IS YOUR SEO STRATEGY ALIGNED TO THE AGE OF ALEXA?
Voice search has proved to be more than a passing fad, with uptake continuing to increase. How can you rank well in this new environment?
When the Amazon Echo appeared from nowhere to become the “must have” gadget a couple of Christmases ago, everyone in the tech sector was caught somewhat on the hop. Alexa proved a hit, and the big players like Google and Microsoft scrambled to catch up.
Despite the popularity, though, there was still the feeling in the back of everyone’s mind that this was a gimmick. It’s not as if voice search was anything new, it has existed in rudimentary form for years on our phones, for example, when we want to look up a contact or open an app. But it’s never really been something people have warmed to – a fun function that we know exists but hardly use.
THE DAWN OF THE STAR TREK AGE
Yet all that changed with Alexa. First and foremost, people loved the “Star Trek” aspect to it all. Having grown up watching James Kirk and Jean Luc Picard chatting away with Computer on the Star Ship Enterprise, we could suddenly do the same thing. But there was more to it than that. We discovered that a voice search function is actually really, really convenient.
In 2017, voice search became a regular part of day to day life for more than 35 million Americans. That’s a year on year rise of almost 130 percent. This growth is set to continue, and by 2020, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of searches will be by voice search.
SEO AND VOICE SEARCH
There is plenty of misinformation about the correlation between SEO and voice search. Some say that it will render the discipline irrelevant, as we will no longer be presented with a SERP on which to worry about ranking. However, when you look at what is really happening, you might want to think again.
Voice search doesn’t just perform a search, it also finds the most appropriate solution and presents it to the searcher. In other words, ranking high for basic keywords might be less relevant, but ranking top for long tail searches becomes the be-all and end-all, as far as voice search is concerned.
If you use Alexa, or the virtual assistant of your choice, to search on something, you will be using different phrasing compared with when you type something into Google. Optimising your site, and particularly your homepage for semantic search needs to be high on your agenda.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
So how can you optimise for voice search? You might not know it, but that question provides an elegant answer. By incorporating “question and answer” type content into your homepage (for example, “So how can you optimise for voice search?”), you don’t just spell out to your visitors the kinds of questions you can help answer, but you also provide Google, and by implication your virtual assistant, with a big flashing light showing you have the answer to the question being posed. We are already changing our keyword planning strategies to help improve voice search results.
New tools are being developed every day to help your SEO consultant come up with the most pertinent questions that you need to be answering in order to rank better for voice search and drive up engagement.
One thing is certain, this is something you need to be thinking about now, as the Star Trek age is already here, and voice search is not going away.