Originating with the smartphone, voice search is a growing trend that’s impacting how people shop online. Voice search allows users to navigate the web using voice commands as opposed to typing. The top reasons people employ voice searches being because their hands are otherwise occupied or they want to get faster results.

Greg Sterling reports that 20% of mobile Google searches are voice searches. And that number is expected to rise to at least 50% by 2020 says Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins of Caufield & Byers.

So what do businesses need to know about voice search and voice assistants? What effect are these things having on e-commerce? The world of digital marketing is fast-paced and ever-evolving, to learn how to optimize your business for voice search, keep reading below. 

1. Consider Natural Language Search Queries

Voice and text searches differ significantly when it comes to the language and syntax being used. Text searches are usually more disjointed, relying on a series of keywords and phrases strung together in a caveman-like fashion (e.g. Italian restaurant open late).

Voice searches, on the other hand, recognize keywords and commands through “natural language processing” and more closely resemble the way people speak. According to Google Data, “Almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, not the typical keywords people type in a web search.”

Voice searches typically involve more words and complete, or close to complete, sentences or questions (e.g. Where is the nearest Italian restaurant that’s open late?).

Therefore, your SEO strategy should reflect this difference by optimizing for more long-tail and conversational keywords. 

2. Adopt Long-Tail, Conversational Keywords

As you can probably guess, long-tail keywords are longer than typical search queries. They’re also more specific and have less competition.

Moreover, as noted by Sherry Bonelli, voice search keywords shouldn’t adopt just long-tail keywords. They should adopt “long-tail+” keywords. The “plus” here refers to the “conversational phrases that you need to add when optimizing for conversational voice search.”

Consider the questions your leads and customers ask most frequently. What are the precise words and phrases they use when communicating with you or your customer service team? Take note of their language and then work those long-tail, conversational keywords into your content and pages.

3. Add An FAQ Page To Your Website

One of the simplest ways of working long-tail, conversational keywords into your site is to create an FAQ page that includes your business’ most commonly asked questions. Then, offer clear, concise responses to those questions.

Answering common questions in this manner also helps increase your chances of appearing in a Google featured snippet, or “position zero,” which is highly beneficial because featured snippets are the first result most people look at when searching Google.

4. Notice Your Own Voice-Searching Tendencies

As an Internet user and online shopper yourself, pay attention to how you use voice search to navigate the web and find answers to questions. You’ll likely notice that you often use voice search when looking for information that requires a response to a more immediate need or concern, such as finding a business’ phone number or their hours of operation.

The more familiar you become with your own voice-searching tendencies, the better you’ll become at anticipating your potential leads’ and customers’ queries in their moments of need. This is another way to help you integrate the optimal keywords and information into your website’s pages.

Keep your content simple and straightforward, though, and use simple words and sentences. Again, people using voice search are typically looking for answers to satisfy an immediate need. So the easier and more concise the response, the better.

What’s your take on voice search? Let us know!