We’re all getting used to speaking our voice searches to Siri using our smartphones and smart speakers. This certainly makes life easier, especially if we’re driving or have our hands full at home. But what are the implications for Google searches when users are speaking rather than typing? And what does this mean for lawyers who want to market their services and SEO-optimize their websites?
Let’s take a closer look:
- 90% of Americans are familiar with voice search, and 72% of these consumers have used a voice assistant, according to a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers study.
- 27% of the global online population uses mobile voice search, according to Google.
- A BrightLocal poll reports that 58% of consumers used a voice search when they wanted to find a local business in 2017.
- Search Engine Land states that 59% of searches are now done on mobile phones and tablets, and voice search is becoming the No. 1 choice for these mobile queries.
- An Adobe study showed that 48% of consumers use voice as part of their daily internet search habits.
- 24% of American homes have a smart speaker device, and more families are buying them every day, Nielsen research shows.
When PricewaterhouseCoopers asked respondents in their 2018 survey which devices they used to conduct voice searches, here are consumers’ answers:
- Smartphone – 57%
- Tablet – 29%
- Laptop – 29%
- Desktop – 29%
- Smart speaker – 27%
- TV remote – 21%
- Car navigation – 20%
- Wearable device – 14%
It’s pretty clear that voice search is here to stay and is only going to grow in popularity. It may eventually surpass typed searches. Whatever happens, law firms should look for ways to optimize their online marketing content to take advantage of voice search and leverage opportunities to boost their Google rankings.
1. Write the Way You Speak
Don’t use legalese when you create website content, because that’s not how consumers speak. Voice searchers typically use conversational phrases when speaking into a smart device. A shorter-phrase might be something like “divorce attorney near me” or “personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati.” A long-tail phrase could be “Alexa, what is the average settlement for a car accident?” or “Siri, how long does it take to go through probate?” To make sure your web content is voice-search optimized as well as optimized for typewritten searches, include both long-tail phrases and blunt keywords in your written content. Professionals use SEO research tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to identify popular keywords and phrases, but attorneys creating their own online content can use practice area terms and questions asked frequently by potential clients to enhance the voice search performance of their website.
2. Create an Outstanding Attorney Bio
Your attorney bio is one of the first places a potential client will look when trying to learn more about your legal services. Clients use attorney bios as a selection criterion when comparing you to other law firms. This is true of corporations seeking outside counsel (90% read attorney bios) as well as individuals seeking a personal attorney. A unique and friendly narrative about your life and service to the community is as important as including bar memberships, awards, education, and professional memberships. An attorney bio can humanize you and make you more approachable in the eyes of a potential client. Be conversational in your bio tone to optimize for voice search. Including the practice areas you specialize in can also help voice SEO.
3. Location-Based Content
Roughly 22% of voice searches are seeking location-based content, according to Forbes. Local SEO can address these needs directly and enhance your site’s search performance. Consumers looking for an attorney to hire speak terms into a device like “near me,” “in Atlanta” or “California injury lawyer.” By sprinkling references to your city, state, or region throughout your online content, you will help the Google algorithm find your website. And for those voice searches looking for directions, include your street address in the footer of pages and make sure your phone number is prominently displayed on the page. You can even create phone numbers that offer one-click dialing and street addresses that loop to map apps. This is particularly helpful to voice searchers who are in their car.
4. Leverage Q & A
A question-and-answer format can be especially effective for voice search optimization when you mimic questions asked frequently by potential clients. A Q&A format could include section headings (H2 & H3) with common legal questions followed by informative, concise answers in the text that follows. There are thousands of possibilities, and who better than an attorney to create the questions and then answer them? For example, some of these questions might include:
- Do you go to jail for a DUI in Nebraska?
- How do I avoid probate in Georgia?
- What does wrongful death mean?
- Do I need an estate plan if I have no children?
- How does lemon law buyback work?
- Can I sue a nursing home for a slip-and-fall?
These are hypothetical examples, but you get the idea. By answering questions concisely in conversational tones, your online content has a better chance of resonating with the Google algorithm and with voice searchers.
About 20% of voice searches are launched by just 25 words, a SeoClarity report states. The 8 most frequently used words include:
5. Familiarize Yourself with Google Search Principles
Attorneys don’t have to become technology experts, but understanding the Google algorithm can make optimizing online content for voice searches easier. You can take some of the mystery out of voice search and online marketing as a whole by learning a few basic principles. Google’s website offers some handy tips, as do Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch. Some additional things you may want to take a look at:
- Creating Client-Centered Content
- Local Service Ads for Lawyers (LSAs)
- Passage Indexing
- Law Firm Differentiation and Branding
If you’d like to learn more about voice search and how to optimize your website to produce greater results, the SEO professionals at Gladiator Law Marketing can help. We have dozens of happy clients, and we’d be glad to have a free conversation with you. Call us today!