Is Your Website Optimized for Voice Search?
|Image Steve Bussinne from Pixabay|
How does this grab you? Thirty-eight percent of all internet searches are now by voice using a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa, Echo, and others on a smartphone or home voice internet-connected device. Additionally, most voice-activated searches are using the term "near me" sometimes combined with the term "near me today."
Putting it another way, with the pandemic, the potential patient may very well be voice searching for a physician, or hospital or COVID-19 information via voice search. Have you optimized your website for voice search so that you're included in the Siri or Alexa results?
I ask the question about finding healthcare resources during a pandemic because it now moves beyond just getting directions using voice search to travel to the healthcare providers. Voice search is mostly a local phenomenon, and the hospitals in non-surge SARs-CoV-2 areas need to find creative ways to outreach, engage, and bring patients back.
With patients not returning for even routine medical care, the hospital must engage the patient on their terms and make the experience easy, using the technology the patient is comfortable using. There is fear among patients, and it's about rebuilding their trust in the hospital or physicians' practice for the matter, is safe.
Let's cut to the chase.
|Image by Gred Altmann from Pixabay|
The following seven steps should enable you to start optimizing for voice searches.
1. Ditch the old fashion search keywords like hospital Plainfield or Cardiovascular Service Line. Nobody talks like that conversationally. Searches are in the natural language of the person.
2. Move to long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords generally run from three to five words. Long-tail keywords are essential due to the preference of digital assistants to use natural language for processing requests. If you use a digital assistant for shopping, think about how you speak to Siri or Alex, for example, you talk conversationally and naturally to the devices whether you realize it or not.
3. Exploit the power of near me searches. Voice searches are local. All healthcare is local, and that's the connection for you. The healthcare consumer isn't looking for an exotic specialty; they are searching "near me" for the solution to their problem.
4. Make sure it's easy for bots and spiders to crawl your site and know what the hospital business is. Make sure you submit your sitemap to Google, Edge, Firefox, and other browsers. Start incorporating microdata, schema, rich snippets, and so on. These little pieces of code give the search engines even more information about what your business is all about.
5. You also want to make sure that your online business directories (aka citation sites) are accurate as well. For example, if one address is on Yelp, and another is on Citysearch, the search engines won't know which address is the correct one and will be less likely to pull your hospital up in voice search results.
6. Take a look at your analytics. Google's Search Console reports show you what queries are bringing people to your site. Now that being said, you can't tell if the search query came from voice search or the old-fashioned way. You can get some good ideas based on how people are finding you right now.
7. Since most voice searches take place on mobile devices, you must have a mobile-friendly site. If a person does a voice search, goes to your website, and has a bad experience, it's over. This not only impacts that individual searcher but a high bounce rate because your site is challenging to use on a smartphone can also negatively affect your rankings on Google.
"Hey Siri and Alex, I'm sick. With the Coronavirus in hospitals, I don't know what to do. Where should I go?"
Is your hospital in the voice response answer?
Can you hear me now?