According to Google, voice search is the fastest growing type of search. It allows you to multitask, it is hands free, and it’s faster. And you have to admit, it is pretty cool. More than 50% of teens use voice search on a daily basis. Over 40% of adults use voice search, and that number is growing by the day. Millennials use voice search in many different ways and prefer using voice commands on their smartphone.
Google’s Voice chat is another voice search technology option that continues to improve. Two years ago the speech recognition word error rate was over 20%, but now the word error rate has been low as 4.9%.
Google’s goal is to make voice search the “ultimate” mobile assistant that can help user’s daily lives. Conversational search is the future, but it’s not just voice recognition. It’s voice understanding. Voice search should be able to reply to natural phrases by understanding the meaning and context of the words used.
How Is Voice Search Changing SEO?
It is safe to say that conversational search will only become more popular as it evolves, so how does that affect SEO?
The rise of voice search makes it necessary for companies to create content written in a conversational tone. Incorporating voice search into the SEO strategy is a must because voice search optimization is the future of SEO.
There is a difference between individuals who type a query and people who ask a question into the voice search. They are usually taking two different paths, to gain an answer to their search . The person who types a query is okay with doing extra research to find what they're looking for, while the person talking wants quick answers and results right away. It is necessary to try to appeal to both people.
Try incorporating the following voice search optimization strategies into your SEO campaign:
1. Implement Long Tail Keywords Into Your Content
It is important that you began focusing on the use of conversational, or long tail keywords into the content throughout your website. Short tail keywords will still be around, but they will be less effective because of the natural long tail keyword phrases used in voice searches.
2. Create a FAQ Page For Your Website
There is an immediate need that must be fulfilled whenever voice search is used. The majority of voice searchers began their question with ‘Who’, ‘What’,‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’, and ‘How’. Make a FAQ page on your website and answer popular questions beginning with these words. Be sure to answer the questions in a way to appeal to voice search.
When creating your FAQ page, use keyword research tools that are available online. These research tools allow you to search for commonly used long tail keywords . The most popular long tail keywords will dictate which questions you will answer on the FAQ page.
3. Optimize Your Microdata
Make sure that your XML sitemaps are readable on your website to visitors and search engines. If you have a brick and mortar location, make sure the directions are present on the website. This is information that voice searchers and mobile users are usually seeking.
4. Properly Use Schema Markup
Schema markup is a HTML add-on that helps search engines better understand the context of your content. This can help you achieve better rankings in normal searches and you can become more relevant when someone performs a voice search. If you haven’t done so already, become very familiar to schema markup.
Voice Search Is Getting Smarter
You may not have realized it, but people usually don’t type the way they speak. When it comes to typing search queries, you use short phrases. For example, you might enter something like “weather Grand Canyon” into the search bar. When using voice search, you are more likely to ask a complete question. “What is the weather like at the Grand Canyon?” This is very important to understand about voice search.
Cortana, Google Now and Siri are becoming more popular as their programming improves. Search engines are able to interpret more natural phrases and conversational requests. Google has even been busy trying to program Google Now to anticipate what you might ask for, based on your search history.
Information About You
If you ask Google, “ What is my address?”, it will display your address without you having to clarify who you are, or who you are referring to when you say “my”. It will also display your information if you ask for your office address or phone number.
Google Knows What’s On Your Screen
If you are on Wikipedia looking for information on Barack Obama, simply ask voice search, ”Show me pictures of Barack”. Google will display images of Barack Obama because he is currently on your screen.
Context On Your Location
If you are at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and you ask voice search, “How far is the science museum from the airport?”, Google will understand that when you say “airport”, you are referring to your current location and will display the correct time and distance from where you are located.
Voice Search Works With Most Apps
If you are chatting about a specific store on a app like Hangouts or Facebook Messenger, ask Google to “Show me the hours” and Google will understand that you are referring to the store that you have been mentioning in the app and will show the hours of operation for that particular store.
Correcting Spelling Errors In Search Queries
If you happen to ask Google to show you a picture of Chile, but instead you see results for chilli, you are able to clarify. Spell out “C-H-I-L-E” and a picture of the country will show.
You are able to ask Google a series of questions. For example, if you ask “Where is the Eiffel Tower?”, then ask follow up questions such as “Who built it?” and “I want to see pictures of it”. Google will interpret that when you say “it”, you are referring to your initial search query.
If Google does not immediately respond, it’s because it is still thinking of the correct response. You can help by asking follow up questions to help Google get a better understanding of what you are referring to.
But There’s More!
There are also hints that Google is working on conversational shopping. It’s not hard to imagine how this could lend itself to making instant purchases, asking voice search to “Order me a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Pizza Hut” or “Show me blue jeans / Show me size 12 / Order me the pair from American Eagle.”
Google is also in the process of working on conversational shopping. Imagine being able to make instant purchases by asking voice search to “Order me a small cheese pizza from Papa John”. Or “Show me the black shirt - Large - Order me the shirt from Old Navy.”
The Take Away
A lot of us come from an era where it feels uncomfortable talking to your phone. But according to Google, voice search is very popular amongst the younger generation. They feel “tech savvy” when they ask a question using voice search.
They ask for directions, they call people and even ask voice search to help them with their homework. Voice search is on the rise and it will be detrimental to your SEO strategy if you try to ignore it. It’s time to stop thinking about only text-based searches and start thinking about how you can start optimizing for voice searches as well!