Amazon’s Alexa. Google’s Home. Apple Siri. Microsoft Cortana. Samsung Bixbi.
These voice-based personal assistants are pushing some of the popular mobile apps of today to oblivion.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers 2016 Internet Trends Report cited, “Google voice search queries in 2016 are up 35x over 2008”
From making a voice call to ordering something online, voice search is slowly becoming a mainstream lifestyle.
For digital marketers, this brings a trove of opportunities. If you are a digital marketer, you should already be working neck-deep trying to craft an SEO strategy for voice search.
An average 60% of online searches now originate from mobile devices (Hitwise). A few months from now a large chunk of these searches could possibly originate from voice search channeled through a mobile device.
You better know how to optimize for voice search so that your website stays where it is meant to be – on top of search engine results.
Voice Search: What Is It Most Used For?
The purpose of voice search is being used by users varies with age. This Google Blog has a detailed take on what people search using voice commands and when it is most used. The statistics reveal that 43% of teens use voice search for calling someone, while 40% of adults use it for seeking directions. Texting, playing music, finding movie times, checking the time is the other purposes for which voice search is predominantly used for.
Voice Vs Text Search Queries: Points Of Difference
The two forms of searches have evident differences which marketers must utilize for optimizing their SEO strategy. Some points of difference include:
- Search query length
- More questions than phrases
- There is a stronger actionable intent
- Localized searches
- Users expect quick actionable results
Search Query Length
Although commanding a voice search is easier than typing a search query, statistics suggest that the search query length for both text and voice search queries remain almost the same.
Search queries in the range of 1 to 3 letters have maximum search volume and clicks.
More questions than phrases
Users are more prone to ‘asking questions’ through voice search than use typical search phrases. More question words like ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘why’, etc. feature more in voice searches.
On the other hand, in text-based searches, users stick to proper language that is not so natural or conversational as in voice searches.
For example, voice searches will typically go like:
- When is the next flight to San Francisco
- Who is Elon Musk?
- Where is the nearest gas station?
And so on.
Whereas in text searches, the search phrases would typically be like:
- Flights to San Francisco
- Elon Musk Tesla
- Texas Gas stations near me
There is a stronger actional intent
Since voice searches are more natural and conversational, the intent is higher. The user has a specific intent to take an action based on the search result.
In text results, there is a possibility that the user may not get the exact search result relating to the search phrase.
For instance, the text search phrase “smartphone repair’ might give the user DIY search results along with service providers. A voice search, on the other hand, would go like, “where is the nearest iPhone service centre?”
The search results vary significantly between the two. Perhaps, this is the most important feature about voice searches that marketers should be aware of and utilize the most for reaching their business goals.
Like we said before, voice searches originate predominantly from mobile devices. Also, users tend to specify the location pertaining to which they would expect to see the results. For businesses, this means giving great importance to using localized keywords and also maintaining NAP consistency.
Users expect quick actionable results
In text searches, users are offered links to websites or services from which they can make a choice. In voice searches, users are not redirected to links or websites, instead, are given SERPs that demand instant action. The bottomline: Have all your SERPs updated.
SEO for Voice Search: Where to get started?
Unlike traditional search queries, which are typed into the search bar with near-perfect spelling, voice search is more conversational and varied in nature. Also, they predominantly originate from mobile devices than from desktops or laptops. Further, voice searches happen to be more longer and specific, unlike text phase-based searches.
So how do you make your pages rank for voice search phrases?
Use FAQ pages
FAQ pages with natural questions that your users might ask their voice personal assistants is a good way of getting ranked higher. If your answers are right, there is a higher probability that your website would be ranked in Google’s “Featured Snippet”.
Use Structured Data Markup
Make sure you use a well-defined structured data markup that will give search engines maximum information they would need to rank for voice searches.
Optimize your Google My Business Page
Like I said before, voice searches are specific and local. So, optimizing your Google My Business page with the local contact, address and phone number is a must-do to reach customers who are using voice searches.
Start Listening to Your users
The world of SEO is taking a blind curve. In the coming days, we would lean more into voice searches. You need to optimize your SEO strategy for voice search so that your website ranks higher and reaches customers who display a strong intent of the immediate action.
So, it is time to actually start ‘listening’ to your users!