“Ok Google, tell me what I can do tomorrow in Paris”
“Ok Google, where is the nearest gym”
I’m sure that a similar scenario has already occurred to you by asking Google or Siri to find the nearest supermarket or to show you the way to reach your office partner in New York.
Voice Search is the query we ask the search engines by speaking to it. These are the questions that we express orally instead of writing. Until recently, all searches were done by writing in the search engine box. but on your mobiles and tablets, you can use your voice by activating one of the voice assistants available in the device.
Moreover, with a smart speaker, you can search for your favorite music, check home appliances, order dinner, a pizza, or you can buy tickets for a concert. Voice assistants are now a reality and those involved in SEO should know how fast the natural language searches are increasing.
What is Google Voice Search and how does it work?
This vocal search was impossible until a few years ago and until 2015, the level of understanding was unsatisfactory. Today, the level of understanding of voice assistants, as explained by Mary Meeker, has reached 95%. This accuracy is equivalent to a human voice assistant.
Google’s voice search uses a technology called Natural Language Processing(NLP). This technology includes the voice of the speaker and the process which deciphers the context and makes explicit meaning by giving an answer. The answer or the result is not the results list (SERP). In fact, it is a unique and unequivocal answer chosen by Google itself.
The purpose of technology, based on natural language, is to interpret the speaker’s research intentions. Let’s say, that a form of artificial intelligence also includes the history of previous research and the context in which it is made. The more vocal searches are performed, the more the system learns and the more the system responds in a relevant way. Apple Siri, Windows Cortana, and Amazon Alexa use a similar technology and it is wagered that they will do their best to achieve better results than their competitors.
Voice Search: a trend or a new habit?
Siri, Google, Cortana, Alexa – Voice search is not just a rising trend; it is an important investment that the major players in the sector are doing in a new and even simpler way to give access to the information on the internet. If you think of the ease, with which people have adopted voice messages on Whatsapp or voice search on Google Maps, it is natural to think about how to take advantage of it for your online appearance.
Not surprisingly, according to Google, 72% of those who own a device that activates with the voice claims to use it as part of the daily routine and according to ComScore, by 2020, 50% of searches will be vocal. Furthermore, it is rumored that Google will soon create a separate section in Google Analytics to measure the performance of voice search for websites.
So, if your most important channel is your website, you can ask yourself what impact this new trend will have in the rise of your organic traffic, as well as on the business sector in general.
Let’s start from the most “technical” details
If you have decided to invest in the creation of content optimization for the vocal search for the services you offer, then here are some technical details that will make you comfortable to know.
According to a recent study on Backlinko, vocal searches that analyzed 10,000 Google Home Results for voice search claimed the importance of SEO optimization in the following scenarios:
- The speed of page loading: It plays a major role even in the case of voice search. The first result for the voice search has an average upload speed of 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the overall average).
- Conciseness: The result of the vocal search is typically brief, short and concise. According to the study, 29 words is the average length of voice search responses.
- The simplicity of expression: On average, vocal search results have a level of first-year high school expression.
- Performance on social networks: Even if Google keeps repeating that it’s not the Socials that make the difference but their weight on the search algorithm is more than clear. Even in voice search, higher engagement content tends to perform better with an average of 1,199 shares on Facebook and 44 on Twitter.
- No correspondence between questions and title tags: There seems to be no correlation between the exact questions and the results of the voice search. So, the Backlinko discourages the creation of specific content for each research question.
- Length of contents: The results of the voice search in Google have an average of over 2300 words but it does not seem to be the length that makes them the favorite. Rather, the probability in a longer text is higher to find the answer to the research questions.
- Featured Snippet: 7% of all voice search results come from a Featured Snippet which could become a further point in favor of optimization in this direction.
How to optimize the content of your website for voice search?
According to recent studies, the first organic search result on Google can get up to 35.35% of clicks.
In a voice search, the list view is reduced and the first positions in these cases play a fundamental role.
Taking a cue from a recent article published on Searchenginejournal, here are the five steps to start a successful Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) strategy:
1. Optimize your local business profiles
It is essential to update your business listings with your name, address and phone details with all current information.
2. Accelerate your website
The site speed is critical for voice search because users are on the move, so looking for immediate results. Speed upgrading is a very important factor for Google, as evident by the recent updates of its algorithms.
The optimal loading time of a web page should be less than 3 seconds
For this, you need to make the site fast.
3. Focus on the questions
People who use voice assistants, send commands if they were talking to a friend. Likewise, the way in which they conduct a voice search is also different from that by keyboard.
In the voice searches, people do not say keywords. They ask questions.
To meet this type of user, you need to structure your content differently. It is advisable to use colloquial key phrases and write in a natural way, that is as close as possible to the speech made.
4. Provide answers
Here are some tips to optimize the content for Voice Search
- Create texts that answer questions (such as the FAQ page);
- Update the contents often;
- Use the correct HTML attributes: the questions must be marked with the <h2> tag;
- Answer all questions in the Google My Business Questions and Answers section ;
- Ask questions about your products and services to guide users to conversion
How to test the voice search function:
- Try different devices;
- Check the results generated and the sources from which they were taken;
- Analyze the positions of your competitors.
If we want to summarize in a nutshell, how to optimize your content for the vocal search of the services that you offer, we can say that:
In writing the texts, you must prefer:
- The division into paragraphs.
- Short and simple sentences.
- Words in common use.
Furthermore, you must never forget to consider:
- Optimization for the Featured Snippet.
- Use of the FAQ section – particularly useful for describing your services as well as the services you offer.
- The direct connection between optimization for voice searches and local searches.
- The impact of the use of mobile devices on the phenomenon.
To conclude, consider that: 42% of voice searches, according to Google, involves information about events and activities that are going to occur in near future.
As the use of the smartphone is increasing, sooner or later the research done by voice will replace the typed search, partially or totally. It’s just a matter of time.
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Our Expert SEO team can guide you in making your website ready for Voice Searches.
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