As consumers flock to devices like Alexa, Google Home, and the Amazon Echo, it's time to optimize your business for voice search.
There's no point in trying to resist: voice search technology is here to stay. With 41 percent of the world's adults now using voice search for their queries, it's time to step up your SEO game.
If you own a brick and mortar business, voice search engine optimization is crucial in this day and age. It's been shown that mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be local-based. In fact, Google reports that "___ near me now" searches have grown 150 percent in the last two years alone.
So how do you and your business join the voice search revolution? Here are three steps to get you started on the right path.
1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Having a business listing on Google is essential if you want your local listing to be found easily. Google gives priority to its own products (with text and voice searches), and taking advantage of their My Business listing option could give you just the edge you need.
Claim your Google My Business listing, for free, and take the time to fill out every single detail. Share your business' complete address, your hours of operation, the types of cuisine you serve, etc.
If someone is driving in their car and uses their phone to voice search "what pizza restaurants are open near me?" then there's a good chance your restaurant will pop up.
2. Start Taking Your Blog Seriously
You've heard it before: SEO is important for small business growth. That's holds true now more than ever.
If you weren't taking your blog seriously before and optimizing it for search engines, there's no better time to start. Better late than never.
However, voice search optimization is a little different than your "typical" SEO. It's more conversational, and the keywords tend to be a little longer.
Users are favoring actual questions, rather than the short, choppy, robotic-sounding search terms of old.
While a typical text search might look like "cheap acrylic paint," a voice search would typically be phrased as "where can I buy acrylic paint for cheap?"
Long-tail keywords are key for optimizing for potential voice searches. By embedding several long-tail keywords throughout your blog posts, you'll be more likely to be featured when someone asks a question relevant to your business.
This means not shying away from longer articles. The more content you provide, the more keywords you can embed, and the greater your chances of appearing in voice searches increase.
Need a little help finding natural-sounding long-tail keywords? Answer the Public is a great solution, and it's free to use. Type in terms relevant to your business and get back results on how users are turning those terms into questions when searching.
3. Secure Your Website with an SSL Certificate
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS was going to be given priority as a ranking signal. To get an HTTPS prefix to your website's URL, you'll need to purchase an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.
Fortunately, purchasing an SSL certificate for your website has become quick and easy. Many web hosting providers offer this service at reasonable prices. Some even offer an SSL certificate for free, depending on what hosting package you purchase.
By having an SSL certificate and an HTTPS prefix, you'll have a better chance at ranking higher in Google searches – whether those searches are done by text or by voice. Although Google announced HTTPS as a ranking signal in 2014, their favoritism of secured websites has only grown in the past four years. Security is their current number one priority, and that's not likely to change any time soon.
However, as of last year, only half of the websites online were secured with an SSL certificate. Which half are you a part of?
If you have a secured website, and your competitor hasn't bothered, you'll stride leaps and bounds ahead of them in search engine rankings. That's certainly something to take into serious consideration, especially when SSL certificates have become more accessible and affordable than ever. There's no excuse not to take advantage of this tactic.
By listing your business, taking your blog's SEO seriously, and getting an SSL certificate, you'll be prepared for the future and ready for growth. Voice search is here to stay, but now you have the tools to stay ahead of the game.