Voice Search SEO 2018: Why It is So Important and How to Take Advantage of It?

Article in Marketing & SEO

Voice search has now become mainstream and widely popular. People being able to search keywords and search terms with easy voice commands are increasingly finding type inputs boring, especially when they need to look for something on the web quickly and on the go. Thanks to digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa voice search has become an integral feature of most devices. There have been around 33 million devices in operation in 2017 that were equipped with voice search feature. As per latest data, the search engine giant Google is now receiving nearly 40 times more voice search queries than the time when it started voice search tool.

As increasing number of people are finding it easier to ask a question to the phone than typing it, voice search will continue to grow. Naturally, your SEO strategy should be equipped enough to address voice search queries. ComScore already predicted that by 2020 at least 50% of all searches will be voice queries.

Why should you take voice search seriously?

Are you still not convinced of the huge implications of voice search? Well, here are some of the practical reasons voice search should be taken seriously for your SEO strategy.

1. Enhanced discoverability with snippets

Both Google Home and Google Assistant read out the snippets of the top ranked websites. This is why there has been so much interest among the content developers and SEO marketers about optimising the snippets and being featured in the search rank. When you optimise snippets adequately you have more chances of being picked up by Google to read out aloud against the respective search term.

Apart from this, Google Home offers something interesting when answering a question of the user. It not only read out information from the web to answer a question but it also mentions the source of the information containing website name and sends a link of the respective website to the Google Home app of the user.

So, by targeting voice search queries, your web contents get more chances of visibility and being stamped as credible by the search engines.

2. Delivering to the context of the users

Context is the new key for the websites to deliver more precise results. If you look at the way search queries evolved over the years from desktop searches to mobile searches, you will see that some queries work typically well with mobile searches. For instance, context-aware queries like “shops near me” are popular and effective for mobile users. This increasing focus of search terms on user context is the new dimension that websites need to address to stay relevant to queries.

If mobile searches brought a widespread change in the search queries, the next big change is incorporated recently through voice searches. Voice search has the edge over searches with type inputs because of more scope of personalisation and context-based queries. Moreover, some queries are typical to voice search. “Tell me about my day” is a typical voice search query.

Voice search queries are more contextual, situation and location specific and action-centric than traditional searches. While such queries are increasingly becoming popular with smartphone users, the websites should have SEO strategy to deliver to these context-aware voice queries.

3. The monetising scope of voice-based media

The ultimate reason to give optimum importance to voice search queries is the huge scope of monetisation they offer to the marketers and content developers. Yes, next-generation voice searchers can be hell-bent on buying anything with simple voice commands, especially when they are specific about the product they want to buy. Can you allow your users to buy with voice command on Google? That’s the question marketers need to ponder over now.

You ask Google Home to buy a ticket online for a movie or super-bowl and it is most likely that Google Home will fall flat with an answer like “I’m sorry and I don’t know how to help you about that”. But, things are bound to change in the months to come with the increasing number of searchers looking for voice interactions for everything they do on the web.

Improvising your SEO for voice search: how to do it?

So, it has been quite obvious that your SEO strategy should take voice search as a big consideration. How can you optimise the web contents and make SEO drives to boost rank for voice searches?

Let us explain here 4 effective tips to make your SEO work for voice search.

1. Optimise featured snippets

As featured snippets of websites are read out aloud by search engines, you need to optimise them to rank more often against voice queries. Consider the following tips.

  • Come with specific answers to queries: Help people get direct answers to the common queries of your niche. Make your content copy written with the answer to this query. You can use the query as the H2 header, and you should elaborate the answer through the content copy below.
  • Make answers precise: Typically, voice searches look for easy to understand and short replies and naturally Google ranks those websites higher that come with short, precise and easy to understand answers. So, make your answers precise, direct and concise without academic jargon.
  • Well optimised content: A vast majority of featured snippets belongs to websites and web pages that already secured a good reputation for their engaging and credible contents. So, optimising your website with unique, credible and search engine friendly contents is imperative for being ranked on voice search results as well.

2. Give your Local SEO a boost

More than one-third of voice search queries are characteristically business oriented and naturally, finding local information about businesses is a strong motivation that you need to address. You have more chances of getting ranked for voice searches if you can give a boost to the local SEO aspects of your contents. A boost to local SEO will drive better voice search rank and more business conversion.

Here are some useful tips to do this effectively:

  • Make sure that the Google My Business Page is updated thoroughly with the proper address, contact details and specific hours of operation.
  • Make sure you use structured data markup to make your online results look more organised.
  • Always backup your local search credibility as a business with a lot of online user reviews.

3. Optimise the website speed

As voice search is mostly used by mobile users your website should be thoroughly mobile optimised. Mobile users are an impatient lot and they do not stick to any website that takes more than 2 seconds to load. It is especially true for voice search as most users just want an instant voice reply from the search engine.

So, to take advantage of voice search ranking optimising your site speed is a must. There many trusted ways to boost site speed. You can also take help from Google’s PageSpeed Insights to boost the mobile website speed.

Keval Padia is a co-founder of Nimblechapps, a prominent mobile app development company based in India. He follows different tech blogs and current updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.
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