The most important innovation you should be making to your website in 2018 is to optimise it for voice search. Last year, one in five online searches were done through voice search which uses spoken-word speech recognition rather than keyword text to search the web.
This figure is expected to rise to 50% over the next two years as more people, particularly smart phone users, opt for the faster, more efficient spoken word over typing-in keyword-based text searches. AI (artificial intelligence) personal search assistants like Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Alexa (Amazon) and Google Now are growing in use and popularity by the day, and we can expect this trend to continue in 2018. Already in the US, 20 per cent of searches made with the Google android app are voice-based.
How to make your website voice search-friendly
Adapting your search engine optimisation (SEO) for voice searches requires an understanding of search terms your customers and consumers are most likely to use in conversation, their intent and what they are ‘meaning’ to say. For example, voice searches more often follow a question and answer format such as: “OK Google, find me a great Indian restaurant?” AI technology is also focussed on understanding the intent of the user along with the context of their search, accounting for things such as their location and previous searches.
This all means that if you want to attract customers, you need to concentrate your efforts on long-tail keywords and full phrases, setting up your website to respond to and answer searchers questions. That said, if you want to get it right, do your own voice searches on your products and services and see what comes up.