Moving on from mobile

With mobile devices now the most popular device used to access the Internet, it’s little surprise that ensuring your website and other portals are easily accessible through the small screen is a marketing priority. Previously, success in reaching the audience of mobile phone users focused around facilitating rapid access to information that was as well-presented and relevant as anything they could find through their desktop or tablet. These requirements are now a given for any site: the next challenge is to respond to the growing number of users who are opting to access content via a voice command, rather than through a keyed in search. In a 2019 Accenture study of 21 countries 50% of respondents use voice assistants (up from 42% in 2018). While some commentators think as much as 50% of all searches will be done via voice in 2020, more conservatives estimates still have it as high as 30%.

A shift in SEO style

Voice search devices such as Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Assistant (Google) and Cortana (Microsoft) are now familiar additions to many homes. From finding a nearby takeaway through to playing your favourite tune, these devices use sophisticated voice recognition technology to generate a suitable answer to your spoken query. This concept has now been extended to create “Skills” on Alexa and “Actions” on Google which perform a similar function. This enables someone to search for what they need using a simple voice command. The switch from a typed command to a spoken one has significant implications for the way in which site text is optimised.

Next-generation SEO for voice search

In order to ensure your site text stands out in response to a voice activated search, it needs to be written in such a way that it answers a user’s question. For example, a common question for almost any service is, “What are the opening hours for…?”. Search engines are looking for information on this topic which is extremely structured, providing an exact match to the query. From the perspective of content creation, information needs to be structured so that it answers the questions which people are likely to ask – a definite shift from older styles of writing.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about how Google Actions or Alexa Skills can improve your brand’s discoverability on the web.