The popularity of voice searches has grown exponentially in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue as consumers become more comfortable with advancements in mobile technologies. Although smartphones are frequently used for voice searches, the growing markets of wearables and virtual assistants like the Amazon Alexa mean that there are more ways than ever before to put your voice to work.
Voice searching is an attractive option for consumers of all ages because it affords them extra convenience and speed that text searches cannot match. Not to mention, a question asked through voice search will usually get a spoken response – making them even more convenient.
Voice-related searches are much more likely to be local-based than their text search counterparts, which makes them even more valuable to businesses that rely on local search. This is because users opt to use voice searching when looking for a product or service. For large hospital networks with various doctor’s office locations, it is vital that consumers can quickly and easily find the proper location using voice search.
It’s clear that voice is the future of search, but how exactly is that having an impact on local search?
How Voice is Changing Local Search
- The searches themselves are different
Anyone who has used Google or any other search engine understands that voice and text searches are composed differently. Text-based searches are much more heavily focused on keywords or phrases, like, “doctor’s office near me.” Voice-based searches, on the other hand, are naturally more conversational and tend to ask a question, like, “What is the closest doctor’s office?”
Although both search examples listed above aim to accomplish the same goal, they are executed entirely differently. Voice searches are much more likely to be complete sentences because that is what comes natural to the searchers. Text-based searches can be keyword heavy and grammatically incorrect because users might not want to take the time to type out the whole question.
- The rise of long-tail keywords
Voice queries are often long, complex requests that average about seven words per search. The long-tail keywords included in these searches differ greatly from those used in text-based searches. Text-based searches feature shorter keywords (short-tail) that might be broader in nature. As voice searches become more common, the impact of short-tail keywords becomes weakened.
- Time is money
Voice search is popular because of its convenience and speed, which is another reason why mobile devices are much more likely to be used for voice searching. Consumers are using voice because it gives immediate and relevant answers to their direct questions. The busier a person is, the more likely they are to use voice search instead of text search. This hands-free option is a great way to multitask.
- Understanding what is being asked
The incredible growth of voice search will cause search engines to change the way search results are presented. As technologies continue to develop and improve, intent and context will be more integral to search results than keywords themselves.
- Audio over visual
Even though just about every device these days has a touchscreen, voice search could lead to more audio-only interactions. When a user’s eyes are focused elsewhere, they are depending on audio to give them the information they need. Obviously, visuals themselves will never be obsolete, but this trend is still important.
How Can Your Business Leverage Voice Search?
- Focus on conversations
People speak differently than they write, especially when it comes to crafting search queries. Creating and featuring content on your website that follows natural speech patterns can go a long way. Keywords are still very important, but researching and incorporating long-tail keywords will improve your chances of ranking high for relevant voice searches.
- Focus on mobile
Mobile devices go hand-in-hand with voice searching, so it is vital to have a responsive design for any website in your hospital network. If you’re unsure how your websites stack up, Google has a tool that can check compatibility for all types of devices. In addition to design, load speeds are also incredibly important for voice searches. The faster a website loads, the more likely the consumer is to stick around.
- Don’t forget the little things
Update your Google My Business listing to ensure all information is correct, including name, address, and phone number. Also make sure to utilize high-resolution photos and have customers review your business. Optimizing this information is very important if you want to rank well for “open now” and “near me” types of searches. This process can be a pain for large hospital networks that have many locations, but it is necessary for ensuring that your customers do not receive incorrect information and decide to go elsewhere.
Voice searching is going to continue to grow in popularity. The sooner your business aligns itself for this change, the better off you will be when it comes to local search.