It’s not uncommon to see users giving out a stream of commands to their phones to perform tasks for them. This tells us one thing. That voice is one the rise. Compared to 2014, where people who were already smitten by searching through their vocals, the trend has now increased multifold.
Any technology that compensates its users with something short in exchange of something tedious is likely to become a dominating trend in the future. When voice replaces texting and helps save time, there is no doubt about its impact.
Here’s how voice is reshaping the future of searching and SEO
When voice search was becoming more popular, top companies didn’t waste too much time. Apple came up with Siri; Amazon came up with Alexa; Microsoft developed Cortana; and Google introduced Smart Assistant – all of them banking on the power of voice search.
The way we search plays a key role in what kind of information we would get. For example, to enhance its search results, Google had developed Knowledge Graph in 2012, where results pertaining your search are conveniently presented on the right side of the screen along with closely related topics. This ‘quick munch’ information went well with users, but invited wrath from some site owners as it didn’t allow the users to go to the source page. This was text searching.
But when it came to voice searching, it was a different game.
While doing a voice search the results are more specific and to the point. For example, when a command is given to Apple’s Siri, it is programmed to give out information specific to the question, like ‘What’s the temperature in London today?’ and Siri shows the temperature. Whereas, in text search the browser throws up several links and suggested alternatives. In short, voice search is all about giving out information irrespective of where the answers are coming from.
About 20% of Google’s mobile app searches are done through voice, Google says.
A question of accuracy
Albeit the rapidly growing voice search capabilities, the method does have its downside. As the voice search picks up answers from various sources, there is no clear way to figure out if the answers are accurate or not.
If voice search is changing the way users search, it goes without saying that it could have some bearing on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) too.
Impact on SEO, and how to get ready
Since the voice search technology is in growing stage not many research and data is available on the subject. However, there are certain parameters which SEO analysts can consider to create a checklist on optimizing for voice search.
Natural Sounding Long-tail keywords
If SEO analysts can gauge what users are likely to type in while searching, they can as well judge what they will be saying in the voice search. And research says users tend to use natural sounding phrases.
In traditional sense, a keyword is made of a series of specific words, without giving much prominence to the grammatical order. But when optimizing for voice search, it calls for using long-tail keywords consisting natural sounding phrases that we use in our day-to-day life.
Leverage from online review platforms
Recently, MOZ conducted a survey on Local SEO and Search Ranking. The results threw up some interesting statistics. And one of them was that the online reviews make up to 10% on which search engines rely to decide and rank results. In other words, online review platforms are one of the areas search engines rely to decide on which result to be shown when users perform searches.
So, the best way to get attention of the search engine is to showcase your business on online review platforms. There are several of them, such as Google My Business (GMB), Trip Advisor, Yelp. As the voice search is rising it is becoming imperative for businesses to leverage these online review platforms.
Adding FAQ pages
Adding FAQs in websites can create a lasting impact in improving your site’s visibility, and this could be a more guaranteeing factor when it comes voice searches. When you have where, why, when, what, and how questions in your website you have an increasing chances of being recognized by the voice searches because these are the questions users who do voice searches are likely to ask.
Craft FAQ questions keeping in mind what users most probably will ask.
Microdata for Local SEO
If more and more number of people are using voice for search, out of them many are requesting information about products or services within their local limits, like finding best restaurants, businesses etc. in the nearby areas. In order to fall within this purview of search and get noticed, businesses need to focus on using Microdata and Local SEO optimization.
As far as technology goes, the best to time to cash in is during the early stages, where it is yet to reach its tipping point. At this stage businesses have a better chance in creating a strong hold, if not, it would be a tough fight to sustain in this competitive market. As mentioned above, top companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft have realized the potential of voice search, and now it is time for other business to leverage the voice search technology. How much the voice search will yield result is a tough question to answer, but one thing is certain – technology is a fast-evolving world – the smarter we match with its pace, the better.