Ok, Google! Which is the best nearby restaurant to eat Mexican food?
Alexa, what are the hottest destinations to visit this summer?
Siri! How to bake gingerbread cookies for Christmas?
Does this sound familiar to you? Bet you’ve already said them while searching the web. Voice searches are a daily practice now, changing how search engines work.
If you’re a marketer and you’re curious to know what this means for SEO, we’ve got some important news for you — keep reading.
What is voice search?
Voice search is a technology that understands and responds to your spoken commands.
It lets you search for things by talking instead of typing.
This technology is used in devices like smartphones and smart speakers programmed to understand different accents and how we talk.
While it might seem like voice search is recent, actually, it was invented more than 70 years ago.
Before Siri and Alexa, there was Audrey – the first voice recognition device that was created in 1952 by Bell Laboratories. Audrey could recognize spoken digits, paving the path for today’s voice search technology.
In 2011, Google also joined the voice search hype, introducing the feature in 2012, posing strong competition to Apple’s Siri.By 2016, 20% of searches in the Google App were done by voice, and by 2018, 27% of people worldwide were using voice search on their mobile devices.
How does voice search work?
Explained in simple terms – instead of typing your question into a search engine bar, you use a virtual assistant and just speak it out loud.
For example, asking Alexa for restaurant suggestions or telling Siri to play a workout playlist.
Voice search is like a more casual version of the traditional text search.
People treat it like a conversation with a friend, using casual language.
Unlike the short and focused terms in text searches, voice searches are often more chatty and relaxed.
The influence of Voice Search on SEO strategies
- A shift in search behavior – Adapting to more natural language
- Bringing value is crucial – Only one result matters
- Only Position Zero matters – Main focus on optimizing the content for featured snippets
Overall, probably the most noticeable impact when it comes to SEO is that people can now search for queries more effortlessly using informal language and still get relevant results, even when searching for something that includes a lot of keywords.
Voice assistants are created to understand natural language and its intended meaning. At the same time, in the past, we had to ensure that we got the semantics right, making the search as clear as possible using precise keywords.Now, we can look for news or important events without typing words like ‘news,’ ‘news sites,’ or ‘newspaper.’ Instead, we can just say, ‘When will the next general election be?’ the results will explicitly state the date and the information we seek.
While making a voice search, usually, you’ll only hear one search result using devices like Google Home or Alexa Echo.
This means there’s no second or third place, unlike when you type something in the search bar and get five blue links.
This means that, with voice search, only highly ranked content is likely to be chosen as an answer, with about 75% of voice search results being in the top 3 for that query.
Even though a screenless voice search gives you only one result, Google may consider the top 3 results, not always the absolute top one.
This is important because you might get the most relevant answer based on the overall credibility of the information and the website rather than results specifically optimized for SEO.However, while there is an objective winner in Google’s algorithm without considering personalization, Google always considers factors like location and past search history.
So, for the SEOs concerned, even if you’re not the number 1 result, you might still appear in an individual’s top results.
As we already mentioned, voice search usually gives you the most relevant answer from the top search result, known as the featured snippet.
This makes featured snippets and "position zero" results completely pivotal for SEO while voice searching.
To improve the chances of winning the featured snippet, marketers should emphasize optimizing their content to present a clear and concise answer to common questions within their industry.Also, using structured data markup is necessary to help search engines scan and understand the content more effectively, thus increasing the chances of being chosen as the featured snippet.
SEO in the Age of Voice Search: What to Expect in 2024
In the world of SEO, one thing is certain: it’s an ongoing game where nothing is ever set in stone; however, considering that voice search is unlikely to lose popularity, here are our predictions on how it might affect SEO in the upcoming year.
- Creating only valuable and trustworthy content
- Optimizing the content to be voice-search-friendly
- Mobile Optimization to impact the user experience and SEO rankings
- Local SEO will be the key to business success
- Schema markup to maximize voice search visibility
- Multimedia content at the forefront
As voice search becomes more popular, marketers and SEOs must put all their effort into creating trustworthy and valuable content.
Featured snippets show the most relevant results, but gaining this position takes time.
It can’t be manipulated, so businesses should develop a strategy to ensure their content adds value and stays ahead of their competition.
FAQs, how-to guides, and other question formats can achieve this more easily.
Also, while voice search engines want quick and direct answers, they always prioritize detailed and in-depth responses.
So, creating detailed, helpful, and contextually relevant content on different topics can bring in more voice search traffic.
If your content fully answers a user’s question, it will likely appear in voice search results.
Digital marketers must focus on making their content appropriate for voice search, using short and long keywords, and writing in a natural conversational tone, just like how we talk daily.
The content must match common queries and how people usually search to improve their chances of ranking in voice searches.
While easily digestible and simple, the information should be helpful, precise, and up-to-date.
Ensuring fast website load times for effective voice search optimization is also important.
Since voice search is mostly done on mobiles, this means that now it’s an absolute must for websites to be mobile-friendly.If your website loads quickly (in less than 5 seconds), it’s more likely to appear in voice search results since Google considers loading speed an important factor for mobile searches, especially for voice searches on mobile devices.
Slow pages annoy everyone and can lead to poor website performance on search engines.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights can assist you in improving your website performance on mobiles.
In the past five years, there has been a significant increase in searches like "near me," especially since the start of the pandemic.
Businesses should not miss the chance to reach potential customers by ignoring opportunities to attract local traffic.Add your website in local directories such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and Yelp, and use location-specific keywords such as the name of your city or area.
Display your address and phone number consistently across all directories and keep your online listings accurate and up-to-date.
Additionally, adding details such as business hours, contact information, and customer reviews helps voice assistants deliver accurate and useful responses to voice queries, thereby building trust with customers.
Adding schema markup code to your website can help search engines understand your content better.
It provides extra information about your webpage and increases its chances of appearing when people use voice search.
When someone asks their voice assistant a question, like "Find me a nearby restaurant," search engines use schema markup to determine which websites have the most relevant information.Websites with schema markup are more likely to be featured in these voice search results because the markup gives search engines a clue as to whether your website will be relevant to be shown on the searcher’s results.
Another major development in the SEO sphere that came with the rise of voice search is the increasing popularity of multimedia content.
People who use voice search are more likely to consume content while multitasking, so businesses must create multimedia content that voice assistants can easily capture.This includes creating videos, podcasts, and infographics.
Pro tips for making your content voice search-friendly
Given the growing popularity of voice search, all business owners and marketers should keep an eye on their
SEO strategies and digital advertising plans.
Still, we don’t advise you to jump into things too quickly, though.
Voice search technology is still pretty new, and updates are happening every day.
However, learning the best ways to use voice search and make small changes to your SEO strategy is a good idea.
Make it a continuous process to check and improve your search methods.Here are some tips to help you with this:
- Stay conversational and use less technical jargon
- Format your content as Q&A.
- Structure your website data so Google gets it.
- Pay attention to the FAQ section on your website, and choose the questions wisely.
- Add a section for customer queries.
- Focus on building authority and credibility
- Get to know your audience better and choose who you want to attract
- Attract the local audience by adjusting your specific search terms. Include ‘Near Me’ in your meta description, title tags, anchor text, and internal links. Also, mention nearby landmarks that people commonly use when looking for your location.
- Divide your potential customers into groups.
- Keep track of your progress.
Remember, when it comes to voice search, there’s a difference in how people talk compared to how we write.
When it comes to SEO, think about your content.
Do you want to keep checking a thesaurus or dictionary for complicated words? Probably not.
Spoken words are more simple and comprehensive.
Even the stats show that voice searches use uncomplicated words, like what a ninth-grader would say.
So, businesses should use both long-tail and short-tail keywords. Instead of saying "voice search," use phrases like "what is voice search."
These longer phrases might be less common but can be more precise.If you use them right, you can attract a focused audience.
Google likes to give information in easy-to-understand language.Here is how to do it:
It’s simple: building authority and credibility is the only way to win the SEO game.
When people use voice search on Google, the search engine tends to favor information from reliable sources.
To boost your site’s ranking, you should aim to be seen as a trustworthy source.
Some simple ways to improve your site’s credibility are to create useful and effective content with 2,000 words or more, containing valuable information to increase user engagement and signal to Google that your content is accurate and knowledgeable.Another strategy is to develop a strong backlink plan that can improve your site’s authority and credibility in the long run.
Before you use voice search for your business, get to know the audience you want to reach.
Gather market information and determine who is most likely interested in what you offer.
Identify the types of searches that would lead these potential customers to your business.
When tailoring your approach to attract your desired clients through voice search, ensure your website’s content aligns with what they seek.
This includes your sales and marketing pages and any regularly updated blogs or other content.Understanding the needs of your potential audience can help you focus on developing more effective strategies that are more likely to deliver the desired outcome and actions.
Here are some effective ways to do this:
Everyone knows we are no longer scared of the advancement of technology; it’s already a new era, and we’ve moved past feeling unsure and uneasy.
Now, we find them convenient and instantly satisfying.
Just think about the time when SMS and MMS came to be; everyone was freaking out that we were no longer going to talk to each other in person.
Look at what happened; it made our lives better in many ways.
If you are curious enough, you can learn more about the differences between SMS and MMS.
When it comes to voice search, it’s extremely convenient; you can quickly find what you’re looking for without stopping your Christmas tree decorating.
So, dear marketers, don’t be intimidated by the progress of technology and changes in the SEO domain.
It’s a great time for all businesses to get more attention and succeed with the help of it.
Keep up with the trends and learn how to use them.
In the era of virtual assistants, you shouldn’t risk falling behind. Invest in this growing market, and use the information here to ensure your business thrives with voice search expansion.
It’s hard to say, but it probably won’t happen.
Voice systems aren’t perfect at understanding human speech yet.
We’ll have to wait and see how much they improve.
Plus, our bodies are wired to get more info from our eyes than our ears.
That’s how we’re built, and it’s not likely to change.
People are also better at picking out important stuff when they see it rather than hear it.
We can quickly scan a search page, get the idea, and do something with the results in a few seconds.
Listening to information, though, is slower.
You can only take in one thing at a time, while with seeing, you can handle info from different parts of the page simultaneously.
Lots of people are using voice search these days.
50% of the adult population states they are using voice searches daily, and it’s estimated that there are more than a billion voice searches per month.
So yes, voice search will probably be very important in the future.
Voice search is not a direct ranking factor, but its increasing popularity has changed how search engines assess and rank content.
Because many people use voice search, businesses should adapt their content to rank well in voice searches, which differ from manually typed queries.
Key factors for success include:
- Using natural and conversational language.
- Providing relevant and valuable information.
- Establishing authority and credibility through high-quality content creation.
- Optimizing for mobile devices.
- Tailoring content for local searches.