It's estimated that by next year, nearly a third of web browsing will be done without a screen, and half of all searches will be conducted by voice. While there's no way to predict if those exact numbers will play out in that precise time frame, the trend is certainly apparent: voice search is becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives.
The way that consumers behave in turn affects how search engines react. User experience is at the heart of search engine optimization, so as machine speech recognition improves and more users flock to the ease and speed of voice queries, search engines like Google are giving ranking boosts to sites that make voice search easier for visitors.
All of this means that marketers will have to adjust their trajectories accordingly to keep up with the shift in how consumers seek out information, and in turn how search engines expect sites to present that information. So how do you modify your marketing strategy to stay ahead of the curve?
First of all, it's important to remember to keep the content simple and easily accessible. Fast-loading websites have an edge in voice search results, and voice search results are typically at a 9th-grade reading level. In addition, more than half of consumers are already using voice search to find local businesses, so this is a good opportunity to focus your content and keywords around your local area.
Most importantly, long-tail keywords and featured snippets are now more essential than ever. Long-tail keywords play right into the natural speech tendencies of voice searches, and can help take advantage of the fact that voice searches often tend to be questions rather than truncated phrases. The answers you provide to those questions, in turn, need to be short, concise, and on-point. To help raise your chances of earning that coveted feature snippet that will be read out by smart speakers and voice assistants, create an easily-readable summary of 29 words or less above the fold, and be sure to include your most important long-tail keyword in that summary.
There are big changes on the horizon for the world of SEO, and voice search seems to be leading the way. This means that the smart marketer's number one priority is to avoid procrastination and start making improvements now. If you put it off a year or two, thinking that you'll deal with it when the time comes, you'll have missed out on countless opportunities to build your voice search ranking. After all, it takes time to optimize and fine-tune content, so you'll want to start on that as soon as possible!
Cogo Interactive is an award-winning digital marketing agency specializing in online marketing strategy, web design, SEO and social media marketing. We work with clients in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and nationally.