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As we are moving through the era of smartphones, our next search opportunity is with smart speakers. Smart speakers (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod ) are portable devices that we have placed into our homes and businesses that provide voice search results.
Siri (Apple HomePod), Alexa (Amazon Echo), Cortana, and Google Assistant (Google Home) voice search results are all provided by search engine data resulting from excellent SEO + search engine optimization. In short, Google and Bing (Bing also powers Yahoo and AOL search engine result pages) provide almost all voice search data.
This is the next-gen of AI.
Artificial intelligence, that powers voice search, is smarter with every interaction and has a better understanding of the user’s intent within the search query. AI can also interpret the user’s context of the search query as well.
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What Is Voice Search?
Voice search allows users to speak into their device’s microphone as opposed to typing their search query to generate audio search results from search engines.
Audio technology uses speech recognition to understand what users are acutally saying with precise results. The voice search assistant then delivers audio results back to the user.
Although it seems like a brand-new concept, voice search technology has been around for a while. Programs such as speech-to-text and voice dialing are great examples of voice search technology.
Although specific devices can be optimized for voice search, brands, platforms and websites can be optimized for voice search as well.
As an example, Amazon Alexa can seamlessly search through Spotify’s musical inventory, scan Wikipedia or shop on Amazon quickly at a user’s voice command. Voice search demonstrates how certain brands have optimized their interfaces to be compatible with voice search.
Your SEO Impacts Voice Search and Website Search Differently
Voice search drastically improves user experience – and because of that, by the year 2020, half of all online searches will be made through voice search.
Due to voice search’s prolific use, search engines such as Google are placing a higher emphasis on voice search optimization.
After all, the point of SEO is to rank websites accurately so users can find the best information for their search query as quickly as possible. User experience is, ultimately, at the forefront of search engine optimization.
But it is important to remember that voice search SEO and traditional website SEO are different. Therefore, some factors that affect website rankings may or may not have the same effect on voice search – and vice versa.
Our behaviors are different when we interact with voice search and text-based searches.
When conducting text searches, our beavior is very simple: “best craft beer”.
When conducting a voice search, we are hyper-specific on what we are searching for: “who has the best craft beer in Detroit”.
The result? Voice search queries are much more long-tailed keyword phrases than text-based search queries. There is more emphasis on the who, why, what, and where to the search queary with the expectation that an answer will be provided by search engines.
Can you think of a better reaseon to provide structured data on your website?!
Luckily, there are some tips that can help you balance the two SEO strategies and rank your website for search listings and voice search.
Easy Tips to Optimize For Voice Search
When users use voice search, they are typically hoping to complete an action – such as playing a song or purchasing a product – or information on a subject.
But despite the two different intentions, Google uses the same algorithm to rank sites.
Below are 5 simple steps to improve voice search rankings, no matter your goal.
1. Ensure Your Website Loads Quickly
Just like traditional search engine optimization, Google voice search favors websites that load quickly.
- Website is responsive design and works on all devices
- Images are optimized
- Files are compressed
- Utilize website caching to improve page speed
- Server response time is reduced
- Website is optimized for speed
2. Write The Way That You Speak
When users search for content on desktop or mobile, they tend to write in short, almost bullet-pointed phrases.
For example, if a user wanted to find a great web designer, they could type “top web design companies” into Google.
But if they used voice search, a user might say “Who are the top web design companies in the world?”
To ensure your content is optimized for voice search as well, include those long-tail keywords that sound more natural as opposed to shorter, snappier keywords that perform well in desktop SEO.
Plus, keep phrases short and simple. Voice search results are typically written at a 9th-grade reading level at most.
So, although your information may be high-level, break it down in a way that is easy for anyone to comprehend.
Pro tip: Although phrases should be short, long-form content still ranks better on both voice search and traditional search listings.
Aim for web page content that lands between 1850 and 2500 words.
3. Include Featured Blocks Of Content
The average voice search result is about 29 words long. But although we know that shorter answers perform better, how can we guarantee the content Google will identify and read to users?
Create a featured snippet.
A featured snippet – also called position zero, answer box, or quick answers – is essentially a summary answer from a web page.
In desktop search listings, these snippets appear just after the paid ads but before the regular search listings.
To optimize your content for an identifiable featured snippet, include a concise summary of your main content above the fold under 29 words.
Sections that use H-tags, lists, and bullet points are easily readable by Google and thus perform well.
Plus, be sure to include your long-tail keywords within the featured snippet.
4. Confirm structured data is integrated into your website.
Structured data within your website is more important because it is one of the signals used to power the search results or direct answers. Using structured data and schema mark-up can help the search engines understand and crawl your data more efficiently and become part of knowledge graphs.
Voice Search May Generate Traffic to Your Website
Although it doesn’t appear that voice search results directly contribute to an uptick in your Google Analytics reports, it does drive traffic to your website!
When Google reads results from voice search listings, it gives sites a shout out through a simple “According to blank”. This increases brand awareness.
In addition, users can scroll through written dictations of search results, which include links to the websites used as resources. This enables them to navigate to the site traditionally and increases organic traffic when they do so.
Users may notice that website traffic has decreased with successful voice search optimization. Why is this? Google is providing the information directly, thus less click-through to websites. This is more due to personal assistants that utilize voice search results.
Finally, voice search can improve other important metrics, such as online sales or media plays on websites like Pandora and Spotify.
Voice Search Provides Opportunities You Should Consider
In do time, voice search results will be nearly thirty percent of search queries provided by just Google. Google and Bing provide nearly all content that is served via voice search and that number will continue to increase.
If you want to play in voice search results game, we advise you to invest in an SEO consultant, like Syreo.
Your organic search listings are more important than ever.
Voice search is important to increasing brand awareness and conversions.
Investing in voice search optimization is proven to improve brand awareness, online purchases and revenue.
In fact, one study found that voice search eCommerce resulted in $1.8 billion in Amazon revenue. That figure alone is expected to increase to $40 billion by the year 2022.
But despite the ever-growing prominence of voice search, its popularity and professional use are still on the rise. But if you optimize your site for voice search now, you’ll likely be ahead of the competition and see strong voice search rankings that will effectively grow your brand long-term.
If you are interested in talking to us about Voice Search,
please send us a message.
Syreo is an SEO Consultant based in Detroit, Michigan. Syreo’s search engine optimization + SEO experts work with Fortune 500 businesses throughout the United States including Detroit, New York City and Los Angeles. Syreo consults companies to increase revenue organically, through thoughtful digital marketing tactics and the expert use of search engine optimization + SEO. Syreo understands how to bridge the gap between the CMO and the CTO, bringing data, science, and technology to life through creative storytelling that all stakeholders can understand and embrace. Syreo understands the importance of visual design that generates great user experience (UX) that converts into marketing goals through web analytics.