SEO rules change, and they change often. We always try to follow Google’s rules and algorithm changes to the letter. Digital Marketers will pursue tips and rumours like obsessive gamblers. They pass the info down the line, and suddenly more people are devoting hours to pointless tasks.
The problem seems to be that the changes are often minute or so incredibly technical only a select few could apply them. These tweaks have become a regular occurrence of late, causing some tone deafness towards conversations involving SEO’s next ‘big’ change. But, one oncoming shift is making a lot of noise and should not be ignored – voice search.
Never mind 2020
According to Comscore, 50% of searches will be voice searches by 2020. If you don’t personally use voice search, it would be easy to think that it is an oncoming trend. Right now, 40% of adults already use it on a daily basis, and that figure increases to 55% for teenagers (Google BLOG).
As more voice search devices come onto the market, the volume of voice searches will unquestionably increase. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home first full years on the UK market in 2017 has driven the number of voice searches dramatically. Meanwhile, Apple, 6 years after launching Siri, will enter the Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA) market in early 2018. The launch of HomePod will see the Apple’s loyal fanbase introduce Siri to their home this year.
Less search results
One of the most common fears regarding voice search is the number of search results. With Siri for example, you can expect up to 15 results on screen for some queries, but at times only 2 appear. Depending on location, your search results will fluctuate.
If you ask a question of an IPA however, you receive just one result. Mobile search may have reduced the number of results a user will browse, but voice search will seem like a results cull. Vying for the top spot will become more competitive than ever before.
IPAs are aiming to give the user the single best answer to their question. Marketers have shunned keyword stuffing for a while, and voice search will make the practice almost void. Contextual content with the most natural language will result in the cream rising to the top.
This will mean ranking for more extended keywords, placing more emphasis on full questions. Your w5 (who, what where, when and why) will become more important, as people will open searches with these search terms. More than ever you will want to ensure your content answers your potential customer’s questions. Find (clever) ways of integrating queries into your content.
Less: voice search help
More: How can I make my website appear in voice searches?
Localised and voice search
As people begin to vocalise their ‘where is the nearest…?’ searches, you will want your business to be on the map. Traditional factors will remain important, for example, customer ratings and traffic levels, but now demarcation is vital.
You are no longer a florist in Belfast; you need to become the nearest florist to the maternity ward in Belfast. If your locality is relevant to you, you must let your website know before it can tell others.