Mobile and voice search: The impact on SMB websites

Powered by machine learning and big data, the rise of mobile- and voice search is not only changing the way consumers search, but also impacting the technology that ensures websites are optimized for these new types of online search.

Our search behavior has dramatically changed over the past few years. Already in 2015, Google announced that search on mobile devices overtook traditional search via computers in 10 countries, including the USA and Japan. A BrightEdge (2017) survey from last year found that 57% of traffic was from smartphones or tablets. The use of voice search is also rapidly increasing, and people are using voice search both at home (via voice assistants), as well as on-the-go (via mobile devices), with a recent survey from Navars showing a 42% increase in voice assistant ownership, and 51% of surveyed consumers using voice to research products prior to purchase. Furthermore, a projection by ComScore estimates that 50% of all search queries will be voice search queries by 2020. 


With the proliferation of local and voice search queries, search engine optimization (SEO) of small business websites must keep pace, in order for SMBs to remain relevant and visible in search results. 


How search has changed

To succeed, search engines need to ensure that they can deliver the best quality results to the user and this has required a strong focus on technology to ensure algorithms are up to par. Search engines like Google have focused on four critical components of search for the past few years: 

  • Employing big data to analyse the intention behind search queries and better understand what people are searching for 
  • Imposing standards and structure across the web to more easily qualify online content and only return relevant results
  • Optimize search results to take into account mobile-first by ensuring mobile-friendly content, and matching content to user location 
  • Employing big data and voice recognition to make interaction more intuitive through voice search 


It’s a matchmaking game 

To put it simply, search is a matchmaking game where search engines need to understand the consumer’s search query and then match it with the most relevant online content. The quality of the match is dependent on a number of factors, on the consumer-side (user location, time of day, specific query) and the content-side (indexed quality content, what other users searched, most popular destinations). So how do small businesses meet their match?


Optimizing the SMB website for mobile- and voice search

For an SMB website this means: 

  • Using website platform that meets modern technical standards: For an SMB website to be found by voice search, it will also need to live up to Google’s other website standards, such as page speed, responsiveness, HTML code and more. 
  • Understanding the importance of structured data: Ensuring that as much content as possible is based on structured data with schema markup is essential to helping search engines quickly and effectively make sense of content on an SMB website. 
  • Creating relevant content for the target audience: Ensure that website content is consistent and accurate, and includes relevant content, such as reviews, frequently asked questions and long tail keywords, to maximize exposure. 


Mono websites and voice search 

The Mono Platform allows you to create data-rich websites that are lightning fast, fully W3C certified with rich schema.org markup, and optimized for local, voice and traditional search. 

  • The Mono Platform has been coded to meet the highest standards for performance. All websites are W3C validated HTML5 and based on minified CSS and HTML in order to secure optimal code-to-content ratio. 
  • Content on the Mono Platform has also been marked up with best practice (JSON-LD), ensuring search engines can effectively crawl, index and understand website content, as well as support Google’s so-called “rich snippets” for increased visibility of the search engine result pages (SERP) 
  • SSL certificates has also become an important ranking factor for search results, in order to ensure that consumers are visiting legitimate and secure websites. Mono strongly recommends SSL for all small business websites and SSL can be directly provisioned through our multi-site management system. 

Voice search is, without a doubt, an increasingly important technology that needs to be accounted for by big and small businesses, alike. With the right platform, SMBs can rest assured that not only their website is optimized for voice search, but also their content is properly structured to meet Google’s standards.

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