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In January 2018 Forbes announced that there is a growing interest in using voice search queries. These are searches that are done by using your voice instead of your typing skills and have been popularized by Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, Google Home, and Amazon Echo.

In fact, by the end of 2017 there was an estimated 33 million voice search devices in use. That trend is only increasing, especially when you consider that “people used Echos to buy more Echos” during the 2017 holiday season, reported CNBC, making it the top item sold on Amazon.

Voice Searches May Change the Search Results

As people move away from typing out their questions to asking them out loud, then your website will need to be optimized for voice search queries.

Optimization efforts need to take into account that results popping up from engines like Cortana, which can display result lists on a computer and mobile device, may eventually differ from results being verbally produced by a speaker systems like Echo. Although, currently the search results on a screen and via voice are identical or nearly identical.

This may change over time as search algorithms change to meet the growing demand for voice results. The reason we’re wondering if a change is inevitable is because it’s easier to scan a search results page and find a listing, but it’s more cumbersome and inefficient to have a verbally-based system reading off each of the listings to you. At some point this method may be seen as something that needs to be fixed, and making it to that top spot will become a fierce SEO competition.

You’ll maintain a competitive edge if you ensure that you SEO is optimized in 3 important ways.

Ensure that You Have Accurate Business Listings

Each of your business listings needs to be accurate and complete across Google, Yelp, Bing, Apple Maps, and other relevant services. We’ve mentioned reason why this is important as well as how Yext PowerListings can turn a daunting task into a simply one-click wonder.

However, getting around to this important task may become even more relevant because a voice activated system currently mentions the first three results, also referred to as Google’s Local Pack. This doesn’t differ in what is traditionally shown on a computer screen, but time will tell whether Google formats their algorithm to make these results more compatible with a voice system and instead of giving three results they reduce it to one.

Keep Your Customer Reviews Coming

Google is preferable to businesses who are regularly receiving customer reviews, and reviews go hand-in-hand with website traffic for two reasons.

First, if someone sees your reviews, they’ll be more likely to visit your website which helps increase its ranking due to the increased traffic. Second, the more reviews you have the more obvious it is that people have visited your website in the past and thus chosen your business as the top option. That means your relevancy score will go up.

You’ll be ahead of the game if your business has regular reviews coming in, especially 4 and 5 star reviews. We mention why that’s important here and how to stay ahead with customer reviews.

How voice search queries will filter out results for this is yet to be seen, because again Google will need to control and adjust its algorithm for voice results. The best thing you can do is stay on top of your SEO in this area, so you’ll be less likely to lose the coveted number one spot.

Ensure that Your Website Uses Long Tail Keywords

When people ask questions, they’re looking for a quick, simply answer, and the speaker-based voice search engines are set-up to produce quick, voice results.

It’s easiest for a search engine to scan your website and find a long tail keyword that matches the exact search. That means, when someone asks, “How do I clean out my air duct?” then the search engine will look for that exact statement/question, or most of it, in order to match the query with a relevant result.

Whereas in a list of results someone can search through the top answer and continue to scroll, now only the top answer will become relevant. That means your website will need to be written in a way that showcases a long tail keyword and a simple response at the top of relevant pages so a voice result can easily find it and read what it says. However, you’ll still need the longer content so that people who are interested in reading will have the chance to do so which will keep your website active.

The Growing Frontier of Voice Search Results

It’s clear that the trend toward using voice searches is only on the rise. How it affects search results is still yet to be seen, but it’s clear that traditional SEO methods are becoming even more important since voice results can only list few and eventually just one answer when asked a question.

As of yet, it appears that Google has yet to change its algorithm to adjust for voice searches, but with 40% of adults now using voice searches at least once per day there is certainly a question as to how Google (and other search engines) will adjust their results to meet the growing need.

We’ve turned into a culture that likes a quick answer to a simple question, and hearing lengthy voice search results is likely to be on the decline. That means your SEO needs to stay optimized, and if there’s any doubt about where your website stands then there’s no better time to contact us for a free SEO audit.