November 29, 2018 What does voice search mean for your web copy?

By Melinda Jennings

Amazon Echo

Gone are the days when Siri was just a novelty voice that Apple phone users brought out as a party trick. The rise (and improvement) of voice assistants like Windows Cortana, Amazon Alexa, and Google Now have all helped turn voice search into a regular part of our lives.

In fact, according to Google, 20% of mobile queries these days are made using voice. That’s a pretty hefty statistic, and means that, if you want to be making sure your company’s website is reaching as many people as possible, you shouldn’t be leaving voice search optimisation off the agenda.

Voice search vs traditional search

So what’s the big deal about people using a different method to do their Googling? Well, using your voice to search for something – rather than typing it all out – creates a very different query.

Typing requires a lot of effort (trust me, I’m typing this right now), so we generally keep things brief and to the point. This is especially the case if we’re using our mobiles, and is the reason we often end up with disjointed search queries like “copywriter Melbourne” or “Melbourne weather.”

But when was the last time you were in a conversation with someone, wanted to get their advice on a nice place to get coffee in the area, and simply said, “best café near me.” Probably (hopefully) never.

Voice search follows most people’s habit of speaking conversationally. It’s not just because it’s how we’re used to talking, it’s also because we have more freedom to be liberal with our words, since it requires significantly less effort than tapping away at a keyboard.

How to make your web copy friendlier for voice search

Now, this change in trend doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go and rewrite all of the content on your website. But there are a couple of things that you can do to improve your web copy and make sure that it’s tailored to the nuances of voice search.

Think about longtail keywords

As already mentioned, voice search makes it much easier for people to make more complicated searches. Historically businesses have focussed on only targeting short, simplistic keywords, but this isn’t necessarily going to fly anymore.

Of course, using longtail keywords within your copy is already good practice, because it usually means you’re writing for your audience, not a search engine. So while it can be tempting to stick to the old methods of awkwardly inserting the phrase “best copywriters Melbourne” over and over across your website, it’s both annoying for your audience, and not going to help you at all in attracting users who have used voice to search.

Get conversational

It almost goes without saying that users engage with voice search in a way that’s much more conversational in comparison to traditional search. As mentioned before, the way people say things out loud, even when it’s to a digital humanoid living in a phone or home assistant, is often very different to how they would type it out.

That means adopting a natural, conversational tone throughout your web copy is super important. To do this, it can be beneficial to read your text out loud, to make sure it actually flows like a verbal conversation would.

Be specific

The types of queries that people search for using voice are typically very ‘answer and response.’ They usually don’t want to get the lowdown on something complex and tricky. Generally, they just want to find something simple, like the opening hours of a store they want to visit.

You can help voice assistants and search engines find the best answer by providing specific, logical answers to questions on your website. FAQ sections are great for this, as they allow you to write down actual answers and questions that people may be on the hunt for.

Of course, it’s super important that you follow the first two guidelines mentioned above and write your questions in a conversational tone that appeals to longtail keywords. That way, search engines are more likely to recognise that you’ve provided an exact match for the questions their users are asking. Search engines typically also favour short responses, so try to keep your FAQ responses as succinct as possible.

You can also make sure that important details – like your business’ operating hours, phone number, address, etc. – are all easily accessible. Search engines will often extract this information and give it directly to people if it’s relevant to their search. It adds another layer of convenience, not to mention making it easier for users to get in touch with or visit you.

The age of voice search

We may be a little way off a world in which everyone just chats to their phones and typing is mostly obsolete, but that doesn’t mean voice search should be ignored. It’s a trend that’s already taking the online world by storm, and it’s important to get your web copy up to scratch if you don’t want to be left behind.

Avion Communications specialises in writing for voice technology, and can give your web copy the refresh it needs. Get in contact with us today!