How Mobile-First and Voice Search Impacts SERPs

Posted: May 16, 2017

Google first started talking about a shift to mobile-first in 2010. In early 2017, the search engine giant officially made the transition complete by adjusting the way it views website from a PC view to a mobile device view. The mobile-first move was inspired by the growing number of searchers using their various devices to find info. But this isn't the only shift in online habits that could affect search engine results pages (SERPs). The increased reliance on voice search could be just as impactful when it comes to your online engagement and website marketing efforts. Here's what you need to know.

What is Mobile-First?

Simply put, mobile-first means that Google now indexes sites based on how they appear on smartphones and tablets rather than desktop PCs. They use this perspective to rank all sites, regardless of what screen those websites are viewed on by visitors. Ideally, your approach to website marketing should be to present content that's appealing and easily accessible to anybody who visits your site from any Internet-connected device or computer.

Making Your Site Mobile-Friendly

The general recommendation for website design that will please all users is a responsive design. This is an approach to webdesign and layout that allows webpages to be viewed based on the size of the screen being used or the browser someone is using. Content on your site should also be as accessible as possible. If you opt to have two sites, be consistent with the content you present by keeping relevance and readability in mind since Google also cares about the user experience. A mobile-friendly website is one that also includes:

• Short, concise paragraphs

• "Read more" buttons to "hide" lengthy content

• Space around buttons to allow for finger manipulations

• Useful and relevant internal links

• Pages that load quickly

• Smart use of images/photos with features such as carousel displays (images displayed in rotation)

• Phone numbers with active call links to allow users to directly dial your number

Why Pay Attention to Voice Searching?

Voice searching is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) based on words spoken rather than typed. It's becoming increasingly popular because people tend to multitask while looking for things online and it's a lot easier to say what you want than to type it. Voice-activated search works by using AI to determine a user's intent by considering browsing history, geographic location, and past behavior online.

Making Your Site Voice-Friendly

As technology has improved, voice-activated search has become more reliable and practical. So much so that more people are now using voice queries to get information on the physical places they're looking for in their local area, which makes it a perfect match for your local SEO strategy. Voice-friendly SEO includes:

• Natural language triggers (e.g., "who," "why," "where")

• Long-tail keywords (related phrases) rather than single keywords

• Proximity words ("close," "nearby," "near me")

• Location keywords that may be used by somebody looking for local directions (e.g., names of specific streets, neighborhoods, or well-known landmarks)

• Synonyms and alternate phrasing to allow for different ways of asking the same thing ("how do I get to...," "give me directions to...")

• Deep linking through your apps to help voice searchers find related content

The Mobile-First and Voice Search Connection

Google estimates that 20 percent of on-the-go searches are voice queries, with millennials more likely to use voice prompts to get info. And 60 percent of 18 to 34 year-old searchers use their smartphone to shop. The overlap with stats like these shows why voice and mobile are related and why your website marketing strategy should include making your website as easy-to-use on smaller screens as possible while focusing your keyword selection to include words and phrases people are likely to use in normal conversation.

What It Means for Local SEO

More than 90 percent of on-the-go searchers already use their devices to look for local business info and more than half of today's consumers use mobile devices to make purchase decisions. Voice-related searches on smartphones and similar devices are three-times as likely to be local than text searches. This means that optimizing your local content and website for on-the-go and voice searchers can boost your online engagement results.

Take advantage of the many possibilities with artificial intelligence, voice search, and mobile-friendly webdesign by turning to the team at Jumpem. We're an Internet marketing company with a history of helping local business owners in central Florida stay on top of trends and technology. Spend more time focusing on your business and turn to a company you can trust to get you up to speed with what today's online searchers expect from their favorite brands and local businesses. Contact us today to learn more about our services.