Everything You Need to Know About Voice Search SEO
With each passing year, voice assistants are becoming more advanced and much easier to interact with. Now, in 2018, 60 million Americans use their mobile assistants daily. As a result, voice optimization has become a pressing matter.
It’s also worth mentioning that 20% of consumers use voice specifically to shop. Therefore, any Ecommerce business that is not implementing voice search SEO on some level is severely missing out. Still, there are many gaps to fill – mostly of an analytical nature.
For example, Google doesn’t track which device a hands-free search is coming from, such as a cellphone, smart speaker or desktop. This can be frustrating, because such lack of information makes optimization efforts more difficult. But, it can be done!
Yes, the time is now to start perfecting your digital marketing strategy if you ever want to outshine your competitors in the rankings. In this article you will find everything you need to start optimizing for screen less and hands-free searching.
Benefits of Voice Search Optimization
Why should businesses pay attention to the voice search method? Well, from an SEO perspective, it presents some benefits that manual search does not.
For example, screen less searching reduces the results page loading time by more than half – 52%, according to Backlinko. In today’s world, where time is of the essence, this is huge! Not to mention the fact that speaking out your queries is already much faster than typing them.
Furthermore, it can help boost your brand awareness when your result has been selected. Generally, the automated voice will begin the response by mentioning the website from which they pulled the information. Another great benefit is that voice inquiries create less work for the SEO company.
For instance, hands-free search results often do not have the keyword included in their title tags. This suggests that there is no need to create landing pages for each voice keyword that you’d like to rank for. This may leave you wondering what other differences to look out for in terms of SEO.
Why Voice Search is Different
The key difference in hands-free searching lies in the relationship that the user has with the search method. One such change is that the digital assistant has control over which search engine is being used. From this one could assume that there will be more emphasis on other search engines in the future.
The relationship also changes in terms of how consumers interact with the voice assistants. They speak to them in an almost social way. Notably, of the people who own smart speakers, 41% report that it reminds them of speaking with a friend.
In turn, consumers are much more straightforward about their intent when searching via voice. This changes things entirely for people who work in SEO marketing service. As a matter of fact, in the span of just 2 years (2015 -2017) hands-free searches including the term “near me” increased by a whopping 500%.
This term was frequently paired with the terms “today”, “tonight” and “to buy”, which indicates a person who is looking to make a purchase. Similarly, other question words and modifiers (what, where, does, can, etc.) indicate the type of information or products they are looking for.
This conversational tone may be a catalyst that drastically changes SEO strategy in the future. Yet, the efforts can begin as early as now.
Optimizing for Voice Search
To be honest, when it comes to rankings for screenless searching, not much has changed. In fact, 74.9% of Google Home results still present the top 3 ranking results that would show up on a desktop or mobile.
Still, the content length is one striking, yet practical difference about the voice search results. Generally, the voice result has about 29 words, give or take. As one could imagine, this makes rich snippets extremely popular in the voice results. It seems that this small box, is an area that marketers should focus on.
When it comes to lengths, you’ll also notice that keywords aren’t quite the same. Due to the increased use of natural language, the keywords tend to be long tail and phrased as questions. This has even spilled over into the desktop and mobile search terms, as about 4 words per query is the average now.
However, let’s not forget the importance of the target market. As the majority of users are Millennials or Generation Z, voice search SEO techniques should be geared towards them. Not to mention less conventional marketing methods, transparency, and authenticity will probably work well for verbal search campaigns.
For the same reason, social media may be highly effective as well. It’s all about stepping into their shoes. In this way, you can do productive keyword research as well.
Keyword Research for Voice Search
As you may have guessed, keyword research, has not changed that much when it comes to the hands-free method. Still, it’s smart to have a lineup of tools such as the Keyword Planner Tool, Keyword Revealer, Keywords Everywhere tool, to keep in your arsenal. Conduct your research as always but with a few different thoughts in mind:
- Check website analytics to find out what is working and what isn’t
- Check your competitors to gather insights from them
- Take advantage of auto-completing to see what popular terms appear with your seed keyword
- Generate a list of possible keywords that was generated using your favorite tools
- Make sure to pay attention to CPC and search volume
- Rule out the keywords that don’t make any sense or have low numbers
- Three major things that should be kept in mind, however are:
- There is more focus on long tail keywords. Even with a low search volume they can still be valuable, especially for niche industries
- Questions are more valuable because they are more likely to be used.
- Look out for the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, why) and the modifiers. They could be highly effective for vocal search.
- Keep Local SEO optimization in mind, as “Near me” is an important phrase.
In the future, the keyword research methods will likely change to something better suited towards voice search. What else do you think will change for voice search in the future?
The Future of Voice Search
By 2020 (which is rapidly approaching) it’s said that half of all internet inquiries will be via voice search. Meanwhile other sources are saying that the percentage will only increase to 30%. The likelihood of each depends on what the year 2019 will bring.
By the same token, a sudden upswing in screen less searches could spell a challenge for Google if the competition outweighs them. This is because the different digital assistants are predisposed to using certain search engines.
If Alexa, for example, was the most popular assistant, then Bing could surpass Google in popularity. Then SEO experts would focus more heavily on optimizing for Bing search.
Is it likely? Probably not. But is it possible? Sure.
Something that may actually occur in the future, is an increased emphasis on ranking for featured snippets. When 40.7% of verbal searches come from featured snippets in 2018, imagine what that number will be in 2 years.
Knowing that these snippets stand a higher chance of being selected will encourage marketing agencies to optimize for them.
Help from Experts
It can be tough staying ahead of the curve, when you have a million other things on your plate. Understandably, when the tide is changing but things are still so uncertain, you need to be creative to stay afloat. That’s where professionals like us here at Marketalist come in. Contact us today to learn how to optimize for voice search SEO and other strategies.