As Google Continues to Move Towards Voice Search, How Will This Affect Your SEO?

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Search engines have evolved dramatically over the past decade. In their earliest iterations, search engines relied almost solely on single keyword inputs by users, returning results that contained those keywords. Today, users can input single keywords, multiple words, phrases, or even full sentences, and the search engine algorithms are able to process them. In recent years, the concept of voice search has emerged, potentially changing forever how users interact with their favorite search engines. How will this move toward voice search capability affect search engine optimization (SEO)? In SEO for insurance agents, evolving technology demands evolving practices, and in this guide, we’ll explore just how voice search can impact search use and search results.
 

Mobile Devices and Voice Inputs in Google

In today’s on-the-go society, mobile computing devices are used more than ever to discover the world around us. We rely on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops to find businesses and attractions in our areas. The major search engines have taken note of this trend, and have made great inroads into creating highly-capable mobile search tools. Google, in particular, dominates the mobile search market, accounting for upwards of 95% of mobile search volume on a global level. About 60% of its volume comes from smartphone users.

Another area of mobile computing is that of small speaker-and-microphone devices that provide new ways of interacting with technology. So-called digital personal assistants have captured the imaginations of users around the world. Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa give users new functionality, allowing them to speak in a natural way to get information. These personal assistants can be found in homes and offices, and represent a new way of conducting searches.

Google recognized that the process of typing keywords and key phrases into mobile phone search boxes could be tedious. Therefore, the search engine rolled out technologies to allow for voice search. Mobile phones are equipped with microphones, so Google leveraged them by adding a microphone icon in the search field of their mobile search tool. Android-based phones already had this capability embedded in the keyboard, but the major difference now is that users can opt to receive spoken responses instead of a static list of search results. Most importantly, voice search now offers “on the fly” search results; users can speak into their mobile phones when driving or performing other tasks and can get the information they need in seconds, all without having to interact with a potentially clumsy keyboard.
 

How Does Voice Search Impact SEO?

Human language is extremely complex, with local and regional accents, different ways of saying the same words, and complicated sentence structures. This presents a challenge for search engine voice input processing. Most of the major search engines have incorporated artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies into the core algorithm to facilitate natural language inputs.

Digital marketers also need to understand the nuances of language to better harness the capabilities of voice search, and this can require different approaches to SEO. Optimizing for voice search is critical, but this doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the whole concept of SEO. SEO for insurance agents evolves, just as it does for every other industry. Some of the best practices for optimizing websites for voice search include:

     

  • Using Google’s “featured snippets” to their fullest – many search results include a brief description of the site and its content. These are referred to as featured snippets, and Google offers SEO professionals a range of tools to optimize them.
  • Focusing on user intent and common queries – people using voice search may be more likely to search for information related to a business’s location and store hours, using voice commands like “near me” or “hours of operation”. It is important that these information pieces are incorporated into website content, from snippets to the text-based content itself. Think about how a given user may search for information about your insurance agency, and address those potential queries in your content.
  • Adding optimization to local SEO – Google’s business tools, including Google My Business, Google Maps, and reviews, give users more information than ever before. These information resources are also used by voice search to return relevant results to users. Be sure to maximize the use of local SEO tools in your marketing strategy.
  • Ensure fast-loading websites and pages – slow pages are the bane of SEO, and are even more troublesome for mobile users. People want information right away, and a slow-loading page can cause them to move to a competitor site. Make sure that websites load quickly and function correctly across computing devices.

 
SEO for insurance agents must keep in mind that traditional factors of good search optimization still apply. It is critical for marketers to continue to develop relevant, engaging, and timely content, helping search engines index and rank these web properties ahead of one’s competitors. Voice search does not replace traditional keyboard-based searching; rather, it serves as a new tool in the user search toolbox. Done right, it can allow for fast, easy, searching and improved online visibility wherever a user may be located.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.

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