Now is the time to act.
We’ve all heard the wild predictions and seen the stats about voice search. It brings to mind the mobile-first fervor we saw over the past few years – we know how that turned out. Now that more than half of all Search traffic is happening on mobile devices and search engines are prioritizing mobile content, we have some perspective on how search behavior might change with the voice search trend. Consumers are rapidly adopting voice, and so are their devices. Airpods, Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa are just a few of the gadgets making voice search a more viable way for people to interact with businesses online. And as the numbers suggest the trend is growing very rapidly. How do you plan to keep up?
The technology and strategies to help you best stay ahead of the voice search trend are readily available, yet we consistently encounter businesses that are lacking in one or more of these areas – thus the title of this article. That’s why we’ve laid out what we consider to be the most important voice search strategies in this post. Focus your efforts on these areas to stay ahead of voice.
Mobile User Experience
What’s the point in pursuing the voice search crowd, if you’re not going to make it easy to make a purchase when they arrive on your site? If your site doesn’t load quickly, looks dated, or just doesn’t have a user-friendly feel on mobile, people will bounce. To really draw in site visitors, especially those new visitors coming to your site after a voice-query, your website should be fast, intuitive, and have that “native” app-like feel. Arguably the most important aspect here is speed. There are many techniques available for speeding up websites, but on the cutting edge of page-speed technology are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) which load in a fraction of the amount of time it takes for traditional mobile sites to load.
Apart from speed, if you’re looking for that app-like mobile experience you might consider a Progressive Web App. PWAs are essentially the culmination of all of the most up to date mobile web design techniques, and they’ve been heavily adopted. PWAs behave like a native mobile app when visited on a mobile device, and give you options like sending notifications to users, making your site available offline through caching. There’s no need to visit the app-store, it’s all done seamlessly. Here’s a SlideShare presentation we put together to explain the key benefits of PWAs
While Schemas (also called “structured data”) have an indirect effect on the outcome of voice search results, they play a larger role in the system and can’t be ignored. To put it simply Schemas are tags within your website’s code that translate your content into a language that search engines can understand. Schemas are especially important when it comes to understanding “entities” – the people, places, and things featured in your content. Schema tags can be very basic, your business address for example; they can also be much more specific, like whether or not a restaurant accepts reservations. So, you can see the important role that schemas play when someone asks their phone a question like “does Restaurant Anzu accept reservations?” Schemas may be the deciding factor in whether or not that reservation is made. A full list of available schema tags can be found here on schema.org. The best thing about Schemas is that they can be implemented on just about any website, so you don’t need to rebuild your site from the ground up. Click here for video about our schema tagging process.
Could it be any more obvious? The most common type of queries are “questions.” By answering frequently asked questions about your business directly in your website content, you set up voice-users to get the answer they want, while also bringing them directly to your website. FAQs and schemas can be a powerful combination. Each question can be marked up with schemas and published as “voice actions” which are recognized by systems like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Further combine FAQs and Schemas with a good keyword research strategy; find those long-tail keywords that set your business apart, and build your questions around them to greatly increase your “visibility” for voice search. One more thing, FAQs have the added benefit of addressing the user’s needs while also serving as pages which create local authority for your business; this can give you an additional boost in search rankings.
Being prepared for voice search is a holistic exercise. Your website design, schema enabled content, and the FAQs you publish all work to support each other. And if you haven’t noticed, all of these practices have the same goal, to make it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for. In the past you might file all of these strategies under “things I should probably be doing anyway.” But with the extremely rapid growth of the voice search trend, these are digital marketing strategies that you need to be implementing now.
For more information about Milestone and how we help businesses implement solutions like the ones mentioned in this article, visit our website www.milestoneinternet.com or email us at [email protected]