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Screenless SEO: Voice for the future

The use of internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and more has meant that organizations that have an online presence have had to undertake search engine optimization (SEO) in order to stand out to their target audience through internet searches. The trends in the way that searches are conducted however are changing with technology, with the traditional computer internet search being replaced by mobile device searches. Modern advances in AI systems on mobile devices have seen the rise of voice search capabilities, with Apple’s Siri, Google’s Voice Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and more of the same providing this sort of capability. But how does this affect SEO activities, and how could SEO be improved to suit the screenless environment?

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One of the key things to take into account for voice enabled SEO is that the business must adopt a customer’s mindset, and be able to think like a customer. What kind of needs would the customer have, and how would they approach the satisfaction of these needs? Of course this varies from each individual customer, but the business can adopt a mindset that is relevant for delivery of the right product at the right time to the right audience. But this is not as easy to do in the dynamic modern day markets, which leads to a problem in itself. Perhaps businesses can consider reaching out to real people within their target audience in order to find out the topics and questions that are important to them and therefore evaluate what kind of needs they have based on this.

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Content becomes very important in SEO optimization for voice searches too. The content needs to be structured in a way that search engines can easily understand and interpret in order to list as a result of a voice search. The content may need to be more in depth and contain multiple relevant key words that users search for, as well as remain constantly updated with trends and market behaviour. It becomes vital to identify what question your content is trying to answer, as this becomes necessary to consider when thinking about capturing a consumer who carries out a voice search. It could be useful to have the specific question (or something very similar) already posted somewhere on the website, allowing the search engine to quickly find and display it during a voice search. Providing targeted answers in this way allows the business to capture casual voice searchers and reach a larger share of the market. Businesses can also evaluate analytics of website visitors and search queries that bring traffic to their site through voice searches, and tailor their content more towards those keywords.

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Voice searches are enabled through conversations between users and smartphone assistants. As such, businesses need to ensure that their content uses natural speech patterns and has a conversational tone, in order to maintain a good SEO for voice searches. Voice searches are widely based on locational queries as well, such as “close by”, “near me” and so on. Business can use this to their advantage and mould their content in such a way that it responds well to these conversational question-based searches. Voice enabled search modules function more widely when paired with mobile devices too, meaning that it becomes extremely important to have a mobile friendly responsive design for the organization’s website. The website content needs to be accessible effectively on mobile devices in order to perform well in voice search scenarios.

SEO has had many big changes over the years, and it is likely that this trend will continue as technology evolves. The challenge for business today is to cater to desktop computer users, mobile users, and voice searchers as well. What do you think businesses can do in order to optimize their SEO for multiple channels?

About Author

Raj Sehmi

A master's degree holder in information systems who wears many hats, with interests in digital technology, design, quality assurance, marketing communication, electronic music and food.