Whether people are searching for something from their mobile devices, their car's satellite navigation system, or a voice-controlled digital assistant inside their homes, it's becoming more common for people to speak rather than typing.
As the largest search engine on the web, Google is paying close attention to this trend. And here, the company is making continuous adjustments to be able to provide the most relevant answers to these people.
One basic principle here is that, people don't actually talk like robots. What this means, people'a queries using voice search, don't actually match their written queries.
For example, people tend to ask things like: "Where is the nearest restaurant for casual dining" or in other similar fashion, rather than "casual dining restaurant in Jakarta."
The reason is because people are taught to speak like humans, and second, the devices they speak to, are aware of their location. This eliminate the tendencies of people talking like robots, as well as negating the use of certain keywords.
In short, voice searchers is a change of behavior from traditional written queries..
For these reasons, websites need another approach in SEO.
The first thing to consider, is Google in using featured snippets to answer some queries. These boxes appear prominent at the top of others in its search engine results pages, because Google thinks that the answer is the most relevant.
For sites that want to excel in voice search optimization, they need to also optimize their site to be featured by Google as a snippet.
Here, they need to focus on FAQs that searchers have about their industry. And remember that Google is always looking for a quick and accurate summary of the information searchers are seeking.
Discovery And Retention
The internet has a lot of contents, and contents are the sources of information.
While content is still king, for voice searches, the type of content that is being created has to change. For businesses that want to be found though voice search, they need to take these four considerations:
- Length: A web page's content that is created to answer one or more questions about a product or a service, should be as complete and authoritative as possible.
- Structure is critical: Content's presentation should be organized, and uses language that is easy to read. Contents that lack the logical progression in the presentation of its subject have a much lower chance of being cited in search.
- Clarity is key: Navigation should have aids like subheadings, bullet points and even illustrations to help showcase information better. These are elements play an important role in ranking in voice search.
- Quality is a must: Websites should not regurgitate contents, or through together words and sentences with loose definition. They shouldn't rely on just keywords, and instead focus on context.to rank well on voice search.
Attention To Reviews And Reputation Management
Besides traditional means of SEO, companies should also rely on online reviews to promote their businesses.
As voice search becomes more popular, reviews are playing an even larger role in helping potential consumers decide which businesses to trust. Popular voice assistants are convenient for bringing up information on Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook and other review sites.
Many people, when searching for a restaurant, ask for the "best" or "best reviewed" in that category. And here, hearing reviews can be more compelling that reading them. This is why businesses should do persuade their customers to leave reviews - and serve them well enough so these reviews are favorable.
Optimize For Local Search
Again, since voice-enabled devices are location aware, voice searches and local searches are closely related.
People are likely using voice search as they drive around or prepare to leave the house. They're generally looking for nearby places to visit or know more.
To take advantage of this, websites need to put in as many relevant local search terms as possible. In addition to your physical address and city, the pages can also include neighborhoods, boroughs or counties and landmarks.
Additionally, make sure that a business phone number and other contact details are easy to find and up-to-date.
Make Websites Mobile-Friendly
Google emphasized that mobile-first indexing is a priority for websites. This is because Google is experiencing an increasing number of mobile users using its search engines, as opposed to those coming from desktop computers.
Here, the growth of mobile ties in closely with voice search.
Since it's much easier to speak a query into a smartphone than to type it out. When people are driving, they're far more likely to ask their mobile devices or satellite navigation system to find something than to type out the question. This is why voice search will becoming the natural way to connect.
Assuming that the majority of people who visit a company's website are mobile users, the company must ensure that the site is fully optimized for mobile and use responsive design.
Webmasters should regularly test their pages to see how they look on different devices, especially mobile phones and tablets.
People in using their voices to talk to machines, is a natural way of interaction. As a result, voice searches are often questions as opposed to keywords. For this reason, the expectation of users to ask the correct question to get the correct answer is is relatively higher than searching by typing.
But the satisfaction is potentially lower.
This is because voice-enabled devices must understand the questions being asked. Second, the information retrieval technology that powers them must better understand content it has indexed so it can give more satisfactory answers.
The catch? Voice search is hard to do well.
This creates a retention problem for Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant and others.
But voice search is here to stay, and it will only get bigger. It doesn't necessarily alter how SEO works, but it definitely change its approach.