Voice Search is starting to become a popular medium for people across the world, with the success of Amazon Echo, OK Google and Siri, voice search doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
Here’s some quick statistics to back this up:
to TechCrunch, 1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker
claim that 40% of adults now use voice search once per day
2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches, according to ComScore
- Search Engine Watch highlighted that Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text
Why use Voice Search in your Marketing Campaigns?
As of 2019, Voice Search is still pretty new and currently it hasn’t disrupted the marketing landscape too much at the moment, however that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. Equally, Google and Amazon haven’t offered any sort of advertising opportunities on their voice search platforms, which highlights its more about the user’s experience.
To conquer Voice Search you need to keep in mind that people speak differently to what they type, this means you may not have to rely just on keywords in your content, it looks to be going towards the use of more natural language.
A recent study found that 9th grade reading level or below tends to appear more often as a voice result. You can test the reading level of your content by using a tool like readable.io that lets you paste text in to see its grade score. Equally it’s also important to remember that Voice Search will typically give the user one answer, whereby when a person types into a search engine up to 10 links appear. This obviously means there’s no 2nd, 3rd or 4th ranking, you have to be the best result for the user.
How does Voice Search SEO Work?
Google wants to know the user intent behind searches, but as of 2019 it’s hard for machines to recognise. Google divide intent into 4 main categories, these are informational, navigational, actional, transactional. Or: “I want to [know, go, do, or buy]”.
To demonstrate how this works, you might do a search like: “Who is Donald Trump”
Now if you ask a follow-up question, “Where is [he] from?” Google will understand the implied meaning of “he” as Donald Trump.
This means Google has taken into account the first question you asked, so they know what you’re talking about. This means each question can be relevant to the one before.
Similarly this type of learning has been seen in action for the past couple of years, according to Think with Google, over the past two years we’ve seen a 150%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me now” (for example, “food near me now,” “gas station near me now,” and “delivery near me open now”).
There’s also been a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight” (for example, “houses near me today,” “cheap hotels near me tonight,” and “movies playing near me today”).
And a 200%+ growth in mobile searches for “Open” + “now” + “near me” (for example, “restaurants near me open now,” “stores open near me right now,” and “pharmacy near me open now”).
As you can see for local businesses, voice search is starting to change the landscape. Remember Google uses their geolocation data to provide an answer to a “____ near me” search. Research by branded3 backs this up, it’s stated 39% of voice search users are looking for business information; so it’s never been a more important time to optimise your local SEO.
The same search with Siri can produce different results from Apple’s Maps app, which uses data from multiple companies including Yelp and Foursquare. It’s actually been rumoured there’s over 60 sources Siri uses for local search.
It’s recommended that you build your content that answers frequently asked questions that your target audience wants to know, this could be around your brand, products or services. Typically, this will include content that answers “who, what, when, where, why and how” type of questions.
It can be a good idea to use as many questions in your content as you can, longer pages with more long tail keywords on them might have a better chance to rank. Remember Longer content merely plays the numbers game of having more keywords on the page – thus the voice search is more likely to use your content.
Increasingly many websites are also using the FAQ format to answer key questions about a certain topic, here’s an example on screen now.
These type of sections can help with Google Featured Snippets, according to a Brian Dean study, 40.7% of voice search results came from a featured snippet. You need to optimize for featured snippets by using structured data, from the schema markup depending on the content type. This makes it easier for Google to recognize and pull out relevant answers to queries from your content.
According to Moz, 99.58% of featured snippets come from a page that ranks in the top 10. It goes without saying you should already be ensuring your page is well-optimised:
Another good tip to remember is the importance of ranking videos in the search results, as videos are a big part of Google, since they own YouTube, you can easily answer questions in your videos.
For example, use a natural language keyword (“how do I play drums”) I get the video snippet at the top. Snippets like this one even automatically start at the relevant part of the video that answers the precise query.
Equally you should also keep an eye on your metrics and statistics, it goes without saying that you need your website to be performing as quickly as possible, Google found that bounce rates on mobile are 9.56% higher than on desktops. Mobile users – and especially those using voice search – are likely to be on-the-go, and won’t have time to hang about.
According to result from Search Engine Land, a page that takes five seconds to load is 90% more likely to suffer from bounce backs, compared to a page that loads in just one second.
Its recommended you check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which will provide you with free advice on how to make your web site faster on both mobile and desktop devices.
As you can see, there’s loads of different things you can be doing to get up to speed with Voice Search SEO, as the technology is still new, it may be some time before changes can take effect, however get ahead of your competition with some of the tricks and tips in this section.