Voice search is a current hot topic in the digital marketing space and as a result, I’ve heard a lot of lawyers wondering whether they need to optimize for or worry about voice search. My short answer to this is, typically no. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The thing about voice search is that as an emerging technology, there is still a great deal of work to be done for it to become a reliable tool in your digital marketing strategy.
Here’s what we do know about voice search in 2019:
- Up to 80% of voice search results are pulled from the featured snippets.
- Featured snippets are not the top search result but are often the result that focuses most on directly answering the searcher question. The difference here is very subtle and search experts are still working to understand what makes one post the featured snippet over another.
- People search differently with voice, using natural language rather than topic directives, as in traditional online searches.
- Voice search studies typically also include voice assistant searches, which are more task-related and not something that lawyers will optimize for since your law firm doesn’t need to get involved in someone ordering a pizza using their Alexa device.
- 47% of smart speaker owners use them for online searches. This number will increase as with most emerging technologies but for now, the primary use of smart speakers is to play music and ask about the weather.
Now that you know where voice search currently is and understanding that you have time to adopt strategies for optimizing this new technology, how can your law firm work towards voice search optimization?
Here are a few things you can start putting into practice:
- Using natural language for content. This means writing as you would speak, using headings that answer specific questions, and incorporating Frequently Asked Questions into each major section of your website. Aim to answer specific questions in plain language.
- You must have Structured Data, a.k.a Schema. Structured data is incredibly important for search engines to understand how your website content answers a search query. Your website should have review schema, location, awards, and more. Here is a complete list of schema for legal services.
- All things mobile friendly work for voice friendly. This includes a fast website because voice search results must come across quickly.
- Keep thinking locally for any and all of your law firm locations. Make sure your site is optimized for local search results by listing locations, referencing local work and organization associations, and business hours. Claiming your Google My Business profile is now an essential part of your local search strategy, then you can build local-focused content from there.
- Focus on long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are typically just one word, like “lawyer” whereas long-tail keywords are 3-5 words, like “Atlanta car accident lawyer.” Unless you are a general practice attorney in a small city with little to no competition, differentiating your website content using specific keywords and search terms is highly important to a voice search strategy.
When it comes to voice search, there is a lot to learn. However, if you are already optimizing for local search and have a digital marketing strategy, you are probably on the right path. Just remember that while search engines are bots, humans are creating those bots and humans are doing the searching.
Kelly Street is the Marketing Director at AttorneySync, a digital marketing agency exclusively for small-midsize law firms. Kelly has spent her life working within small businesses, from the age of 4 with her family until now, helping lawyers understand how to grow their firms with digital marketing. You can hear her as co-host of both the Clienting and Lunch Hour Legal Marketing podcasts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.