Conversing with AI: How to Optimize for Google Voice Search

man talking through speaker

Conversing with AI: How to Optimize for Google Voice Search

Why Google Voice Search Should Be a Priority in Your Overall Digital Marketing Strategy

  Google is king of the search engine industry globally and in the US, with over 90 percent market share worldwide and nearly 90 percent in the States. To boot, their Google Assistant app and speaker pulls information exclusively from Google and Google My Business – it is a closed-loop Google ecosystem.   Tech firms aspire to create virtual assistants that are as handy as Rosy from the Jetsons – to move from voice recognition algorithms to the advanced AIs of science fiction for more natural and intuitive interactions.   These ongoing improvements mean voice queries will only continue to grow – and businesses who optimize for Google Voice Search gain the competitive edge over those who don’t. Luckily, setting up your business site to catch local voice search traffic is easy and affordable.  

To Optimize for Google Voice Search:

 
  • Cater to user intent
  • Claim and optimize your Google My Business page
  • Make the content more conversational
  • Aim for first page Google results with stellar SEO
 

Who Can Benefit from Google Voice Search?

  Businesses across the board can leverage this technology to increase traffic and expand their profit margins, including:  
  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Insurance services
  • E-commerce businesses
  • Literally, anyone
 

The Voice Search Stats You Need to Know

  The Google Assistant app can be downloaded across most devices, including those with android operating systems and Apple iOS, and is embedded in the Google Chrome search bar. Many browser-less devices, such as smartwatches, game consoles, and smart TVs, are also equipped to use Google Assistant voice search.   Consumers want to be heard:   57 percent of people prefer to interact with their digital assistants vocally, while 34 percent use a combination of typing and voice commands.   Google Voice Search is a Powerful Marketing Tool for Local Businesses:  
  • 48 percent of consumers use voice technology to search the web
  • 25 percent of consumers will use their digital assistant to make a purchase
  • Voice search is used across consumer cohorts: surprisingly, of the 60+ crowd use their mobile personal assistants on a daily basis
  Is your business site mobile-friendly? It should be!   58 percent of US consumers have used their smartphones to search for a local business by voice. Even when consumers conduct a voice query on a smart speaker, the Google Voice Assistant can send a link to a business website directly to the user’s smartphone.   Consumers are also using their other devices to conduct voice searches:  
  • 28 percent used a desktop or laptop
  • 26 percent used a tablet
  • 18 percent used a speaker
  The takeaway: you need to optimize your business platforms for use across devices.  

Do you understand consumer intent?

  Consumers turn to Google Voice Search to make three kinds of queries: Discovery, Direct, and Knowledge.   Discovery Voice Search   When making a discovery search, consumers are putting out feelers. They want to know what their options are but don’t have a specific business in mind.   Examples of a discovery voice search might be:     About 75 percent of voice search results rank in the top 3 for a specific query - leveraging SEO for Google can help you secure one of those top 3 positions.   Direct Voice Search   Consumers know what they want when they conduct a direct voice search, and you better make sure you’re there when they come knocking.   Examples of a direct voice query could include:  
  • “Call Jon at Social Spice Media.”
  • “Get me directions to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.”
  During this type of search, people are generally in need of a phone number, address, or directions. In fact, 65 percent of consumers will make a voice search query asking for directions. Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing will help you be there to answer the door.   Knowledge Voice Search   When people want in-depth information or facts, they are conducting a knowledge voice search. Users of Google Voice Search might ask for quick answers, which are often pulled from the Google Snippets feature. Writing long-form content with concise statements that answer specific questions can help your content be heard by potential customers.   Here are some examples of knowledge voice searches:  
  • “How can I make my website ADA compliant?”
  • “What do I need to build a robot?”
  It is important businesses don’t neglect content generation as part of their digital marketing efforts, as many consumers will visit a business’ website for more information after conducting a local voice search. Premium content can establish you as a trusted authority in your field.  

Optimizing Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

  Even though all three query types should factor into your marketing strategy, direct voice searches play a vital role in converting the curious consumer into paying customers. People who make a direct voice query are looking for you specifically. Google Voice Search will pull your business information from your Google My Business listing. Here’s the information you need to include so your customers know when and where to find you:  
  • Your physical address or service area if you do not operate out of a brick-and-mortar store (Never use a PO box or USP mailbox)
  • Your phone number with an area code. The correct area code (as opposed to an 800 number) ties your business to a specific location and will boost your results over businesses that are further away
  • Your business URL
  • Your operating hours
  And, of course, remember to verify your GMB listing so customers know it’s really you! You can visit https://www.google.com/business/ to optimize and verify your listing now.  

How to Optimize for Google Local Voice Search

  Because Google Assistant pulls from Google Search results, you really need to optimize your site for SEO, period.   Here are some things you can do to gain one of the coveted top three positions:  
  • Optimize for mobile use
  • Use keyword-rich content
  • Use title and meta tags
  • Include multimedia
  • Optimize for lightning speed page load times
  • Secure your site with an HTTPS URL
  Additionally, to optimize for Google Voice Search:  
  • Generate long-form content with concise snippets: the typical result for a voice search query is just 29 words long, but Google tends to pull from long-form content
  • Engage your audience on social media. Content with lots of social engagement performs better in voice search
  • Use conversational long-tail keywords and questions - people don’t type the way they speak
  • Build FAQ pages with questions that answer the typical “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Why”, and “How” queries
 

Local Voice Search and ADA accessibility

  Many of the same steps for optimizing for local voice search and SEO will also bring your digital platforms closer toward ADA compliance. Tactics like adding alt-text to images and writing in a conversational style to provide the same experience no matter how your content is delivered expands consumer access. These elements will also make your content AI-friendly and easier to index – that means better search engine rankings.   If you want to learn more about ADA accessibility, read our article here.  

Is your business site easily discoverable?

  Voice search provides a unique opportunity to expand your reach, especially as voice assistant technology improves with increased functionalities.   Your voice search strategy can either be the HAL that sabotages your business or the C3PO that helps you out. Contact our experts at Social Spice Media today to make sure your business is ready to be found by potential customers, no matter what type of search is used.   Or try voice search for yourself to see how easy it is to use. If you use the Google Assistant app, just say “Hey Google, Call Social Spice Media”.