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Should You Worry About Voice Search?

Should You Worry About Voice Search?
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This story appears in the May 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Maybe you’ve seen the “OK Google” ads, where people open Google’s app and conversationally ask what they once would have typed. (“OK, Google, what magazine has the best business advice?”) Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have similar products, and voice searches are now growing. Pete Meyers, a marketing scientist for Seattle-based inbound marketing and analytics company Moz, says this little change may mean big things for your site -- so it’s time to start planning.

1. Optimize for mobile. 

If you haven’t done that already, here’s a good reminder: Do. It. Now. “Google wants and rewards websites that load quickly and instantly adapt to screen size with better search rankings,” says Meyers. “And we expect Google to increase the advantage they give mobile-friendly sites in the coming months and years.”

2 . Become your customer.

“If you don’t figure out voice search now, you’ll be left behind in a few years,” Meyers says. So get used to it: Start using Siri and Google Voice exclusively when doing your own searches so you get a feel for voice search’s nuances -- and limitations. That way, he says, you’ll begin understanding what your site needs to do to adapt. 

3. Refine your language.

In older web days, you had to load up your site with keywords and meta-tags. But now, says Meyers, “your website’s content should answer a question -- and it should be part of your web page’s headline and first couple lines of text.” That’s for two reasons: People use specific language when they talk, and with voice-activated search results, only one snippet is read back to you. For example, if someone asks, “Where can I get artisan Neapolitan pizza?” a site headlined “handmade pizza” may not make the cut.

Edition: December 2016

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