As with all tech products, people gravitate towards those that require less effort to navigate and offer greater user convenience.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Google Voice Search grew from a novelty in 2011 to an everyday activity in 2019. Unlike with traditional queries, you don’t have to type your keywords manually into a device. You simply tap the microphone icon to the left of the search box, voice your questions, and, in turn, Google will display reliable results.
This easy, hands-free approach is what draws in users in droves. Experts project that by 2020, at least 50% of online queries will be executed using voice search. And the growth doesn’t end there, either — Juniper Research estimates that digital voice assistants in use will triple by 2023.
What does this mean for your financial firm? Should you completely overhaul your SEO strategies to make more room for voice queries?
Why Is Voice Search So Popular?
Before we discuss the impact of voice search on your marketing efforts, we have to explore why voice search grew so popular in the first place.
Voice search is easier and faster to do compared to traditional search methods, without drawbacks related to the quality of results produced — the answer quality is the same for the two searches. Its appeal, moreover, is so universal that people of almost all ages use them. When asked who speaks to their voice-enabled devices (which includes phones and smart speakers) at least once a day, the following responded affirmatively:
- 65% of users aged 25-49
- 59% of users aged 18-24
- 57% of users 50 and older
There are three main reasons voice search is a crowd favorite:
It Takes Less Effort
The average person can type about 40 words per minute but can speak around 150 words within the same period. Users can answer more queries and solve more problems if they speak, rather than type the keywords.
A study by the PwC showed that 71% of users would rather use a voice assistant to search, rather than physically type keywords online. Voice search is taking over social interactions, as well. About 58% would rather use their voice assistant to text a friend rather than exert effort typing out a message.
Voice search is incredibly handy, especially when you’re juggling tasks. Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2016 shows when people would rather use voice search:
- 61% said they use voice search because their hands or eyes are occupied
- 24% because it’s difficult to type on certain devices
- 12% because they want to avoid confusing menus
The primary locations of voice search usage also show that people tend to use voice search when they’re busy. The study shows that 43% of people use voice search at home (where, presumably, they’re busy cooking or cleaning), 36% in the car (hands on the wheel and eyes on the road); and 19% on the go (eyes on the path and hand on a cup of coffee).
It Collaborates with Emerging Technologies
More people are embracing the smart home revolution, and voice assistants often come with these smart appliances. Apart from smartphone assistants, Juniper Research projects that the fastest-growing voice assistant categories are smart TVs, smart speakers, and wearables.
With reliable, voice-enabled devices in their homes, people find shopping so much easier. In fact, 11.5 % of smart speaker owners have made a purchase by voice, while 33% of consumers have ordered food using voice search.
Because people are already reliant on these smart appliances, voice search is unlikely to be inconvenient, difficult-to-use, or phone-exclusive. It might become even more prevalent in the next few years, and this is important in planning SEO efforts for financial advisors.
Voice Search and SEO for Financial Firms
If you want to capture the large (and ever-growing) voice search audience, your financial firm might need to adjust your SEO campaign to accommodate the following:
Queries in Conversational Language
Since people speak into their devices, voice search queries translate language more naturally than typed queries. The voice technology then adapts to and understands everyday language, so people can give commands as if they are talking to an actual human being. Voice searches usually begin with question words like
They also often include common verbs like:
Previously, websites could rank by simply using formulaic keywords like “financial advisor New York.” Businesses, however, are entering a voice-dominated world, where voice commands and searches are more prevalent than conventional typed queries. As such, keywords take a more natural approach, an elaborate string of words that follows a speech pattern — like “who’s the best financial advisor in New York” or “suggest a vacation plan to Alaska.”
Your SEO keywords may not be as rigid or carry formal language if you are targeting queries generated by voice search.
Moreover, natural speech patterns increase your chances of being featured in the Google Answer Box. A conversational language that matches voice search queries may have a higher chance of ranking.
Because a user searches as if they’re talking to a human, they tend to speak longer phrases or even in complete sentences. The average search query is about 2.4 words long, but voice search is expected to have more keywords, usually more than ten words. These long-tail keywords include more descriptive phrases. SEO strategists can include more long-tail keywords in the campaign to capture voice searches.
People are looking for very specific pieces of information, which means you have to structure your web copy well. Everything, from your product lines to your closing hours, must be clearly defined.
A tip: the voice search result is about 29 words long, so the best thing to do is to place a concise brief of your main content above the fold. This may be a sentence fewer than 29 words that summarize the content of the page. Doing so increases your chances of ranking in the featured snippets.
While financial companies and advisors thrive on technical, number-crunching text, Google prefers content with a high readability score — nothing too complicated. The text must be easily understood by the average reader.
Easy-to-read pages are correlated with higher search rankings; the average voice search result has a 9th-grade readability level.
SEO writers and strategists can help financial firms strike a balance between readability and rich, accurate financial content. Even if the average voice results reveal a 9th-grade readability level, an SEO specialist can still make concessions to cater to your primary audience.
Optimizing for voice search is crucial for a local business because voice assistants usually involve local searches. In fact, 58% of consumers use voice search to find a local business, using voice command to:
- Make restaurant reservations
- Check prices of local products or services
- Ask product availability
- Buy directly from a local business
- Visit and explore a business’ website
It doesn’t end there — about 46% of users will continue to use voice search to find local businesses daily.
A solid SEO campaign includes strategies that increase the chances of ranking local queries (for instance, “near me” searches). Moreover, as with the case of long-tail keywords, important business information, such as location, business hours, and products and services are incorporated clearly in the content. You can also try exploring local content — local business climate, the best local coffee shops for a client meeting, and more.
To further support your appearance at the top of the voice search result, you have to maintain your Google My Business Listing. This makes you a bona fide business in the eyes of Google, making it easier for you to rank in voice search queries. It also provides all important business information in one place.
High Page Speed
Voice search is popular primarily because it is rooted in personal assistance. Whoever asked for the search, therefore, doesn’t intend to wait long to get the answers. As such, if page speed is crucial in conventional searches, then it’s even more essential to voice queries.
Decreasing loading time should be a big part of your SEO efforts. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page. An SEO strategist concerned about capturing the voice search audience would:
- Optimize images (scale them appropriately to the page) or compress them
- Uninstall unnecessary plugins
- Enable caching
- Opt for asynchronous loading
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Technical SEO experts have a wealth of knowledge in speeding up sites and preparing your website for voice search.
Working with a Forward-Looking SEO Company
Just as we entered a mobile-first world years ago, we may not be far from a voice-first business climate, where your clients and potential investors use their voices to look for you, your services, and reviews about your brand.
Be one step ahead of your competitors and incorporate voice search into your SEO strategies today. Scaling You embraces all the SEO techniques needed to capture the voice search audience — conversational keywords, long-tail keywords, readable content, local search, and incredible page speed.
Let’s discuss a new, updated SEO strategy for finance companies. Get in touch today.