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People are increasingly using voice commands to interact with their mobile devices and virtual assistants. That includes prospective clients searching for an attorney, so should law firms adapt their marketing strategies to voice search?

Voice search has grown exponentially since Apple introduced Siri for the iPhone in 2011.

According to Google Trends, there were seven times as many voice searches on Google in 2016 as in 2012.

The quick rise of voice search means that it is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored, but it also means that there is not a lot of data available about how voice searches differ from text searches. For law firms seeking to stay on the leading edge of search engine marketing, now is a time to gather information and make proactive changes to optimize the firm’s online strategy for voice search.

Law firm marketing teams should keep the rise of voice search in perspective. Two of the most common voice commands people use with their mobile devices are “navigate home” and “call mom.” How often are people really saying, “OK Google, find a personal injury lawyer near me”? According to a survey by MindMeld, 36 percent of people who use voice commands use them primarily in the car, and 61 percent say they find the feature most useful when their hands or eyes are occupied. These may be unlikely circumstances for someone to be searching for an attorney. However, the survey found that 43 percent use voice commands at home, and many people choose voice search primarily because of faster results (30 percent of users), because they have difficulty typing on mobile devices (24 percent), or to avoid confusing menus (12 percent). This shows that a significant number of people will use voice commands for general searches, not just typical “on the go” queries. What does this mean for your law firm marketing team?

First, we should understand voice search as part of the larger trend toward using mobile devices over desktop computers for search. A law firm’s website needs to be mobile-friendly, both in terms of loading speed and user experience. Also, law firms should invest resources not only in developing their own website, but in maintaining and improving the firm’s Google My Business listing, including soliciting positive reviews. People are even more likely to gravitate toward the local map listings when they are using mobile devices. Finally, we need to examine the difference between voice search and text search queries.

People searching with voice commands use more natural speech than when they search by typing queries. Instead of typing “divorce lawyer” into Google, a user might say, “Where is the best divorce lawyer near me?” Rather than typing “file accident lawsuit partially at fault,” someone may say, “Can I still file a lawsuit if I was partially at fault in an accident?” Law firms that want to optimize their websites for voice search can do two things. First, make sure that FAQ pages are written in natural language, the way people talk in conversation. Search keywords should occur naturally rather than being stuffed into the text. Second, make sure that your search engine optimization campaign has a focus on long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases in a conversational sentence format, rather than short queries. If your firm’s search engine marketing team is targeting long, conversational phrases, your site will be optimized for voice search.

About Author

Brendan Conley is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine and legal content developer for law firms throughout the United States.

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