According to research from Mindshare and J.Walter Thompson, over 50% of millennial use voice commands once a month or more. Extremely popular with the drivers* (52.8%) and people seeking information while performing another activity* (21.3%), voice search is currently experiencing exponential growth and we already know that it is already the future of next-generation search.
The question is - how do we get ready?
Why is Voice Search Important?
The path to a search result is changing. In fact, search engines are providing answers just as much as search results, and as technology develops, search engine users are looking for quicker ways to get to those answers.
Voice search does fit into our busy lifestyles; if you are constantly on the move, you probably appreciate how quick your voice assistant delivers results for you.
Have you noticed that even your parents are now using emoji? Perhaps you can’t even remember the last time you didn’t use one in a WhatsApp message to your friends. Voice-based search and emoji aim to do exactly the same job – saving you time and delivering the most accurate results, hassle-free. Type no more!
Voice Search Optimisation in Practice – What Do You Need to Know
When it comes to search optimisation, all the rules of SEO still apply. Your website must be mobile friendly and it’s still essential to get it as high as possible in search engines through fundamentals such as site speed and content.
The key question is what will you need to make your site voice-search friendly?
How will search engines and voice assistants interpret a search query? My favourite way of approaching this is by visualising the problem, so let’s take a look at my mind map of a sample voice query below:
As you can see there are 4 components here – location, query type, query length and overall rating. But how we can bring those terms to life? Let’s investigate.
- Talk to me like a human. When using my voice assistant to search for information across the web, I will use full-sentences including the desired keywords. It’s not because I want to make your life harder, but because speaking to my phone, it’s easier than typing and I treat my voice assistant as a human, so you need to make sure that your SEO efforts are focus to answer questions of searchers rather than simply targeting specific keywords.
Ask yourself what questions is your content answering and, if your copy is not just there yet, try to shift your approach in order to support speech commands that are using more conversational tone.
Start with a basic Google search to get a sense of how people talk about the product you offer (don’t forget to check out Google drop-down suggestions!) i.e. what challenges are their facing? How are they forming a search term? What kind of general terms are they using?, and align your new content using your knowledge; think 5-6 words composed together to deliver a nice and clear sentence.
- Is your business local? Many people use voice search to pinpoint the businesses around them. To maximise your chances of being recognised through voice technology search, focus on perfecting your listings on platforms such as Google Maps or Yelp and remember about keeping all your business details up-to-date to avoid confusion. If you need more info, why not discover our article on Google Maps here?
- Rating matters. What was the last time you looked at your business rating? Customer feedback isn’t just about validation and proof; it’s useful for search engines to understand who is popular, and who is not. Google incorporates reviews into its rankings, so maybe it’s time to see what people say about your service? If you need a little lesson on how to manage successful relationships with Clients, check out my customer complaint management guide.
- Any questions? Having a Q&A section on your page is not only a great opportunity to gather all important information about your business in one place, but is also beneficial when it comes to voice search optimisation. Have you noticed the way I’ve structured my query? While doing the search, it comes naturally to compile a search term based on words like ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’, so make sure that your on-site content includes all the info Google and your customers need.
Finally, it’s important to understand how Google (and other search engines, let’s not forget Amazon) crawl the web. They look for specific bits of information that they can understand and interpret, in order to quickly provide you the best result.
If you’re familiar with schema mark-up, you’ll know that you can mark specific bits of your code up for robots so that they know what it’s referring to.
For instance, for an event, you may want to indicate the location, the time it starts, the tube station if you’re in London, etc.
As voice search grows, the need for marking up your code clearly will grow, so that when someone does ask “what events are happening in Holborn tonight?”, the search engine can query its database quickly. This is easier to achieve on ecommerce sites, so as voice search starts to become more transactional (best pizza takeaway in Croydon, anyone?), marking up your schema to immediately identify to crawlers that you are a pizza restaurant, you do takeaway, and that you’re in Croydon, will be html fundamentals.
Although voice search is still shaping the future of SEO and marketing, why not contact us to arrange a talk about your digital strategy today?