With the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant now becoming a part of our everyday lives, it is safe to say that we have officially entered the era of digital assistants and voice search. SEO for lawyers is an important part of a digital marketing strategy, here’s what voice search means for them.
The Shift from Text to Voice
For years, we have been accustomed to performing text searches on Google and Yahoo, but voice searches have become more and more popular because of the convenience and efficiency they afford. The technology has added a level of sophistication to voice recognition systems. And because it allows users to obtain direct and relevant answers instead of a long list of links, the process is easier and much faster.
In fact, a couple of years ago it was discovered that 40% of adults used voice searches as a tool for everyday inquiries. And with digital assistants growing smarter each day, the statistics have only increased and continue to do so.
These days, smartphones come with digital assistants already built into them, allowing users to interact with their device in a way that they have never experienced before, at least not at this level. And given the huge number of smartphone users all over the world, voice search technology has never been more accessible.
Google’s Hummingbird, and the Near Future
Google is one of the companies that continue to develop this technology. It is estimated that every year, Google creates 500 to 600 new algorithms to improve their search engine. This means they develop roughly two algorithms each day.
One of Google’s most significant updates, dubbed Hummingbird, brought in the element of semantic context, a key component in marketing and advertising. The Hummingbird algorithms have better intellectual capacities and a higher level of accuracy when it comes to understanding user’s queries. It has given the search engine the ability to understand things like when an apple is a fruit or when an Apple is a computer.
It is predicted that by the year 2020, 50% of all searches will be done through voice. Given this forecast, search engines are all determined to step up their game.
How to Keep Up with the Trend
Here are a few ways marketers and site owners can optimize their website to keep up with the voice search trend, which likely won’t go away any time soon.
- Provide specific answers.
Voice queries are usually brief questions. The trick is to also be brief when delivering what the user needs. Improve your site by providing specific answers to the user’s questions. An example would be, when a user asks, “Where is the nearest Chinese restaurant?” the digital assistant provides a quick list of Chinese restaurants within the vicinity.
This aspect is important for local inquiries. A huge percentage of local voice search users are looking for business information. Optimizing your local SEO can help the search engines determine your hours, address, or whatever information it is that users are looking for. When a voice search assistant is looking for answers, a site that doesn’t clearly display business location and hours isn’t going to be considered.
- Simplify responses.
Simplifying responses is essential because it is essential for users to save time. After all, most adults utilize voice searching because they simply do not have the time and patience to type their queries.
Interrogative phrases are the most used voice search queries. The popular ones usually start with whereor what. It would be smart to be prepared with simple and direct answers so as to have an opportunity to rank high in search results. No one wants to read huge chunks of text before getting to the answer they are looking for, and the search assistants aren’t going to do this either.
A great way to achieve this effect is to ask questions in bold text or in the headers of your blog posts, then answer those questions directly in the first line of the following paragraph. From there, use the rest of the paragraph to explain details or nuances.
Search assistants will find the questions that users are asking, along with a direct answer, on your pages. This can do a lot to boost you chance of becoming visible in voice search results.
- Maintain your SEO rankings.
High-ranking, trusted websites still enjoy higher visibility for both text and voice searches. The rankings are determined by web content and the usefulness of this content. Make sure your content is interesting, engaging, and conversational. Note that voice queries are usually conversational phrases, so preparing your site for such queries can only be advantageous to you in this new age of voice search.
Some say that with the constant changes being developed by major search engines, such as Google’s Hummingbird, SEO for lawyers, and SEO in general, is dying. People have been saying this from the very beginning, though. Voice search is simply taking SEO with it into the future, and that is something both marketers and users should prepare for.