If Google has a voice search option, it must be for some reason!
No doubt many people prefer writing their query in the search box. But there are many people who prefer using voice search to search on Google.
Siri for Apple products, Google voice search for Android devices and Cortana for windows devices are some great examples of voice search tools.
While optimizing your site for search engines, you should also know that how will voice search affect SEO.
This guide is all about what is voice search and how to optimize your site for voice search to keep up with the latest voice search trends.
Chapter 1: The rise of voice search
According to a blog by Google, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use Google voice search daily to search for something. This is mainly to avoid the effort of typing on their phones.
If you still do not realize the increasing trend of voice search, you will be surprised to know that 20% of search queries made from mobile are voice searches.
It is a common assumption that voice searches are only prevalent in mobile phones. Well, it is reported that 25% of searches made from Windows 10 Desktop taskbar are voice search.
50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 Comscore states!!
Smart Speakers, such as Alexa by Amazon are now a polar trend. These speakers also operate by voice command.
What are the reasons behind the growth of Voice Search SEO recently?
We will be discussing it in 3 points mentioned below:
- Speaking out something is obviously faster than typing it!
As reported by Bruce Clay, voice search is 3.7 times faster than typing the same query. It is not much of a surprise if people are using voice search more than typing because it reduces their efforts.
- Voice Search is the best for mobile phones
According to a survey by Stone Temple, 60% of people using mobile phones have used voice search at some or the other point. The survey was done keeping in mind the trend of using mobiles at different locations and situations.
As stated above, Stone Temple survey covered a lot of questions and scenarios. One of the questions was “What are the reasons you use voice command”. Most of the people voted for “It is fast”. This means users find it more convenient than typing.
Speaking on your Google voice search app is way more fast and convenient than typing it.
Because if it increasing use and demand, voice search is making a strong impact on the SEO trends.
Chapter 2: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Voice Search
1. As people are getting more inclined towards voice search, the search patterns are also changing-
Searches are more long and descriptive now. And also conversational.
According to Bing engineers, keywords for voice search are longer than normally written searches. This is because all you have to do is speak, so there you can be more expressive and clear with your query.
Going by a blog by Google, users prefer natural language to engage with their Google assistant. 70% of such requests have been recorded. These shows that users are now engaging in natural flow conversation with their Google Assistant.
For example, you want to know how to make pancakes. In a text, you would have probably written: “make pancakes”. But if you search the same for voice search, your voice command may be something like, “Hi Google, tell me how do I make pancakes at home”.
Here the natural flow of language can be seen clearly.
2. The location for voice searches is getting diversified-
The observations by Google show that the query for something “near me” have increased by 150% for the past two years.
For example, if your car or scooter suddenly runs out of petrol, the easiest way to find a petrol pump will be a voice search. You can easily speak “Where is the closest petrol pump near me right now”, instead of typing “petrol pump near me”. This is less time consuming and convenient.
3. The way of search results display changes-
Google is now shifting towards giving direct answers to users for any query.
To understand this better, let us assume a user searches for “the longest river in the world”.
There may be a huge number of search results for this. But thanks to the rich snippet feature by Google, the exact answer can be found at the top of SERPs.
Because of this, the click rate for organic results has reduced.
Similarly, the same applies to voice search. When you put the same query by voice search, the output may be in the form of a voice output by voice assistant. There are many voice app for PC that can also be used for this.
This means that the SEO professionals should try to write their content as direct answers to questions. Google featured snippet is an important point to focus on. User experience will increase only if users get quick answers to any questions.
Chapter 3: Keyword Research for voice search
Now that you know the importance and popularity of voice search, keyword research has also become important.
1. Natural sounding keywords should be used more-
We have already discussed the use of natural language by users in voice search. Keeping that in mind, natural keywords should be used more for voice search SEO.
2. Do not avoid using long-tail keywords anymore-
Earlier it was thought that very few people search with long and lengthy queries. But now since voice search hype is increasing, it is advised it use more of long and conversational keywords.
Using 5+ words in your keyword is not a big deal anymore.
This does not mean you use only long keywords throughout your content. Use it along with normal length keywords. Keep the balance between these two. You do now wish to ignore the users who prefer typing their query right?
3. Focus on question keywords-
The use of question keywords is increasing by 61% every year.
This means you should also focus on question keywords as well for your voice search optimization. For example; “which is the longest river in the world”
Chapter 4: Content Optimisation for voice search
1. Make use of short answers in your content-
Google answers to voice search queries made with short answers. The length of these answers is around 29 words. Thus, make sure to create your content in a way that it can answer a query within the given word limit.
2. Voice Search FAQ Pages-
FAQ pages are the best to optimize for voice search. Therefore, the maximum number of question keywords come from there.
While answering any question on voice search, most of the results are taken from related FAQ pages. The search results voice search have more FAQ pages than desktop results.
For example, if you search for “how do car insurance claims work”.
The answer to this voice search query has been taken from an FAQ page of a good site, Obrella.
3. Featured Snippets-
Google takes 40.7% of voice search results from the Featured Snippet.
If you use Google Home or Alexa, getting in the featured snippet is important for voice search. This is because Google Home and Alexa search results give you only one answer for your query.
4. Write Content in natural language-
As discussed above, voice searches come more in natural language. And thus, your content should also be written in natural language if you want to rank in voice search results.
Chapter 5: Tips for Voice search strategy
1. Include “fillers” in question keywords-
Filler words such as the, I, on, of, it, etc should be used with question keywords.
The reason for this is explained by Purna Vij form Bing, “ The more matches you have, the more likely your ad will show on a voice search that includes words like “a” and “me” and “for.”
2. Write according to 9th-grade reading level-
Write as if your content will be read by a 9th-grade student or even smaller. Write your content to make it easy to read and understand it. Avoid using jargons or any fancy words within your content.
3. Work on your site speed-
The load speed of voice search results is 3.8 times faster than the average website.
Not just for voice search, site speed is an important issue for overall site SEO. Sites with poor site speed have more bounce rates.
4. Increase your Domain Authority-
To increase site domain authority, try to have more links to it. A site with better domain authority ranks more in voice search. The Ahref Domain Rating for voice search results is 76.8 (approx 77).
There is just one search result for any voice query most of the times. Therefore, Google will want to put forward the best result from a trusted web source. As you know, Google considers sites with high domain authority as a trusted source. Thus, you should on increasing your site domain authority.
Domain authority is of more significance to Google than the page rank.
5. Longer Content means more voice search traffic-
As you already know, voice search queries are usually done in a natural language. And these queries are also longer. Thus, a page content with longer content has more chances of matching the voice search query.
The word limit per page is approx 1900 words by Google. But the pages for voice search query must have at least 2300 words to match the maximum number of voice search queries.
6. Focus on “Near Me” Searches-
Suppose you want to find an appliance repair service closest to you. Your voice search input will be “Appliance repair service near me”. This will give you the search results closest to your location.
Had it been a scenario a few years ago, the same query would have been “Appliance repair services in New York” (if you are from New York, obviously). This query would have given a big list of repair service providers. You would then have to choose the one closest to you.
So, optimize your content for these “near me searches” as well is you want to rank for voice search results.
7. The video featured snippets-
Google has started including Youtube videos in featured snippets.
Videos in featured snippets are a great way to boost your site rank. Video search snippets are mostly shown for queries in natural language.
For example, if you search for how to “how to cover a book”, the featured snippet will show a video.
Thus, if you have a video on your site, optimize it for voice search by using natural language keywords.
Chapter 6: Case Study
What’s the Best Way to Peel Garlic?
If we put the same query in Google, the first result will be from a site called Life Hacker.
The search result is not like any traditional one. Google Voice search will start it by saying “This came back from a search”.
What made this site rank for the voice search? the answer is- it’s domain authority!
The load speed for the page is also very high.
When we put the same query through desktop, the answer from this site is in the featured snippet. This fact also increases the chances for any site to come up in the voice search results.