– Here’s Why You Should Care
We move through the era of smart devices. An era that has come with new search opportunities and new ways for Google to better match search intent Smart speakers, including Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have already started to change the way consumers search for what they need. Powered by artificial intelligence, the technology is everywhere.
In portable devices placed in our home or offices, in our cars, and most importantly, in our smartphones. Whether it’s finding the nearest ATM or check the latest Black Friday deals at Macy’s, all you have to say is “OK Google” to do an instant search. In portable devices placed in our home or offices, in our cars, and most importantly, in our smartphones.
It may seem unimportant at first glance. Why would you care? The truth is that businesses that don’t understand the implications of this new era may soon be left behind. According to a survey, 30% of web browsing will be done without a screen by 2020. Furthermore, marketing specialists estimate that at least 50% of all Google searches will be conducted via voice.
Voice search slowly becomes more than a trend. It will soon be the norm, and you have to adapt if you want to stay afloat. You don’t have to take my word for granted. Just think about it. Most of the time we can’t see what’s right in front of our eyes. Even Google, the biggest platform in the whole mighty internet, the one that did everything possible to create a clean search environment, emphasize voice search (look for the microphone on the right side of the text box). The browser cut out all unimportant stuff, yet voice search has a special place.
In the end, things get down to this: If Google does it, perhaps you should do it too, don’t you think?
What Is Voice Search?
Introduced by Google in 2011, voice search is far from a new concept. This technology allows users to make a search query by speaking into their device’s microphone rather than typing. The assistant translates the voice query into code and sends it to the search engines, which in return, generate an audio search result. The main difference between voice search and the standard search is that most users don’t use specific keywords. They speak normally and rely on the search engine’s capability of translating their audio message into keywords.
The technology is somewhat similar to the newest algorithms used by Google that allow users to type a normal question into the search engine to receive a pertinent result.
Let’s take a practical example. If a few years ago, you would have to type “Apple stock 2017” into your browser to see the how the stock performed in 2017, you can now simply type “How Apple Performed in 2017” to receive the same results.
Audio technology has made it even easier for people to use normal questions to receive a precise result. And while programs such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana are constantly optimized for voice search, websites, platforms, and brands can be optimized for voice search as well. Spotify is perhaps one of the most eloquent examples. It allows voice assistants to search seamlessly through its musical inventory. As a result, most users prefer it over other music streaming apps that don’t work so well with voice commands.
Amazon is another example of voice optimized platform. While it mainly works with Alexa, the marketplace allows for super-easy shopping at a user’s voice command. These brands demonstrate how interfaces can be optimized to be compatible with voice search. All you have to do is follow suit to be sure you’re not left behind.
Why Should You Care?
Despite being almost a decade old, many brands still believe the voice search concept doesn’t apply to them and delay the implementation for yet another year. However, statistics and trends can prove them wrong. Recent improvements in speech recognition technology have boosted voice search to the forefront of search marketing so you’ll need to act today and start implementing a voice search SEO strategy next year everyone will be doing it, and that means you are late to the game.
According to recent statistics, a whopping 41% of adults use voice search at least once a day. Trends reveal that this number will rise by 9 percent throughout 2020, with at least 50% of future online searches expected to be voice searches. The point is, it’s voice search’s moment.
This technology has the potential to throw out the window all we knew about digital marketing. So moving forward you too will need to think about keywords research for voice search or better strategies to optimize your content for voice search.
Want to know why?
Because voice search won’t give users access to a “top 10” search results as search engines do. Your search engine optimization and content marketing efforts will be worthless if you’re #2 on the list. With voice search, it’s not sharing the pie anymore. The winner takes it all.
If you’re not ahead of your competition, if you’re not #1 in the search results (or position #zero how we like to call it), you’re a lose before even beginning. To put it simply, you can either be part of voice search or nothing. There’s no in-between.
Returning to the user search trends for 2020, if you’re not part of the voice search, you have already missed 50% of all searches carried out. And that is just the starting point.
How Does Voice Search SEO Work & Some Simple Voice Search Seo Tips?
Search engine optimization (SEO) has long been understood as finding the right keywords and key phrases that could have secured you a top place in the search results. With voice search’s prolific use, search engines are now focusing on optimizing their search results based on voice search behavior. And you should do the same too.
After all, the point of SEO is that of helping you rank higher in the search results – all search results – so that potential audience or clients find you instead of your competitors.
Wondering how to adapt your SEO strategies? Here’s how:
1. Optimize Your Website for voice search
Every SEO strategy, whether it’s for text-based or voice search, should start with optimizing your website. You want it to load quickly. Otherwise, users won’t like it. They’ll leave the page, and Google will penalize you. So, you should:
- Choose a responsive design that works perfectly on both desktop and mobile
- Optimize your images – use next gen images
- Compress any files
- Utilize website cashing
- Choose an adequate server
- Deliver media using a cdn network
- SSL certificate
All these things will improve your website’s loading speed, helping you skyrocket to that Rank Zero position.
2. Write The Way You Speak
Users behave differently when they type their search query and when they say it. A typical search they’d do to find the nearest gas station would be:
“ATM near me” when typing on desktop or mobile Or “Siri, what is the nearest ATM?” when doing a voice search.
If you want to reach that Rank Zero position in the search results, you must start to use those long-tail keywords into your copy. Your text must also be very simple to read and understand.
Know that most voice search results are written in a 9th-grade reading level at most. Short, easy to comprehend phrases are preferred over the long, complicated ones even when the information you transmit is high-level. In terms of text lengths, long-form content up to 2500 words tends to rank best on both voice and traditional search listings.
3. Incorporate Structured Data Into Your Website
Structured data is an important part of each SEO strategy. It’s nothing but code written in a specific format that search engines can understand, so they can display the results in a much richer way. Creating the so-called “rich snippets,” structured data can help Google understand what your website and pages are about, consequently helping your ranking.
I know, it sounds complicated. The truth is, there is no need to panic. Structured data is something that anyone can use. You don’t have to be a code hero either. There are dozens of plugins that can add structured data to your site with little to no intervention from your side.
Talking about structured data, SPEAKABLE is another essential tool to use when adapting your SEO strategies to voice searching. This awesome tool identifies sections within your articles that are best suited for audio playback. Google and other search engines use these markups to identify the content to be read out loud by the voice assistant and distribute it through channels such as Siri, Google Assistant, and the like.
4. Focus On Local Searches
According to a study on how voice search is being used, researchers found that 61% of respondents use voice search when their hands are occupied. What comes to mind is that most people – a whopping 36% according to the study – use voice search when they are driving.
Some look for general information, such as news or the weather. But 22% of them use voice search to find local information including nearby restaurants, gas stations, home services, pizza, directions, traffic, and local events. With this in mind, you may have higher chances of increasing your ranking if you focus on local content.
Down to You
Voice search is still in its infancy, just like the internet was in the 90s. Faster and reliable hardware, an evolved internet, and the emergence of artificial intelligence will soon bring voice search in the center of the stage. According to PRNewswire, voice shopping will be a $40 billion market by 2022.
More and more apps start to support voice search and voice shopping; 20% of consumers have already made at least one purchase via a digital home assistant, and 33% of those who didn’t plan to do so in the next year. The strategy required for voice search is different from traditional SEO.
Investing in voice search optimization is down to you, but keep in mind that it can help you improve brand awareness and boost your sales and revenue. Even more, taking early steps to optimize your website for voice search can help you stay ahead of your competitors, both now and in the long-run.