Hey Siri, How Do I Optimize For Voice Search?

Once while I was driving, a message popped up on my dashboard that said it was time for an oil change. I turned to my phone and said, “Hey Siri, where can I get an oil change around here?” It showed me a list of nearby auto shops, including their contact information. I called the first one on the list and got my oil changed that day.  Voice search helped me get the information I needed instantly. It was easy.

Your business may already have good SEO, but have you considered the common trend of voice-enabled search engines? Smart technology like Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Home allow us to find information using our voices instead of typing. Many devices are now voice-activated, so you don’t have to press a button first. Now you can find what you need without even getting off the couch. If you’ve ever watched NBC’s The Good Place, you know there’s a human-like robot in that universe named Janet who shows up out of nowhere if you call her name and you can ask her anything in the world. That’s essentially what we have now with voice searches.

Short key terms are obsolete with voice search. Voice queries are longer and more complex than text ones because they’re conversational like you’re asking someone a question. You would type “Walmart hours” on the computer but vocally you would say “How late is Walmart open?” The average person can type 40 words per minute but speak 150 words per minute.

It’s highly likely that voice searches will be done on a mobile device while people are on the go. A recent statistic says that nearly 60% of voice searches are done mobile because it’s easier to speak than type on a tiny screen. Currently, approximately 25% of searches on the Google app are done with voice and it’s predicted to reach 50% by 2020.

The best way to optimize your business for voice is to claim your listing on Google My Business. Local shops, e-commerce retailers, and news media sites are most prone to voice searches. When you’re listed, your company will be among the first to appear on Google when people in the geographic area vocally search for you or your industry. The majority of mobile voice queries are for local content and information, like asking where the nearest gas station is.

Some searches are very specific, like “Alexa, is there a sandwich place nearby that serves vegan?” For this reason, the Google listing should be appropriately categorized and outline absolutely everything your business provides. Don’t be vague. People aren’t looking for a website or sensitive information, they just want quick specific answers and modern search engines are able to give the answer straightforward. For instance, let’s imagine you own a pizzeria and specify in your Google listing that you deliver. If someone nearby says, “Hey Siri, where can I order food?” then your restaurant will appear on the list.

Optimize your business for voice search and watch your SEO turn into SEA, search engine awesomeness.