How Voice Search Is Changing SEO
By 2020, half of all searches will be performed as voice search. It's easy, fast and effective.
Up until now, Internet users simply typed what they wanted to find into a search engine's search bar. The words people type in are known as keywords, and usually the words don't make much sense. For example, "Italian restaurant NYC" rather than "I need an Italian restaurant in NYC."
Typed keywords don't make much sense because people know that Google will get the gist of it and give them the results they need. Since speaking is much easier than typing, people are more likely to make complete statements, such as "I need an Italian restaurant in NYC."
So, how will voice search change SEO? Let me explain.
How SEO Is Now
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website for keywords Internet users use when searching for products, services, or information the site offers. For instance, the website of an Italian restaurant in NYC would try to rank for "Italian restaurant NYC" by using these words across its site.
Besides using the words that searchers would put into the search bar, a site will also ensure it adds content regularly, has active social media accounts, and reaches out to share its knowledge with other websites. In the instance of this example, all of the content relates to Italian restaurants located in New York City.
What Voice Search Will Do to SEO
Voice search is going to change the way content is written and what it is optimized for in a number of ways.
- People speak more than they type, so keyword phrases will be longer. For instance, "I need an Italian restaurant in NYC" is what content will need to address, rather than just the "Italian restaurant NYC." Content may include benefits of eating at a particular Italian restaurant in the city, or it may identify menu items at the Italian restaurant.
- Keyword phrases are more specific with voice search. People are more likely to go into detail when they search by voice, so they may say, "I need an Italian restaurant in NYC with seafood and cozy atmosphere." Websites with content that identifies them as an Italian restaurant in NYC that serves seafood in a cozy atmosphere will be ranked higher and shown to searchers.
- Content needs to be written in a way that can easily be spoken by mobile devices. This means articles need to include short, clear statements. Think about how you would answer the question, "Where is the closest Italian restaurant in NYC?" You would likely say, "The closest Italian restaurant in NYC is Mama Rita's on 21st." This type of statement needs to be in your content for voice search results to share it with users.
SEO isn't going to be based off what people type into search bars anymore. It's going to be based off what people say when they are searching by voice. This means that your content is going to need to change to cater to what people say when they want to find something online.
Getting Ready for the Changes
Over half of all teenagers use voice search already, and more than 40 percent of adults use it. It's now time to start implementing SEO that will cater to voice search. By the time everyone is using it, you want your site to be ahead of your competitors. The only way to do that is to make your website have exactly what voice search technology needs as well as what voice searchers need.
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Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.