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Just Do It: Optimize for Voice & Mobile in 2018

by Seth Worby

This article was featured in Website Magazine on March 21, 2018. You can read the full article here.

The rise of the virtual assistant is upon us, and modern users are becoming ever more receptive to the boons of voice search technology.

In fact, by 2020, experts predict that more than half of all searches will be conducted via voice search. Internet users value convenience above all else
– we expect highly relevant answers delivered instantly, and voice searches enable us to conduct hands-free searches – immediately, wherever we are.
As such, those who craft and design SEO content would be wise to keep abreast of this global trend towards voice searches. Read on for powerful ways
to harness voice search capabilities in 2018—and beyond.

Get Noticed With Featured Snippets

“Featured snippets” refer to the featured result displayed at the top of any search. Moz, an online community devoted to all things SEO, analyzed more
than a thousand voice searches in order to provide insights about how Google’s algorithm sorts, analyzes, and synthesizes voice search results. About
seventy percent of the featured snippets tracked delivered relevant voice answers, and according to Moz’s research, questions beginning with the word
“what” generated far more featured snippets than questions beginning with “when,” “where,” “who,” and “why.” Questions beginning with the words “how”
or “how to” ranked similarly to “what” questions. It pays to know what’s saturated the SEO scene – and what holes we have left to fill.

From a search marketing standpoint, the momentum for voice optimization is building, and experts suspect that the demand for voice optimization will peak
in the next several years. Meanwhile, it might be worthwhile to research which major keywords or questions are being asked within your field of expertise.
And remember—featured snippets, especially when formulated as text-only, already yield voice answers almost ninety percent of the time, and appear
prominently on desktop and mobile searches.

Take Google’s Advice – Focus on “Buy” and “Find”

Desktop and mobile searches tend to vary greatly. Google reports that “near me” searches, for example, come overwhelmingly from mobile devices. These types
of queries, also coined “I want to go” queries, offer rich terrain for SEO experts looking to expand voice search capabilities, since understanding
which keywords are being used is the first step to optimizing.

Plus, Google reports that it’s thirty times more likely for voice searches to focus on action queries, which tend to include terms like “buy” or “find.”
Mobile voice searchers are also looking for basic business information, like business hours—and that knowledge can help any marketing professional
to target a voice-based audience with more intention.

Advertise – with Voice

Google’s made it easy to optimize your content for voice – especially where advertising is concerned. If you’ve already created a structured data markup,
Google enables you to convert that markup into an “action”—something people can ask their Google Assistants. Transforming markup into actions
means your content is more visible – and it’s easier to find, too. Just claim and hone your Google directory listing—you’re filling a gap, and
making use of another voice search channel at the same time. Plus, you’re helping Google users to locate optimal, relevant results.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm – With Voice

Because voice-activated searches are just starting to develop, it pays to be an early adopter. Getting involved early – and optimizing for voice today
– will likely mean higher ROI in the later phases. Plus, tweaking to make small adjustments is far easier than starting from scratch – especially as
the service sees an increase in popularity in years to come.

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