Paul M. Stubenbordt focuses his blog on what steps a practice can take to optimize traditional and Internet marketing, public relations, social media as well as non-traditional marketing tactics that can help maximize your current practice development program.

BLOG: How voice search affects SEO in your eye care practice

Gone are the days of flip phones and hand-held bricks. Ever since the first-generation iPhone came out in 2007, smartphones have taken over the cellular world. Having a smartphone on you is now equivalent to carrying a computer in your pocket, giving you the power to look up whatever you want in the palm of your hand. Recently, there has been a significant increase in a hands-free way to look up information: voice searching.

Voice searching started out as simply asking Siri or Google Assistant statements like, “Where is the nearest restaurant?” but now it has grown into something much more revolutionary. To put it simply, voice searching is looking up information using your voice instead of typing the question into your browser. According to Michael Quoc, the CEO and founder of Dealspotr, voice search has become a necessity to around “60% of smartphone users [and] as many as 20% to 25% of search queries” are asked via voice. I bet you’re wondering how it affects SEO in regards to your eye care practice. Well, we have narrowed it down to four key influences:

1. Importance of semantic search

Search engines use more than just buzzwords to look up content; now it is becoming more personalized. Semantic searching helps browsers, like Google, get a better idea at understanding what customers are looking for by using patterns and their recent searches.

By incorporating a variety of long-tail keywords, there is a better chance of voice searches directing possible clients to your website.

2. Think like a consumer

The aspect that makes voice search so unique is the fact that it is programmed to function like that of a conversation. That being said, it is important to have content tailored to customers, not search engines. Voice searches should be able to pull up results with ease, not be confused by marketing jargon.

Some examples could include the location of your office, hours of operation and the number of services you provide.

Make sure Google can read and understand your content quickly by answering the question that is framed in the header tag.

3. Mobilized website

It’s important to have a mobile-friendly website. Most of the time people are driving when using voice search, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s possible that your site may not even show up on the page.

Make sure you have a pronounceable name, so that customers can remember your brand name and the voice assistant can pronounce it correctly.

4. Optimized directories and online reviews

Voice searches target businesses that are local to the customer when asked a question, so having optimized directories is key to appearing on the local “top three picks.” Remember to think like the customer; questions like “best [type of business] near me” will be asked, so the SEO needs to think of these as its own search engine. In your practice, you might want to prioritize LASIK, cataract or retina. Also, the order in which you have your “top three picks” will have a significant impact of search results.

Keep track of online reviews because voice assistants, like Alexa, use third-party review sites, such as Yelp, to help find results for the customer.

Voice search is easier than typing, and it will only gain momentum. By re-creating your website into more voice search-friendly content, the consumer’s need to have a personalized experience is fulfilled and your eye care practice has a better opportunity of bringing in new patients.