The use of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices has completed its cycle from emerging trend to ubiquity, so much so that Google estimates 50 to 60 percent of all web searches now take place on a mobile device, depending on location. And of those searches, between 20 and 25 percent are voice-based – think mobile services like Siri or Google Voice, or assistants like Amazon Echo and Alexa.
When searching for information online, more mobile users are taking advantage of the convenience of voice search in lieu of fumbling with web apps and small, mobile keyboards.
As one of many ecommerce companies in an increasingly aggressive market, you’ll need to stay one step ahead of emerging search trends to maintain an edge against the bevy of websites competing for consumer attention. Let’s explore a few ways in which your digital business can ensure that voice searches are populating your site’s content pages in Google – a vital tool for guiding prospects into the awareness stage of the buying cycle.
Update Your Keyword Strategy
Because Google continuously updates its search algorithms to provide the most relevant results for users, a digital business is often forced to update its keyword strategy to adhere to a new trend just as soon as it’s mastered the previous one.
Packing as many short-tail keywords onto a page was soon replaced by the need for a much more thoughtful long-tail keyword strategy. The long-tail approach now requires further refinement triggered by Google’s more recent Latent Semantic Indexing, which ranks pages based on the overall context of keywords and how they relate to one another.
As voice search carves out a larger space within total search volume, ecommerce companies should consider how conversational search phrases will impact their keyword approach.
For example, a laptop or desktop search might consist of, “Best security software PC,” while a voice search may consist of, “What is the best security software for a PC?”
Adapt Content Pages Appropriately
As your company builds and updates its content pages, think in terms of how potential users of your product would inquire about their needs, and provide information that maintains a natural, conversational tone. As a jumping off point, surveying your customer service department may give you some invaluable insight into common concerns and trends.
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page can be an effective way to build conversational content. Once you’ve identified common inquiries, dedicate a single content page to answering them. This will provide some additional voice-based SEO value, while slimming down the workload of your customer service team.
Occupy the Elusive Featured Snippet
A few years back Google implemented the featured snippet function in their search indexing, or as some refer to it, “position zero.” It’s essentially a highlighted content position that appears in a box above the No. 1 organically ranked page.
So how do you occupy that spot? Well, Google won’t tell us. Though experts agree that in addition to deploying commonly held SEO practices, a site featuring concise and explicit answers to commonly asked queries can significantly help your chances. The featured snippet represents an effective way to use voice search to your advantage because Google Home, Google Voice and other services often read back featured snippet content in response to an appropriate voice search query. For further insight on targeting position zero, check out these helpful pieces from Moz and Forbes.
Get HTTPS-Secured, if You’re Not Already
We’re all familiar with the “HTTP” before the “www” in web URLs. Without getting too technical, it stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. And “HTTPS” is the secure version of that protocol. What this means is that any information transferred between a website and a browser is encrypted, which offers a higher level of security.
According to Backlinko, 70.4 percent of voice search results maintain a secured URL, versus only 50 percent of Google desktop results. So those sites that use HTTPS will have a substantially higher chance of ranking in voice searches.
Maintain Strong Domain Authority
A website’s domain authority – or the rating that indicates the likelihood of a page ranking in Google – is important to consider for desktop and mobile search alike, but even more so for voice search, experts find. In short, the higher a company’s domain authority rating, the more likely they’ll appear higher ranked in voice searches.
Some common ways to increase domain authority:
– Boost shareability on social channels
– Increase inbound and outbound link portfolios
– Decrease bad or toxic links, and 404 errors
– Improve content readability and on-page SEO
– Maintain a fast page loadability
We’ve explored some of these issues in greater depth in a previous blog.
The use of mobile voice services and voice-based devices has increased drastically over the last few years, with comscore predicting 50 percent of all searches – not just mobile – to be voice-based by 2020.
In light of continuous advances in technology and the evolving consumer behavior that follows suit, it’s becoming more and more difficult to know where online customers are coming from and where they’re going next. But according to forecasts, voice-based web searching is a strong prediction of what’s to come.
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Kyle Shamorian is the content marketer for cleverbridge.