It’s 2018 and with every passing year, technological innovations are becoming shifting from sci-fi to tools of our everyday lives. One such trend taking the world by storm is voice search. With the rise in smartphones, the volume of the searches has also gone up. The searches vary from weather updates, daily news, locations to particular information on any subject. Voice searches have taken the SEO landscape to a whole new level.
According to Google, 20% of voice searches are done on its mobile app and Android devices. According to comScore, by 2020, 50% of searches will be in voice. Whether it is Siri, Alexa or Cortana people are relying more on voice searches due to their accuracy. More than 55% of adults and 41% of teens carry out voice searches on a daily basis. Surveys reveal that by 2020, voice search will dominate all the search mediums by 50%.
WHAT IS VOICE SEARCH?
Instead of typing words, users give particular voice instructions to the search assistants to find the desired information. What sets voice apart is the fact that instead of going through a list of searches, users are given the top result pertaining to an instruction, saving a lot of time. Today, almost every query can be answered accurately just by voice instructions. It’s fast, convenient and the results are more relevant than type searches.
Voice search assistants are now enabled in smartphones by default. “Programs like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now have been fine-tuning their programs as well as trying to integrate natural speech patterns and mannerisms. They have integrated response toward spelling corrections, previously searched material, and contexts based on location, application, self, and what you see on-screen.”
All this makes it imperative for marketers to make their website optimized to their best for voice search.
Let us look at some of the ways in which websites can optimize their websites for voice search effectively:
- MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
The first and foremost prerequisite for optimizing your website for voice search is making your site mobile-friendly. People are moving from laptop screens to smartphone screens increasingly. Therefore, if websites do not load on mobile phones within seconds, then the whole optimizing process may go down the drain. Fast loading websites will clearly give marketers an edge in voice searches. One way is to increase the website speed and making it mobile-friendly is to get a responsive web design. This will not only speed up your website but will also reduce bounce rates and retain viewers which will further increase sales.
- CONTENT OPTIMISATION
Using the right kind of keywords in order to feature in the top is important. Shift from short-tail keywords to long-tail keywords. Unlike the traditional type of search, voice search is comprised of long and full sentences where they express their complete thoughts. Your content needs to be up to date and about trending topics pertaining to your business. One way to stay ahead of the competitors to answer queries that are most common.
- SCHEMA MARKUP
One way to make sure that search bots are able to understand the context of the query is to use a Schema Markup. For instance, a user says “cranberries”. Exactly what the user wants to know is not clear. Are they inquiring about the fruit or the band? How can the search bots understand the context and give relevant results? This is where Schema Markup comes in the picture.
“Schema markup seeks to avoid those confusions by allowing webmasters to use HTML tags to describe what their content is actually about. With schema data in place, search engines can correctly categorize your content using the HTML tags and long-tail keywords used throughout your content to eventually to show the end user the content they want to see. Now, with voice-enabled search growing as it is, schema data will play an even bigger role, particularly when users pose follow up questions about a previous query.”
- FEATURED SNIPPETS
“The proper use of Featured Snippets help SEO professionals to streamline the information available on a website and allow search engines to easily extract the most relevant content and display them in search results.”
According to Backlinko, 40.7% of all voice search results come from a Featured Snippet.
Featured snippets are crisp answers from credible sources and are the ideal voice search results. Therefore, appearing in featured snippets becomes important.
- LOCAL SEO
More and more people use the term “near me” while carrying out voice searches and hence it is important to improve a website’s local SEO. This will help Google to feature a website in its SERP, increasing their footfalls. Few ways of doing this are:
- Making sure all the names, phone numbers, and addresses are accurate and up to date.
- Adding CTAs and giving proper directions to further instructions.
- Maintaining a separate platform for local listings and monitoring the website’s local search performance.
With technology growing at such an immense pace, we will soon be living in a world where our actions/queries will be pre-empted. Search options are becoming more realistic than ever. Until a few years ago, all these things were fragments of sci-fi and now we are living it. Therefore, by understanding the technological changes better, marketers can make their business more successful and useful and hence continue staying ahead of the crowd.