Dentists – are you ready for voice search?

Is your website voice search friendly?

The number of users searching for products and services by voice continues to grow at pace, so-much-so that Google recently suggested that over 50% of searches will be via voice by 2020.

This is another fast-paced digital trend which cannot be ignored when optimising your website for maximum effect. People aren’t just using devices like ‘Alexa’ and Google Assistant at home, they are also using similar technologies to search online, primarily from their mobile ‘phones. So how should you get ready to exploit this trend and in particular, making sure your website is set up correctly?

Why are users turning to voice search?

The main reasons are that it’s cool and convenient – why type when you can talk? Voice search technologies have come on in leaps and bounds and are now generally very good at understanding what you mean, even where you use conversational type queries. So overall, the voice search experience is now way better than ever before and only set to become even more intelligent. So it’s time to take advantage.

Set up to support the mobile experience

Whilst all facets of search engine optimisation (SEO) are now focused on the huge shift to mobile devices, this area is now even more important due to the burgeoning presence of voice search. It makes sense that the most usage of voice search is via mobile devices, so we need to be absolutely sure that the experience we present to users is optimised for that environment. In basic terms, this means that your dental practice website needs to be completely mobile-friendly as well as being aesthetically and functionally engaging. Imagine being found by a user querying Google by voice, only to present a website with a poor mobile experience which forces them elsewhere!

Adopt natural language

Whilst much website copy over recent years has been matter-of-fact and succinct to match Google’s historical search requirements, now there is a move towards a much more natural style of language. Google is now very adept at understanding conversational style text so it is OK to use this in your web content. Indeed it pays to think how you might ask a question during a normal conversation and equally, how it might be answered. Google promotes websites which answer user’s questions most appropriately, so think about this when you are developing your website text. Maybe try a few voice search experiments of your own to see which results Google returns and then analyse the content of those websites.

Consider using question and answer type information (Q&A)

Many user’s questions come in the form of a problem of some sort, so the best way to address this is with an appropriate answer which will be picked up for all types of searches, including voice. So include listings of common questions and answers which you know are posed regularly in the dental context. For example, “how do dental implants work”, “what are Invisalign braces” etc. Then answer these clearly and concisely; it’s not only ideal for your users but for Google voice search too!

Your practice blog is also an ideal opportunity to create content which answer specific dental questions and hopefully attract those all important searches. This ensures that you are providing exactly the right kind of information for users, which works well for all types of Google searches and also helps to differentiate you from local competition.

Don’t forget to optimise your local listings

Whilst local SEO isn’t just about voice search, it is hugely inter-twined with optimisation for mobile display and all that goes with it. So with local search now at the fore and with users increasingly using voice search via mobile devices, having a strong local search presence is even more important than ever. This means:

  • Setting up and optimising your Google My Business page – with regular maintenance to ensure it is current
  • Seeking out reviews to help with securing a position in the local results listings
  • Use of “schema” website mark-up to help Google understand as much as possible about your business

Wrapping up….

Voice search technology is now very capable and improving all of the time. In the not too distant future, it will likely become the most used method for making web searches, so it makes sense to ensure that your web assets are optimised to take advantage. Now is the time to review you website and blog content to ensure that it is line with digital best practice for voice search. Also, for any new content in the future, keep in mind how users are searching and hence how best to formulate your content to answer their questions.

We now have an ideal opportunity to reach new patients based on what, when, where and how they search – if you’d like to discuss in more detail or to get started for your own website, please call the Dental Media SEO team on 01332 672548.