The popularity of voice searches is growing at a rapid rate today. Currently, almost 20% of all searches are executed by voice search. If the predictions by giant research firms are deemed to be accurate, then voice search will dominate nearly half of searches by next year.
Thanks to advancements in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, there is a significant improvement in Google voice search. In 2017, the AI-powered Google Assistant improved its speech recognition now has an understanding of the English language to 95% with a word error percentage as low as 4.9%.
With the Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013, Google targeted its focus on semantic searches. Semantic searches work on improving search accuracy by trying to decode the user intent and context of the search query.
The sole purpose of emphasizing on semantic searches was to improve the user experience by generating more relevant results. With the implementation of Google’s robust search algorithms and natural language processing (NLP), Google Now is more accurate compared to Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa (Amazon Eco) virtual assistants.
Studies suggest that the first search result on Google’s SERP gets up to 35% of the clicks. For voice search on mobile, only the top three results are displayed, and for smart speakers, it’s just one. With the fierce level of competition coming up, it wouldn’t be surprising if voice searches show a single search result for any given query in the future. Voice Engine Optimization is focused on optimizing your brand to be the only result in voice search. It’s high time that brands create a robust voice engine optimization (VEO) strategy to stay ahead of the competition. Here are the ways to optimize your website for voice search optimization:
1. Content That Appears in Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are relevant information displayed by Google on the top of the SERP. As per the search query, search engines like Google pulls the best result and displays the content in a box.
According to research, almost 30% of the search results displayed by Google has featured snippets. If your content appears as a featured snippet, your voice assistant will most likely pull its answer from there. So, you should work on providing quality information on your website so that they can appear as featured snippets.
2. Write User Intent Content
When you write user-intent content, you take into consideration the queries and doubts that a user might have about the products or services you offer. The user intent content should answer the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ ‘who,’ ‘which,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ of the audience so that Google can crawl the content and show it on the top of the SERP for any given query. As people make these queries through voice actions, Google digs deep into millions of answers and displays the one that it deems to be the most relevant.
3. Optimize Your Business Listings
The best way to let Google recognize your business online is by claiming your Google My Business (GMB) profile. This will improve your chances of appearing in the voice searches. You must provide your NAP information accurately. If you have multiple business listings on various sites, you have to ensure that the business name, address, and phone number are consistent.
4. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
It’s a no-brainer that most voice searches take place on smartphones. Currently, more than 25% of search queries on mobiles are dominated by voice search. This means every one out of five users prefers voice searches than typing. Therefore you have to develop a mobile-friendly website where customers can find quick answers to their queries and boosts your traffic. Some of the essential factors to consider while developing a mobile-friendly website are proper website design, compressed images, clear content, easy navigation, and bigger buttons for CTA.
5. Use Long-Tail Keywords Effectively
While conducting a voice search, people don’t go for chopped terms or keywords; they are more likely to use long phrases to get answers to their queries. So, try to use long-tail keywords within your content. This is also beneficial from an SEO point of view. Keywords containing more than 2-3 phrases have high chances of ranking and also face less competition. You can use certain tools to look for the type of long tail keywords people use while looking for your product and services and optimize your website content accordingly.
6. Focus on Structured Data
The structured data helps Google to understand your content better when. It is a code added to the HTML markup of the through which you can have better control over how you want your website content to be displayed in the search results. By implementing structured data, your web content can show up in featured snippets and increase the click-through-rate to your website. As your content appears in featured snippets, your chances of appearing in voice search results also increase. You can visit schema.org to understand how you can implement the schema tag or structured data to your site.
7. Add FAQ Section
Adding a FAQ section works in favor of your website and proves beneficial for voice search optimization. Find questions people are trying to search in Google and create an FAQ combining all the common search queries. AnswerThePublic is a free tool that extracts queries from the Google search database and creates a reservoir of popular questions with your niche terms in them. Don’t limit yourself to this tool alone, look for queries people put in online forums, Quora, Reddit and you can also ask people to shoot their questions on social media and use them to frame your FAQs. If your FAQs match with any online search query, it has a high chance of getting ranked on the top of the search results.
8. Speed Up Your Website
9. Work on Local SEO
— The Online Practice (@Online_Practice) September 11, 2019
Most people use voice search to decide where to go locally. They look for restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, salons, plumbers and doctors while they are at home or walking or driving. So to appear in local searches, you need to optimize your content with location-specific keywords, say “ice-cream shop in Los Angeles.” When people in Los Angeles, type queries like “ice-cream shop near me” or “best ice-cream shops in Los Angeles,” Google with detect your business location and if your store is close to them, there is a high probability that your website might show up in the search results.
Wrapping It Up
From all the studies and researches conducted so far, it seems like voice search is here to dominate the search queries in the coming years. Businesses that have already considered the importance of voice search, their visibility in the voice search results will increase significantly in the future and bring in more traffic. For websites that are yet to optimize their content for voice search should do it at the earliest to gain online visibility on the SERP and boost their rank organically.