“Hey Siri, what is voice search?”
We could have asked Alexa, Cortana, or Google Home the same question. The end result would be the same. Our digital assistant would dutifully search the web and return with an answer. Sometimes, it will find a result that it is very confident about and read us that answer. Other times, at least on mobile devices, it will simply take us to a search engine, possibly with an abbreviated set of results designed to fit into the interface. That is voice search.
Why Should a Senior Living Business Care About Voice Search?
Voice search is predicted to make up 50% of all searches coming from mobile phones by 2020. Back in 2016, Microsoft announced that voice search made up 25% of searches on Windows 10 computers, making it a large chunk of desktop searches as well. Additionally, smart speakers are making their way into more and more homes. Voice search is a technology that is changing the way people look for data online and is only going to grow from here. Optimizing for voice search will soon be just as important as traditional SEO has been.
Because there are fewer results in voice search, one could argue that it will become even more important than traditional SEO. If you want your senior living property to continue getting the organic traffic that it is currently getting, then you are going to need to adapt your strategy to this new technology.
How Can You Optimize Your Website for Voice Search?
It’s all well and good to say that you should optimize for voice search, but how do you go about doing that? What features are search engines looking for? How can you best capitalize on your ranking? In the next few sections, we’ll take a look at some of the immediate things you can do to help improve your chances of getting recognized by voice search.
Use More Natural Keywords
People interact with voice search very differently than the interact with text-based searches. With text-based searches, people tend not to use conversation language. They may search for “Best senior living facility <my town>,” whereas with voice search, they treat their virtual assistant like it were a real person; “What is the best senior living facility in <my town>?”
While you absolutely should not abandon your text-based search SEO, you should begin working more natural sounding, question-based, keywords into your search optimization strategy. This will increase the chance that your page will match up with what someone has asked their digital assistant to find out for them.
Create an FAQ Page
This is partly related to the previous tip. Voice search is very often about answering specific questions. Think of all of the questions that you are asked about your senior living facility. Also, think of some questions that are asked about senior living more generally. If you assemble all of these questions, phrased exactly the way humans phrase them in conversation, then you will increase the chance that a voice search algorithm will find that your website answers the questions that a voice searcher has asked.
Be sure to put the question in an H2 tag and use it as a header before giving the answer. Because voice search tends to look for things early on in a page, it could be worthwhile to put each question on its own page and link to it from an index page.
Implement Speakable for Voice Search
Implementing the Speakable markup on your site is an important part of letting Google know that you are ready for search. The Speakable markup allows you to indicate which sections of your website are suitable for text-to-speech. Keep in mind that you should not mark your entire site as speakable. The Speakable markup is for pointing out which parts of your website are likely to be relevant to voice search results. For example, the answers in your FAQ section would be prime candidates for the Speakable tag.
Go over your website and find all of the sections that might be useful for voice search as speakable text. If none exist, then consider adding some content to your site that will allow you to use the tag. If you’ve been following the advice given so far, then there should be a least a few sections of the site that already fit that description.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
“Hey Google, What is the closest senior living facility to me?”
“I do not know. None have entered their data!”
Of course, Google would not actually say that. What it also won’t say is anything useful about your facility, unless you give it that information. By filling out the details for your business at My Business, you’ll be able to provide Google, and as such, its voice search feature, tons of useful information about your facility that it can use to inform voice searchers when they ask relevant questions.
Optimize for Mobile
This one might not sound like it has anything to do with voice search. But optimizing for mobile will perform two very important functions. First, sites that are optimized for mobile tend to load faster, and search engines have begun taking page load time into account for search rankings. Pushing yourself closer to the top of the list certainly helps when the user is only presented with a small number of search results.
Second, most voice searches are done on mobile devices. optimizing for mobile will ensure that once visitors find your site, they don’t leave and try to find something easier to navigate on their smaller screens. Your content should be easily readable on a smaller screen, the page easily navigated with fingers, and the images should flow well at various screen resolutions.
Keep in mind that voice search, and the algorithms that power it, are still evolving. 408 Marketing is always at the forefront of digital marketing technology. We’ll continue to monitor the voice search landscape, and frequently reevaluate our approach to this exciting medium. Always feel free to contact us with your digital marketing questions; we are here to help.