Voice search may soon become a standard way of searching – according to forecasts for 2020, as many as half of Google search queries are meant to be verbal commands. The increase in the Internet users’ daily use of mobile devices prompted Google to introduce the mobile friendly ranking factor, and now it is time to distribute the voice search option. On the one hand – a great convenience for Internet users, on the other hand – a big challenge for SEO / SEM specialists.
The number of voice search queries for Google has more than 35 times over the last 10 years. Of the 3.5 billion daily searches carried out under voice search, they account for almost a third. Voice commands are an increasingly popular method of finding information on the web. What does this mean for the SEO industry?
How does voice search work?
Voice search is based on the combination of language processing (Natural Language Processing) and software speech synthesis of a given language Text-to-Speech (TTS) to understand the user’s query. The system then searches the database for relevant information and displays the most relevant answers. Its task is also to determine the intentions of the user based on the history of previous queries. According to Google, the error rate during voice search has clearly decreased – in 2014 it was 25%, and at the moment it is only 8%.
Voice search – when we use it most often?
Until quite recently it seemed that the voice commands would not be a search standard – to the detriment of this way of searching for information on the Internet, there was a kind of self-confidence associated with talking to the search engine. If we have already decided to search for voice, then only in the comfort of your own home or among your loved ones. At present, the speed, convenience and accuracy of the information obtained is the most popular way of searching.
As is clear from the statistics, we usually use this solution when driving a car (nearly 53%), during domestic duties (about 21%), while watching TV (over 7%), as well as at work (over 7%). Voice search is therefore of great importance for both website owners and specialists dealing with their positioning on a daily basis. Due to the fact that searches are more and more similar to our natural language, websites should be modified in this respect.
How to optimize pages for voice search engines?
The key change in positioning in terms of voice search concerns language – it’s all about how we ask questions to the search engine. In the case of traditional text search, we have typed the most common terms so far – e.g. “Miami architect” or “short red dress”. When we start to express questions aloud, the way they are asked is quite different. Instead of the slogan we use increasingly full sentences, much longer, and sometimes more colloquial, which makes them less accurate – eg “Where can I find a good architect in Miami?” Or “Where can I buy a short red dress?”.
The previous approach to targeting, as well as the selection of key phrases and their analysis, must therefore change. Due to the fact that search engines increasingly support more complex internauts’ queries, special attention should be paid to long tail positioning, ie the so-called long tail. It is about using key phrases consisting of long phrases or complete sentences – they reflect the natural language and the way of asking questions in the case of voice search.
As users ask specific questions, it is important to provide them with the answers as quickly as possible. The vast majority of their inquiries start with “How?”, “Where?”, “Why?”, “When?” or “What?”. Answers to these questions are most easily included in the FAQ section of the website. It will help you find the information you need, while increasing the visibility of your site in voice search results.
The voice search method is often used when searching locally. To help you find your business, focus on local positioning. In this case, it will be helpful to provide the site with high visibility using key phrases relevant to local users. It is worth taking into account the characteristic landmarks, local attractions and places of interest or phrases or the area in which the company is located.
Remember also that most mobile devices are used by voice commands – your website must be mobile friendly, and therefore adapted to use smartphones and tablets. The combination of the website and the review and opinion systems also greatly influences the search results. It’s important to keep track of and respond as quickly as possible to reviews and reviews that appear in search results – thanks to this you are able to increase the click-through rate and influence the image of your company.
The voice search rate is currently increasing at a much faster pace than traditional text searches. This is mainly related to a more convenient way to use voice commands and high accuracy of the search results – so it’s worth optimizing your websites for voice search.