Voice search is redefining the way things are being searched or will be searched on the Internet. Typing and searching is becoming old, people are now adapting to the new method of searching through voice. Siri, Alexa, Google assistant are not new for anyone. Almost everyone has a smartphone now. But the sphere of the use of the smartphones has increased widely, with the introduction of voice search. And this is just the beginning. It is being predicted that by 2020 more than 50% of the search will be done through voice.
Now that voice assistants have become so important, it is crucial that the way digital marketing works also changes. The very base of surviving in this fast-changing technological world is to adopt the changes and follow the trends. Until now SEO has been an essential part of digital marketing. Optimizing your website, so that it is visible on the first page of every search engine was the basic necessity of every business. But now if the search trends are changing, it is time you think about optimizing your website according to voice search.
While there are a lot of ways in which you need to optimize your site, so that it is more visible for voice search, three most basic of them are:
- Target queries should be lengthened
- The focus should be on normal speech patterns
- Question-based queries should be the base
Tips for optimizing your website for voice search:
- Understand The Language – There is a difference between how people type and how people speak and you will have to understand that. When anything is searched by typing, it is probably a combination of some keywords and most sites are optimized for that type of search. But when it comes to voice search, it is almost like talking to a person. According to some of the statistics:
- Around 33 million voice-first devices are in circulation
- One-fifth of the Google searches are Voice based, says, Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
- Voice search stands at the third position, according to a survey of SEO trends for 2017 and beyond.
While doing a voice search, you might speak in complete sentences rather than using only keywords. Therefore, your site will have to be optimized to pick up the keywords from that entire sentence. For example, while searching for the best Thai food, you would only type ‘best Thai restaurants’. But while doing a voice search you would say, “Where can I find the best Thai restaurants?” This means that Thai restaurants and every business related to Thai food will have to optimize their sites for this type of search by including more long-tail keywords and complete sentences.
- Target Question Phrases – Voice search is like having a conversation. Like mentioned earlier about the use of long tail keywords, it is not just for the sake of it. This is because humans do not talk using short-tail keywords. Voice search is more of a question asked, rather than a few words typed. This means that voice search will include question phrases and therefore, you will have to optimize your site accordingly. ADI Consumer Electronics Report, says that:
- More than 50% of the people, who are already using voice assistance, use it at least once a day.
- More than 20% of the people using voice assistant, rely on it for online shopping.
You will have to target conversational question phrases that contain long tail keyword question phrases. While optimizing your site for voice search, think like how your customer would ask a question if searching for your site. You can try using the Answer the Public tool for the beginning. When you type a keyword related to your niche, this fabulous tool suggests related multiple long-tail questions that your target audience might ask.
- Optimize Content Layout – The very basic logic of keywords and optimizing your site according to the keywords is to land up in the search engines answer box. You want to make sure that whenever anyone searches for anything related to your domain, the search engines should pick you up as the answer and show it to the seeker on the first page. Well, the same applies to voice search also. You have to make sure that your content layout is compatible to the voice search and you are still in the search engines answer box. For this, apart from the long tailed keywords, include think paragraphs, bulleted or numbered lists, FAQs or charts in your content.
- Optimize Title and Description – If you already have a strategy for your digital marketing then, obviously you would also be doing the SEO. If your site is already optimized for the search engines than probably you are already paying attention to your titles and descriptions. The only extra step that you need to take now is, optimize according to the voice search results. Try including long-tail keywords in your titles and description. Add the same keywords in the main content as well. Earlier Google had restricted the title length to 60 characters, however, now the limit is extended to 100 characters. So, now you have the liberty to optimize your title with long-tail keyword and ensure it to be visible with voice search.
- Optimize Through Featured Snippets – For a lot of brands ranking in the first position is the optimum goal, when it comes to search engine optimization. And there is nothing wrong in that, it should be that way. But when we talk about voice search optimization you can achieve the same result with a lot less hard work put in through featured snippets. According to Backlinko, 40.7% of voice search answers come from featured snippets. The only thing you need to do to become a featured snippet is answering some specific questions related to your brand, product, and services. This will improve the chances of you appearing in voice search results too. With the change in technology, marketers have started to call this optimizing through featured snippets as position O.
- Voice Search Ecosystem – In the near future there is a possibility that every big brand comes up with their own voice assistants. But for now, there are only 4 major voice search assistants, namely:
- Siri – for Apple
- Google Voice – for Google
- Alexa – for Amazon and
- Cortana – for Microsoft
All four of them work more or less on the same principle. But where do they get their data from? Well, it is not quite that difficult. Siri gets most of its data from Apple Maps (connected) and Yelp. Google gets it from Google My Business. Alexa gets it from Yelp and Yext and Cortana gets it from Bing and Yelp. So in order to optimize according to all these assistant you don’t have to do anything different than what you do to for normal search engines. You only have to optimize and claim your listing with long-tail keywords, on Apple Map, Google My Business, Yext, Bing and most importantly on Yelp as this is sharing information with three assistants.
As per the data the numbers of people using different smartphone operators are:
- 57.1% are using Android
- 34.9% are using iOS
- 3.14% are using Windows mobile
Knowing the figures, you have an idea that, on an average which voice assistant is used the most. But it would be best to keep up an updated list of long-tail keywords for all the search engines and voice assistants.
- Experiment And Test Voice Search – It is essential that you run your own test and check the keywords for voice search. The best way to know if things are going to work or not is to test it yourself. You would be successful, only if you are able to find your brand, without actually typing your company name or a specific product name. The way search engines work has evolved since its inception.
- If you are looking for something on your laptop or desktop, you will see a page that shows you around 10 search result.
- If you repeat the same search on your phone using Google Maps, the results search will reduce from 10 to 3.
- And, lastly, if you search through the voice assistant, you would probably get only one result.
So, now you know what happens if voice search optimization is not taken seriously? You have to rank or you will rank last. Experiment with different keywords and test your voice search several times until you are sure. Test your search with all the voice assistant, if you do not wish to be left out anywhere. This testing will also help you understand, which keywords are working and which needs to be more optimized.
We have gone through a lot of ways how you can actually do VEO (Voice Search Engine Optimization). You also know why this is necessary. Now let us dig in a little deeper to understand –
- Why actually the Voice Search is becoming so popular?
There are a lot of factors responsible for the reason that people are opting for voice search over text search. Some of the key points among them are:
- Ease of talking or speaking something, rather than typing it
- Voice search is time-saving as, on an average, a person can type only 40 words in a minute, but can speak 150 words.
- 61% of people using voice search believe that it is more useful compared to text search when hands and vision are occupied.
- 24% say that they use voice search when they face difficulty typing on certain devices.
- 36% of the current users say that they use it while driving because typing is not possible at that time.
- What is the search engines being used for?
Talking about the teens –
- 43% are using it to call someone.
- 38% are using it to ask for directions.
- 31% are using it to get help for homework.
- 30% are using it to play songs.
- 20% are using it to find out movie times.
- 13% teens are using it to check the time.
Now talking about adults –
- 40% are using it to ask for directions.
- 39% are using it to dictate texts.
- 31% are using it to call someone.
- 11% are using it to check the time.
- 11% are using it to play a song.
- 9% are using it to find out about movie times.
There are still many things that are ‘unknown’ or might come up as a surprise when it comes to the future of voice search. However, the thing that is certain by now is, voice search is only going to see the rising graph. Be it in the field of accuracy, promptness, intelligence or responsiveness, voice search is only going to get better with every passing day. Ranking on the first position for voice search is not all that difficult as it sounds. You just need to take care of a few things:
- Understand the difference between how would you search when you type and what would you speak when you opt for voice search.
- Think from your customer’s point of view, what would they speak if they were searching for something like your brand.
- Frame the content and long-tailed keywords that are question-based.
- Optimize your content layout and title/descriptions according to the keywords fit for voice search.
- Try other optimization methods also like featured snippets.
- Update and claim your list on all the major search engines, so that any voice assistant does not leave you out.
- Try and test your keywords for voice search till the time you yourself are not satisfied with the voice search results.
These tips and figures will surely help you to optimize your business according to the requirement of Voice search, as this is the future of SEO.