Google changes its algorithm almost every day, but base ranking fluctuations are mostly rare. However, there is a current trend in the search algorithms- the growing use of voice search with the smartphone. And to be ready, it’s a must that you now optimize your website for the voice search.
The technology was still young. In October 2011, Siri, the voice assistant for the iPhone 4s was presented. It represented the birth of the voice search on a mobile device. Then Ok Google, Cortana (Microsoft), and Amazon Echo saw the light. The trend: conducting a real conversation with the device following the example of bilateral communication; the searcher asks the question and the machine answers. This also affects the development of search algorithms, changes the search behavior of users, and has important consequences on SEO.
At first, smartphone users were quite moderate towards this technology. In 2013, 85% of iOS users indicated that they did not use Siri. Even in early 2015, according to a survey by the Bitkom digital association, every two users sent commands or asked questions using the voice command function.
Current voice search surveys undoubtedly predict usage growth in the years ahead.
It is a function that allows users to search for information using the voice instead of having to type their searches. It is done in several different ways: via mobile, via a smart device such as Google Home, or via your computer.
Something that few people know is that Google’s voice search has existed before. But not quite in the same way as it works today. The first version of Google’s voice search was launched as early as 2010, that is, almost 10 years ago. Afterward, the users had to call a certain number and repeat their search. For example “recipe for pancakes”, which is then updated in the search results page.
Of course, this did not work as smoothly as it does today, but the interesting thing is that the service was already used then.
Since then, Google has developed the voice search to today include the service in more and more of the company’s apps and products. And today, voice search is a natural tool when searching for information.
In other words, a lot of things have happened since the first version, and luckily it is!
What is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is the digital assistant, for example, the smart speaker Google Home. There are a lot of digital assistants available in the market. Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are two that many are probably already familiar with.
The digital assistant is there to make life a little easier for you in your everyday life. You can set reminders, send text messages, and giving you answers to your questions using Google’s search results. Completely with the help of the voice!
The voice search is here to stay
About 3 years ago, Google announced that 20% of its searches are made by voice search. Since then, there have been several studies that show that the search for votes is here to stay and that the number is constantly increasing. A study from Comscore indicates that 50% of all searches will take place with the help of the voice already in 2020.
How big the searches will be is difficult to say because the study is based on the English market. Because of the fact that this market offers more opportunities than we have today. And it’s possible to buy products from Amazon and order fast food at home – all by voice, in that market.
In the face of voice search, the optimization of voice search is increasingly becoming a priority for website managers. Depending on the possibilities, the voice search should also be considered immediately during the search engine optimization process. This is becoming increasingly important for Google and other search engines. But what do we know about the voice function and the search behavior changes related to it? And how do you optimize voice search for websites?
Speak instead of typing: In which situations voice search is used?
The advantages of the voice function are clear: it is direct, fast, and comfortable and does not require manual entry; 87% of people questioned by Google see the future in it. It is mostly for general device functions (phone calls, sending messages, changing the songs), and online search requests.
Which providers, therefore, take full advantage of optimization for voice search? Voice search from a mobile device is particularly popular. And is mainly to get driving directions or to find shops in the area. This makes it particularly relevant for those websites that have high mobile traffic and a local reference.
Google’s voice search survey on Mobile portrays a heterogeneous landscape of application areas and usage situations across different generations. If teenagers use the function with high frequency while they are in the company of friends and for help with homework, adults, on the other hand, activate it while cooking or sending messages. Use while watching TV is widespread both among teenagers and adults.
Overall, younger user groups use voice search significantly more often than older ones. Digital natives are more familiar with the new technology and vocal function is particularly helpful to them. Even for the websites that want to reach above all targets, it is, therefore, advisable to optimize their site for voice search.
This means that you should optimize your website for voice searches right now.
We have found out that the searches that take place via voice are constantly increasing. We can state that the voice search is here to stay, which also makes it an increasingly important part to include in an SEO strategy so as not to lose traffic in the future.
If you want to create the best conditions for success in the search for votes, there are some pillars that you should focus on:
- Focus on long-tail terms and questions
- Keep local content up to date
- Appear in Direct Answers
- Label with structured data
- Optimize website load time
If you are already working with search engine optimization, there is a good chance that they are already part of your daily work.
Focus on long-tail terms and questions:
Searchers that take place via voice tend to be longer and more natural than those that take place via text. We are simply looking as we speak. This means that we need to design the content on the website in the same way – with long-tail terms and issues.
You can start by keyword analysis and focus on long-tail keywords and plan your content.
- Be sure to keep the local content up to date
Google has long adapted the search results to where you are. The voice search is no exception as most voice searches are questions related to different local places and how to get there.
Therefore, make sure that all local content on the site is up to date and that the information available on Google Maps and Google my Business is consistent. If it does not, you run the risk of sending your visitors to the wrong addresses, at the wrong times – and you do not want that!
- Structure the content with structured data
Structured data is used to help search engines to understand the different pages of your site. For example, it is possible to mark up product information such as price, stock balance, and ratings to get richer hits in the search results.
Not so long ago, there was also a new inclusion in structured data called Speakable. It helps search engines to determine which part of the text is best suited for reading. In other words, this is perfect for telling search engines what content is right for your voice!
What it might look like when information is highlighted with structured data in the search results.
- Visibility in Direct Answers
Direct Answers is a way for Google to give its users extra quick answers by presenting the answer to the question directly in the search results, above the organic hits. You can see it as ranking “zero”.
- Optimize website load times – every second makes a difference
Page loading will always be an important factor when it comes to SEO as it determines how long it takes before the site has finished loading and can display all the content for you. This is even more important when it comes to mobile searches and so does the voice search – where every second makes a difference and quick answers are a must.
Did you know that visitors tend to leave a site that takes more than 2 seconds to load?
Displays Google’s own tools Page Speed Insight results like this you need to act!
The voice search is here to stay. It is going nowhere and the trend shows that searches that take place with the help of the voice will increase even more in the coming years and create a change in the way we search. This becomes especially clear when phrases like “Hey Siri”, “Hey Alexa” and “OK, Google” become more and more a natural part of our everyday lives.
Therefore, it is important to keep up with the journey and make sure to create a strategy for how your website will be able to answer this type of search that is already here – and which will undoubtedly be even more in the future.