Should I optimize my website for (Alexa, Siri, Google) search?
What is the market penetration?
In recent years, the use of voice search devices like Amazon's Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Voice, has exploded. According to National Public Radio (NPR) and Edison Research, in 2018 smart-speaker ownership surged 36% to 53 million people 18 years and older. We must also consider the 198 million active smartphone users in the United States, a combined 99% of which (see Statista below) are iPhone or Android users that either have access to Apple’s Siri or Google's Voice search. Not accounting for overlap between smartphone and smart speaker users, 77% of the US's total population has the ability to perform a voice search. Furthermore, Google predicts that by 2020 50% of total web searches will be performed via a voice query. Voice search is here, and it is here to stay.
What Does This Mean For Your Website/Business?
In the same way that you were told 15-20 years ago about the importance of google keyword’s and ranking in search results, I will tell you now about ranking in voice search results. Whether you sell tangible products, online or in person services, or some combination of the two, your business is at the mercy of the online channels in which consumers discover you. Human beings of the 21st century are arguably the busiest beings in the history of mankind; thus, we are consumed by efficiency and saving time. Voice search is the natural next step in saving ourselves time when performing web searches. The problem for your website/business is that companies like Amazon, Apple and Google will be the ones who determine which business are recommended by their voice search devices. This means that you must be prepared for the day that traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ceases to be the most important web ranking method. This leads to the question, what can you do to be ready for the takeover of voice search?
Reconfigure Keywords (Phrases)
For those who don’t know, Keywords are words placed in text, graphics and images on your website that convey the relevance of your websites subject matter. In the same way that keyword use has been so successful in ranking websites on traditional Google search, new keyword (phrases) will do the same for voice search. In order to understand this, we need to think about the way people ask questions. The majority of voice web searches will be performed in the form of a question; thus traditional single keywords will no longer be adequate. Let's use a seafood restaurant for example; how would someone perform this voice search? Likely it would sound something like this, “Alexa, where can I get the best seafood in Narragansett, Rhode Island?” As we can see, keyword strategies will now need to grow to include entire questions imbedded in your website. A great way to do this is to include a FAQ page that includes any commonly asked questions. Another great way to do this is to write blog posts that include this important search phrases; for example the title of the post you are currently reading, "Should I optimize my website for (Alexa, Siri, Google) search?” This title links directly to the type of question someone would ask if interested in this information.
Craft Video Content to Answer Questions
If you are serious about growing your business, high-quality video content is likely already part of your growth strategy. Although you should be crafting all of your content to answer voice questions, a great place to begin is with video. Whether you are a YouTuber or a popular Dentist looking to drive demand to new locations, high-quality video content is your best friend. A way to use videos to your advantage when it comes to voice search is to craft your content to answer relevant frequently asked questions. Let's use the Dentist for example; one question I searched for myself, and many others have searched for as well is, “Does having your wisdom teeth out hurt?” As a dentist who already implements high quality video, it would be easy to make a funny video of some young patients going through the experience pain free. A video of this nature also has the potential to reach viral level of reach. Google loves to recommend videos early on in search results, and thus this will help to rank you higher in traditional and voice searches.
Don’t Sleep On It
I can imagine the feeling of regret many businesses experienced when they ignored the onset of traditional search engines. My overall recommendation is to not sleep on the rise of voice search. As I stated earlier, the use of voice search is growing fast and before you know it will be part of everyones SEO strategy. Now is the time to utilize a relatively new market opportunity while it is still competitive.
If you have any questions about voice search optimization, and how this can help your business, blog, website, youtube channel etc. please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on social IG @scottb401 I would love to speak further with anyone who is interested!