With the ever-increasing arrival of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Voice, Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Viv, and Google Home, our lives and homes are becoming more intertwined with our favorite technological devices every day. These virtual assistants encourage and essentially train us to become more comfortable with having vocal “conversations” with our devices whether we’re instructing them to play a music file, adjust the volume on a video, help us find the nearest grocery store, or perform an online voice search.
The recent boost in mobile voice searches shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. During the latest Google I/O Keynote which was held on May 18th, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that 20 percent of mobile search queries performed over Google apps and Android devices are now done using voice search technology. In December 2015, popular SEO blog Search Engine Land reported on a MindMeld survey suggesting that 40% of smartphone users started using voice technology within the last half of 2015. The tech industry is pushing voice technology and voice search capabilities hard, and for the most part, folks are finding voice-operated virtual assistants to be quite convenient.
And why not? Everyone knows that it takes longer to type something out than to say it out loud. Most of the latest virtual assistants can even be accessed from afar, leaving us free to search for the nearest sandwich shop without even taking our hands—or eyes—off our important work project. Voice technology is one of the most convenient new technologies to have come around in a while. Folks are undoubtedly going to keep embracing it.
But what does the rising popularity of voice search mean for businesses like law firms? For one thing, performing voice searches instead of text searches changes how people search and the terms that tend to get used. Web searchers tend to type out keywords and short, succinct phrases when searching via text. When performing a voice-operated search, they tend to ask questions or speak full sentences.
Let’s look at a couple examples. If a potential legal client, for instance, wants to know what types of cases a personal injury lawyer would accept, they may type a phrase like “practice areas personal injury lawyer” into Google. When speaking to Siri or Cortana, on the other hand, they may ask a question like “What types of cases does a personal injury lawyer accept?” Voice searches tend to be in the form of natural questions and are therefore longer and contain more details. As a result, the answers that tend to provide the best results for voice searches are ones that are also more detailed, answering questions precisely.
Regarding pharmaceutical law, a client may type in “side effects to Cipro” versus asking their smartphone a question like “What are the most dangerous side effects of Cipro?” In the latter example, a law firm website detailing the most dangerous side effects of Cipro as opposed to all of the drug’s side effects would provide the best answer for that particular search.
What Does Voice Search Mean in Regards to SEO Strategies for Law Firms?
In order to best prepare for the rising popularity of voice searches, law firms should approach SEO strategies as they normally would but with an added preference toward long-tail (longer) keywords and detailed legal content writing that aims to answer questions potential clients may ask. Don’t hesitate to include written content as well as keywords that provide more in the way of descriptors, identifiers, and precise details. When a potential client searches for content that requires more details, your content won’t be of any use to that client if it’s too vague and generalized.
It might also be a good idea to experiment with phrasing focus keywords similar to how they’re naturally spoken instead of typed. Don’t neglect the human element in regards to any content or local SEO optimization. Sticking to the chosen keywords is a great strategy, but asking yourself questions like “How would these keywords be spoken?” or “Is this something clients would ask about?” might help you write content that speaks closer to the intent of clients utilizing voice technology.
As technology bravely marches forward and continues to offer up ways to make every task from ordering pizza to finding a local law firm easier and more time efficient, it’s crucial to look, think, and dream ahead. At Legal InSites, we plan on marching forward right alongside the technology we work with and love. Come with us for the ride and let us help your firm lead the way.