The popularity of mobile phones has changed how we search for things online. In fact, it’s been estimated that by 2020, half of all searches will be voice-based. As a business, this is important because it can affect how you approach SEO.

The Old System for SEO

More than likely, you’ve searched for something on a desktop computer. Maybe you were looking for the best steakhouse in Toronto. So your search might have looked like this:

“Steakhouse Toronto reviews”

Searches in the past were based on keywords, and we learned to boil them down to just the words we needed.

The New Voice Search

Today, though, that’s changed, because we’re speaking our search requests. That means instead of speaking “Steakhouse Toronto reviews” to your phone, you’re more likely to say, “OK Google. What’s the best steakhouse in Toronto?”

Called semantic search, this new way of searching for things online through a mobile device (or a smart speaker) has businesses scrambling to match their SEO efforts to it.

Now, instead of using just those boiled-down keywords, you also need to include keyword phrases that people would be voice searching for. Here are a few phrases for the steakhouse example:

What’s the best steakhouse in Toronto?

Where can I eat wagyu beef in Toronto?

What’s a kid-friendly steakhouse?

Search engines are smart enough to know, even if a searcher doesn’t specify the city (Toronto) that they more than likely want a local result.

Tips for Voice Search

The key here is thinking in terms of conversational searches. If you were talking to a friend to find out this information, how would you ask it?

Include words like who, what, when, where, why, and how in your keyword phrases, as most searches are question based.

Also include those location keywords, including your city, province, and even neighborhood.

In your web copy and on your blog, directly answer some of the most popular questions people will ask via voice search. This will help you rise up the ranks of search engine results. Let’s say you are a massage therapist specializing in fascial release. A question people likely have is “what is fascial release?”

Writing a blog post answering this exact question will ensure that people find that post when they search that question.

Voice search is just the next generation of search. There will be others, so ensure that you’re up-to-date and relevant to mobile phone users searching for businesses like yours.

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