In an 18th May 2016 Google I/O Keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that 20% of all mobile search queries on Android devices and Google apps were done using voice search technologies. According to an Alpine. AI. study, as of January 2018, there were approximately one billion voice searches every month. There has been an increased uptake in voice search and all indications are that this is the new SEO. Siri, Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo are a few of the voice-activated digital assistants that are changing the way we live.
If you have a law firm, voice search optimization is necessary if your website is to give you the desired results. This is, however, not to say that traditional screen or text-based search is going anywhere – you should optimize your website for everything. Below are a few tips on how to do voice search optimization for law firms.
Go for long-tail keyphrases
With voice searches, you should optimize for long-tail keyphrases. This is a phrase with more than 3 words, usually 4. Long-tail keyphrases are specific and complex, answering precise questions that people have about a particular item, service, or subject.
Given that long-tail keyphrases are specific, they are less competitive. This is because not many people will have articles on very niche topics. As a result, your long-tail keyphrase has a better chance of ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs). You want a high ranking because most people do not go past the first SERP.
There are several tools available to help with keyphrase ideation. Examples are keywordtool.io and Google’s Keyword Planner. You could also look at search-suggestions by typing a few words on the search bar and seeing what Google suggests or looking at related searches at the bottom of Google’s SERP.
Go for long-tail keyphrases with question words
The best long-tail keyphrases are those with question words (who, where, what, how, why). This is because most people who do voice searches are asking a question. A person is more likely to search for “How do I sponsor a spouse to Canada” than for “Spouse Sponsorship Canada.”
Another reason to focus on long-tail keyphrases with question words is that searchers who use broad, general terms are less likely to be far along in the lawyer hiring process and they may not even be looking for a lawyer. Someone who searches for “Spouse Sponsorship Canada” for example, could simply be looking for general information such as whether it is possible to sponsor a spouse to Canada.
Create content that is contextually relevant
Google algorithm changes have always had content at their core as Google tries to push content creators to shut Grey and Black Hat SEO tactics and to create quality, relevant content. Google has been looking to enhance semantic search over the years. This focuses on user intent and it attempts to understand what phrases and words mean based on how they are used by an individual and throughout the database.
Google’s algorithm will look at such factors as your search history, your location data, user behaviour, and past searches of the same search term to determine which of the multiple meanings the word may have will take precedence.
For this reason, you should create content that takes a deeper look at all aspects of the topic as Google will see such content to be more valuable to users. The focus should, therefore, be more on useful content and less on keywords. Note that using too many keywords is not only bad for the user experience, it is also bad for SEO.
Use a natural, conversational voice
Searchers talk to Google or Siri just like they would talk to a person they know. Searchers never talk like a lawyer, and neither should you. Only in very rare instances should you use legalese, such as if you are targeting other lawyers.
When creating content, think of the client’s hopes, goals, pain points, and fears. Filling content with cryptic legal terms will simply read like a cheesy sales copy. Write in third person – you and your.
Local SEO is good for your optimization efforts. Google personalizes information based on location and other information about the searcher. Note that even if you do not use a location modifier in your question, Google will still display the most relevant information based on where you are.
Going local is also advantageous in that local long-tail keyphrases are more unique and you are unlikely to compete with them. So, instead of having “Where can I get an Immigration lawyer?”, go for “Where can I get an immigration lawyer in Toronto?”
You could do local SEO by making sure your NAP (name, address, phone) information is easy to locate on your site and is consistent everywhere it is published, by displaying your business hours, by encouraging visitors and clients to leave reviews, by creating a Google My Business page, by listing on local directory listings, and by listing on Yelp and other review sites.
Create a responsive website
Your website should be responsive, meaning it should be both desktop and mobile-friendly. This not only saves you money because you will not need two different website versions for PC and mobile users, but it also enhances user experience and is good for SEO since mobile-friendliness is one of the factors Google uses on mobile devices. Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, it makes sense to have a mobile-friendly site.
Make wise use of an FAQ strategy
Anyone who has a legal problem, who is looking to hire a lawyer, or who thinks he/she needs a lawyer will have uncertainties that are expressed in the form of questions. You should, therefore, have a good FAQ page.
It is important to note that all search is technically a question from Google’s perspective, even if it has not been worded as one. However, with voice searches, queries have become actual questions. Google is looking to provide in-depth explanations of complicated topics that you can have in your FAQ section.
You can achieve maximum FAQ effectiveness by putting individual questions on individual pages – putting different answers on the same page middies the water. Consider questions by real clients when coming up with your questions and answers. You should, however, ensure your FAQs do not read like a pitch since self-promotion is bad for SEO and it turns people off.
Use structured data markup
You should apply the correct schema by using structured data markup. This gives voice search devices that are used to access your website even more information about your website and the content therein. You can use structured data markup from schema.org to make it easier for search engines to not only accurately crawl through the content, but to also understand its context.
Increase loading speed
Page loading speed is one of the factors Google uses to determine ranking. Quick response time is also important because most searchers are impatient and they will simply go to the next website if yours does not satisfy their needs. You could achieve increased loading speed by compressing site images, removing slow scripts and compressing code, using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) to optimize mobile content, and using such tools as Google Page Seep Insights for tips on what more you need to do for faster loading speeds.
Voice search optimization for law firms should be an ongoing process because this is a fast-changing field. You should, however, note you will not get instant results unless you are using Grey or Black Hat SEO tactics (which you should never attempt since they could lead to harsh Google penalties, including the banning of your site). Voice search optimization should be done alongside other website marketing methods like Pay-Per-Click, traditional SEO, and Social Media Marketing. Consider having a dedicated team for the job or outsourcing the work.