Why you really should care and optimize for voice search now

optimize for voice search

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist

As a digital content creator, I’m using my hands a lot.

Typing stories, writing articles for big marketing blogs, drawing digital artwork for myself and clients while playing games on Steam in-between.

It’s fun unless it hurts.

Hand strain is a growing issue. I know artist friends who had to quit their creative work for months because they hands need bandages and medical treatment. So to ease the strain on my hands, I’ve been outsourcing many online requests to my voice.

I don’t know about Windows users, but voice search on my iMac works pretty well on the Mojave OS and helps me find every app with ease.

And to no one’s surprise, voice search is not only a blessing for German digital artists un-straining their hands. It’s a growing global trend.

Why? A couple of observations and innovations shows us why voice is becoming more important and it’s time to optimize for voice search:

Smart tech needs your voice

I’d never put a smart speaker in my four walls, but then again, I also said I’d never disclose my credit card details on a website. Ehem.

Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home are just a handful of smart speakers in the ever-increasing market. And they all use your voice search to function.

Now you might say smart speakers are still too niche to be relevant, but smartphones surely aren’t.

According to Google, 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile.

Back in good old 2016, it was ‘just’ 20% on the Google app, so the increase is steady.

Voice search is so freaking easy

Seriously, what’s more convenient when you’re walking down the street in the cold, looking for the nearest subway station–typing the query on the mini-keyboard or simply ‘asking’ your phone?

When the answer is just one question away, we always pick the lazy option.

Even my cousin, who didn’t use a PC until her mid-twenties, is now a zmombie (German slang for smartphone junkies), using voice search when looking for the nearest restaurant.

According to Google, searches for “near me” business have increased by 500% from 2015 to 2017. These were mostly mobile searches with variants of “can I buy” or “to buy”.

So if your business relies on local customers finding you, and you’re NOT optimizing for voice search…well, you better stop reading this post and wait until CD Walkmen become a thing again.

How to optimize for voice search:

I’m diving deeper into the topic myself. These are the current to-do’s, which keep evolving.

Using casual and ‘human’ language
Writing like you speak has been a trend in writing for years, also thanks to the explosive popularity of podcasts and services like Audible. But since voice search is basically a simple dialogue, you need to keep honing your natural language.

Targeting question keywords. This seems like a d’uh moment, but voice search obviously contains a lot of questions. If you want to know who Facebook’s current CFO is, using your keyboard, you’d probably type in: CFO Facebook

Via voice search, however, you’d say: Who is Facebook’s CFO?
So including “how, what, when, why, where” in your keywords makes sense.

Filler words should also be included in questions. They make the requests more conversational. Some filler words are “I, the, of the, on the, to, for,” etc.

Another no-brainer is to make sure your contact info, address and opening hours are up-to-date. But honestly, that counts for every business, regardless of whether they want to optimize for voice search or not.

The traditional SEO principles still apply, so you want to rank well on search engine result pages, making sure you rock your domain authority.

Speaking of which, if you want to check your domain authority, you can try Moz’s free domain SEO analysis tool.

Conclusion

Optimizing for voice isn’t a fad like hip social networking apps that come and go. Remember Meerkat?

Voice recognition, while still acting clunky especially if you use English as a non-native speaker like me, continues to grow. Tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple improve their algorithms to be more accurate in detecting languages and accents.

And while voice search is essential for local businesses, I still don’t know how it’s going to convert into sales if you’re a global content creator like me. But hey, we’ll see.

Mars Dorian is an illustrating designer and storyteller. He crafts words and pictures that help clients stand out online and reach their customers. You can find his homebase at www.marsdorian.com and connect with him on Twitter @marsdorian.

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