In today’s business world, people prefer to open messages on their smartphone messenger app instead of sending snail mail as the recipient of your message will receive it in a matter of seconds. People now search for information online. Voice search is the newest addition to the search engine optimization world. This technology is here and is gaining importance. Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets, or voice assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices to search for gathering information on the internet.
What is Voice Search? & Current Voice Search Assistant
Voice Search usually allows the user to use a voice command to search the Internet. It is usually mobile and often locally focused and allows the users to use Google search by speaking on a mobile phone or computer. Voice search is becoming more and more popular with the addition of voice-activated personal devices.
Today, with improved voice recognition and the ability to interpret user intent, voice search not only helps consumers to interact with their devices but also creates more opportunities for businesses using these apps and has a positive effect in the world of organic search. Here are some of the top current voice search assistants:
- Amazon Echo/Alexa – It is an external speaker device that allows you to play audio files from popular streaming sites and make phone calls using its omnidirectional audio monitoring. Users usually command Echo to relay the news, read audiobooks, check the scores in their favorite team’s game and the list goes on and on and it can even play up to 20 questions.
- Google Assistant - Google Assistant is ready to power many of Google’s gadgets and one of them is the Google Home device. It is like the Echo. Users usually issue voice commands which are picked up by the device and the device then responds accordingly, whether answering your question or planning out your day for you. Google Assistant is available also on Android Wear wristwatches where you can send text messages and receive directions on the go.
- Microsoft Cortana – It was first released Cortana via the Windows 10 OS. Cortana can do many things ranging from booking trips and finding restaurants to searching for websites and more.
- Siri/iPhone – Siri is your best friend if you’re using an Apple device. It works hands-free, so you can ask him any question. It lets your voice work as a remote control for connected products in your home.
Content and Keywords
Optimizing for voice search means that there should be some diverse keyword research strategy. It also requires a dissimilar way of writing the content on your site. Your keyword strategy means you need to re-think our content. It must be more conversational and impersonate how real people talk and ask questions verbally as voice searchers usually have more urgent needs in mind. You should start thinking about the types of questions you get when customers call you on the phone to ask questions about your business. According to search engines watch a 61% YoY increase in question phrases.
Start writing and recording the exact words they use when they talk to customer service representatives. The keywords or answer to the question you are trying to optimize for must be in the first paragraph of your web page, if possible in the first sentence. Most voice searches nowadays have more than five words. So, when you optimize content for voice, you need to use words and phrase strings that people say when they are asking a real question. For example, “How do cyclones form?” More than 20% of featured snippets are triggered by these top 25 words.
The rise of mobile search It is found that 80% of people use a smartphone and spend an average of 3 hours a day on their smartphone. But, now people changed the way they used search. They use voice search due to a short time, it is more conversational and natural in tone. It provides the best results for on-the-go searchers. So, the devices try to find easily identifiable, short, and relevant pieces of content to serve back to the searcher.
Opportunities for local SEO
It is important to be local friendly as a lot of people use voice search while driving to find local businesses, get directions, or find phone numbers. Therefore, your mobile-friendly website must follow the basic local optimization rules of having all your basic information in text format like
- Business name
- Physical address
- Local phone number
Voice search guide people to you. So, if a regular Google search cannot crawl an image, a voice search is also not going to display an image of your address and phone number to someone driving their car either. Therefore, when you optimize your website or specific web pages for voice search, test the queries you are optimizing for on each voice search platform. If you are a local business trying to get local customers, write with local intent. You should optimize your Google My Business Listing with voice search in mind.
Target Q&A Content
When you start considering voice SEO, first determine user intent, average search volume, and competition. Then, look for keywords that involve a question and write content that answers those questions. One way to start optimizing for voice search is to start creating Q&A pages that will answer commonly asked questions by your customers. You must get your whole team involved and brainstorm and then document questions your customer support team gets, and what questions you receive via email, or when talking to customers at trade shows. Write down the exact saying the person uses when they ask the question and write content that answers that question. Write more pages on individual or specific topics and think of questions people generally ask about your products and services and write content that answers those questions. You can then review third-party guides like CNET’s complete list of Siri commands, Ok Google commands, and Cortana commands.
Voice search and personal assistants are altering the landscape. It is presenting a new challenge and opportunity for marketers, who will in the future reassess their SEO strategy to accommodate such changes. By 2020, it is expected that voice and image-based searches will contribute to at least half of all searches.
Written by: Jitendra Raulo
Jitendra Raulo is the Founding Director at Aarav Infotech India Pvt. Ltd., a leading Web Design and Digital Marketing Company with 11+ years of experience and having headquarter in Mumbai, India, and Support Centre at Bhubaneswar, India, he is actively working with Start-ups, SMEs and Corporations utilizing technology to provide business transformation solution.