It’s quite clear that Christmas 2018 was the breakout season for voice-driven smart hubs for the home. With the advent of devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, as well as Apple’s HomePod device, more and more households are becoming “smart homes.” These voice-activated devices, along with newer vehicles that provide a mechanism for hands-free, voice-activated searches, means more people are using their voice rather than their fingers to surf the web.
Traditional Web Searching
Up until fairly recently, the typical search for a product or service involved a user typing keywords into a search engine. The search engine then delivered an entire list of potential matches for the user to review. Any company that made one of the top 10 spots in the list stood a relatively good chance of grabbing the user’s attention. The user’s decision to select a specific website to view often focused heavily on the name of the website, along with keywords found in the meta description below the website link.
Voice (and Mobile) is Changing SEO
Today, mobile devices are the premiere device that most people use to interact with the web. Mobile devices, assisted by the newer smart home devices, have allowed voice-activated queries to grow exponentially. When a user says, “Ok, Google” followed by a query, they are using natural language to pose their question. Before, a website might have been optimized for a query such as “weather” along with a zip code. Now an optimized site needs to be prepared for a query such as “What will today’s weather be near me?” Companies need to ensure their SEO efforts incorporate these natural language patterns or they risk getting overlooked.
In addition, any business that relies on local searches such as “find a burger near me” needs to ensure their identifying information is continually updated in search engines. This is important for those companies that will rely on voice searches made on mobile and/or smart home devices. Different devices may use different search engines, so companies need to be current on all the major players.
It should be evident by now, that any company currently placing their primary SEO emphasis on a traditional desktop site needs a technology overhaul. Preparing for the voice-driven future will include focusing on developing a mobile site that loads quickly, is formatted for mobile screens, and is easy to read. In addition, ensuring the mobile site is optimized for voice-driven search queries will help a business gain the upper edge over the competition.