I challenge you to find a homeowner who does not use either Alexa, Google Home, Seri, or some other version of a smart voice search system. Gone are the days when most people type a query into Google. These days, people just talk. “Hey Seri, show me kitchen remodeling contractors near me?”, or “Alexa, where can I get help designing my bathroom”. We can thank the advent of smartphones which led the way for virtual assistants in the home through smart speakers like Alexa, as they have become fixtures in every part of life and society. In fact, it is estimated by the Search Engine Land, the premier SEO forum on planet Earth, that by the end of 2020, over 50% of all searches will be voice searches. In fact in a recent speech, , Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that one-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches. Moreover, Google revealed that “near me” voice searches have grown more than 130% over the past few years. This provides a unique opportunity for those in the home improvement and local industries. People extensively use the search query for “things to do near me.” At the end of the day, people are busy, and they want information as quick as possible. To that end, talking to your phone is much more convenient  and takes much less time than traditional methods of searching on Google or Bing by typing in a search request, especially when using your smart phone, for those people with “fat fingers” like me. There is no question beyond a shadow of a doubt that voice search is here to stay and is the wave of the future, especially for long thought-based questions.

How to Talk to Search Engines

Perhaps the key factor in optimizing your website for voice search as opposed to a text-based search is that people ask an entire question and speak in full thoughts, rather than a 3 to 5-word phrase. You want to concentrate on actual questions. For example, your site should now be optimized for “how much does a home renovation contractor charge to remodel a kitchen?”, as opposed to the text-based search for “kitchen remodel prices”

Due to the unique and different ways someone might search for your service when talking to Seri or Google Home, you need to start thinking about key word research in terms of full sentences and topics that interest your customers. One way to go about this is to think of the top 10 questions you answer most frequently by a homeowner each time to present a proposal. You want to start drafting articles with those full sentence questions as your topics and using primary header and title tags on the full sentence.

Prioritize Your FAQ Section

In terms of where the results come from that Google or Bing provides our smart devices, these results for our voice searches are generally the same result as the featured snippets that we get on traditional searches. As such, using XML and Schema markup is much more important than even long-written content. You want to pay special attention to FAQ schema, as this gives you the ability to answer long and specific questions and tell Google that the answer is more important then just placing it in your 500 – 1000-word blog post.

Update Content to Be Conversational

Since people talk in a different way then they write or search with text, you want to rewrite your content to be structured much more conversational. The idea here to create long-tail questions with your headers and then answer those questions in a shorter more succinct structure based on a conversation and not a report or written article to allow the search engines to be more friendly to voice search.  You need to think how your audience speaks about your business and services. The key takeaway here is to use natural language in the website content as your text will now be more inline with or mirror a possible search by how a potential customer talks.

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