SEO for desktop, mobile or voice searches – which is important?
As the internet got crowded with websites, there had to be a way to search for content. Thus, the emergence of search engines to a structured search for content based on the keywords. And slowly the advent of search engine optimization or SEO.
History of SEO
In the beginning, the marketers stuffed their content with keywords and backlinks in a bid to get them listed in the top search results. There were no algorithms to look for quality content and this remained for a long time. Then came the search engine giant Google which worked towards bringing quality content to the user and worked to implement rules. It implemented a local SEO that could connect the users to local information like maps, store locations and times and other results.
Hence, SEO has been around since a few decades now. The devices used for the searches have also evolved since. An average internet user in the ‘90s was using a desktop to search. That evolved into a mobile search in the new millennium and to voice search most recently. In these changing times, it is important to consider if our optimization efforts should be focused only on the medium that is evolving now. But the answer to this question may not be as simple as it seems. One should consider an average user’s time and effort spent on the searches to answer this question. A user may now carry out his search on multiple devices over multiple hours or days.
Some common assumptions
When we look at the statistics of how readers reach our website, we categorize them as through desktop or mobile or voice search. The numbers may show us that the traffic is coming more through desktop and mobile users than the voice searches. And so, we focus all our efforts on desktop and mobile. This may prove to be dangerous, because we may be ignoring the lack of optimization in our voice search. And hence our traffic through voice searches are low. Whereas, our focus should be to enhance the voice search experience.
Another common assumption we make is that the audiences for each of these mediums are different. But they may be the same set of people who are moving from one device to another device for their searches. We all have moved from one device to another say, while looking for a product to buy. Picture this, you may be listening to an advert on radio while driving home from work and got interested in it. So, you will tell your smartwatch/mobile device to start a search on that product. Once it interests you further, you will save the search on the smart device and continue that search on your laptop or tablet at home. Depending on what kind of reading quality you prefer, you will use a laptop or a tablet to finally purchase it. This means that you just did a cross-device journey to search a product and finally make a purchase.
Cross-device touch points
The above example demonstrates that all the devices in this journey of search, sort and purchase play important roles and act as the various touch points. Getting the same search results listing that brand product on every device search, lets one know that they are a credible source. This lends credibility to the brand. If the smartwatch could not fetch a voice search for the product query, then the whole chain would have collapsed. So here it is important to note that the search engine should be optimized for voice search, to fetch the right information about the product.
How do we SEO then?
Now that we have established that all touch points are equally important, we need to strategize on how to implement this. Sure, it would be expensive to hire or assign different teams to implement optimization for every search option. But taking cue from Google, we can use the same optimization techniques for all searches.
Your brand must be in the search engine’s featured snippets and organic search result in the form of question and answer. This could be one way to do.
Studies show that the number of people using mobile for searches have grown year-on-year than the desktop users. But the optimization tactics are all the same for both. On the other hand, optimization for voice searches requires slightly different techniques as compared to traditional SEO.
Google considers all their information in the form of cards. For every desktop search, the results are listed one below the other in the form of cards. The same goes for the mobile search, with the number of cards reduced to fit the page. And the voice search should result in only one card that is ranked in the top. This shows that optimization of your desktop, mobile and voice with the same techniques will work for all mediums.
Continue with optimization for all the mediums, so as to not miss out on any. As the mobile searches and desktop searches co-exist, so will the mobile and voice searches. There is no need to panic and fear for voice optimization. But at the same time, it is not wise to ignore it too.
Encourage your readers to research more and publish good content, so they are drawn back to you. With improved credibility and presence on all the mediums, your brand value will increase!