Voice search is the future! At least, that seems to be what Google and other research specialists believe. With 40% of Americans using voice-generated search on a daily basis, the technology only continues to build momentum as we progress towards 2020. This leaves plumbing contractors with exciting opportunities, intimidating challenges, and many puzzled expressions.
- How does voice search change plumbing SEO?
- How does voice searching even work?
- Why does voice-generated search matter for my business?
Don’t let these questions keep your service company from taking advantage of the ongoing industry changes! At the Plumbing Webmasters, we’ve researched these and other crucial topics about the future of plumber SEO. Below, you’ll find a short guide on how our team and other successful search engine marketing professionals ensure the best results for voice-oriented search. Let’s dive in!
How Voice Search Works
Let’s begin with the basic process of completing a voice-generated search. First of all, we’re not just talking about voice products enabled with Alexa or other digital assistants. Practically all major smartphone products from the last five years or so are enabled with voice searching capabilities. If you’ve ever forgotten the directions to your in-laws house or needed a route to the nearest donut shop, most likely you’ve already taken advantage of this feature.
- “Hey Siri, I need directions to…”
- “Okay Google, show me the nearest…”
- “Alexa, reorder another case of…
- “Hey Siri, how do plumbers…”
Voice-enabled products carefully analyze vocal patterns to identify each word in the query. Then, just as in any other online search, Google digs into its database of indexed websites to produce listings that best match the intent of the query. In the case of someone asking for information on a plumbing-related topic, plumbing services (or industry experts) with the information best optimized for voice searches will generally show up first.
Now let’s examine the ramifications of vocal search for SEO.
How Voice Search is Changing SEO
Now as a digital marketing company that provides SEO for plumbers, our research team at Plumbing Webmasters obviously wants to predict how voice search will affect the various service industries. As the phenomenon continues to build momentum, contractors must learn to adapt their commercial websites, social media marketing, etc. Here are two key trends we’ve noticed when it comes to voice searches.
They’re Shaping Local SEO
As you may have already noticed, search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed quite a bit over the last decade. Instead of exclusively showcasing the traditional organic results, location-based searches now produced local pack listings, ads, and enhanced organic listings. With more types of content to browse through, there are also more opportunities than ever before to secure first page rankings. Even newly-minted plumbing contractors know that page one businesses get the best website traffic and the best leads.
But what if vocal search took the browsing element out of the equation?
According to 2018 research by NPR and Edison Research, “One in six Americans now own a smart speaker.” (TechCruch) Smart speaker technology features a screenless user interface that replaced the traditional browsing experience with audio listings. That means fewer, highly-qualified listings. Even businesses in the top 10 ranks of traditional search results could still miss out on getting picked for vocal searches.
They’re Prompting Specialized Content
Perhaps the most crucial advancement in search engine marketing has been the progressive understanding of user intent (UI). Because short keywords and phrases in traditional search made it challenging to produce fine-tuned results, Google could produce any number of results for “plumbing repair” or “busted water heater”. With voice-generated queries however, people tend to use long-tail keywords or complete sentences, which provide search engines with a firm grasp of the user’s purpose behind the search.
As a result, Google can get really picky about who gets shown for vocal search queries.
Essentially, this means that plumbing contractors must produced highly specialized content that clearly addresses these consumer topics. Thankfully, plumbing SEO professionals have already been doing this to secure special SERP features (Snippets, People Also Ask, etc.). We’ll talk more about the website optimization process down below.
Voice Search Optimization
Voice takes up a higher percentage of search volume every year. Now there’s still doubt whether or not voice searches will hit the 50% mark by 2020 (a figure quoted by many digital marketing pros). Here’s the bottom line: voice search will represent a significant share of search volume in the foreseeable future. That’s why it should matter to plumbing professionals.
Now, should service companies adapt their plumbing SEO strategies to exclusively pursue voice-activated search? Definitely not! With that being said, service professionals should incorporate voice search-optimized elements on future content to increase their chances of popping up in these search results.
How to Optimize Content for Voice Searches
The underlying purpose of voice searches is to quickly provide specialized information or fulfill a specific need quickly. When it comes to optimizing website content for plumbers, start by researching the most frequently asked questions consumers ask in the industry. For experienced plumbers, you’ve already answered this questions a million times in person. Now it’s time to make a company website FAQ! If you need ideas, enter a simple question in the Google Search Bar and consult the “People Also Ask” section. These are hot topics consumers want answers to.
Write a blog, frequently asked questions page, or refined service page content that concisely answers these questions. Sprinkle in the traditional (short) keywords along with the questions you’ve researched. For best results, use bullet lists, numerical steps, and schema markups to make your content pop. Be sure to include lots of rich visuals (infographics, screenshots, professional photos, etc.). Do all these things, and you’ll have a great shot at earning results in voice searches and featured snippets in traditional SERPs! In summary…
How to Optimize for Voice Search in 5 Steps
- Step #1: Gather Long-Tail Keywords and Hot Questions to Answer
- Step #2: Craft or Borrow Exciting Visuals
- Step #3: Feature Bulleted or Numbered List(s)
- Step #4: Sprinkle in Traditional SEO Elements (Short Keywords, Meta Tags)
- Step #5: Combine for Informative, Specialized Content
Plumbing Webmasters Voice Search
Want to take your plumbing company SEO to the next level? Our team at the Plumbing Webmasters would love to team up with you! We support countless professionals across the country, providing page one rankings, higher click rates, and better lead quality. If you’re looking for continued, long-term growth for your company, give us a call!