According to Google, voice is now the fastest growing type of search. And while it may still seem futuristic to some, there’s no denying the impact voice search is having on digital marketing. In this, our fourth in a series of posts on the coming change voice search will bring to law firm marketing, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for adapting to this new technology. Voice search and screen-free devices represent a new way of consuming information. Fortunately, there is a clear path forward for your law firm’s marketing strategy that reflects this change.
Words that lead to action
Unlike traditional text searches, people using digital assistants are intending to take a specific action. Potential clients are looking for quick, often local, answers to conversational questions that begin with words like how, what, where, when, why and who.
Your site and its content should pave the way for visitors to make a move, so anticipate these needs by thinking about how you’d ask an actual person a question. The difference between text and voice search is noticeable – a typical search on Google includes just one to three keywords, while a voice search can include upwards of three. Take time to brainstorm with colleagues and listen to clients to consider what kind of action-oriented keywords you should use. It’s not a difficult exercise, but it’s an important one.
While everyone knows what the saying “google it” means, when considering voice search it’s important to understand how other search engines perform. Many of the non-Google digital assistants like Alexa and Cortana use Microsoft Bing as their default search engine. Although this can be overridden fairly easily by the user, it pays to be aware of Bing when thinking about a voice search strategy. Each search engine has different algorithms and weights certain factors differently. For instance, Bing plays well with image-based content like videos and pictures, while Google relies heavily on text.
Add context to your content
This may start sounding technical, but it’s important when thinking about voice search. Schema markup is a global standard vocabulary that search engines use to better understand the contents of a webpage. With appropriately structured schema markup on your site, your content is actually already optimized for voice search. As Sherri Bonelli on searchengineland.com explains, “Schema markup is probably one of the most important components you can add to your site to help rank in voice search.”
Essentially, schema code tells a search engine what your site and its contents are about, primarily by providing context to your content. For example, if you reference a patent, schema code explains to the search engine whether you’re talking about a type of leather or a legal form of ownership.
The secret to position zero
Have you ever typed a question into Google and received an answer without even clicking a link? That summary of information at the top of your results is called a featured snippet, offering a quick and direct answer to your question. Now consider what happens when someone uses voice search. That prime “position zero” spot on Google is what some digital assistants will pull answers from, making it more important than ever to write content that’s targeted, concise and engaging.
When creating content that optimizes featured snippets, focus on human, conversational long-tail keywords that center around frequently asked questions. Think about how a client might ask a legal question to Alexa or Siri and identify common keywords that are used. If you need help, again, look to your clients. Ask them what they searched for that led them to find you. (Just, don’t be surprised if they can’t remember exactly. The legal consumer journey isn’t exactly a straight line.)
If you can determine what customers are asking, center web content around this information. Blog posts and FAQ pages are perfect ways to create robust content that answers what your clients are searching for. Another thing to consider is that a third of featured snippets use images, so don’t be afraid to add visuals to round out your content.
For more on voice search and its implications for your firm, download the free FindLaw white paper The Future of Search: Preparing Your Law Firm for Voice Search.
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