“Hey Google, How Does The Voice Search Affect SEO?”

24 Aug

Imagine, you are driving to your colleague’s new place for the first time as it’s her house-warming party. But in mid-way to her place, you get confused and take the wrong route — and eventually end up getting lost.

voice search optimization

Like most of us out there — you wouldn’t want to use your smartphone while driving because it’s pretty irresponsible (and a legal offense too).

So what would you do in that situation?

Well, you can activate your voice search assistant hands-free and ask it to map out the directions to your friend’s place.

Perhaps when Apple first launched Siri back in April 2010 — the entire idea of talking to your mobile phone sounded like a whim to test AI-based voice assistants in mobile devices.

But now, things have changed for good, since voice-activated assistants have become a part of our everyday lives. There’s always someone to answer our questions — be it Siri, Google Assistant, or Bixby for our mobile phones or Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod in our houses.

Such mammoth growth in the popularity of Voice-activated apps has completely transformed how we search for things on the internet. From typing out queries in the search bar — we’ve now moved to the era of ‘Voice Search.’

Why Voice Search Is Getting Bigger

Well, there is a good chance that you’ll be reading this blog on a Voice-Search device — your phone or your desktop. And it is this very 24x7 access that has made Voice-Search so much popular.

Beside that, there are hundreds of such situations where voice search saves the day for us. However, some prominent reasons we believe why voice searches have become so popular is because in the last few years are:

It Is a lot faster

Voice search is, without a doubt, a lot faster than traditional methods of searching for a query on the internet such as finding your way to any particular destination by typing the entire address, which is why so many people are adopting the new technology with their arms wide open.

It is a lot more convenient

Everyone hates typing questions in today's digital world because no one has the time to do so — unless you are working on a desktop. But as for most people out there, the easier path is speaking their query out and having their phone speak to them the answer right away.

How Voice-Search Is Changing The ‘Searches’

There are two significant ways Voice-Search changes the way we search for things online.

- It has improved the way we search.

- And it also has improved the way we get the search results.

Confused?

Let us explain this step-by-step.

1. The Way We Search

The searches made with a voice search tool are longer, descriptive, & conversational — in comparison to the traditional typed searches.

For example, if you are trying to make the famous Dalgona Coffee, your search will somewhat look like this:

When Typed: Dalgona Coffee Recipe

When Spoken: Hey Google, how do you make dalgona coffee at home?

You see, vocal searches are much more conversational than typed keyword-based searches.

Yes, our language is complex, and machines can have difficulty deciphering what we're saying — consider all the words with multiple meanings. And that is why the semantics skills of search engines have had to improve significantly.

Voice Search tools have compelled search engines to become much more adept at handling voice searches in the past few years. Google's Hummingbird update is a prime example of the same.

Such updates have changed the way SEO works by shifting the focus of SEO from keywords to content that is a lot more user-centric and intent-based.

2. The Way We Get Search Results

Slowly and steadily, Google is changing its working model from a ‘Search Engine’ to an ‘Answer Engine.’

What does it mean?

Did you know that the number of organic clicks from the SERP (Search engine results page) has dropped by a whopping 37% because of new SERP properties such as Featured Snippets & Knowledge Graphs?

And now Google is using the same technology to Read the answers to provide voice search results.

Let’s give you a live example.

Open a new tab in your mobile browser and search for ‘Meaning of SEO’ and see something like this, and hear it as well.

This little definition of SEO is what’s known as a Featured Snippet.

Just a few years ago, you would have got dozens of blue links right away — but that’s not the case anymore.

This means that now, your content needs to be a lot more direct in respect to the search queries of your consumers.

How To Optimize Your Content For Voice Search

Below we have mentioned some of the key factors you need to consider when creating content nowadays so that your content performs well on both Typed and Vocal searches.

1. Optimize Your Content For The ‘Rich Answers’

optimize website for voice search

About 70% of all the answers which pop up as the top results after Voice-Searches are made contain unique SERP properties.

This is because almost all of the devices that have Voice-Search features will give out a similar kind of answer to particular questions, like, ‘Meaning of SEO.’

And to make sure your answer is the one that tops the result — start optimizing your content for unique search properties such as:

- Knowledge Graphs

- Knowledge Panels

- Knowledge Boxes

- Features Snippets

2. Start Picking Long-Tail Keywords As Well

To optimize your website for voice search, you should start including long-tailed keywords in your SEO & content strategies. For example:

- Short-tail keyword: What is SEO

- Long-tail keywords: What is SEO and how it works

When creating content that you want voice-search to recognize, you should start including common conversational phrases in your content.

Then, move to local SEO optimization. This way, your chances of appearing at the top of voice-generated search results pages will be higher when your content is locally optimized and has the right kind of keywords in place.

3. Focus On Local Search Results

Intensify your efforts to improve local search results.

Location-based queries, such as the location of a place, their hours of operation, etc., account for a large portion of mobile and voice searches.

Suppose you claim and update your Google My Business listing.

In that case, you can optimize your local search results in a much better, effective manner as it will be easier to answer questions about a specific area.

4. Your Tonality, Make It Conversational

You should take advantage of the fact that most of the voice search queries are conversational. This means that the more mechanical your content is, the less likely it will show up in the voice search results.

Writing & publishing on the web in natural language has many advantages. It is readable, easily understandable, but the most important one is that using natural language has a lot of scope for matching when searches are made verbally.

5. Answer More Of ‘Who,’ ‘How,’ 'What’ and ‘Where’ Questions

When using voice search, people tend to use different terms and longer queries than when using text search — ‘Who,’ ‘How,’ 'What’ and ‘Where’ being the most common ones.

Answer these along with the frequently asked questions about your brand in detail. This will help you reach better to your customer since most of them ask these types of questions through Voice-Search on mobile.

6. Be Mindful Of Key Speech Patterns

Consider where your target customers live and what languages they speak when optimizing content for voice search. Also, consider the fact that the language you write is way different than the language you speak — thus, marketers should ensure that keywords are optimized for each specific country or region.

We’d also suggest you pay more attention to speech patterns than you do for the keywords. You see, there are idioms, slang, and jargon unique to each country, culture, and industry — use them, and your content will rank better automatically.

The Takeaway

Based on all the studies and research conducted to date, Vocal search appears poised to take over in the coming years. The visibility of businesses that have already considered the importance of voice search will increase in the future, resulting in boosted, quality traffic.

To gain online visibility on the SERP and boost their organic ranking, websites that have not yet optimized their content for voice search should do so immediately — starting today.

But if you feel overwhelmed about the fact that you have to do it alone — well, you don’t have to. Our team of SEO specialists can help you fix your website and content for Voice-Search requirements & skyrocket your organic traffic.