At 2011, when voice assistants started to emerge for the first time with the introduction of SIRI, no one could have imagined that this novelty would soon become a driver for tech innovation. But today, nearly eight years later, almost every one in every six Americans owns a smart speaker. Researchers also predict that more than 100 million Smartphone users will be using voice assistants by 2020
Voice-based interfaces are progressing at an exponential rate in various marketing sectors, and brands like Google and Amazon are continuing to fuel this trend. In 2016, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed that more than 20% of the total search queries were being placed via voice search. From healthcare to banking, the marketers are competing to introduce their own voice technology integrations to meet the changing user demands.
So, how is this new medium taking off? How does it differ from the earlier keyboard searches? What are the challenges it poses for the local businesses (who will now be competing in yet another platform)? Today, we are going to delve into the root of this fast-evolving technology to find answers to all these questions.
Let’s get right into it without any further ado:
How Voice Search Technology works
As the search engines have evolved over the years, their ability to comprehend language patterns and intent behind user queries have improved. It was Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update that essentially paved the way for this evolution (as the algorithm allowed Google’s search engine to understand the queries in a much better manner.)
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and several other digital assistants are now voice search-enabled and are growing smarter and sharper with every interaction. The AI technology, (that powers voice search) is also evolving at a massive rate. The AI already understands the context of a search along with user intent. It tracks information like previous search queries, past user behavior, and multiple-step queries to better anticipate the search needs. Voice search technology can also be advantageous in the educational field. Students who are weak at spellings can simply use the voice search feature to search the internet for their requirements. They use this technology in completing their assignment. Also, words provide a lot more information to the AI’s voice recognition technology (as compared to typed search queries). Generally, a text query typically consists of two to three words, but a spoken query often exceeds that word limit, which makes the speech recognition technology sharper and more user-friendly with every passing minute.
How Voice Search Affects Search Engine Optimization
The advent of voice search has affected the online SEO industry to a great extent. It has become essential for the enterprises and local businesses to incorporate voice search technology into their marketing ventures to survive in this competitive business world. But why is it so important to rank number 1 in your voice search engines? Primarily the reason is, the virtual assistants rarely present two answers more often than not. This means being on number 1 pages of search results is not enough anymore. The competition becomes more cutthroat and brings much more pressure on the local businesses.
Let’s now get into the heart of the matter and discuss the practical implications of this emerging trend of voice search.
Attaining position zero will become challenging
Research has shown that voice search tends to favor the results on featured snippets (popularly known as position zero, i.e. the summary of the answers to a user’s query that is displayed on the very top of Google’s search results.) And these topmost search results drive an incredible amount of traffic. The evolution of text-to-speech has made it essential for marketers to optimize their online content in order to attain position zero and provide the users (who are searching by voice) with a better experience.
Molding the website content for FAQs will be essential
A huge part of today’s search queries involves question-based searches. Terms starting with ‘what is…’ ‘how to…’ and ‘why do….’, have suddenly grown in popularity, especially in the voice search arena. And this has led to Google becoming the most extensive resource for FAQ answers (for every possible question under the sun). And voice recognition AI can sift through the piles of data available on Google, to find the ideal customers and clients.
So, in order to rank the highest in the snippets, the B2B and B2C marketers will need to restructure their contents to make sure it answers the questions the potential customers will be asking.
Predicting a customer’s journey will become much easier
Currently, most of the digital marketing strategies are based on a significant amount of ‘guesswork’. Marketers constantly go on adjusting, testing and experimenting with their strategies to ensure more profit. But with the promising development of these accurate analytical tools, quite soon, digital marketing professionals will be able to predict the buyer’s journey in a much better way and optimize their online content accordingly.
An extensive study on the voice search queries will help the marketers understand the various types of queries that surface the featured snippets. It will, in turn, let them figure out the specific resources to provide the best answers to the most commonly featured snippets to get promoted to position zero.
5 Smart Tips To Improve Your Voice Search SEO
The advancement of voice recognition is a giant leap forward in ensuring that queries are answered appropriately and quickly. With newer tools like Google Home and Amazon Echo taking over the market, it becomes essential for the marketers to upgrade their online content considering how their service will be found on voice search engines. Are you an enthusiastic and high-achieving marketer looking for suggestions to optimize our website content?
Follow these suggestions to implement modern SEO strategy in your marketing campaigns and stay ahead of the competition like a pro:
Maintain A Conversational Tone
Draft your blogs and website contents in a natural, conversational tone and avoid using technical jargons. Include one-liner answers and try to deliver crisp and concise solutions whenever possible for simplicity and conciseness.
Provide Customer-Centric Answers.
Figure out the most commonly asked questions that people are discussing on the internet and provide their answers on your website (in written as well as in video form). Here’s one piece of advice; while trying to optimize your site for voice search, place yourself in the consumers’ shoes and think of the possible questions a consumer is likely to ask. You can also prepare questionnaires and surveys to collect the information.
For example, if you are an ice-cream manufacturer, your consumers will most likely ask questions like, “Which is the best ice-cream shop near my location” or perhaps a diabetic person might inquire, “Is there any ice-cream shop near me that makes sugar-free ice cream?”
To make sure your shop is featured at the very top of the search engine, try to incorporate sentences like “We prepare the most delicious and tasty ice-cream near you” or “Satisfy your sweet tooth even if your diabetic, get sugar-free ice-creams that melt in your mouth” in your content.
Include Specific Locations For Local SEO
People often include phrases such as ‘near me’ and ‘around me’ during voice search. For example, if you are a restaurant owner based in California, make sure you include keywords like Los Angles, San Francisco as well as names of nearby towns and cities to your site. Whenever people use voice search to locate restaurants near Los Angles, your business will have a higher chance of showing up as a result. Also, a location-specific search has a stronger chance of acquiring new business, so it will be worth including locations whenever possible.
Use Structured Data To Help Google
Structured data will help Google find the relevant information on your page. You can take a look at schema.org to get acquainted with the various types of structured data that can add value to your pages. This will increase your chances of being featured in the search snippets.
Never Forget That Context Matters The Most
Your website content isn’t only about keywords. It involves semantic search which includes search intent, context, as well as the relationship between the words. The more honestly you answer the questions, the more likely that Google will rank your page/website/answer at the top of the search list. If you can combine the exact phrases people ask into the content, you will get an even better SEO ranking.
So, it goes beyond doubt that voice search is here to stay. Like it or not, it is becoming more and more ingrained in the digital world, and within a short while, majority of the people around the globe will be using it to get significantly faster and refined answers to their questions. So it’s high time for the digital marketers to gear up to prepare for the shift in SEO semiotics for ensuring online success in the future. Even if you do not understand all its technical nuances, you must have a thorough understanding of how it’s shaping today’s digital marketplace on all levels I order to stand out in this competitive market.