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SEO Meets Voice Search

By Roberta Gubbins posted 12-07-2018 02:02 PM


“Alexa, find a personal injury attorney near me.”

This is an example of a voice search given to Alexa, Siri, or another virtual assistant, which will then try to provide the most helpful answer by location and specialty. Voice searches are increasing. Consider:

  • Fifty percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (comScore).
  • One in six Americans own a voice-activated speaker (Edison Research & NPR).
  • As of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month (Alpine.AI).

Realizing that it’s projected that half of all internet queries will be made through voice search or search engine optimization (SEO), the use of techniques to increase your content for voice should be a priority.

What makes voice search different?

Voice searchers tend to speak conversationally. Unlike the separated words of a text search, they ask questions using a mobile device such as a smart phone. They may be looking for a place to eat or the answer to a recent legal problem. The questions they ask are usually with a local focus and longer than their written queries.

Google and other voice assistants want to answer those questions. They use semantic clues, such as the seeker’s location, previous history, time of day, or whether they’re on a desktop or a phone to provide the most helpful answer they can.

How do law firms accommodate voice search?

For you, that means the content on your website should focus on answering questions potential clients are asking. The better you’re able to answer those questions, the better chance you have of being found in the search engines. Think about the questions you’re asked when meeting with clients and write content that helps answer those questions.

Your content should be written in a conversational tone, using active verbs, ordinary vocabulary, and presented in an easy to read format. Informative and easy to understand content will attract both voice and writing seekers. Using a frequently asked questions format is effective for both types. For example, if you’re a family law attorney practicing in Michigan, you can choose topics such as, “How can a single person adopt a child in Michigan?” “How do courts decide custody?” Or, “Six things to know about divorcing in Michigan.”

How does voice search affect SEO?

SEO strategies to obtain a high-ranking placement in voice search include great content, easy to navigate sites, and the use of keywords to identify your topic. Experts recommend using long-tail keywords such as Traverse City Family Law Lawyer or Michigan DUI Lawyer; in other words, phrases that will answer the questions: “What family law lawyers practice in Traverse City?” Or, “What lawyers in Michigan defend DUI?”

The face of searching is changing and evolving. Use all the available information about how your clients find you and the questions they ask to keep current. Doing so will bring your website and this age-old legal profession into the future.

After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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