According to Google, around 20% of searches performed are now voice searches. Between querying Siri, asking Google through an android device, or using voice prompts on other devices to allow hands-free searching for consumers no matter what they’re doing, changing technology has created new opportunities for many companies.
As this article from Moz’s Whiteboard Friday points out, adapting to voice searches may change SEO strategy and tactics, but to what degree?
Unless you’re the grandmother who was concerned that there was a person on the other end of her searches, chances are, when you’re typing in search terms, you use short keywords to find your desired webpage. If you’re searching for how to design an SEO-friendly page, you’ll type in “SEO-friendly webpage” or “design SEO-friendly webpage.” A search for a sushi restaurant close to you will be typed in as “sushi restaurant [your city and state].”
When you use voice prompts, on the other hand, you’re much more likely to use natural language to ask your questions. That SEO search mentioned above will be found by asking, “how do I design an SEO-friendly webpage?” Your sushi restaurant will be found by saying, “what’s the best sushi restaurant in [your city and state],” or, “find a sushi restaurant near me.”
According to Rand Fishkin, author and face of Whiteboard Friday, natural language searches—the kind most commonly conducted over voice—will change several things. Fishkin says that voice searches will cause a shift in the number of “instant answers” that can be given to simple search queries. Most of the time, those instant answers don’t require searchers to visit a webpage. All they need is a quick response.
Changing Your Design
There are two strategies for making the most of the changing SEO strategy. Changing the design of your webpage will allow you to continue to bring in search answers, whether you’re aiming for traffic that’s coming through traditional channels or more specific traffic straight from the instant query response.
1. Become “answer zero.”
If your webpage answers exactly the question that the searcher is asking, you can become search answer zero: the answer that pops up when an individual asks a simple query.
Becoming answer zero means several things:
- Having a webpage that is already at the top of the rankings for that question.
- Designing a list style answer or a short answer that’s easily scanned.
- Providing highly relevant content that answers the specific question.
2. Focus your keywords.
If you’re unable, for whatever reason, to optimize your keywords for that short search query, evaluate your keywords again and adjust accordingly.
There are several keywords that won’t ever find themselves in that short answer box, including:
- Longer articles & explanations
- Detailed tutorials
- In-depth comparisons
In short, if the answer to a query requires depth—more than can be explained in a short snippet of words—then it’s safe to dodge the short answer requirements.
Developing a new SEO strategy to account for verbal searches will help many marketers see rising success on those critical search engine statistics. Your goal is always to be as high up in the search engine rankings as possible: #1, if you can get it; or at the very least, on the first page.
Timely, relevant, quality content will always rise through search engine rankings. Optimizing for short queries and being the one to answer those short answer questions, however, will help many organizations experience greater success as new technology impacts the way people use search engines.