Voice Search Trends: Is Your Business Ready?
When Google launched the Voice Search app for the iPhone in 2008, it was far from perfect. Over the years, speak-activated technology has become much more accurate and human-like. Stats show that Google's English recognition accuracy rate is now over 95%.
People want instant solutions when they're searching for something online.
While typing a query into a search bar is quick, simply speaking into your device and getting the same results is even quicker. On average, a person can type around 40 words per minute and speak around 150 words per minute.
To try a spoken search, you can activate your phone's assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, for example). Or, try it online: click on the microphone icon to the right of the Google search bar, to the left of the magnifying glass.
You'll be prompted to "Speak now" and you'll see the results come up after you've made your request.
What Voice Search Means for your Business
If you're a small business owner, it's a good idea to start thinking of ways to optimize your website for voice search.
Many consumers already use it to find what they're looking for and according to ComScore, 50% of searches will be performed this way by 2020.
Here's how to make it work for your business:
Think phrases, not keywords . When we type something into the search bar, we tend to keep it short, like "Canada Food Guide fruit servings."
However, when we talk to a device, we use a conversational tone, so it would be more like "How many servings of fruit each day does the Canada Food Guide recommend?" Before optimizing your site, research longtail keywords that someone might use to find your products or services.
Stay local . Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be locally based. Use your location with keywords in your site content, and don't forget to keep your Google My Business page updated.
If you have accolades or awards, include those too – users are often searching for the "best of" or "top" products or services in the area.
Be overly informative. A virtual assistant pulls information from the Internet, so you want to make sure there's lots of it to be found.
Keep your website, Google My Business, Yelp and other third-party sites updated with things like your contact info, hours of operation, location and menu.
However, that's just the basics. Dive even deeper – does your business accept American Express? Does your boutique sell clothing by local designers? Is your business a good place to take kids, pets or a date?
The more you can put out there, the more questions you can answer. Creating a FAQ page is a great way to provide both typers and talkers with relevant info.
Speed up. Your mobile page load time matters. The average spoken search results page loads almost twice as fast as a web page, so you'll have to keep up if you want to get noticed.
Google also includes page speed as a ranking factor, so faster is always better. Check your site's speed .
It's going to become more and more relevant – and necessary – to make it easy for customers to "talk" to your business. Instead of waiting for your competitors to catch up and outrun you, start working on optimizing your site now.