The number of people adopting voice search has been consistently increasing for the past few years. According to Google CEO – Sundar Pichai, 20% of mobile queries are through voice searches. So it is crucial for digital marketers to take voice search assistants into account in their SEO strategies.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search works on speech recognition technology that allows its users to search by saying terms out loud instead of typing them into a search bar and it returns the matching answer in the form of a direct result rather than a search result page.
There are several digital assistants like Cortana, Siri, Google Now, and Alexa available today that are being used on a regular basis by people for voice search. People ask more conversational questions to their voice search assistant than when they are typing requests on their keyboards.
How Voice Search is impacting SEO?
Very few people type the way they speak, especially when it comes to search queries. For example, when you are typing, you typically enter something like “weather NY” into your search bar. But when you speak, you’re more likely to ask the complete question, “What’s the weather like in New York?” This pattern holds true with voice search queries as well. So with the increasing popularity of digital search assistants, it’s very important that the search engines learn to interpret natural phrases.
Voice search is now capable of interpreting and responding to different aspects like:
- Spelling Corrections: If you ask Google to show you a picture of Wales, and you get back a picture of whales, you can then clarify, “W-A-L-E-S,” and a picture of the country will pop up.
- What’s Been Previously Said/Searched For: If you ask “Where is the Eiffel Tower” and follow that up with the question “I want to see pictures of it” and “when was it built”, Google is able to interpret what “it” is based on your initial search, delivering pictures of the Eiffel Tower and an answer on when it was built.
- Context-Based on Location: If you’re at a Freedom Tower in NYC and you ask voice search, “How far is the Empire State building from the Freedom Tower?” Google will understand that the “Freedom Tower” refers to your current location in NYC.
- App-Based Context: If you’re chatting about a specific restaurant in an app like Viber, you can ask Google to “Show me the menu.” Google will understand which restaurant’s menu you want to see based on context and bring up a menu for that restaurant.
- Context About You: Asking Google “What’s my office address?” will bring up your office address, without the need to clarify who “my” refers to.
Considering all above points, we need to seriously incorporate a voice search strategy into our websites by writing the website content in a conversational tone.
You can use the below tips to optimize your website for voice searches :
- Focus on Long-Tail Keywords: Well, short tail keywords won’t ever disappear entirely but they do become far less relevant when we consider the natural phrases used in voice searches. So we need to focus more attention than ever on conversational, long-tail keywords.
- Provide Context with Schema Markup: Schema Markup helps search engines understand the context of your content. That means you will rank better in normal searches and will be more relevant in specific queries made through voice search.
- Optimize Your Site’s Microdata: Make sure things like directions to your business location and XML Sitemaps are readable to visitors and search engines on your website. Those are the kind of information mobile users and voice searchers will most often be looking for.
- Create and Add Pages That Answer FAQs: When people asks any question in voice search, they typically begin it with “How,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “Who,” and they’re looking for answers that fulfill an immediate need. To answer these queries, make a FAQs page and begin each question with these adverbs. Then answer them conversationally to appeal to voice search.
You can do keyword research on conversational queries through the sites like www.answerthepublic.com. It will help you find commonly searched queries based on your keywords which can help you build the questions on a FAQs page.
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