The hype around voice search has been building up ever since it was introduced around a decade ago, from the time when users were required to dial in a number and verbally state their search queries.
Since then, various companies have made gigantic leaps in the development of voice-search, thanks to superior machine learning algorithms and the influx of data derived from search engines. Currently, the market for voice search has expanded into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise with the biggest players, including Amazon, Google, and Apple, all competing for a piece of the pie.
The profound impact voice search has on search engine optimization (SEO) means that it affects everybody and anybody on the internet. Professionals directly linked with the Internet, and digital marketing in particular, need to stay one step ahead of the curve to ensure they are ready when the tide changes.
Why Is Voice Search Important For SEO in 2019?
Amit Singhal, the head of Google SERP ranking team stated in 2013, that “the destiny of Google’s search engine is to become that Star Trek computer.” If anything, that explains the direction voice search has taken in the last few years, and where it is headed in the years to come.
As a component of speech recognition technology, voice search uses voice commands to perform online searches. The core idea behind it was the facilitation of the consumer experience; people would find it more convenient to speak – and let the computer transcribe the search query – than manually typing it in.
This simplistic view has been expanded upon through the gradual growth in technology. Innovation, such as personal voice assistants have proven revelatory for voice search advancement, offering the much-needed personalization and customization when catering to users’ queries.
Voice Search Is the Future
Such developments were the reason why back in 2014, Andrew Ng – the Chief Scientist at Baidu – was confident enough to predict that by 2020, 50% of all searches would be conducted through voice search.
As of 2017, 41% of online adults were conducting at least one voice search a day and the numbers have only increased since then. Voice search has already become the fastest growing search type, and the trend’s trajectory doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon in the foreseeable future.
By January 2018, 1 billion voice searches were being carried out a month. These numbers aren’t surprising as people look for faster, more efficient alternatives to typed searching. While people can only type about 40 words per minute, they can speak 150 in the same amount of time.
Additionally, the NLP (natural language processing) prowess of voice recognition software has enhanced multi-fold. Back in 2017, Google voice search’s ability to understand language and speech was 95% equivalent to that of humans, and, it has only grown since then.
As a web professional, voice search adaptability is a necessary accessory for your toolkit as you prepare to take on 2019. 58% of consumers are already utilizing voice search features to find information on local businesses. As the number of voice searches increases, businesses need to implement sound SEO techniques to reap the benefits i.e. increased organic traffic.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Does voice search have any benefits at all? For sure. Don’t take our word for it, ask Amazon. A study reported that the implementation of voice search technology on its eCommerce platform resulted in $1.8 billion of the tech giant’s revenue in the last year – a figure that is expected to reach $40 billion by 2022.
Let’s face it, creating an attractive and relevant website can be a real challenge so outsourcing web professionals can be a great solution. However, they also need to stay relevant and continually grow to be able to deliver a valuable service to their clients. Here are some of the ways web professionals can optimize a website to maximize results derived from voice searches:
Focus On Featured Snippets
Appearing at the top of SERPs, featured snippets aim to present a concise answer to a user query. With this feature, Google aims to present the most relevant content at the very top of the user’s search result for a smoother experience.
In addition to ensuring high-quality content that justifies its relevance and quality to the search engine, you can go a step further and include a brief summary of the crux of your content above the fold.
The average voice search result is about 29 words long, so keep that in mind when devising content summaries. Additionally, long-tail keywords are a prominent feature of the “snippet” and should be included for added visibility.
Include Long Tail Keywords Using Conversational Tone
When optimizing your site for voice searches, it is imperative to keep in mind that the way we speak is inherently different from the way we write.
While typed queries are very short and concise, conversational search queries make use of more words. This translates to the emphasis placed on long tail keywords, which sound natural, and are more likely to be used in voice searches.
This helps in traditional SEO, and keywords that contain multiple words face less competition and hold a higher chance to top the SERP rankings. It might require additional and extensive keyword research, but is well worth it.
Additionally, the easier your sentence reads – the better it is for your SEO. We speak less formally than we type, and that means reduced wordiness. In fact, a majority of the voice search software conform to 9Th-grade reading levels. You could be writing about genetic engineering, but it should be written in a way that makes it easier to comprehend.
Make Sure Your Page Loads Fast
The reason why people use voice search is a convenience, and what convenience does a slow loading speed provide?
Not only does Google’s algorithm tilt towards websites that load faster, and as a result, ensure optimal user satisfaction and reduced bounce rates; it also benefits the consumer.
This is basic on-site SEO in action, with a special emphasis on mobile responsiveness. With Google Mobilegeddon causing mobile-responsive sites to rank higher, it is vital that your website is compatible with smartphones as well.
Faster page-load speeds are achieved through the utilization of images that are optimized, compressed files, and website caching, to name a few. People already use voice search widely, and its acceptance will only grow drastically in the future.
Those who take voice search into account in their SEO strategy already have an edge over other players. Voice search operates by narrowing down results, only catering to the top three. Companies that capitalize on voice search integration early on will benefit from higher content visibility, which will only keep increasing.
While it may seem ominous now, the future is clear: voice search will form the core of SEO, and preparing for it now will give you a competitive edge above others as they try to catch up in the coming years.
Editor’s note: this sponsored content was provided by Antonija Bozickovic.
Antonija is an internet marketing specialist at Point Visible, a marketing agency providing link building and digital marketing services. She has a great interest in digital marketing and a soft spot for graphic design. She’s never tired of searching for new inspirations, listening to her favorite music and creating digital illustrations.