With popular personal assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Ok Google and Siri all embedded in our devices, voice search is shifting to be an indispensable part of peoples’ lives.
This new way of searching is a trend that won’t be going away any time soon, and it is now starting to become part of the future of search engine optimisation.
So, what is voice search? Voice search is made feasible by speech recognition technology. Engines like Apple’s Siri can recognise what you’re asking for and comb the internet for the data you’re seeking, reducing the need to type search queries into search engines like Google voice search or Bing. Many of these voice recognition systems also use text-to-speech technology to read aloud the results of the search.
Before Apple combined Siri into the iPhone 4s in 2011, voice search was essentially nonexistent. However, the game shifted, with Siri is now developed into all the latest iPhones, iPads etc and even the Apple Watch. Microsoft’s version ‘Cortana’ was late to the party and demonstrated in 2014 and is inside Windows Phone and Windows OS.
More and more people use voice searches each day. It is calculated by ComScore that 50% of all searches will be performed by voice search by 2020.
One thing voice search offers is a distinct advantage to the maturer web surfers. For those who find it challenging to view text on a small mobile screen, voice search can be hugely beneficial.
Maturer users frequently find it easier to vocalise their questions than to attempt to type it using the small letters on their mobile devices. Voice search also allows an engaging option for anyone with visual impairments.
According to Location World, 40% of adults now use voice search once per day. And 60% of people using voice search have started in the last year according to MindMeld.
Growing SEO trends in technology like voice search are seeing users ask Google more complicated, precise questions. This means Google has tried presenting users with more elaborate, detailed results. They achieve this by trying to completely understand what users want.
But is speech search accurate?
Google’s voice recognition technology has a 95% accuracy rate. Since 2013, this number has increased by nearly 20%.
Since computers are now sophisticated enough to understand complex, conversational questions, users are starting to talk to search engines, in the same way they would a fellow human being. By using information like “where,” “who,” “what,” and “how.”
Voice search is taking this grammatical technology further. Instead of touch-typing a question into Google and picking from a list of search returns, voice search technology enables users to use speech commands on their smartphones or individual assistant devices.
One thing to note for those that are sensitive about their data and information being used is that Google’s Voice Search saves all of your voice queries. That said you can recover the audio file from your records so you can discover the original audio that’s uploaded to Google servers.
So I can bin the keyboard now then?
While we shouldn’t dispose of our keyboards just yet, the accelerated increase of voice search indicates that businesses will need to take it into account when creating content for their website.
As things evolve over time, those businesses that who do not make an attempt to keep up run the danger of dropping behind.
With the change from searching using clumsy keyword phrases such as, “Graphic Designer Devon” and instead using a conversational tone like, “Find me a Graphic Designer in Devon” you can assume the SEO world will develop with it. At the moment too few SEO specialists are spending too little time optimising for Voice Search and it’s a missed opportunity.
RIP traditional SEO
While voice search will evolve SEO, search marketers can take comfort in the fact it’s adapting for the good.
Voice search is actively forming the destiny of SEO and transforming how SEO methods are utilised in the mobile age.
Mobile search and voice search are currently the top two search phrases. Voice search, in particular, has developed with its precision word error rate progressing from 8.5% to 4.9% [Stanford University] in fewer than two years.
This is encouraged by the growth of smart speaker assistants for the home such as Google Home and Echo. In only a year, US Amazon Alexa users increased from 0.8 million users to 2.6 million, and there was a 350% growth in the use of Microsoft Cortana.
Therefore voice search alters how we search, and consequently we should carefully examine the way we provide our content as marketers and businesses. If you want to answer the simple questions people use to search for something, your content is the primary thing that must be considered.
You must ask yourself what questions your website content is answering at this time and find out if that aligns with the actual questions people are asking right now, in order to top voice searches.
So, how do you optimise for Voice Search?
Before we can get to the detailed points of optimising content for voice search, it’s necessary to recognise the significant distinction between textual search and voice search. In a standard desktop/mobile search question, the user is presented with various options to pick from.
Each single, small aspect about your business must be accurate and more importantly, consistent over every platform that the data is shown.
This is the most likely details that a voice search user will be wanting to know and any differences or errors could reduce your ranking position. The more uniform you can be with your online branding, the greater you will rank online and the more frequently you’ll appear in both text and voice searches.
The significance of the content as it links to the searcher’s intent is as important in voice search SEO as it is in conventional SEO.
If the search results are not what searchers were inquiring about, then they will immediately go back and try the next result or improve their question to find the answer they are seeking.
These some of the areas to get right if you want to rank better when it comes to Voice are:
Speed: Page speed also plays a vital role in voice search SEO. The common voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds. You need to compress images, leverage browser caching and follow Google’s checklist for optimising your site’s speed.
Rich snippetsThese are magnified search results presented by search engines on their results page. In contrast to conventional natural results, they have more visible appeal. They are described by structured data performed by webmasters on their websites.
Mobile ready: All sites should really be mobile ready otherwise they are missing out on traffic, leads and new customers. One way to tell if your site is mobile ready is to run it through Googles mobile-friendly test:
SSL Certificates: An SSL Certificate acts as a Digital Certificate. It creates a secure connection between a website and a visitor’s browser. This makes sure that all the details and data that is passed between the two remains secure and private. SSL encryption blocks hackers from taking private data such as names and credit card numbers.
Metadata: Metadata describes hidden HTML elements that quickly communicate and website information for search engines, playing an important part in effective Search Engine Optimisation for Voice SEO as well. Including keywords, page titles also description tags.
Sitemap: A sitemap is a form of a website’s content created to benefit both users and search engines navigate the site. A site map can be a hierarchical arrangement of pages (with links) arranged by topic, an organisation chart, or an XML document that gives instructions to search engine crawl bots.
FAQ Page:Having FAQ pages is great for Voice Ranking because there are questions that people are asking that you can directly target.
Voice Keywords Strategy:Targeting longtail keywords from 5–8 words that instantly answers a user problem or question.
People use voice searches to get particular items of information: the place and hours of a business, the availability of any specific product or service, the price of something. Make sure your address, hours, and contact data are easily accessible to search engines in pure HTML, not buried inside images or hidden on your terms and conditions page.
Then consider what you provide for customers and the common questions that they ask. Be certain that site content answers those questions while delivering your unique selling proposition transparent and giving the crucial information that will assist customers in making an informed choice about using your business.
The difference between text and voice
Voice phrasing patterns are different from written ones. Voice search questions tend to be a long tail, and usually phrased as questions.
As voice search grows, targeting voice-pattern keywords will grow more significant, particularly for local search, which appears to draw the lion’s share of voice search.
Voice and marketers
Business owners and SEO marketers must now start to plan for and strategise how they improve their content. Mainly because the content that appears in the search results must be more relevant and valuable for local voice search results that are more conversational.
Maybe the most significant obstacle for voice technology has zero to do with its limitations. Voice search marketing and voice recognition will continue to develop and become more precise. But this means nothing unless people use technology to answer everyday problems.
Voice identification in the car makes perfect sense in a “hands-free” environment, while voice requests in the home will prove very useful.
Whether the lead is collected via voice or text search, voice search in digital marketing is essentially working to produce leads and turn them into customers. Now, it becomes imperative to optimise the digital marketing to account for the effects of voice search on SEO.
The progress of voice recognition software ascertains the voice-to-text technology has been combined into as the first feature on modern-day mobile tools and people favour three times more voice searches than text search — this rise in voice-driven requests advances to grow and shape the future SEO.
There is a need to genuinely understand the user intention behind the question and answer that fully. The brands and businesses that will succeed in voice search SEO in the future will leave no stone unturned in the quest for interpreting user intention.
The way we think about articles and keywords used within them needs to improve. Voice searches usually have five words or more and are actually worded the way people talk.
While optimising your written blog of website text for voice, you should use questions, phrases and queries that people say when they’re asking real questions, such as ‘where is the nearest Chinese restaurant’.
The future is now?
Many believe voice search is here to stay. In particular, it’s expected to not simply grow but improve. Computer learning and AI technology are progressing at an exponential rate, and that implies that we need to optimise our SEO tactics for voice search now.
Voice search effectiveness is motivated by how we talk and function in daily situations. The business owner and marketers should concentrate on the conversational question-related searches and direct the response to the question.
One of the primary tasks you should do is claim your business’ name and location through Google via Google My Business. This will enable users to conduct a voice search and locate you on the map (or search engines) without writing anything.
The time for local business to take advantage
Local search and voice search are closely related. If you are a shop or other business with a real location, it’s imperative that you get your local SEO right.
Voice search seems to give priority to high ranking sites, so aim to become an authority in your industry or businesses sector. Industry authorities have engaging and enlightening content that meets users’ requirements.
That said big business has been slow to invest and take part in voice search and voice SEO strategies so the possibilities for smaller businesses to take advantage of are now.
Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search. On your phone, you would get suggestions for eateries around you, whereas on a desktop you wouldn’t encounter that.
If you’re on your phone, the theory is you’re always on the go or will soon be, so don’t forget to add Call Extensions and Location Extensions to your campaigns.
Bear in mind that various questions signify varying stages of the buying process. Formulating posts and pages that correspond with the important buying stage, and takes them to the subsequent step, is a great way of doing voice search SEO.
If digital marketers want to remain on top of SEO, then they are going to have to discover methods to adjust to the prevalence of voice search.
Originally published at dot-design.co.uk on January 5, 2019.