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Almost overnight, voice search has become a significant part of the marketing landscape.
The development of smartphone technology has turned Siri and Cortana into household names. Every day, millions of people use these voice-activated personal assistants to find services they need.
71% of 18 to 29-year-old Americans use smartphone personal assistants, and about 40% of all voice search users have taken it up in the past six months. The technology is exploding and voice queries should be a key SEO concern.
One of the most important aspects of voice search is the way people use it.
Finding services using Siri is not like typing search queries into Google. Instead, smartphone users tend to ask questions for their personal assistants to answer. They don't type in “cheap hotel in Paris,” they ask Siri where they can sleep cheaply in Paris. It's a big difference.
Instead of focusing on short keyword searches, voice search makes it vital to consider longer questions. Marketers need to find out how phone users are phrasing their queries and base their SEO campaigns around these questions.
Even if it's (still) not possible to tell which Google queries are coming from voice search, you can get a good idea of the way people use questions by analyzing your customer service queries and social media feeds.
Google is investing billions of dollars in perfecting speech-based searching.
It seems likely that Google's algorithms will reward searches that align with what customers want, and that raw keyword-based marketing techniques will become less and less important.
But what exactly can you do to capitalize on this growing trend as a local business? One word: LISTING.
Concentrate your marketing resources on perfecting your listings on Google Maps and sites like Yelp. Ensure that all of the information is accurate and up-to-date, and manage your reviews to showcase your services.
The content of your site also needs to be refined to stress your location. Think about the language that people use to find businesses. Do they refer to streets or neighborhoods in a certain way? If so, include it in your text.
And, of course, with the rise of smartphone voice search, mobile optimization has become a no-brainer. It's simply got to be done, so if you haven't already redesigned your site to be mobile-friendly, start doing so right away.
Adapting to voice search is something that every business will eventually have to do. Right now, small and mid-sized companies can give themselves an early-adopter advantage by designing their content around voice queries, perfecting their local listings, and ensuring their sites are mobile-optimized.