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SEO strategies need to factor impact of voice searches

SEO strategies need to factor impact of voice searches

Heavier reliance on mobile voice search calls for a shift in online marketing tactics

It looks like we’ll be hearing a lot more from Siri, Alexa and Cortana in the near future.

Bing recently announced that one-quarter of all its searches are voice search queries, and Google states that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app are voice searches, demonstrating a clear trend by users toward voice search.

While this technology is still a work in progress, and constantly adapting as people figure out how best to use it, this is the perfect time to learn how to add voice search into your SEO strategy.

Google Voice Search queries, for example, have seen a 3400 percent increase since 2008, with users citing “fast results” as one of the top reasons why they use their voice to search, rather than their fingers. This ability to get an immediate answer without actively searching for it led folks to notice a trend: there tends to be a higher level of intent behind voice searches versus conventional searches.

In other words, when it comes to voice searches, folks are actively looking to do something, and quickly. This might include: finding a local restaurant, searching for quick takeout, getting directions or researching hours of operation. So what’s the best way to fit voice search into your SEO strategy to win over these voice searchers?

One of the main reasons why people use voice search is to figure out what’s nearby. But the search phrases used in voice searches vary greatly from conventional searches. For example, someone might type the phrase “Best Thai Food Atlanta” into a search engine. When that same person turns to voice search, they’re more apt to use complete thoughts and questions, such as: What’s the Best Thai Food in Atlanta?

Voice search has introduced the concept of conversation. You might think, then, that all you need to do is start optimizing content with conversational phrases and you’ll rank high for voice searches. But here’s the catch: at the moment there aren’t many tools available to see what people are searching for via voice.

If you really want to maximize your return on investment, you can’t just make assumptions on how your prospects use voice search. But no one has presented the level of metrics or analytics to help you come up with a solid keyword strategy.

That’s where paid search comes into play. With paid search, you can use something called a “broad match modifier,” in which an ad is only triggered when a certain set of words – as dictated by the marketer who creates the ad – appear in a query.

From there, you can analyze your paid search campaign metrics and filter your results down to see which queries were mobile. You won’t be able to isolate which of those mobile queries were voice-based, but by examining the phrasing, you can make educated guesses.

This will help you compile a list of conversational key phrases that your potential customers are using to find you. You can then use that list to develop a more aggressive and targeted SEO strategy.

Your SEO strategy shouldn’t just be confined to your own website, either. Business aggregator sites are linked to different voice search platforms. For example, Amazon Echo uses Yelp listings for local searches. It’s important that you make sure your listings on these sites are comprehensive, accurate and optimized for all types of searches, including voice.

According to ComScore, by 2020 at least half of all searches will be made by voice query. In other words, now is the time to start developing your plan to ensure your business ranks high for voice searches.

As voice search becomes more mainstream, marketers will have access to precise data specific to voice queries. Until then, however, using hacks like the Broad Match Modifier can help your business become a leader in what’s clearly the next trend in online searches.

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, a restaurant marketing agency based in Atlanta.

TAGS: Marketing
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