply ask in voice search “looking for a plumber near me”. So adding “near me” to various vital keyword phrases in your content is another good idea.
Better understanding how voice search works and how we can make it work for our content is great SEO to practice. Ranking the first page of Google is always paramount, but it’s also highly advisable to find ways to make your content more “voice search friendly”, and the tips provided above are a good starting point.