Cloud-based voice services like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are indispensable friends for our customers. In 2019, Adobe predicted that almost 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice. The number has not been updated, but it demonstrates that voice search is popular and should influence your search engine optimization practices.
Alexa Uses Bing by Default
Alexa has been assisting since 2014. Since her debut, over 100 million Alexa-enabled speakers have been sold. In text search, Google has a clear edge over Microsoft’s Bing. However, Google’s dominance doesn’t exist in voice search because Alexa uses Bing. Users can install “Ask Google” as an Alexa skill, but that requires users to care that they aren’t using Google and have enough knowledge to change the default search engine. The good news is that Google and Bing aren’t different enough that you need to learn a new approach to voice SEO.
Optimize for Natural Speech
People talk to Alexa like they would a friend. The key word is talk. When we write, we tend to be more concise. Talking tends to be more informal and use more words, providing marketers a perfect opportunity to embrace long-tail keywords. On a computer, we’re likely to type out a search like “best chicken recipes.” On the other hand, voice search users naturally phrase search queries as full thoughts rather than keywords, so “best chicken recipes” becomes “Alexa, what is the best chicken recipe for a weeknight dinner?”
You may already be doing this without realizing it. Optimizing for natural speech overlaps with using long-tail keywords. Speakers tend to add more details to their question than people typing a search request into a computer. This is similar to how customers close to purchasing narrow their possible results. By adding more relevant words, your business is likely to be the answer to the consumer who finds it most relevant.
When using any search engine, text search brings up pages of results. However, position zero, also called the featured snippet, gets the most attention because it appears before all other results. Voice search makes position zero more important. A user who asks Alexa a question will only get the response in position zero.
Focus on Local
Local businesses have an advantage with voice search. In 2018, Bright Local found that 58 percent of consumers used voice search to get information on local businesses. Capgemini’s research shows that 34 percent of voice search users have used voice search to order takeout.
You’re Competing With Amazon
Alexa exists to help Amazon sell stuff. If a voice search user tells Alexa they would like to buy a book, a toy, or anything else Amazon sells, Alexa automatically puts it into the user’s Amazon basket. There’s no shopping around for the best price or comparing shipping times and rates.
Unless you’re selling a product or service Amazon doesn’t sell, Alexa isn’t going to offer your business as an answer to a question. The one advantage your business has over Amazon is expertise in your area. Focus your voice SEO initiative on providing valuable information and establishing your business as a trustworthy source. It may be hard to sell via Alexa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your potential customers a reason to come to you.
Author: Allison Lips