Listen carefully; keeping ahead of the next big thing in website design is the only sure-fire way of protecting your competitive edge. Most online innovations and trends involve gradual tweaks and upgrades to your site. However, the word is that a more significant development is gathering steam. One that could leave many companies ‘out of breath’ or screaming if they get left behind.
We are talking about voice searches!
By the end of 2020, as many of 50% of online searches are likely to be voice commands, not least thanks to the growing dependence on mobile phones and smart speakers.
Why type, when you can speak?
Your consumers are speaking out
Voice search is making research become more convenient and accessible.
Voice search is a logical and evolutionary step forward in terms of the way people interact with the internet. Convenience and speed are vital when accessing online information. It can be far quicker and easier to use voice search, especially to stay handsfree on mobile phones or when multitasking.
Voice search is increasingly used to find local services and destinations ‘on the move’, “Find the best website designer near me” etc.
However, internet users are also becoming ever more comfortable vocalising a diverse range of other search requests. “Where can I buy grey jogging pants” and so forth.
There is strong evidence to suggest that people who use voice search then seamlessly progress to dialling companies and engaging in phone conversations to get more information.
How big is voice going to be?
Millennials and Generation z are storming the market when it comes to using voice search and other voice command technology such as Alexa.
To put this trend in vivid perspective, smart speaker shipments grew by 200% during Q3 2018, compared to the previous year. This pace was likely to have continued in 2019, with Amazon distributing most of the devices, closely followed by Google.
Such is this upward trend for IoT devices, pundits estimate that global sales of smart speakers will top $30 billion by 2024! Around 55% of all households will have the tech for voice commands and requests by 2022.
As you would expect, it’s the Millennials and Generation Z who use voice search as a normal part of their day. They are also the ones most likely to be using wearable technology that intrinsically lends itself to voice interaction.
How can my website find its voice?
20% of all google mobile queries are voice searches.
Of course, responsive websites – optimised for mobile phones – should now be a ‘given’. However, what’s the secret of getting your website searchable using voice requests?
As with all successful websites, it comes down to a constant process of evaluation, development and upgrading. This includes using regular UX Research to dig down on what your website users are asking for!
Also, the irony is, that the simplicity of voice searches makes SEO demands more complex!
More than ever before, the way your site is structured and populated needs to answer questions succinctly. Content needs to be logically laid out, with careful use of headings, bullet points and other design devices.
The way you draft content can be pivotal, including using long-tailed words in a sequence likely to reflect voice questions. Also, make sure to localise content to grab searches connected to finding things nearby. For example, grey joggers – location – shop name.
Also, there are more advanced systems you can use to structure website pages using semantics instead of keywords. The use of something called Schema.org markup can be a good investment of time.
Here’s a particularly important ‘secret’ to success in voice searches though. You must keep Content clear and aimed at the ‘lowest common denominator’! Voice searches tend to be more simplistic and direct than the queries that are keyed in.
They rely on everyday language and colloquialisms. Meaning a jargon-packed website or blocks of text in the Queens English may lose traction, compared to content written for the ‘masses’.
(Clarity is also something Google values highly in its analytics too of course.)
Other important factors include load times for your pages. If someone asks a device to search for a website, they are unlikely to be the sort of internet user who patiently waits for an answer!
Also, your digital footprint as a whole could be significant. For example, an eCommerce website with an Amazon storefront increases its chances of being found when households voice search on Amazon smart speakers. Listings and links on other websites can help make you MORE ‘searchable’ voice wise.
Credit to: Factory Pattern