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“Okay, Google… How popular are voice searches in 2020?”

“According to a two-thousand sixteen report from ComScore-dot-com, by twenty-twenty, fifty-percent of all Internet searches will be done by voice.”

“Alexa, is that the most accurate representation of the data?”

“I am not sure I understand you, but it is estimated that by the end of this year, there will be eighty-three-point-one million smart speaker users – or thirty percent of all Internet users. Is that what you are asking about?”

“Hey Siri, how many iPhone users use voice search?”

“The closest Apple Store to you is 3.4 miles away. It is rated 4.1 stars. Is that the one you would like directions to?”

But Seriously, Voice Searches?

ComScore’s oft-quoted “50% of all Internet searches will be done by voice,” originally stated in a September 2014 interview about Baidu (the top search engine in China), has been taken WAY out of context and has long past ceased being relevant.  

But the truth of the matter is that Google and Bing are both working to adapt their algorithms to accommodate more plain speech queries. Whether the growth of smart devices and the AI’s that attempt to answer their questions, is still relevant in 2020 is not the question we should be asking.

The fact is, with the proliferation of these devices, as well as the ease of access to Siri, Cortana and more, people are altering their search strings, even when they’re not utilizing voice searches.

Location, Location, Location

This shouldn’t be a surprise – we’ve been talking for years about how the traditional view of keywords and SEO is outdated. Google has changed their algorithm hundreds of times, so making sure your site ranks high for “obedience school” or “pest control,” isn’t helpful – and, if approached poorly, may actually cause your site to drop lower in search results.

People aren’t looking for keywords and the latest hot terms in your industry. They don’t think like you – you need to think like them. And what people want most is solutions. “How do I make my puppy stop chewing my shoes?” or “How do I get rid of ants in my kitchen?” are perfect examples.

The nice thing is, because of the growth of voice searches, the search engines now tend to give preferential attention to local results. That means that they offer higher rankings to the results that give the answers, but also to those that are geographically close to the searcher’s location, assuming they know it (and they usually do).

Setting the Tone

The other factor is probably the one that led you here. The title of this article purports to answer a question. Which it does – with hopefully a helpful answer. I use a mixture of storytelling, humor and concrete, but relatable statistics to answer that question. And I use a conversational voice and tone.

This approach not only increases the value of the answers provided, but because it’s more relaxed and uses everyday language, it’s more likely to align with Google’s semantics-oriented searches. It also makes it more accessible to the reader and hopefully easier to understand, even when I’m flexing my vocabulary.

The Tail Wags the Dog

On the off-chance I haven’t made it clear enough, the search results that rank highest on Google and other search engines tend to have what we call longer tails. While individual key words in a search string might pop out some results, it’s long-tail answers that get the most attention, because Google sees them as more relevant.

In fact, for the page that answers a search query in the most specific way, Google will highlight it as a “Featured Snippet.”

Neil Patel advocated this years ago, and his blog posts, which always rank high, tend to be 2-5000 words long, establishing their authority in the answer. His work bypasses the Featured Snippet section and ranks even higher – as a “In-Depth Article” on a particular topic.

Google knows its users. And whether they’re searching from their phone, their desktop computer, or their smart speaker, they’re going to do their best to offer answers to their questions.

This is why we focus so strongly on a strategic approach here at Grow the Dream.

If you know who your ideal customer is, and what they are searching for, you can target them with answers to those questions in conversational tone in a content blog just like this one. If you’re still unsure on how to do this, or need help working out the strategy or creating powerful content posts, please reach out. We’d love to help you find your way.

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