You might have heard the term “voice search”, you may be using it in your daily life, especially through your smart speakers or smartphones. But do you know,
voice search is not just a trending term, but it is a technology that is shaping the future of mankind.
Let’s dive into this article and see how voice search is shaping the future of marketing and mankind?
Google processes more than 40,000 search queries, every second and that number is constantly growing every year. While our need for instant answers has not changed, what has changed is the method in which we search for those answers and how Google.
Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc. all of these products are recognized as AI virtual assistants, which we use every day. In the year 2014-15, voice search skyrocketed from statistical 0 to around 10% of global search volume. That amounts to around 50 billion voice searches every month.
Furthermore, Studies show that approximately 13% of all households in the United States own a smart speaker like Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod and Google Home/Nest.
So, what is voice search?
Voice search is a speech recognition technology that enables users to search by saying terms aloud instead of typing them into a search field. The proliferation of smartphones and other small gadgets and Web-enabled mobile devices has spurred interest in voice search. Despite the fact that voice search is usually built as a software application, it can also be developed as a service.
The evolution of voice search
Taking a step back, let’s dive into the evolution of voice search. Only a few years back, voice search was a new phenomenon. Siri wasn’t a practical function on your iPhone but instead a silly and fun feature, which was hardly taken seriously. That’s because the technology wasn’t exactly there yet and people didn’t see the need for a hands-free search option. Artificial Intelligence couldn’t pick up on the language very well. But over time, the utilization of mobile searches has increased and the desire for consumer convenience has increased. So the technology got better.
Why is voice search important?
You might be feeling, “Voice search? None of my clients uses that!” So, let’s take a look at some of the industry statistics. You might realize how fast voice search is growing and why you should start optimizing your website for it too.
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the end of 2020.
- 50% of people presently utilize voice search when researching products as per Social Media Today.
- 40% of adults now utilize voice search at least once per day.
As per estimations, 40,000 searches will be performed every second by the end of 2020, half of which will be voice search. So now that you have understood its potential, you might be wondering how it works, and how you can start optimizing your website for voice search.
How does voice search works?
In a nutshell, voice search works by perusing the outcome that is pulled into the featured snippet, which is in position zero. So when you ask a question to your Voice Assistant like Siri, Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc. they will be utilizing the information in the Featured Snippet to answer your question.
For desktop users, voice search is less common, but acquiring Position Zero has other advantages for both B2B and B2C companies. Once obtained, your website will gain the following immediate advantages for mobile and desktop searches.
- Improved click-through rate
- Greater brand visibility
- Increased traffic
However, it’s important to remember that these features are always changing! As Google works to provide the best search experience to the user, a specific quantity of fluidity is to be expected.
How voice search impacts SEO Ranking
Voice search drastically improves user experience and because of that, by the end of 2020, half of all online searches will be made through voice search.
Because of its prolific use, search engines like Google are placing a higher emphasis on voice search optimization.
After all, the point of SEO is to rank websites precisely so potential customers can find the best information for their search query as quickly as possible. User experience is, ultimately, at the forefront of SEO.
By January 2018, there was an average of one billion voice searches each month, demonstrating that voice search is undoubtedly on the rise.
But it is important to remember that voice search SEO and traditional website SEO are not same. Therefore, some factors that affect the rankings of a website may or may not have the same effect on voice search and vice versa.
Fortunately, there are some tips and strategies that can help you balance the two SEO strategies and rank your website for search listings and voice search.
Tips to optimize your voice search
When users utilize voice search, they are generally hoping to complete an action such as playing a song or purchasing a product or information on a subject.
However, despite the two different intentions, Google uses the same algorithm to rank websites. Below are some simple tips that can help you in improving voice search rankings, no matter your goal.
- Loading speed of your website
Just like traditional search engine optimization (SEO), Google voice search favours websites that load quickly. Make sure that:
- Your site is responsive and functions well on mobile devices.
- Images are optimized.
- Files are compressed.
- You use website caching to improve page speed.
- Response time of your server is reduced.
- And other tasks that speed up traditional websites.
2. Write like you speak
At the point when users search for content on desktop or mobile, they tend to write in short, almost bullet-pointed phrases. For example, if a user wanted to find a marketing agency, they could type “top marketing agency” into Google.
But if they utilized voice search, a user might say “Which are the top marketing agencies in the United States?”
To ensure that your content is optimized for voice search as well, incorporate those long-tail keywords that sound more natural instead of shorter, snappier keywords that perform well in desktop SEO.
In addition, keep phrases short and simple. Voice search results are typically written at a school reading level at most. So, although your information might be high-level, break it down in a way that is simple for anyone to comprehend.
- Include featured content
The average voice search result is about 29 words in length. But although we know that shorter answers perform better, how can we guarantee the content Google will recognize and read to users?
Create a featured snippet, obviously!
A featured snippet also called position zero, answer box or quick answers is basically a summary answer from a web page. In desktop search listings, these snippets appear just after the paid advertisements but prior to the regular search listings.
To optimize your content for a recognizable featured snippet, incorporate a concise summary of your main content above the fold under 29 words.
Sections that utilize lists, H-tags and bullet points are easily readable by Google and thus perform well. Additionally, make sure to include your long-tail keywords within the featured snippet.
- Focus on local searches
22% of voice search queries are searching for location-based content. Accordingly, brands have a higher chance of creating voice search content if they invest in local content.
Try utilizing phrases like “near me”.
How to develop a voice search optimization strategy?
Here we have listed five steps to getting started with voice search optimization strategy,
- Optimize business listing
It is essential to keep your business listings clean and your name, phone (NAP), and address data consistent.
Approximately $10.3 billion are lost each year only because of absent and inaccurate listings. Ensure that you’re providing accurate business information to users.
- Enhance the speed of your site
Why is this applicable to voice search? It’s because mobile/smart speaker voice search users are looking for immediate on-the-go results.
Also, Google has officially announced that their “speed update”, which enables page speed in mobile search ranking, is currently rolling out for all users around the globe.
The time it takes to load the average mobile landing page is 15 seconds, and the best time should’ve been under 3 seconds.
If you aren’t ranking well on mobile search because of speed issues, then it might have an impact on your voice search opportunities.
- Focus on questions
41% of individuals who utilize voice search say it feels like talking to a friend.
These individuals are engaging with their voice-activated speakers as if they were human. Hence, the manner in which they conduct voice searches also differ.
They don’t simply say keywords. They ask questions.
Concentrate on utilizing conversational, long-tail keyword phrases in your content as this will help you to better answer natural language questions.
You should find the natural language keyword phrases that your target audience is most likely to ask.
- Provide answers to the questions
When you optimize for featured snippets, you’re also optimizing for voice search. About 40.7% of voice search answers come from featured snippets.
Here are some things that you can do to get into featured snippets:
- Build content that answers questions such as FAQ page, to drive conversions at an easy reading level.
- Update your content often and keep it fresh.
- Markup language: Questions should be marked up appropriately in <h2> headers.
- Answer existing questions asked on your Google’s My Business Questions and Answers section.
- Develop compelling questions about your products and services that will drive change.
In the event that you don’t have content to start with, look at your reviews to source FAQ content ideas. The reviews you already have are written with natural language and give you content on what your customers are generally asking about.
- Test it
- Voice search is still a new phenomenon so you should take it upon yourself to test the voice search function proactively.
- How to Test your Voice Search
- Test various devices: Google Assistant vs. Alexa vs. Cortana vs. Siri or Smart Speakers vs. Mobile
- Single vs. Multiple Listings: How many listings do each device or voice assistant offers.
- What are the results generated?
- Rankings: For your most common questions, where are you ranking? Where are your competitors ranking?
Does voice search really drive traffic to websites?
Although it may not appear that voice search results directly contribute to an uptick in your Google Analytics reports, it does drive traffic to your website!
Firstly, when Google reads-out results from voice search listings, it gives a shout out to the sites through a simple “According to ___”. This, of course, helps in increasing the brand awareness.
Additionally, users can scroll through a written list of search results, which includes links to the websites used as sources. This enables users to navigate to the site traditionally and increases organic traffic when they do so.
Finally, voice search can improve other significant metrics, such as online sales or media plays on websites like Spotify.
Did you know that mobile voice searches accounts to three times more likely to be location-specific than their text search counterparts?
Voice search and local search go hand in hand and marketers should thus update their local SEO.
Investing in voice search optimization is proven to enhance brand awareness, online purchases and revenue.
The best way to understand how voice search will affect your website and your business is by actually trying it out. Play around with voice search to discover how you can rank and how your competitors are performing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chandrima is a Content management executive with a flair for creating high quality content irrespective of genre. She believes in crafting stories irrespective of genre and bringing them to a creative form. Prior to working for MartechCube she was a Business Analyst with Capgemini.