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Like It Or Not, Voice Search Has Changed Business

By Darren DeYoung

As technology advances, people are changing how they interact with the Internet to find answers to their questions and needs. This shift in user engagement and evolvement of virtual assistants is putting a significant emphasis on voice search and voice technology.

Most commonly known as Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana, these devices are part of our daily lives and designed to make life more simple.

Like It Or Not, Voice Search Has Changed Business

Even the most dedicated online searchers see the advantages of using voice searches. Not only is this method quick when compared to typing, but it is less cumbersome in certain situations. If you are driving in your car, cooking dinner in the kitchen, or watching TV, speaking a search query to a virtual assistant allows you to stay focused on the task at hand without having to refocus your attention by typing a question into your favorite search console.

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Where is Voice Search headed?

As a growing trend, voice search is changing the way people interact with the Internet. It is bringing a new dimension to the game as voice queries are growing to become a larger chunk of search query traffic. With an existing emphasis on providing valuable content and meeting the needs of customers, voice search tweaks how search queries are viewed. Here are some ways to adapt to the trend without getting left behind.

Enhanced Focus on Mobile

A website that takes a mobile-first approach to its design, content, and technology will win with mobile customers and ultimately win voice search queries. A website that is not perfected for mobile search, will undoubtedly, miss out on traffic and sales that can be generated through voice search. With most traffic coming through mobile devices, a site optimized for mobile users is paramount. A mobile-friendly experience will provide the framework for voice search queries the ability to convert on your site. Without an optimized site, you can watch your conversions diminish at the same rate that voice search increases.

Keeping the site crawlable is also important as search engines need to understand and find your content--not only for a mobile voice search but for any search. Blocking valuable files with JavaScript, CSS, or robots.txt. file will prevent Search Engines from finding content on your site. Also, avoid Flash as it is not supported by many mobile devices and relying on this technology to display content can have a negative impact on mobile engagement.

Focus on Natural Language

When typing a search query on a keyboard we strive for short and concise phrases. However, when using our vocal cords there is a tendency to use natural sounding questions or statements. Since the top answer is highly relevant for voice search queries, landing pages must be designed in a way to showcase long tail keywords, but comprehensive enough for a voice result to easily find it. The use of natural language and language intent will become very important. Gauging the user's degree of interest when it comes to voice search will play an important role in voice SEO.

A focus on natural language lends itself to optimizing content to a question and answer style. As more conversational tones are used, this style could lead to SEO advantages and align your content with the needs of your customers. Since most voice search queries come in the form of a problem, having your content answer those questions could lead to quick answers and an SEO boost. Blog posts and product catalogs can provide relevant content while answering questions. Whether by typing or verbally asking, users are looking for information during any search query and a question and answer style approach can get you ready for the voice search movement.

Optimize Your Local SEO Listings

If local search results are important, it is reasonable to assume that voice search activity only magnifies the importance of these local listings. As people use their voice to search, they are normally looking for immediate and convenient answers. For example, while driving one may see a lawn service company and want to contact them for pricing--while in their vehicle, using voice commands (hand-free). With this in mind, Google Business Profiles or other relevant local directories is the best place to start to ensure that your business information is up to date and accurate. Don’t just enter a name, address, and phone number, but fully utilize the features of these directories. Business descriptions, business category, operating hours, photos, videos and more all factor into your rankings and this information is distributed following a search. If you haven’t already done so, claim ownership of these listings from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. Read the customer inquiries and respond. It does take time but your responses impact rankings and as voice search increases, this investment will pay off. The number of reviews for a local business is critical and will factor into your ranking. Encourage customers to leave reviews and be sure to respond to each one, especially the negative reviews.
It does take time, but local SEO impacts rankings and as voice search increases, this investment will pay off.

Customer Service Representatives

With more and more voice searches taking place from mobile devices, the one-time, and sometimes looked-down-upon role of customer service representative will serve a greater role. Why? The simplicity of click-to-call. A click-to-call button is the easiest way for a customer to reach your business while they are trying to solve an existing problem. In times of distress, this feature eliminates hassle and puts them directly in touch with, what they hope, is a person of expertise who can help them resolve their issue faster than navigating to your website. This conscious decision of calling puts them directly in contact with a real, live sales representative of your business. Which, after all, gives you the opportunity to sell your products and services as the customer proverbially has “one foot in the door.”

Voice Technology Will Change Business

Customers have a lot of power and overtime businesses must change to meet the ever-changing needs of the all-powerful customer. Voice search and voice technology are no different. This is just another adaptation business owners and marketers will need to make. But this also provides a unique opportunity to reach customers based on how they search by structuring content and catering to this movement. As mobile search develops, keyboards, touchscreens, and displays will be less prominent. And hands-free, voice-activated devices will grow and create a truly mobile environment.

How has voice technology changed your business?

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