Ok Google, Tell Me About Voice Search Optimisation
Voice search has taken the world by storm. First with the release of Amazon’s Alexa device, closely followed by a similar offering from Google, Apple and others all seeking to take their piece of the pie. This article will give an overview of what this means for marketers and give advice on how marketers can benefit from voice search optimisation.
Any cultural shifts, such as the one voice search has the potential to create, should be carefully assessed as an opportunity by business leaders. When it comes to voice search optimisation the potential for businesses to benefit are huge. However, to take advantage of these opportunities requires a good understanding of the tool as well as the ability to optimise your business and its online presence.
Why Voice Search?
Voice search can be defined as:
“A speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field. The proliferation of smart phones and other small, Web-enabled mobile devices has spurred interest in voice search.” whatis.techtarget.com
In other words, it is the voice enabled alternative to typing your search queries into a search engine like Google.
In a world where we are always looking for new ways to increase efficiency, voice search offers us a way to get things done quicker and without the need to constantly be staring at our phone screens.
With this in mind, many experts believe that it will continue to grow in popularity, leading to a gradual decrease in the popularity of traditional typed searches. We have already seen a similar shift from desktop searches to a majority share of searches being undertaken on mobile devices.
Those businesses that have adopted a ‘mobile first’ strategy have seen significant increases in their search traffic as a result. This is partially due to the physical shift of search behaviours, combined with search engines like Google altering algorithms to benefits mobile first websites.
Looking at voice search trends, many predict that a similar trend will be ignited by putting ‘voice first’ as a preferable format.
Rethink Keywords Towards More Conversational Search Terms
The shift from desktop to mobile first saw little change in terms of the search terms used. For example, you would be just as likely to type ‘Facebook’ into a desktop search engine as you would into the mobile version.
However, with voice search we are likely to see a major shift from keywords to key phrases. These new key phrases will be more conversational and longer in their form. Using the same example as above, those looking to get their Facebook updates may ask ‘open Facebook on my laptop’ or ‘give me the latest updates from Facebook’.
Many of these phrases simply wouldn’t work on traditional search. Take for example that a common query on voice search is ‘Tell me about my day’, this is not something that would return useful results on a typed search.
This presents opportunities for businesses to optimise their content for a new type of search query. By making your content both register for longer and more conversational search terms you will get ahead of the curve as voice search continues to grow.
Include Powerful Snippets
You may have noticed featured snippets the last time you used a search engine. They are the small pieces relevant content that appears directly in search results. This is ranked in what Google calls ‘rank #0’ position and appears above the rest of the results for the search.
Snippets have always been a positive for businesses, not only does it allow them to rank higher than any other results, but it also lets you communicate value directly, making your site a lot more attractive to searchers.
With voice search these snippets are likely to become even more valuable to businesses seeking more traffic and exposure. As these snippets appear at the top of results, they also become the automatic answer to voice search results. So, unlike traditional search results where you are presented with pages of options, voice search just returns the one result they believe to be most beneficial.
Once the snippet has been announced on the voice device it also gives the business name or website from which the content was found. Again reinforcing your business as a leader in that space by increasing brand awareness linked to the search query.
Voice search optimisation isn’t all about optimising your website, but also about creating specific applications that help users to find useful information or get a job done.
For example, on the Alexa device businesses can generate awareness of their brand via the development of Alexa skills. These skill are connected to specific voice searches and can be added by the user to customise their experience.
Practically, using voice searches such as ‘Alexa, give me my daily briefing’ will provide a line-up of the daily content most of interest to that user. For businesses to benefit from this they can create skills or briefing in their niche.
For example, if you specialise in cryptocurrency you may create a brief that gives daily news on all things crypto. Equally, if you are a business that sells healthy meal ingredients you may create a ‘branded’ skill that gives users healthy recipes to follow.
Geographic Targeting and Optimising for Voice Pay
Similar in many ways in mobile search, voice search uses GPS to give geographically accurate content. At the top level this gives information such as weather or traffic accurate to where you are based.
From a business perspective this allows you to optimise for better voice results. By ensuring your website and other content is correctly tagged based on location will mean those looking for local products or services will be able to find your business seamlessly.
Another way to optimise for voice search is looking at a practical view by allowing payments by voice. Businesses that have the systems in place to facilitate payments via voice will also benefit from the changes in voice search.
It is clear that voice search is going to change how consumers look for and purchase products and services. Businesses that optimise to benefit from this will likely gain a competitive advantage in the early stages of adoption. Have a look at our services for SEO and learn how we can help you adapt to current trends in search such as voice search.