How voice search will change the future of SEO

The more intelligent Google gets the less we ask of it!

With Google now reporting that almost 60% of all global searches are made on mobile devices and that 20% of those are now voice searches, the way we search has changed dramatically and is set to continue to change, with Google estimating that by 2020 voice searches will account for 50% of all search queries.

 So how has search changed and what are potential customers looking for now?

Gone are the days of seeing search engines as a “yellow pages” style listing of local services we now ask search engines everyday questions, and rely on everything being online with more of us now preferring to “Google it” than ask our friends and relatives or consult a book!

This continued evolution to voice search has meant that searches typed in to search engines compared to what is now “asked” for has changed again and if businesses want to stay visible they need to make sure they are answering the right questions.

We used to ask if there was a “Plumber in Huntingdon area” but now we ask for a “local plumber” or a “plumber near me”.

As Google has learnt what we are actually asking so we have learnt what Google really hears and so searches have evolved. We no longer use unnecessary words we know are ignored by the search engines, in, and with etc. and we no longer tell them where we are, as we are aware that they already know!

So how does this affect how we reach our target audience in searches?

Knowing that your target audience is likely to be using a mobile device and searching for local businesses with “near me” and “nearby” terms in their voice search means that you need to be sure you are listed locally, having an up-to-date Google My Business listing is essential to achieve this, as is a Yelp listing if you want to show up in location related searches across Apple devices.

Making sure your company name, address and phone number are correct across all of the sites your business is listed on is imperative if you want to be found in local, “near me” searches. Search engines check multiple listings across the web to authenticate your location so that they feel confident to use this information in their searches, remember Google is a business too and they need to keep their customers happy so that they continue to use their service and so they need to give their audience, your potential customers, relevant and up-to-date information that they can trust.

Checking that your business is listed correctly on directories, yes even those you can’t remember you added it on many years ago, can help search engines to trust your location more and get you more local search views alongside your local competition.

Voice searches tend to take on a question format and Google has invested heavily in AI type learning to be able to be of the most use possible when searches follow a question format, especially a follow on question format, for example: “plumbers near me” followed by “recommended plumbers” understanding that you are still looking for a local plumber who is recommended rather than seeing these as two separate queries, the results will show local recommended plumbers.

This type of linking of questions to get the results that are being searched for means that in order to be visible to your potential customers you need to be sure that you know what their questions are, what they are looking for and then that you answer those questions not only by making sure that your information on the web is correct but also that your site content is targeted at providing the right answers.

There are many ways of making sure this is achieved on your site from FAQ’s and Blog posts to make sure you are keeping it fresh to basing your content around key information that your customers will want to know. The key part to achieving this is to know what the right questions are, and as with all good marketing strategies, the way to start is with some research both of visitors to your site and existing clients, and of course to ask yourself what you would want to know.

Need Help?  

Our Digital Marketing experts can help you to review your Local Marketing Strategy to be sure you are doing everything possible to be seen in voice searches as they continue to grow and become the future of search.

You can call me directly on 01480 878510 or email me on [email protected]

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Karen King
I have been working in website promotion for the last 15 years and am now a Website Marketer at web2market. I am a qualified Google Adwords professional and can help advise on getting the most out of your digital campaigns. My experience includes both sponsored and unsponsored website marketing, Google Maps and link building.