Welcome to the year 2020! It’s officially the end of a defining era where we saw the rise of Instagram, YouTube, smartphone apps, and a whole slew of other marketing trends. But there was also the rise of another giant that will continue to shape and transform digital marketing in the new decade.

Voice search came crashing on the scene in the early 2010s with the introduction of Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa﹣and it has undoubtedly changed the way people search for information and how businesses connect with their target audiences.

How has voice search evolved, where is it going, and how can you optimize your website for voice-searched queries? Read on to find out.

How Voice Search Has Changed Consumer Habits

It’s no secret that smart speakers and digital assistants serve all kinds of purposes. You can find out the weather, ask for directions, organize your calendar, and discover the answers to an endless array of questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “How many people are in the world?”

It’s also possible to search for products and services in your particular area and find out which businesses provide them. In 2019, 52% of consumers used voice search to research and find products and services. But that’s not all. 

By the end of 2020, 75% of households will utilize smart home speakers and digital assistants. So, when it comes to finding which restaurant to dine at, or where you can find the nearest plumber or dentist, more individuals and families will resort to voice searching for businesses near them.

Where Voice Search Is Going

Voice search is not only more ingrained in the technology we use on a daily basis. Advancements in voice search have also made it easier to find the best answers to our specific queries.

Google has made major strides in the way it understands our natural use of language with the BERT update. As a result of this update, Google now provides SERPs that better match the intent and relevance of online queries. 

Let’s say you were to look up a recipe for “chocolate chip cookies no eggs.” Not long ago, Google would’ve identified keywords like “chocolate chip cookies” and “eggs” linearly and pulled up SERPS that showed recipes with eggs. Because of the BERT update, Google can now identify words like “no”, relate them to other keywords, and understand that the user is looking for a cookie recipe without eggs.

What does this all mean for the future of voice search? 

Because search engines understand the way we speak naturally, we can expect better and more reliable results. Combined with the accessibility of smart speakers and digital assistants, more people will feel inclined to voice search because they can expect a quality user experience.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

What are some of the best ways you can optimize your website for voice search?

The simple answer: Write quality content that provides helpful information to your audience. 

Keywords will continue to provide relevance between web pages and online queries, but they should no longer be seen as the end-all-be-all. You can also frame web content as questions and provide immediate and useful answers. 

Additionally, it’s no longer necessary to squeeze a string of keywords together with a location. You can mention location when it’s natural and contextual, but there are other ways you can optimize for your location without stuffing it into your content. For example, having an accurate Google My Business listing can bolster your local business schema and help you rank better in your area.

Websites can also optimize for local voice search by publishing blogs, FAQ pages, and video content. 

Blogs, FAQ’s & Video Content

When it comes to optimizing for voice search, FAQ pages, blogs, and video content provide opportunities to address the specific needs and questions of target audiences.

With FAQ pages, you can phrase content as questions, immediately followed by answers. Make sure your FAQ page is easy to navigate and provides brief and informative answers.

Remember: Consumers want to find the best information out there, and fast! Nobody wants to sift through fluff to find what they’re looking for. 

Dedicated blog posts answer your audience’s questions more in-depth and cater to those who enjoy reading. They also encourage engagement, commentary, and can build authority and community around your brand. Not to mention, blogs also provide space to publish fresh content, which is among the most important SEO ranking factors right now. 

As far as video content and voice search are concerned, it’s important to remember that video is the biggest driving force behind web traffic. By 2022, it’s estimated that 82% of web traffic will be video-based. YouTube is also the second-largest search engine, and people generally enjoy learning from visuals and videos more than any other medium. 

Luckily, FAQ videos are a go-to way to optimize for voice search. Like textual content, it’s important to be brief and provide useful information centered around questions. But with videos, there’s also a lot of room to get creative, build your brand, and provide answers in a fun and digestible format.

How Will You Build & Optimize Your Website in 2020?

The future of digital marketing is here, and voice search is at the forefront of it all. In the coming years, businesses that don’t optimize their websites for voice search will likely miss out on opportunities to connect with a wider range of consumers. 

How do you plan to stay ahead of the curve and optimize your website for voice search? Let us know in a comment and stay tuned for more into the future of digital marketing!

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