My new (desktop) computer has a box at the bottom of the screen that says, “Ask me anything.” When I activate it, a voice that calls itself Cortana asks what she can do to help. (I guess I’m old enough to find this kind of creepy!)
There was a time when we optimized websites for search via a keyboard. At first, Google wasn’t smart enough to understand the context of what we put on our websites – key WORDS ruled. Stuff enough of them into a website and Google might reward us with Page 1 results. However, as Google got smarter and more websites were published, well-written, relevant content became more important. But just as we were beginning to get the hang of getting back on Page 1 of Google with a constant flow of well-written content, another curve ball has been thrown.
The Death of Keystrokes
According to Google, 55% of teens and 41% of adults now use voice search every day. Google Voice, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are just a few of the voice-activated search assistants available. The “answers” to voice requests often result in a direct result instead of a result page (SERP).
How Your Website Can be the Answer
Understanding how to incorporate good SEO techniques into an ever-changing digital landscape has probably never been more challenging – or more rewarding. Since the technology is so new, there is a great opportunity for companies to get ahead of their competition. Here are a few ideas proposed by Search Engine Watch to make your website “voice friendly.”
- Make use of Schema markup. Schema has been around for a while. It is an add-on to HTML coding that provides information to help search engines understand the webpage content.
- Add XML sitemaps. This is another tool search engines can use to figure out your websites overall message.
- Add location data. Since 40% use voice search to get directions, adding location data to your website is critical to being found on a voice search.
- Stop writing web content for search engines and start writing for people. The technology behind returning good answers to human questions relies on something called NLP or Natural Language Processing. NLP seeks to determine the intent behind the user’s request based on past searches and the context of the question.
- What’s your FAQ? One of the best tools for answering the questions your customers have is to have an active, thoughtful FAQ page that not only provides quick answers, but also directs searchers to other areas of the website for more complete information.
You Still Need Good Content
In today’s fast changing world, it is important to have the ability to take advantage of whatever portal people choose to walk through to find you. While voice activated searches are becoming more popular, Social Media searches are also surging. Facebook and other social sites are making it easier than ever for people to find the businesses they are looking for. Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to provide the best user experience possible – no matter how they choose to search. The common denominator for all of these platforms is the need for a constant flow of valuable information. Information that will help customers find exactly what they are looking for.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community