August 17th, 2017
We all want to increase traffic to our site, don’t we?
It’s just the way things are. Yet it is becoming more and more challenging to do so as Google continually changes its algorithms and as technology improves it in-turn alters people’s behaviour. One of the biggest changes in technology recently has been the increase in voice search.
Whilst virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana have been around for a while, it has been the release of Alexa and Google Home that have really tipped the scales!
And this isn’t going to be changing any time soon. In fact, voice search is only going to get bigger as more people jump on the bandwagon. Did you know that from 2008 to 2016, Google Voice searches actually grew up 35 times? With that sort of growth, it is expected that 50% of searches made in Google will be done through Voice Search by 2020. In fact, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry by 2019!
Therefore, you need to make sure that you’re ready and ahead of the game to make use of this change in behaviour.
How do we know voice search is picking up?
Even if we ignore the amount of people talking about Alexa or Google Home, or the constant hype around Siri and Cortana, we can look at the type of search terms that appear in PPC campaigns these days for proof of this.
Slowly, but surely, search terms that are far more conversational than informational are getting impressions from PPC ads. This shows that users are now getting used to talking to search engines, either via a microphone or by typing in that manner. Therefore, it’s definitely time to start targeting this type of search for both SEO and PPC!
How do we target voice search?
This is where things get a bit trickier, isn’t it? We’ve spent over a decade learning how to target content to algorithms, and now we need to relearn how to target people!
So, where to start?
Review your writing style
Firstly, we need to start writing our content in a more informed yet human manner. Gone are the days of writing for robots, so try writing something you’d actually want to read! For ages now, Google has been telling us to write for the user, not the crawler; now is the time to make that switch!
As voice search becomes more and more common, having content that is more conversational can only help. Trying to target specific mixes of words is going to be a lower priority compared to targeting the way people actually ask questions.
Make use of Google’s knowledge base
This one is a bit more difficult, and very website specific, but if you’re selling products or services, then it’s time to start publishing articles about how to use those products or services. Think about it; how many people go online to find tutorials and advice on the things that they have bought.
There’s a lot of them… and Google knows this. That’s why Google is constantly expanding its Knowledge Base database – those blocks of content at the top of the search results that show specific pieces of content from a website that relate to the search term.
Any article that Google decides to show as a Knowledge Base answer to a search will always be the top result. As such, it will also be the result that voice search apps and tools like Siri and Cortana read out or take the user to. By having detailed, in-depth advice articles about your specific products or tools, means that you can make a move to be included in the Knowledge Base.
Then you just need to build up the equity of these articles so that they appear instead of other articles from different sites.
Time to ensure you are using alt tags again
For a while, alt tags have been something a lot of people just tended to ignore. Yes, it can help SEO, but sorting out alt tags was typically pushed down the priority list in favour of more out-of-this-world SEO tactics.
However, as voice search picks up, it is time to start putting these back in! Why?
Well, alt tags were originally put in from a usability perspective; for people with browsers that can’t load images or for the visually impaired. These browsers would either show or read out the alt tag, describing what the image is.
See where we’re going with this? If you’re searching the internet through a voice search system like Google Home, then it can’t display the picture! Instead, using alt tags will allow it to understand and read out what the image is, if necessary.
It’s definitely time to make use of alt tags again, especially as Google keeps moving towards usability as a major ranking factor!
That’s not all
There are, of course, a huge amount of other things that you can do to optimise your website for voice search, but these are definitely the best starting point.
If you’re worried or concerned about your website’s optimisation for voice search, or for SEO in general, then feel free to get in touch! Having worked in SEO for over a decade, you’ll be getting help from real experts and professionals.