When consumers want to find a movie time, or decide what herbs to add to their pasta, or do any number of things, they often ask Siri®. Or Alexa®, Cortana®, or Echo®. Voice-search technologies are rapidly popping up on people’s phones and in their living rooms across the country. But should you use voice searches for your business?
Some 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the past year, according to a Brightlocal study. The technology is particularly popular with younger customers: 35.8% of millennials use voice-enabled digital assistants at least once a month, eMarketer found. Just a tenth of baby boomers use the technology as frequently.
Online marketing guru Neil Patel wrote on this blog that people use voice searches because they are in a hurry and want immediate results: “They aren’t searching because they’re curious or interested. They’re searching because they need your product and they are prepared to spend money to get it.”
As a result, voice searches often focus on “must have” stuff: The three most common voice searches involve finding restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery, followed by clothing, accommodations, and medicine.
As consumers increasingly turn to voice search, business owners must understand how to get their businesses found in those searches. While this field is developing fast, here are four emerging keys to being successful with voice searches:
Use Descriptive Keywords
Voice searches put a premium on long-tail keywords — specific phrases, typically three to five words long. “Vintage seventies clothing for men” would be a long-tail keyword, as opposed to “clothing”. These keywords may be ideally suited to small businesses, which often have specialized, focused product lines.
Speed up Your Website’s Loading Time
Since voice searchers are in a hurry, they have less tolerance for slow-loading web sites than people who are typing. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds — 52% faster than the average web page, according to a study by Backlinko, an SEO firm. Pingdom lets you check the speed of your page. If its load time is below average, take steps to speed it up.
Think in Snippets
Google prefers short, concise answers for voice searches. The average voice research result is just 29 words, Backlinko found. As companies prepare content for their web site, they should create “feature snippets,” which are short summaries that Google can find in response to questions your typical customers may ask.
Become Hyper Local
Voice searchers don’t look too far away: 46% of voice search users seek local business information on a daily basis. If you have products or customers particularly geared to voice searchers, ramp up your local SEO efforts.
Voice searches may continue to become more important as the consumer market for smart speakers and other devices equipped with voice recognition capabilities increase. For business owners, optimizing your online efforts for voice-enabled search may help keep your business top of mind for connected consumers.
Want to learn about other technologies for your business? Check out 5 Tech Terms Busines Owners Should Know for 2019.