Consumers and prospects continue to be switching towards a hands-free digital world… yes, hands free. The world has gone digital and hands free. Almost all (if not all) mobile devices are being released with the latest and greatest AI (artificial intelligence) technology, allowing us to search with our voices rather than typing our searches out.
Although, we must remember that voice searches are conducted differently to their text-based counterparts. When making a voice command, instead of using specific keyword search, we use natural language, like we would be when speaking to a family member, friend, or somebody off the street. Because of this, SEO (search engine optimism) is changing to adopt to voice search. This article is going to address the current adoption and potential growth of voice search, as well as how it’s going to affect SEO and change how search results rank in the world of Google.
A recent study done by Google with over 2000 people surveyed showed nearly 28% of those people use their voice to search the internet at least 2 times a week. Approximately 21.9% of them use voice search daily though, and this number is expected to grow as artificial intelligence continues to improve over time.
You might be wondering why the numbers in voice search are growing so dramatically. Well, voice search is easier, quicker, and a safer way to search for things while on-the-go or commuting from one place to another. Additionally, people can voice search while doing going about their morning routine or other tasks, simply because it’s that convenient. It is, therefore, no wonder that consumers/prospects are adopting this form of search. Another reason for the continued growth of voice search is its no longer limited to just smartphones, but instead, all devices today have the ability to search by voice, such as desktop computers and Alexa or other smart home devices.
SEO has been Affected by Voice Search
Even though voice search is massively growing, that does not mean that text-based commands will just disappear completely tomorrow. Although, it does mean that digital marketing needs to adapt to this new prospect/consumer trend. SEO as we know it today will have to change, and let’s explore how it will change:
First and foremost is the length of queries. When spoken, the length of your search query is completely different than similar text-based queries. Text-based searches normally 2 to 3 words long, while voice-activated commands are averaging 7 to 8 words. With these numbers in mind, natural language keywords may be the next big thing to hit the world of SEO.
Secondly, aside from being longer, voice search queries or commands are (more often than not) usually in the form of a question. A search that would normally be typed would look like: “Content marketing and SEO,” would have the question counterpart in a voice-activated search sounding more like this: “How will content marketing affect SEO?” As a result, it is very important to look at keywords in a question form as part of your agency’s content strategy.
With voice searches most oftenly coming in the form of a question, they reveal the level of intent the user has. This is great data for you as a marketer, because it’s important to identify these high-value questions and optimize your content accordingly. Using natural language in these circumstances is more important than ever; as the more your keywords match with the prospect/consumer searches, the higher your agency website will rank.
Now, here are some of the issues and/or problems you and your insurance agency may encounter.
Since voice search queries are most often proposed as questions, it’s important that your agency’s content aims to answer these questions accurately. With that said, you and/or your marketing team must find out which are the more specific and complex insurance questions that do not simply require a “yes” or “no” answer.
By using keywords in the form of questions that only require a one-word answers, you’ll lose out on website-traffic as the machine redirecting prospects/consumers will simply answer the question itself. Simply put, you need to give answers to the questions that machines cannot generate themselves.
Opportunities for your Agency
With Google getting more and more intelligent on a daily basis, it’s now capable of interpreting a huge variety of voice searches, meaning you need to cover all your bases. Voice search has the ability to take spelling instructions which it wasn’t able to not that long ago; therefore, you must triple check that your agencies content, more specifically keywords and branding, are all spelled correctly.
In addition, now voice search can interpret queries based on context. That being said, painting a bigger picture when creating your content is more important than ever. Make sure you and your agency’s strategy incorporates natural language and question keywords with slightly broader contextual ones that can also rank on search engines.
Lastly, location-location-location is at the forefront of voice search SEO. With voice search now having the ability to be able to offer results based on geolocation, your online business listings need to be up-to-date, consistent, and match perfectly. The slightest difference between each listing could lead to a lower in your agency’s search rank.
The future of SEO
Voice search isn’t going anywhere it is here to stay. The fact is, it’s likely going to not only continue to grow, but continue to improve. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence technology are advancing at an exponential rate, and that means we need to optimize our SEO strategies for voice search today, not tomorrow or the next day but TODAY! .
The million dollar question is “How?”
Well, content has been very important for a long time but today more than ever is it important. While you may be thinking, “I already create a lot of great content,” it now needs to be written in a more conversational tone in order to answer specific prospects and customer questions. In addition to the above, people typing a query into a search engine and people undertaking a voice-activated command are often looking for very different things.
With text-based commands and/or queries, the user is most likely happy to undergo further research into his or her query. With voice searches, the user is looking for an answer quickly and that means they want it now. Your agency’s content needs to continue appealing to both types of searchers. You can not ignore either side.
Tips for adapting
- More focus on long tail keywords
Despite companies of all sizes and kinds all following the trend of optimizing their content with long tail keywords, it’s now even more important than ever. When you do your keyword research, you need to put more focus on long tail keywords that are in the form of conversational questions, commands, and queries. You must invest time to find out what specific wording your agency’s audience is using to find companies like yours in your area. You also need to focus on queries that solve a specific problem your customers may be facing. You must be able to answer complex questions that a machine cannot.
- Capitalize on schema markup
Now is the time to learn about schema markup, because it will help you give context to your existing content. Also it will help search engines understand what your agency’s website is all about, thus giving you better SEO, and allows you and your agency’s website higher ranking than other agencies.
- Published Data Must Match
Directions to your agency, hours of operation, agency name, and every other little detail of your business must be up-to-date and match on every single platform you are listed on. All social platforms must match, and be accurate.This is the type of information mobile and voice search users are often looking for, and if it’s wrong, Google could lower your ranking due to the inconsistent data.
- Your Agency MUST be mobile-friendly
Last but not least, in today’s day and age you must be mobile friendly. If your agency website is slow, doesn’t load properly, or isn’t optimized for smartphone users, it’s likely prospects/consumers landing on your agency’s website will leave right away. You must optimize your online platform for Mac, Windows, and Android, as well as across smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.
The consumer is adapting, and very quickly. Will your agency adapt as well to catch up to today’s modern day, hands free, digital demands? The choice is yours alone.