Every day, around us we hear people asking their phones for help … OK Google, where is the nearest Vegetarian Restaurant? OK Google, how can I reach the airport in the quickest possible time? We have many similar platforms helping us find the information we are looking for including Siri, Cortana, Skyvi (Siri like assistant), Robin, Jarvis., Dragon mobile assistant, and alike. Smart Voice Assistant and new ones are coming up and also are here to stay.
In short, with advancement of mobile technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Voice search is HUGE right now and it’s only becoming more popular day by day. It is not incorrect to say that we are in the middle of a voice search revolution. The recent statistics and data display the growth of the number of users of voice as a technology and also the various trends that have added to the convenience of everyday tasks of life and work in today’s tech times.
Voice search has grown 35x since 2008 (KCBP) and 25% of the popular Windows 10 desktop searches are done via voice. As per a Google survey, 41% of adults and 55% of teens use it daily and another facet being that 20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches. However, as widely believed it has transcended mobile devices as well and people are talking to their desktop computers and smart speakers. Very soon smart speakers will be a norm and according to predictions by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice and soon keyboard based search will be a thing of the past. Searching by your voice is 3.7 times faster than typing. So it’s a simple equation; faster searches translate to faster answers.
How do we optimize content for SEO in voice search?
Because it is so convenient, it is being used more often and in more places than ever before. Google reports that “near me now: searches have grown by 150% over the last two years. With advancements voice recognition technology is only getting better day by day and search engine technology mainly of Google is now 95% accurate. Yet, for SEO professionals it’s a challenge as not much has changed in the way content is optimized for this new way.
The timing hence is perfect to pay more attention and focus on voice chat and start implementing and incorporating SEO strategies that can increase chances to show up in voice results. With the availability of its features and personal voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Echo and the Apple HomePod, people have now started migrating to have voice search and there is a paradigm shift in how how people search. Instead of cryptic text based searches like “hair stylist Bengaluru,” those using voice search can ask a question as if it’s a conversation or just like talking to another person: “OK, Google, where should I go to get a haircut?”
If you through voice search, you can hear your personalized “flash briefing” with information on local weather forecast, local news highlights, what’s on your calendar and other quick tidbits of things Siri knows you are interested in. This is a great time saver in the times we live. Convenience and time saver can be the best excuse to shift to voice search.
The market is flooded with search assistants like Amazon Echo (Alexa), Apple’s HomePod and Google Home devices with new players entering the fray everyday. The new Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker includes Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana to answer questions and manage smart home technology to streamline tasks and operations. Soon there will be more profusion of such devices. According to reports on ZDNet, Alexa will be added to personal computers (PCs) and laptops from Acer, Asus and Hewlett Packard (HP) making it a significant challenger to Cortana.
Half of smartphone users use voice technology, and of those, one in three use it daily as per ComScore. As an SEO, one needs to have a solid understanding of some of the search strategies that can help in ranking up. With a thorough understanding of these strategies and effectively using them on your site, one can increase the odds of being the answer to a question.
Some basics of voice search:
When you’re optimizing for voice search, you need to think about SEO differently. Unlike typical search queries on a computer, these queries are longer than their text counterparts; they tend to be three to five (or more) keywords in length. Hence it’s imperative one change the way you do keyword research and think about longer long-tail keywords. Search queries tend to specifically ask a question and use trigger words like who, how, what, where, best, where, why and when. Use these words in your content. Additionally, you need to make sure your site and its content meet SEO best practices.
Voice search best practices:
Create Voice Search FAQ Pages: This because question keywords are on the rise and Google wants to give their users 30 plus word answers. Voice search results are also 1.7 times more likely to come from an FAQ page compared to desktop results. FAQ pages can rank for hundreds to thousands of different queries. Voice searches are more natural and less robotic than keyboard searches and they are significantly longer than keyboard searches. But that doesn’t mean you want to create 1000 pages optimized around 1000 different voice search terms. In fact, one of the most surprising findings from the study was that less than 2% of all results had the exact keyword in their title tag. The bottom line is to write content with natural language and embed lots of long tail keywords in your content. In this way a single page can rank for lots of different voice search queries.
Optimize website loading speed: It has also been noticed that websites that come with swift loading abilities have a lead in Google Voice search results. Interestingly, voice search fetches quicker results which mean your answers will be delivered in lesser time. With the launch of Speed Update by Google, you can now have a clearer picture of how your website can increase the ranking in the search engine and also know more about its indexing. It may be possible that search engines use such applications to include in their algorithms that might affect your website ranking. Thus, you must be ensured that the website loads ASAP.
Get Mobile Optimized: Ensure that the website is always mobile friendly. Since most of the users use smart phones, this stands as one of the crucial elements. Voice is perfect and easy for mobile searches. As per data 60% of mobile searchers ‘at some point in time’ use a voice search. It is more convenient as one doesn’t have to type and its biggest benefit lies in the reality that it makes space for multi-tasking.
Use structured data: This might help in normal searches but maybe not too apt for voice search. It was discovered that using Schema does not significantly contribute to this factor but might improve the search visibility in the overall sense.
Great content that answers audience questions: This is where content comes into full focus. Using natural language that is conversational might prove to be a sensible approach. Also, if the content is shared considerably it automatically leverages the quotient. Though social media sharing is not a factor used for ranking, it only boosts the stand of the website find rate. A recent study shows that Google tends to answer voice search queries with 29-word results. So, it is important that your content answers someone’s query in 30 words or less. In such a scenario it doesn’t make sense to write a 30-word blog post. An interesting trend that is noticed is the fact that voice changes how people search. Firstly, we notice that the searches are longer and the searches are more conversational. However, you should include short, concise answers in your content.
Build link authority: It is a known fact that backlinks are considered to be a key element for a search engine while ranking a page. However, it is drawn that for voice search this really does not impact much. As Google has to give away impeccable information it might depend only on domain authority over page authority. This means that Google will show a trusted website than decoding the links that might be useful but that need more time to be analyzed. This means that your website must be SSL certified that ensures Google about the authority of the website.
Apart from this the factors such as using Alt text and tags for images, making presence through online snippets, easy navigation, strong site hierarchy, reviews and responses can fuel the SEO aspect. As a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, are you prepared to get your content to show up in voice search results? If yes, then start optimizing your content for voice.