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One can’t beat the convenience of using the internet using just by voice. 2019 will be the year for voice search. From asking Google Assistant or Siri to find the nearest grocery store to setting reminders, consumers are using voice searches for all sorts of things. An estimated 41% of American adults use voice search more than once a day today and it’s estimated that by the year 2020, 50% of searches will be via voice [1].

Moreover, a survey conducted by Zion & Zion of 1,049 consumers reported that approximately 25% of the consumers are using voice-enabled devices to search for healthcare information [2]. The most common healthcare related queries were

These trends show tremendous potential for small physician practices to improve their visibility and increase patient engagement. In order to achieve the voice search algorithms to find your practice, a voice search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is essential.

To build a robust voice SEO strategy, it’s important to understand how the voice user interface (VUI) works. To activate the smart assistant, users’ start with a ‘wake word’ such as ‘Hey Google’ or ‘Alexa’. Once the assistant is activated, a user might ask for a particular piece of information such as ‘
Hey Google, can you find me the nearest dermatologist?’ After this question is asked, an ‘action’ or ‘skill’ is opened. An ‘action’ or ‘skill’ is an app or a capability developed by a first- or third-party vendor that provides the user with some sort of response. Google calls these actions whereas Amazon identifies them as skills.

In this scenario, in an ideal case, if you’re Dr. XYZ located near this user, Google would pick up your brand’s ‘Action’ and respond with details about your practice. However, your target might ask different questions and therefore developing voice SEO strategy might not be as straightforward. Here are a few tips that can get you started:

  • Content – Content on your website needs to be conversational and focused. Voice search is all about semantics.
  • User Intent – It is equally important to understand what the users are looking for, according to a study conducted in Hong Kong in 2006, the intent is segmented into two search goals that is 1) users are looking for specific results related to keywords or 2) more generic information about the topic.
  • Structured Data:  Using structured data helps google chatbots understand the content and its relevance better. Using information like products, places, people, organization, etc., helps in boosting your voice search results.
  • Optimizing your practice website: fast loading websites have more chances of appearing on the voice search results. According to research the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page) [3].
  • Optimizing local searches: optimized content for local search results helps in boosting the voice SEO. From listing your business on google to navigational and informative queries, can give you an edge against others when it comes to voice searches.
  • Test it out yourself: The best way to ensure that your business is found is to test your voice skill by using some of the key phrases your customers might use and modify your ‘action’ or ‘skill’
[1] “33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare You for the Voice Search Revolution.” [Online]. Available: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/04/10/voice-search-statistics-2018. [Accessed: 31-May-2019].

[2] Z. & Zion, “Zion & Zion Study Reveals Who is Using Healthcare Voice Search and What For.” [Online]. Available: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/zion–zion-study-reveals-who-is-using-healthcare-voice-search-and-what-for-300736754.html. [Accessed: 31-May-2019].

[3] “Voice Search SEO: How to Optimize Your Site [New Research],” Backlinko, 28-Feb-2018. [Online]. Available: https://backlinko.com/voice-search-seo-study. [Accessed: 08-Jun-2019].