By Nikia Sayre, SEO Strategy Director, TruStar Marketing, LLC
Every new year, we make resolutions. Lose weight. Get more sleep. Hit the gym more often. If you’re a marketer who wants to upgrade your SEO strategy, you must resolve to optimize your websites for voice search in 2020.
Digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are now less expensive, more ubiquitous and always on. Just speak a command or ask a question. The artificial intelligence learns your preferences and habits, customizing responses as it gets to know you.
Usage is expected to grow. According to Voicebot.ai, the number of U.S. smart speaker owners reached 76 million by July 2019, a 52% increase from last year. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of US internet users used voice assistants in 2019 and that number is expected to grow dramatically.
Google recently rolled out BERT, a natural language processing (NLP) technique to help computers understand language more like how humans do. BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was designed to discern the context and nuances of words and phrases used in a search. Google can then return more relevant results more quickly.
Voice search is naturally geared toward conversational speech and natural speech patterns. Over time, smart speakers and other devices not only learn your preferences and habits, but also handle multiple commands at once. This means that voice search terms will get longer, more conversational and include more long-tail keywords.
For example, you might ask: “Alexa, what are the symptoms of the flu?” compared to a typed search, “flu symptoms.” You may follow up with “Alexa, where is the nearest open pharmacy?” Then you can ask your phone’s navigation for turn-by-turn directions, which tracks your progress and tells you when and where to turn.
This is happening right now. Are your websites ready for voice search? If not, your resolution for SEO strategy should include:
• Using conversational phrases to humanize content
• Boosting schema markup opportunities
• Prioritizing FAQ content
• Establishing a balance between breadth and depth of content
Start working on this today, before your customers ask Alexa for someone else tomorrow.
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