Google’s Assistant. Amazon’s Alexa. Apple’s Siri. Microsoft’s Cortana. Chances are, if you have a smartphone (or even a smart TV or some other smart device), you’ve interacted with at least one of these voice search engines lately.
And you wouldn’t be alone. Surveys say that people all around the world perform 3.1 billion voice searches every single month. In other words, what had become a mobile-first environment just a few years ago has turned into a voice-first world. According to PwC, 65% of 25-49-year-olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.
So, the question is: If you’re creating a new website, how do you ensure it’s ready for this brave new world? Or, in slightly more technically correct terms, how do you choose a domain name optimised for voice search? The answers, techniques, and strategies to help you are all right here. So make sure you read right through to the end of this article.
Before we optimise a domain name for voice search, let’s first understand how it’s different from a ‘regular’ text search. The key differentiator between the two is this: voice search relies heavily on speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) to find the most accurate results. To put it simply, voice search tries to understand spoken phrases used by human beings rather than keywords typed by them.
This very difference gives voice search two significant benefits over old-school text search:
HubSpot reports that ‘near me’ searches have seen massive growth over the last few years. According to the report, there’s been an increase of over 200% in voice search keywords that use the words ‘near me’. So, phrases like ‘coffee shops near me’ or ‘car dealerships near me’. This can be a great asset for local businesses with an online presence if used well.
The same HubSpot report from above also states that there has been a massive 900% increase in voice search phrases that include the words today, tonight, or now in them. This would mean search terms like pizzerias near me now, clubs near me tonight, or stationery stores open near me now. The key takeaway is that users are not searching just to seek information to use at some point in the future. They are looking for businesses they can interact with almost immediately.
Now that we’ve established what voice search is and how it may be more advantageous for your online business or your online presence than regular search, let’s get into how you can choose a domain name optimised for voice search. Because websites and domain names that are truly voice search optimised can reap a host of benefits such as:
So how do you find a domain name that is truly optimised for voice search? Read on to find out.
Remember, we’re talking about voice search and technology that tries to understand how human beings speak. Your domain name must do away with everything you wouldn’t use while talking. Hyphens, numbers, strange spellings. They must all go. This will make it easier for search engines to find you when your audience looks for certain keywords.
To illustrate, the chances of a website called artisanalcoffee.store is far more likely to show up in voice search results than artizanal-coffee-store.com. That’s because the likelihood of a user speaking out hyphens in their search is next to none (and that spelling of artizanal doesn’t help matters either).
This rule takes up from where the first one left off. The shorter your domain name, the greater the likelihood of search giants like Google ranking your page higher in their results. What’s more, users are far more likely to remember a short, snappy domain name such as localpharmacy.online than something like yourlocaldrugstoreandpharmacyonline.com. Users just don’t have the bandwidth to keep so much information stashed away.
Keywords have always been important in optimising domain names or web content for better search rankings. But this importance is even more exaggerated when we talk about voice search. Because people often phrase their voice search queries as though they were asking another person a question rather than typing in a string of keywords.
So, more often than not, a voice search command would sound like, “Hey Google, find me places where I can buy antique furniture online.” A keyword-heavy domain name such as antiquefurniture.online has a much greater chance of appearing higher in search results than antique-furnitureshop-online.com.
In short, keeping things conversational rather than pre-programmed machine-like language will go a long way in ensuring that your domain name is optimised for voice search.
As we saw earlier, ‘near me’ is a phrase that has already gained huge traction regarding voice searches. Why not use this to your benefit and bring a little localisation into your domain name?
If you’re an online art seller based out of Texas, a domain name such as texasart.online would be an excellent fit for locals searching for great art deals near them. Similarly, sydneylamp.store would be a fantastic local and voice search optimised domain name for people looking to buy lamps in Sydney. This would help you rank higher in search results and increase the likelihood of locals interacting with your offline business, should you have one.
Even if you were to follow all three rules above, you might still end up with a domain name that’s unavailable to register and start using. The biggest reason for this unavailability is businesses and individuals trying to get a .com domain. Granted that it’s the most popular domain extension in use today. But this very popularity makes it nearly impossible for new players to find and register a domain name of their choice.
[image of website with a .Store domain]
Fortunately, the solution is quite simple. All you have to do is look at some more modern domain extensions, such as .Store, .Online, .Site, .Space, and so on that are available on the market today. Not only do these new domain extensions help you register your domain name of choice faster, but they also help you get a domain name that’s optimised for voice search. Here are two ways in which modern domain extensions achieve this:
As we discussed earlier, the shorter your domain name, the better it is for voice search. And a domain extension such as .Store helps you turn part of your domain name into a domain extension. The result is a domain name that is shorter but still more descriptive. You don’t need to think of filler words or strange characters just to get yourself a .com extension for your domain name. Which means instead of handmade-shoestore.com, you could have a far better domain name: handmadeshoe.store.
New domain extensions also adhere to the keyword rule above. They can bring search keywords right into your domain name and create better voice search optimisation. As an illustration, bookshop.online is likely to get much higher rankings than online bookshop.com.
Text search may be nowhere near being obsolete. But the reality is that technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve daily. And we now live in a world where voice search has started playing a more and more important role in the way people look for, and interact with businesses.
For business owners to stay relevant and continue to grow, they must find ways to keep up and take every step necessary to choose domain names that are perfectly optimised for voice search. The abovementioned rules help achieve such a goal. We hope you’ve found them helpful, and will keep them in mind when you begin looking for the perfect domain name for your business.