5 Tips From Semal On How To Optimize Your Website For Google Voice Search 



A few years ago, Google voice search started as a small concept that Google decided to try. Over time, the significance of Google voice search continued to grow, and now, it is one of the most important topics in the search industry. There are many reasons why Google search experienced such tremendous success; one of these reasons, and probably the most significant, is the convenience it provides. At first, the voice search was a bit shaky thanks to "not so good" understanding. This, however, proved that it was possible for voice search to be the next big thing, and it only needed to be improved.

The concept of voice search was first seen in smartphones. Quickly after this, speaker devices started adding this function to their AIs. Today, you can do a voice search on almost every device that has internet access. This is indeed a leap to the future for the voice search world.

This is also an indicator that if you aren't designing your websites and web content to accommodate the needs of voice searches, you're losing out big time. In 2017 alone, there were up to 33 million voice search devices in circulation around the world. 40% of these devices were owned by adults who used the voice search feature every day. In 2016, the Google voice search tool received 35 times more searches than when it was launched in 2008.

Finally, in 2013, Google launched a major algorithm update, which was Google's Hummingbird. This update began considering the user's possible intent as well as the contextual meaning of search queries. This upgrade significantly improved the way Google Search understood voices and presented search queries. The hummingbird update also forced marketers to refine their strategies to get ranked. It had become impossible for web pages to rank after being stuffed with keywords. By relying on Natural Language Processing, voice textures, interests, and behaviors were considered to achieve the best form of translation.

Over time, Google's Voice Search AI learns your accent and the patterns with which you speak. It also focuses on semantics as well as the wider contextual relevance of a user's query. This was indeed a great leap in the right direction for voice search. 

What Makes Voice Search So Amazing!

The allure of voice search is undeniable. There is this great feeling that comes with just saying it and seeing it materialize. It is fast and hands-free, allowing you to multitask with ease. Considering the world's battle against COVID-19, we keep hearing how we should avoid contact with possible infected surfaces. As a result, more people turn to voice search as a hands-free way to get things done.

According to Gartner, 32% of internet users, as well as consumers, are interested in hands-free technology. This reduces the frequency at which they touch, therefore reducing their chances of contamination.

Statistics have also shown that Voice search is one of the fastest-growing types of searches.
  • 55% of users use the voice search button to ask questions on their smartphones, according to Perficient.
  • 39.4% of internet users in the U.S. operate a voice assistant at least once a month, according to eMarketer.
With the technology constantly improving, the question is no longer "Why use voice search" but rather, "Why not?". This is why you must include voice search optimization in your SEO strategy.  

Let's do an exercise.

Imagine yourself in the kitchen preparing a new dish, and you get confused at one point. Like a typical chef, your hands may be dirty with flour or any of the spices you used to cook, so touching your smartphone is probably something you do not want to do. What then can you do? With an AI like Google Assistant, you can ask for your recipe and have it read to you. As you listen, you can also get back to your cooking happily.

Like the example above, there are probably a million and one other reasons or scenarios where vice searches are lifesavers.

Voice Search, A Dialogue System

For those that are still wondering, yes, voice search is indeed a dialogue system. It is only more advanced.

What is a dialogue system?

A dialogue system is a computer that is set up to dialogue with humans. It can use different modes of communication such as text, speech, gestures, etc. as its input and output signals.

Strategies For Voices Search Optimization

At its core, optimizing your website for voice search is similar to optimizing your website for your traditional SEO. However, the major difference lies in the type of search query:

1. Understand Your Target Audience And Device Behavior

Voice search algorithms rely on the data it gets from the user's location and several other markers to understand the search context. Website managers also need to dig deep to understand their target consumers and their behaviors. To successfully optimize your website for voice searches, you need to have real-time data and research on consumer insight. This helps you understand how different people use voice search and on what device do they prefer these searches.

2. Focus On Conversational Keywords

Well, short tail keywords may never run out of use; however, they do become significantly less relevant when considering the natural phrases we use in voice searches. To rank for voice searches, marketers now more than ever need to focus more attention on conversational long-tail keywords. Content producers must know the questions to come up with appropriate answers. With voice searches, it would be significantly more difficult for a user to search by saying just "SEO" instead, and they are more likely to ask, "What is SEO?" "What are the types of SEO?" or "How can I Optimize my website for search engines?". These are more likely to occur long-tail keywords.

3. Create Compelling Persona-Based Content

Brevity, context, and relevance are the watchwords for optimizing Google voice search. In this section, you will notice that this only differs from your usual SEO strategy by how you need to pay attention to:
  • Creating detailed answers to common  questions 
  • You should answer simple questions as clearly and concisely as possible.
You need to create rich, compelling content that answers your user's most common problems and also providing a solution for their pain.
Many websites have already begun adopting a successful strategy by: 
  • Creating content on a webpage using headlines that ask the most common questions
  • Immediately after the headline, asking a question, the body should contain a concise answer or a definition answering the question.
  • You can use the text under these headings to provide further details on the heading.
With this strategy, your rich content, robust webpages ultimately appear very interesting to Google's ranking algorithms. Simultaneously, the short and straight to the point answer you've provided at the top of the page is immediately optimized for voice search and may also become featured in the snippet.

4. Provide Context With Schema Markup

If you aren't already using Schema Markup, it is time you got acquainted with it. Using Schema Markup tells search engines the purpose of your site. This HTML add-on gives search engines a better chance of understanding the context of the content on your webpages. This means you get to rank better in typical searches and more relevant in specific queries, which are the norm for voice searches.

By utilizing schemas, Google can understand languages better. They are also an excellent way to add more information to your website. 

According to milestone marketing research, a study found that based on 9,400 schemas deployment, a significant gain of +20-30% with an average of:
  • 40 schema types 
  • 130 attributes and properties
This is the type of information voice search users would be most interested in getting.

5. Build Pages That Answer FAQs

Voice search users usually begin their search query input with words like "who," "what," "why," and "how." These are all indicators that they are searching for answers that fulfill an immediate demand. To get ranked on the voice search results page, you will need to have an FAQ page because they contain tons of adverbs words and quick and concise answers to those questions.

From the performance perspective, you should ensure that your website is technically sound with schemas. You should ensure that it is easy to navigate, and informational structures are easy to find. Your pages should also be able to load quickly to get indexed by Google as soon as a relating search query is inputted.

Don't get it wrong: Google voice search still isn't used by everyone. This is why audience research is very important before you go ahead and make any changes to your website. Many internet users who grew up in an age where technology couldn't talk back still find it difficult to use the voice search. However, younger generations do not share the same stigma and feel "delighted" to use their voices when searching.

From all indications, voice search is clearly on the rise, and it would be considered "foolish" not to try and adopt this trend in the SEO industry.  

Interested in SEO? Check out our other articles on the Semalt blog.

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