One of the questions that often comes up when discussing SEO is the topic of voice search.
Traditionally, SEO has been mainly focused on the relationship between search and text. While this is still the leading source of web traffic for physicians, voice search continues to be on the rise. Adobe says that 94% of people surveyed believe voice technology is easier to use.
Because patients use voice search like Alexa, Google, and Siri differently than text search, should doctors consider optimizing their content to capture some of these searches?
How Is Voice Search Different Than How Patients Search in a Browser?
First, it’s helpful to understand that there is a notable difference in types of voice searches, voice transcription search and search action commands.
Learning and understanding these distinctions will help understand if and what content doctors should optimize for voice search.
Voice Transcription Search
This search is simply transcribing what you ask into results from the web. For example, ” Alexa, what is the difference between a total shoulder replacement and a reverse shoulder replacement?”
Search Action Commands
This is when a patient asks for the digital assistant to return and act upon a specific search. For example, Siri, find me a pediatrician in Augusta, GA.”
Determine What Content Needs to Be Voice Friendly
Because of the complexity of most patient questions, the majority of content on a physician’s website does not need to be optimized for voice search. Simply put, the answers to those questions are going to be consumable when returned by voice search.
To use a non-healthcare example, Siri will tell you the score of a baseball game when you ask, but it can’t do the play-by-play.
The same holds true here. Using the shoulder search example above, Siri can pull up a link to your website, but it won’t read the article to the patient.
This is an example of why you do want to pay attention to long-tail keyword trends that may help identify if/how you need to make adjustments to rank for changing searches.
There are more patients to attract each day that use voice search to find a doctor. Losing out on those opportunities can have a significant impact on your personal bottom line.
In the end, voice technology isn’t replacing text-based search; it’s supplementing it. So while voice assistants such as Alexa, Google, and Siri are becoming more used, we’re not yet at a point to prioritize optimizing for voice over text-based searches.
However, as mentioned above, you’ll want to ensure that your local listings are all optimized to capture those patients close by.