As time passes, Voice SEO (Search Engine Optimization) becomes more critical than ever because voice search keeps growing and evolving as a trend – leaving us with this question: Where is voice search technology currently? Various technologies can receive and interpret spoken commands, and each uses search engines as its knowledge base.
At first glance, it may seem like there’s no difference between smart assistants on smartphones versus smart speakers, but one looks at how they are used, and the nuances become clear as day. The main goal is to ensure your website is ready to meet your voice-searching audience where they are. According to some SEO experts, voice SEO is a requirement for websites.
To effectively show up in results for searches conducted through voice assistants. In 2018, voice searches comprised 20% of Google search queries, 25% of Bing searches, and 10% of Baidu queries. The potential importance of voice SEO will rise with the increased use of voice search is likely as more people use mobile devices for web searches and other computing purposes.
Many that grew up in an age where technology couldn’t talk back still have a stigma attached to talking to our phones when another human being isn’t on the other end. Younger generations don’t have that same hesitation, and most feel “tech-savvy” using voice search. In simple terms, voice search is on the rise – we’d be foolish to ignore this trend in the SEO industry.
Understanding What Voice SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Entails
Search Engine Optimization (Voice SEO) is the optimization of keywords and keyword phrases for searches using voice assistants. At its core, optimizing for voice search is similar to the SEO of yesteryear but with a refined focus. This means that it’s time now the right time to stop thinking about its purpose and optimize for voice as it is a winner-take-all search result.
As time passes, voice search keeps growing and evolving as a trend – where is voice search technology currently? Various technologies can receive and interpret spoken commands, and each uses search engines as its knowledge base. At first glance, it may seem like there’s no difference between smart assistants on smartphones versus smart speakers.
But one look at how they are used, and the nuances become clear daily. We aim to ensure your website is ready to meet your voice-searching audience where they are. Much like search intent keywording, we see a separate use case for each smart-assistant-enabled device. If you focus on how each device is used, you can better tailor your content to each type of searcher.
Some critics still argue that Voice SEO is irrelevant because voice searches are turned into text-based searches before they’re submitted. Whilst making them no different from desktop or mobile searches. Advocates counter that voice searches search the same way as mobile or desktop and often have the same results. Thus, the nuances of voice search can still help in a way.
Especially for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, etc., as well as creative content marketers to better understand and serve consumers than traditional text searching. Most people use voice search today for a reason.
Different Ways People Use Voice Search On Each Smart Technology
Some of the most common voice searches are for navigation. Local businesses can benefit by registering on a listing service such as Google My Business, a free tool for businesses to manage their presence on Google Maps and Google Search. Another important consideration is the inclusion of more conversational terms and phrases using a search through a voice assistant.
It tends to mimic real-life conversations. This approach is called long-tail+, where the plus is for conversational phrases added to enhance SEO for voice. Microdata, which embeds metadata in the existing HTML of a webpage, also helps optimize websites for voice SEO as it allows web crawlers, browsers, and search engines to understand the contents of a webpage better.
Voice searchers who need a quick answer or solution to an immediate problem typically ask for their smartphones. Say, for instance, you are on a date and want to decide where to go next. A quick voice search could give you plenty of ideas. People often use them in the comfort of their homes for any large, in-depth search. Consider Random trivia, random songs, etc.
Or rather, some help in any plans they might be making, such as a wedding or an overseas trip, would be the topic of their vocal searches. Markedly, 52.8% of people use voice search while driving, asking for locations, directions, and stores with the best prices. It shows that voice search has become a critical aspect that content SEO auditors should consider in their plans.
The Voice Search Evolution Is Getting Smarter Than Ever Before
Few people type the way they speak – especially for search queries. When you type, you adopt a stilted shorthand, entering something like “weather Paris” into your search bar. When you speak, you’re more likely to ask the complete question, “What’s the weather like in Paris?” This pattern holds some truth with voice search queries as well.
As programs like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana become more popular and their programming becomes more refined, it’s increasingly essential that search engines learn to interpret natural phrases. AI is helping voice search become capable of interpreting and responding to things like grammar, spelling corrections, and other search engine queries by Internet users.
For instance, if you ask Google to show you a picture of Wales and get a shot of whales, you can clarify, “W-A-L-E-S,” and a picture of the country will now pop up. There is also the element of what has been previously said and searched for. If you ask, “Where is the Golden Gate Bridge?” and follow that up with, “I want to see pictures of it” and “Who built it?”
Google can interpret what “it” is based on your initial search. Alternatively, if Google cannot immediately answer a query, you can help it narrow down the answer through context. So, if you ask, “How high is Rigi?”, voice search may not respond because it’s an obscure mountain in the Swiss Alps. What if you ask, “What are the mountains in Switzerland or something related?”
First, follow up with the query, “How high is Rigi?” Google will tell you that it’s 1,798m in elevation. The next thing is context-based on Location. If you’re at a Convention Center in San Jose and ask voice search, “How far is the airport from the Convention Center?” Google will understand that “the Convention Center” refers to your current location in San Jose.
The Best Practices For Voice SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Over the last decade, Voice Search has been said to be the future of online search. We know you’re as excited as we are to get your website’s content picked up and passed through smart home devices. After all, people have already begun using voice search, and many can’t imagine returning to old, boring typing. Today, 71% of consumers prefer to ask a voice search query.
Rather than just typing into the search bar to get the answers. Still, 66.3 million U.S. households were forecasted to own a smart speaker in 2022. As voice search continues to grow, the number of voice search users will continue to increase. But how do you ensure it’s your website that Siri, Alexa, or Cortana shares with entire families? How can you keep users trickling?
Great news! The SEO community has developed ways to incorporate voice search into site optimization. The allure of voice chat is undeniable – it’s faster, hands-free, and lets you multitask. Especially with the COVID-19 Pandemic emerging, more people are turning to voice search. According to Gartner, 32% of consumers are interested in hands-free technology.
Eventually, this is something that would limit touching or contamination. In terms of technological advancements and other cloud computing innovations, voice search is one of the fastest-growing search engine page result features.
Consider these stats:
- One, according to Perficient, 55% of users do voice searches to ask questions on a smartphone
- Two, according to eMarketer, 39.4% of U.S. internet users operate a voice assistant at least once a month
Voice chat is also becoming increasingly reliable as technology improves. Voice search is now no longer just a fad. If voice search optimization isn’t part of your SEO strategy, it’s time to fix that by gleaning into the following practices. Regarding application-based context, if you’re chatting about a specific restaurant in an app, you can ask Google to “Show me the menu.”
As a result, Google will understand which restaurant’s menu you want to see based on context and bring up the menu for that restaurant. Be that as it may, there are a few practices for quality Voice SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to note:
1. Voice search is picking up, and it’s good to let users know
For sure, the key parts of a successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy may have remained relatively constant, yes. But their definition and purpose have changed entirely. The industry’s scope has expanded and evolved into something more dynamic, driven by visual and voice search trends. This delivers on a genuine consumer need.
According to a report from Slyce, 74 percent of shoppers report that text-only search is insufficient for finding the products they want. Early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by as much as 30 percent. Through visual and voice search, marketers can engage more meaningfully with their users.
Plus, their target audience is at each stage of their purchase journey. This means moving beyond old static websites toward more interactive experiences accessible anywhere, any time, on any device. Voice search is no longer a “near future” of SEO. It’s already here, and a contest among marketers to see who can master it best. As you can see, it boils down to;
The following key principles:
- researching your target audience
- observing the evolution of voice search
- continuing SEO work on your website
So, what can you do to prepare your clients for voice search? Firstly, recognize that the change is here to stay, with ComScore projecting that 50% of all searches will be voice searches in the coming years. On that note, our internal research shows that voice searches tend to be more action-based than text searches, with voice search users showing intent to act quite faster.
Rather than simply searching with no purpose of acting on it. Secondly, let your clients think about their business. Try to help them think about the problems they wish to solve and then write content that answers these questions to help customers. In this way, keyword research can be tougher but may lead to more direct results that help people find solutions.
By the same token, consider how people talk and target those long-tail keywords in your voice search SEO approach. Put these answers at the top of your clients’ pages, ideally in the first sentence, to let a SERP know you are answering the user question. Although it may sound disconcertingly nebulous, the future of search lies with voice, visual and vertical optimization.
2. Claim your Google My Business profile for your brand
Roughly half of voice search users look for local business information every day. Because voice search is so local-friendly, ensuring your voice results are at the top is key. What’s the best way to increase your chances in this game? That would be the top player of local SEO: Google My Business (GMB) for your organization. Google My Business (GMB) is a free online tool.
It allows you to create more exposure for your business profile and website on Google Search and Maps. Using your GMB account, you can reach out to customers, keep your business profile updated and monitor how people interact with your business on Google. GMB is used primarily to help businesses grow their online presence and connect with customers.
It provides businesses with a profile page with information about the business and tools to manage customer reviews, insights, and messages. This step is a must-have for a brick-and-mortar store and startup business, whether for voice search or not. It’s easy and completely free. Create your listing, fill it out with all the information you can provide, and wait for the approval.
3. Understand your type of customers and device behavior
Just as voice search algorithms use data, location, and several data points to understand search context, marketers must dig deeper into understanding the consumer and their behavior. Real-time data and research on consumer insights can help understand how different people use voice search and on what type of voice-enabled device. Next, think mobile & get local…
On that note, we are shifting to a mobile-first world where devices and people are mobile. As a result, it is important to remember that mobile and Local SEO go hand in hand, especially where voice search is concerned. Mobile devices allow users to perform on-the-go local queries. Voice search, in turn, enables users to ask hyper-local questions.
Make sure things like directions to brick-and-mortar locations and XML sitemaps are readable to visitors and search engines on your website. Also, create different experiences for desktop and mobile users – i.e., optimize for “near me” type searches on mobile. Lastly, ensure your mobile strategy is sound and focus on improving page speed and load times.
4. Try to improve your overall website domain authority
Now comes the part you will probably enjoy the least. As a rule of thumb, voice search picks the top search result for the spoken query. Sometimes the assistant says, “Here are a few options, ” leaving you to explore the SERP. In other words, to be heard in voice search, you must put your website on Google’s first page. The closer to the #1 position, the better.
Your best bet is to double down on your SEO efforts on all fronts, including backlinks, user experience, local search, and technical issues – you name it. Track your progress by watching your rankings grow in the likes of the WebCEO’s Rankings report. With the help of the WebCEO Rankings Report Tool, you can track how you rank for your voice search keywords.
Don’t miss the day when a smart assistant picks up a page from your site – that will certainly be an occasion worth celebrating. Still, we said earlier that voice search picks the top search result, including Position 0, right? Being number one in organic search is no longer enough. You’ll need to aim even higher. 40.7% of voice search results come from featured snippets.
If you have an FAQ page, you’ve already done most of the work. Both featured snippets and voice search prefer short, concise answers to user questions. In most cases, simple language works best here: Backlinko found that the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade level, so stay away from academic language.
5. Learn the context & conversation of what you see on-screen
It’s important to realize that context and conversational search are now essential as voice search continues to evolve. Marketers need to thoughtfully incorporate a voice search strategy into their websites and double down on excellent content written in a conversational tone. We also need to understand the people who type queries and ask questions in voice searches.
Usually they are often two different types of people. The “typer” might be OK with doing research, while the “talker” typically wants quick answers and instant results. We need to appeal to both types of people. For example, you may consider the context of what you see on-screen. Are you looking up a Wikipedia entry on Johnny Depp or someone with the same focus?
Asking voice search to “Show me pictures of Johnny” results in a smorgasbord of Johnny Depp photos because he’s the “Johnny” you currently have on screen. Consider adding raster images, a simple message, and some specific Call To Action (CTA) in your website photos — so that it becomes more compelling when viewed in Google Images or repurposed.
Content indicated by speakable structured data should have concise headlines and/or summaries that provide users with comprehensible and useful information. If you include the top of the story in speakable structured data, we suggest you rewrite it to break up information into individual sentences so that it reads more clearly for text-to-speech (TTS).
6. Focus on conversational keywords per your business industry
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” aired in 1987. At the time, casual conversation with a computer must have seemed like far-flung science fiction. Fast forward to today: We see people speaking into their watches, interacting, and getting voice responses from their phones. We are almost there… not quite, though! We don’t believe that short-tail keywords will ever disappear.
Not entirely! Instead, they become far less relevant when considering the natural phrases used in voice searches. More than ever, marketers must focus on conversational long-tail keywords in their content SEO audit strategies to leap huge benefits. Thus, it’s essential to determine what questions you need to complete to answer.
Asking Google, “What’s my office address?” will bring up your address without clarifying who “my” refers to. As Google works on conversational commerce and local search, we now use voice search to help make instant purchases. Asking voice search to “Order me a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Pizza Hut” or “Show me blue jeans, to be precise.
Or rather, show me size 12 /Order me the pair from American Eagle” makes shopping easier. Try to map keyword categories and themes to your images as much as you can. And then also use these queries to optimize image alt tags, titles, and captions. Put relevant keywords in the image file name. You should also optimize the images for the web and swift page load.
7. Create compelling, personalized content to target voice search users
Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report shows that 20% of mobile searches were made using voice in 2016, a number that continues to rise as technology companies refine and improve their digital assistants. Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are all major performers in the digital assistant game, and many expect this tech to become almost ubiquitous in the next years.
Brevity, context, and relevance are essential when optimizing for voice search. For optimal audio user experiences, we recommend around 20 to 30 seconds of content per section of speakable structured data or roughly two to three sentences. What might be different from your usual SEO strategy is that now you also need to pay special attention to the following:
- Creating detailed answers to common questions
- Answering simple questions clearly and concisely
Equally important, creating rich, compelling content that answers your users’ most common questions and solves their pain is good. This a good strategy that’s already been adopted successfully by many websites in their content plans.
It entails the following:
- Create content or a webpage with a headline that asks a common question
- Immediately after the headline, provide a concise answer or definition to the question
- Use the rest of the page to provide further elaborative detail
The significant thing about this strategy is that the robust webpage appeals to new Google ranking algorithm changes and similar search engine ranking factors. At the same time, the short-and-sweet information at the top of the page is optimized for voice search and might even become a featured snippet.
8. Provide web-based context with schema markup for your website
The schema doesn’t seem to affect voice search SEO much. However, other sources recommend using Schema anyway. This is because structured data helps search engines understand the purpose of each element on a page – and select what is relevant to the user’s question. Additionally, Google is developing a “speakable” Schema property to integrate into its system.
It’s used for marking up the text on your site which you want to be read by the smart assistant. We anticipate that Google wants Schema to play a larger role in voice search. The “speakable” property is still in beta, so keep an eye on the updates and get ready to implement. In that case, try to get acquainted with Schema Markup if you aren’t already.
Use schema to mark up your content and tell search engines what your site’s about. This HTML add-on helps search engines understand the context of your content, which means you rank better in typical searches, and more relevant in specific queries made through voice search. Google understands language by utilizing the way your website schemas are laid out.
They are a great way to add more info to your website so you’re ready to answer questions. A recent research study by Milestone Marketing Experts, based on 9,400 schema deployments, found significant gains of +20-30% – with an average of various key website data performance metrics.
Such as follows:
- 40 schema types
- 130 attributes and properties
Mobile users and voice searchers will most often be after this info. Therefore, from a performance perspective, ensuring that your website is technically sound and includes schemas is critical. In that case, ensure that your website navigation and informational structure are easy to find and that your website page loading speeds are fast enough without errors.
9. Build website pages that answer the frequently asked questions
Some potential future uses we will see from voice search are tech and retailers joining together to take advantage of two growing trends: online shopping and voice search through digital assistants and mobile devices. U.S. e-commerce grew 15% in 2016, a number that seems likely to rise as options increase and brick-and-mortar stores continue to experience troubles.
We know that optimizing for voice search differs from optimizing for traditional search. A different SEO strategy is required, and those that are quicker to adopt it will see huge benefits as it continues to grow. With over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, we have seen firsthand the different strategies companies need to pursue and the results they can provide.
This brings us to the role of UFAQ for webmasters. When voice searchers ask a question, they typically begin it with “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How.” They’re looking for answers that fulfill an immediate need. Make a UFAQ Page to answer them, and begin each question with these adverbs. Then answer them conversationally to appeal to voice search.
Once you and your client have thought about the best terms and questions to target, look up Google’s results, especially if there is a Google Answer Box as your reference. Think about ways to answer the question being posed more directly. In voice searches, these are the answers that get read aloud and therefore have a high likelihood of drawing a customer in.
10. Engage with your target audience on social media platforms
One of the prime benefits of both visual and voice searches is that they create a platform for more effective communication with consumers. As the role of search expands to cover every step on the path to purchase, the number of search-based micro-moments will continue to proliferate. To capitalize, brands need a deep understanding of their consumers in all ways.
Such as utilizing a multimedia content strategy that caters to their audience’s requirements and the technical knowledge to communicate these messages to search engines through text, voice, and images. Oh yes, social media is voice-search-friendly, too! Voice search results often have tons of likes and shares from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
Make sure to have active pages and give them lots of love and care. The more you engage with users, the more you will find yourself through a virtual assistant later. An informative video can make for a much better answer to a user’s query than plain text. If you have any videos to help your users, they are also viable for voice search.
Google can isolate parts of the video relevant to the users’ requests, but you’ll need to ensure your video ranks high first. To make your videos rank high in Google and appear in voice searches,
You will need the following:
- Conversational long-tail phrases in the titles. They don’t need to be identical to users’ queries, so you can be flexible
- Tutorials whose titles start with “How To” are a great example
- Keywords in the video’s description and transcript
- A clickable thumbnail
Last but not least, make sure that you also track your videos’ Google rankings with WebCEO tools’ My Rankings report, which also picks up video search results. In the same fashion, although visual search reporting is still very limited, keep a close eye on your image search traffic to keep track of any increases in demand. Develop a unique brand aesthetic across all visual assets.
How Technical SEO For Visual And Voice SEO Search Future Looks Like
If brands can’t precisely predict the variety and volume of demand, they must ensure they are in a prime position to attract qualified traffic. As we move into an era of ambient search, consumers are looking for instant information on the go. Therefore, it is imperative that content can be served quickly and seamlessly on all computing devices that are targeting the user.
One technical consideration is that a higher quantity of pre-rendered content needs to be served to the user and to search engines. This is more important than in the past when a significant amount of processing could occur within the browser. However, pre-rendered content should be delivered to search engine user agents to fully respond to (and even pre-empt).
This is per queries via voice or image. Structured Data is mentioned in relation to visual and voice searches, with good reason. The premise of semantic search, which is an essential development for visual and voice search, is built on the idea of entities and structure. A search engine can infer context and intent from search queries by understanding entities, per see.
As well as how they are interconnected. For visual search, Google’s Clay Bavor summarized the size of the challenge:
”In the English language, there’s something like 180,000 words, and we only use 3,000 to 5,000 of them. If you’re trying to do voice recognition, there’s a really small set of things you actually need to recognize. Think about how many objects there are in the world, distinct objects, billions, and they all come in different shapes and sizes.”
There are some vital structured data elements that brands should focus on for visual and voice searches (if applicable).
- Product name
- Social profiles
- Breadcrumb navigation
In a nutshell, visual and voice searches are taking hold for a host of intertwined reasons, both psychological and technological. They allow users to find new ideas in more effective and efficient formats. They also intersect with numerous technological trends, including digital assistants, artificial intelligence, vertical search, and other related or similar aspects.
In the case of vertical search, discovering content within specific verticals is a natural fit for targeted information retrieval. Brands need to help Googlebot by structuring and labeling their data so that it can be served instantly for relevant queries.
Beyond mobile phones, connected devices, and smart speakers, over 49% of Google Home and Amazon Echo users find them necessary. As voice search evolves from voice recognition to voice understanding, Google gets nearer to its aim to transform voice search into “an ultimate mobile assistant that helps you with your daily life so you can focus on things that matter.”
If voice search optimization isn’t part of your SEO strategy, it’s time to fix it. So, are you optimizing your website for voice SEO and Voice Search? If not, you need to start now! Because Voice Search is more popular than ever, it will continue to grow over the next few years as companies across the business world make even deeper investments in the field.
Technology companies and retailers have certainly noticed, and they are moving further in directions that take advantage of the growing rise of voice search. One such example is the recent partnership between Google and Walmart, to be precise. The two giants partnered on a deal that allows customers to “voice shop” through Walmart’s Easy Reorder program.
Related Reference: Enterprises Explore AI Voice Assistant Technology
And all this is powered through Google Assistant. This is all done through Google’s shopping service, Google Express. After this deal, Google announced that they are waiving all fees for their Google Express shopping service, promising free delivery in 1-3 days as long as the customer meets the retailer’s minimums. This signals the seriousness with which Google partakes.
More so, while entering this agreement, they hope the waiving of fees will remove a barrier to entry and convince more customers to switch from online services like Amazon. This means customers can shop for hundreds of thousands of products at Walmart by talking to their digital assistant, integrating voice search, and shopping online in a way that’s never been done.