The Rise of Voice Search and the Importance of Ensuring Your Content Is Ready
Voice capabilities are incredibly popular today. It seems like every home has an Amazon Echo powered by Alexa. Microsoft devices feature Cortana, and Apple devices are integrating more and more with Siri. Google Assistant increasingly powers Android devices and Google Home products. What does that mean for website owners, though? Until recently, it didn’t mean all that much, but things are changing today. Voice search has arrived, and if your content is not ready, you could find yourself left behind.
Which Voice Assistants Are Most Popular?
There are four prominent voice assistants on the market today. That’s not counting others that have a smaller presence, like Bixby. The most popular ones, when considered across all devices, is Google Assistant, thanks in large part to Android phones having the largest segment of the market. When you dig beyond that, though, you’ll find that Amazon’s Alexa is the more popular option, at least when it comes to smart home technology. Apple’s Siri is gaining ground in many ways, thanks to its presence on iPhones and iPads, as well as on Apples’ computers. Microsoft’s Cortana is present, but is not as popular as the other two.
How Does Voice Search Work with Website Content?
Chances are good that you’ve used at least one of the more popular voice assistants on the market today. Maybe you asked Alexa what the weather forecast was going to be, or perhaps you asked Siri to set a reminder to pick your clothes up from the cleaners on the way home from the office. Using voice search is simple and effective. You just say, “Hey, Siri,” and then voice your query.
How does that work with website content, though? It’s actually much the same, although things differ depending on whether you’re using a computer or a mobile device, or whether you’re connected through something like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. However, not all of them are completely identical. For instance, when you ask Siri for information, she pulls that data from Bing in most cases. When you ask Google Assistant a question, it pulls from Google’s own data, obviously. Cortana uses Bing and Alexa uses both Amazon and Bing.
How to Ready Your Content
Voice search is going to play a larger and larger role in your website and content creation efforts. Users are increasingly relying on virtual assistants to help them with all aspects of their lives. How do you make sure that your content is ready for the challenge, though?
One thing that you should remember is that Google has been delivering information in snippet form for organic search results for some time now. That is not going to change, and any virtual assistant that relies on Google is going to use the same method to provide information for users. Even assistants that use Bing are programmed to try to provide users with an answer to their query, rather than just basic information (unless the request is for more information, of course). For website owners and designers, that means you need to structure your content so that it includes both commonly asked questions and accurate, insightful answers to those questions.
Another important consideration is actually a rule that has been in place for a long time at this point. You need to write like a human being. You also need to think about your content creation like a human would, rather than how a machine might look at it. For instance, a human being is far more likely to ask a long question of their voice assistant than they are to use a single keyword phrase. Your content needs to reflect that likelihood.
For example, you can use subheadings to ask questions that your users are more likely to ask in a voice search. You can use conversational language and even conversational keywords to help make your content more relevant to these searchers.
One way that you can capitalise on the trend of asking questions, as well as that of using conversational language and keywords, is to create a robust FAQ page. This is a natural place to use questions that might be awkward in other content types, and it is also a great place to create snippet-worthy content that will rank well in search results.
Finally, as with all modern-day website design considerations, you need to make sure that your content puts users first. Your website is not about your business. It’s about your visitors – your customers or clients. Your content must be structured to provide an excellent visitor experience, as well as to answer pertinent questions and provide valuable, useful information.