Voice Search and SEO
Voice Search Optimization is revolutionizing web design and SEO with a power shift in the search industry. Businesses and website owners are forced to have a mobile presence or risk not appearing in search results.
The difference between traditional search and voice search is planning for conversational queries and voice to text input. It requires a change in the way we think of our websites and how they may appear to consumers.
Traditionally we would select keywords because people tend to search with the least amount of typing, and using long-tail keywords when they need very specific results. With Voice Search, consumers are asking a question of their device, or dictating the search phrase in a prompt. The frustration of typing no longer exists.
We’ve recently written about Google’s Mobile-First update which prioritizes mobile optimized websites, but now we are beginning to see the real problem that this is solving for the search giant.
Consumers using mobile devices tend to type less because of size of the keyboard or the environment in which they are using the device. We know that they are preferring streamlined content optimized for their device and will quickly abandon a search or website if they aren’t getting fast and clear results. Giving them voice control or asking Siri are question are the obvious answer to the problem.
The new question rising from these behaviors is how to design a site that addresses the voice search queries, mobile search and desktop search. Typically you design your site and optimize for a specific range of phrases or consumers. Now you have to reconsider the choices you’ve made or find a frustrating compromise.
One question we’re asking customers is if they’ve taken the time to think about the search queries that customers might use in each of the scenarios. Creating a “customer story” or “customer journey” is the best step to begin solving this problem. We guide our customers through the process of profiling their customers, their level of awareness and how their site meets Google’s requirements.
Because Google prefers a small range of keywords on each page, and there’s no guarantee Google will read every page or your site, or even below the fold, does that mean we should be developing dedicated sites to each scenario? It’s worth considering that when you’re using a mobile device that Google prioritizes search results containing mobile sites vs Google delivering desktop optimized content when you are search on a desktop. Does that mean that Google will also be delivering Voice optimized mobile sites when using Voice Search? It may be a safe bet that you should be planning ahead for this.
A compromise would be designing first for mobile using a blend of voice and mobile search phrases, keep the content at a minimum because mobile users don’t want to read a lot of content and the web pages need to load quickly. The mobile site if designed properly can adjust automatically for larger displays like an iPad or desktop browser. But clearly future is mobile consumers, voice search optimization and touch interfaces.