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The future is voice
March 13, 2020
Like it or not, the future of search and many other technologies is already here. It's voice. You see it every day with constant improvements to the various platforms such as Alexa, Siri, Ok Google, and more and more people are using this.
I would go so far as to say that within 5-10 years this will become the most popular way of people starting searches for businesses, restaurants, opening times, files, anything that can be indexed. This technology will improve and is getting better every single day.
But what is really the difference between a voice search and a text search. Fundamentally this comes down to context.
When people speak a search query, they speak it very differently to how they type it. For example, if you are looking for a restaurant near you, you may traditionally type in 'Restaurant Near Me', or 'Restaurant Camden', or 'Restaurant in Manchester', typed search queries tend to be shorter, to the point, because you don't want to waste time typing long form search queries. The search engines are clever enough to contextualise that for you and show you based on their algorithms, the results it thinks you want to see.
Change that up then to what would show up when you search by voice, where your request would be of more natural language. You might ask 'Can you find me an Indian restaurant near Manchester', or 'What are the opening times of the local marketing agency SO Marketing'. The search query is much more long-form, and as a result, the results you get back from the search engines will be wildly different.
So how do you adapt your content to best suit this way of people finding your product or service? Create more. One good way to do this would be to incorporate some FAQ's into your website that asks these questions already. It gives you the opportunity to form these long-form questions in your real content, but also when search engines read this, the answer is directly there and can be read back out to you.
Use conversational language. Don't structure your content like the SEO advice of 20 years ago, stuffed full of random keywords in the hope that the 1-2 word typed search query matches you with the user, write your content in the way that people actually speak.
Focus on mobiles. Most people who use voice search via the voice personal assistants, are doing this on mobile devices, so when they come to your website, what is the mobile experience like for them? There's no wonder that 70-80% of website users in some industries now are all mobile users.
The key phrases to remember to include in your content to make it more voice search friendly are how, when, what, why and where. Nearly all voice searches incorporate one or more of these question words and this allows you to focus your content around answering the users question, rather than trying to trick the search engines into showing your page instead of someone else's.