Voice recognition technologies are constantly evolving, and this form of internet browsing is gaining in popularity.
- About 40% of adults are using voice searches daily
- About 25% of searches conducted through the Windows 10 taskbar (on desktop!) were voice searches, according to Microsoft
- About 75% of individuals that have the option to search via voice will do so
Needless to say, these kinds of stats encouraged SEO experts to take a proactive approach and see if and how they could utilize the power of voice search to boost SEO.
According to the SEO community, it’s believed that voice searches will make up about 50% of all online searches in less than a year.
That being said, let’s first define voice search and explain how it works before we move on to exploring some of the best Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) strategies and ways in which the technology can affect SEO.
What Is Voice Search?
As the name suggests, voice search, also called conversational search, is an online search where users speak into their devices instead of typing their inquiries into a search bar.
With modern technologies advancing rapidly, it’s easier than ever to use your home assistants, mobile phones, and other devices to conduct this type of search.
Some of the leading home assistants and voice search platforms include:
- Siri and Google, which rely on Google’s search engines to generate the results
- Alexa and Cortana, which rely on Bing’s search engines to generate the results
Google, Windows, Apple, and Amazon are currently the main players in the voice search field.
How Does Voice Search Work?
While it may initially seem like voice search was not all that difficult to create, some factors made it a bit tricky to handle. Consider this – how many ways are there to ask the same question using different words and sentence constructions?
Since voice search is quite conversational in nature, and every person has a different voice pitch and rhythm, creating software that would seamlessly overcome these differences was not easy.
So, here’s how voice search works: the speech recognition software takes the input of the original analog sound wave and assigns a value to it based on its height. The wave heights should be recorded with the equally-distanced points so that the software can assign each point a numerical value. After that, data is fed to software via a recurrent neural network which influences future predictions based on its memory.
In layman’s terms, what this means is that the voice recognition software will “listen to” the input — i.e., your question — and analyze various key points of the question, such as pitch, keywords, length, and more. Based on the previous information fed to the software, it will quickly and easily find the answer online.
The 5 Voice Search Ranking Factors
According to SEO resource Backlinko, which analyzed 10,000 Google Home searches:
- The length of average voice search answers is about 29 words
- About 36.4% of voice search results implement structured data on its page
- The average voice search result was written at a ninth-grade reading comprehension level, which makes the content easy to understand
- The average word count of a search result page is about 2,312 words
- 40.7% of voice search answers came from featured snippets
Therefore, when optimizing voice search for your website, make sure you keep these ranking factors in mind.
How Does Voice Search Impact Local SEO?
Since local SEO plays an important role in your overall SEO efforts, it’s essential to find ways to boost it.
According to a study conducted by Bright Local, about 56% of individuals stated that they rely on voice searches when looking for local businesses.
For example, if a user is looking for the top coffee shops in Miami or the best web development company Chicago, their voice search device will pull up local SEO to provide them with options. Based on the same research, about 53% of individuals said they rely on voice searches when driving.
Based on the results that searchers are provided with, 27% decide to check the business’s site, while 28% call the business for more information. 19% of visitors actually decide to check the business’s location.
Knowing this, it becomes clear how implementing voice search into your SEO strategy can help you reach the audience you might have been missing with your efforts so far.
Voice Search Optimization Stats To Know
To further prove that implementing voice search into your SEO strategy will bring more awareness to your business, let’s check out some stats regarding voice search optimization.
- Page speed – To show up in voice search queries, your page needs to load in 4.6 seconds or less. You can easily check your loading speed using Google’s page speed insights tool and, unless it meets this demand, make some necessary adjustments by optimizing your website’s content. Otherwise, you risk your website visitors bouncing off and checking out your competitors instead.
- HTTPS – Simply put, Google prefers secure websites. About 70% of voice search results feature an SSL certificate, so you need to make sure your website is one of them. If you’re unsure how to do this yourself, you can always find a custom web development company to help you out.
- Length of answers – As mentioned previously, the average voice search result is usually about 29 words long. What this means is that you need to make sure you provide your audience with short, clear and concise answers that will answer the question asked.
- Schema markup – 31.3% of conventional searches implement schema on their page and 36.4% of voice searches do the same. So, rely on anything that can get you ahead of your competitors in your schema markup.
- Authority of the domain – The higher your domain authority is, the more likely you are to appear on the voice search results page. So, make sure you build backlinks from high-authority sites – you can check this with Ahref’s metric.
- Easy-to-read content – Another important thing to keep in mind is that your answers should match a ninth-grade reading comprehension level. So, avoid using industry jargon and overly-complicated terminology.
- Word count – 2,312 words is the way to go. Since Google prefers lengthener content, make sure your answers match this as well. (https://backlinko.com/voice-search-seo-study)
- Featured snippets – Aim to optimize your featured snippets, as 40.7% of all voice search answers are directly drawn from them.
Voice Search Optimization Checklist
With everything previously mentioned, hopefully, the huge impact of voice search on SEO is far clearer. But if you’re still wondering how you can optimize for voice search, here are some tips that will prove to be more useful than you may think.
Include product Q&A
When looking to optimize for voice search, keep “who,” “what,” “where,” “why,” “when,” and “how” questions in mind. By providing clear and concise answers to these questions, your answers will be more likely to be featured on the voice search results page.
By segmenting your content, the voice search platforms will have an easier time understanding it. The better these platforms understand your content, the likelier they will be to promote it.
Shema is another thing that will help search engines better understand your content. Since you can observe schema as a form of a “rich” snippet that provides extra detail to the text below the URL, it will enable search engines to identify who you are, what you do, and how your website may provide the answer to the asked question.
Optimize product description
Every product description should consist of terms related to that product, in particular. These should include product details, such as height, weight, size, intended use, price, and other notable features. Additionally, since Google relies on semantics to understand the query, you need to make sure you include it in your product description.
The Bottom Line
Increasing search visibility is a common goal among businesses across industries, and implementing voice search best practices into your SEO efforts can help you do just that.
With more and more users generally favoring this type of search, businesses that make an effort to implement voice search will stand to gain greater exposure, more website visitors, and – in turn – more profit.
Don’t dwell on this opportunity to expand your reach and make your business more visible and easily accessible by optimizing voice search. After all, according to SEO experts’ predictions, voice searches will account for as much as 50% of all online business searches in the not-so-distant future.
So, keep our tips above in mind and familiarize yourself with what voice searches encompass, how they can help your business, and the right ways to optimize for them. The sooner you take a proactive approach to better your business, the sooner you’ll be able to relish the fruit of your labor.
Christopher is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. He is focused on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels. In his free time, Christopher plays drums and Magic: the Gathering.