Ok Google: “What is the Future of Voice Search and It’s Impact on SEO.
Voice Search has been slow on the uptake. Only 11.3% of users utilised this 3 years ago, but within the last 6 months, this has jumped to over 40%. As you can expect, this will dramatically change future SEO, since user’s search queries will far more likely use natural human language such as ‘where is the closest steak restaurant near me?’, compared to typing in ‘steak restaurant auckland.’
So, what do we mean when we say ‘voice search’. It refers to that digital assistant you find on your smartphone or tablet such as Siri, Cortana or Alexa.
But who’s using this and why? A study from Thrive Analytics illustrates that 71% of under 30’s in the US use their digital assistants on a regular basis. But why? Search can be broken down into three categories – navigational, informational and transactional search. Another study showed that the majority of searches fall into the informational search.
Experts predict that 50% of searches will be voice based in 2020 with more and more people enjoying the ease and rapidity of search.
How does this fit into your SEO strategy?
Imagine you’re craving some juicy sirloin steak and chips, but not sure where the closest restaurant that serves just that? Now it’s easier to find the answer you’re looking for without having to scroll down the search listings.
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update focuses on semantic search which is understanding the searcher’s query through contextual meaning. SEO is no longer purely keyword stuffing and buying your ranks through link building. It’s all about gaining a deeper understanding of what drives searchers to become satisfied.
Now that Google can understand the intent behind a user’s search query, content has become an integral part of your SEO strategy. Google favours content which is in-depth, focussed and provides clear answers to user queries.
As voice search are known to be longer queries than traditional search, long tail keywords are even more critical. By understanding what searcher’s ask and which queries you want to rank for, you can provide answers and target those long tail phases.Tailor sections of your content that answer questions quickly, for example developing an FAQ section to capture industry specific questions.
Conversational search will continue to trigger more ‘quick answers’ in the SERP (search engine results page). These answer boxes appear above the organic search and directly answer a question. The majority of mobile voice search is likely to be for a local query, therefore utilising local SEO will provide you with great benefits. Ensuring you have Google My Business and it is updated when required will give you a great source of power for local searches.
Structured data such as Schema Markup, which can be used across all search engines is a piece of code that helps search engines understand the context of your content. It describes to search engines what your content is about, which will give your website more relevancy in voice search, and help you to rank higher!
What should I take from this?
- Understand your target audience. Are they already using voice search?
- Answer Questions! Create a content strategy focussing on long tail keywords
- Create a local business listing and update details if necessary
- Use microdata for help search engines understand your content
This begs the question, is your website Alexa, Siri and Cortana friendly?
Now for that steak…….