How to address the rise of voice search queries

With the strong take up of Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri and Microsoft Cortana by millions of Australians, voice search queries will continue to see unprecedented growth in the months and years to come. Voice searches have a very significant impact on the way consumers find Australian businesses and brands online. But have businesses adapted?

As the accuracy of the technologies behind these services are constantly advancing, there are four things businesses should do to ensure they are optimised for voice-search queries. Davide has more than 10 years’ experience in achieving online marketing results for small businesses, multi-national companies and ASX-listed brands.

Use long-tail keywords that adopt natural speech patterns in your online marketing

As they rely on natural speaking patterns, voice search-engine queries contain longer phrases. For example, a consumer might type “Chinese restaurant Sydney” but through Siri will ask “where can I find a Chinese restaurant in Sydney?” The subtle differences of both search terms are significant when marketers are optimising their websites, and brands should ensure their website is optimised to rank for such longer-tail keywords.

Refocus content to increase the chances of appearing in the featured snippet

The featured snippet (known as “position zero”) is a detailed answer to a search engine query. Online, this answer is linked to a webpage. It’s designed to help users find answers quickly and easily. As almost 90 per cent of the voice-search queries result in featured snippets, businesses should focus on their web content resulting in a featured snippet, to guarantee strong traffic.

A good tactic is to develop a strong, detailed FAQ page or blog on the website, as these will usually contain long-tailed, conversational phrases. Brands should also optimise simple, direct and natural-sounding questions, paired with concise, to-the-point answers. Brands should also consider the inclusion of visual aids such as infographics, as these help their web content compete for the featured snippet place.

Ensure your website is fast and mobile friendly

Regardless of whether a website is optimised for natural speech patterns and long-tail keywords, a site that isn’t mobile friendly is likely to result in a high bounce rate and little or no conversions. Businesses should ensure their website performs at optimum speed as sites that take longer than three seconds to load will result in up to 54 per cent of mobile users “bouncing” from your site. This include reducing image sizes to redeveloping elements specifically for mobile use.

Cater to local searches

With 88 per cent of mobile queries containing the phrase “near me”, local SEO is becoming more significant. By optimising keywords to have local intent and include location-specific keywords, business will be rewarded with a healthy ranking. Brands also need to account for a sense of urgency where a quick and direct answer is provided for the voice search query – similar to a person asking a question requiring an immediate response. Among local mobile searches, almost 80 per cent convert into purchases.

Davide Defendi, Head of Strategy, SEO Shark