Let us start with the premise of this article- Voice Search is going to the future of all search!
Technology evolves. More often than not, people and brands who are able to adapt to this change are the ones who end up successful.
History is replete with examples of brands and tech giants who have enjoyed billion dollar businesses aided by technology. On the other hand, brands, which have not been able to read the evolution and adapt, fall by the wayside.
The thing about evolving with technology is that you have to make the shift quickly. Unlike, other changes in processes, structures and other things, the first mover’s advantage in tech is supremely beneficial.
According to Google and Bing, more than half the searches in 2018 are voice searches. This statistic is amazing, to say the least. From a human point of view, speaking is more natural to typing. Given the technological evolution of search engines, voice search has become more human-friendly.
The primary reasons why voice search is growing aggressively is because of the boom of physical voice assistants’ like-
- Amazon’s Alexa
- Google’s Echo
Both these products contributed to being the bestselling hardware that Google and Amazon shipped in 2017 and 2018.
- 1 Natural Language Processing- The Next Stage of Voice Search Evolution
- 2 Brands and Voice Search- Adapt or Perish
- 3 Steps to make your Website Voice Search Friendly: The List
- 3.1 1. Long Tail Keywords:
- 3.2 2. Local Listings and SEO Services:
- 3.3 3. Mobile Optimization helps Voice Search:
- 3.4 4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Section:
- 3.5 5. Google GPS Location:
- 3.6 6. Page Load Speed:
- 3.7 7. Internal Linking and Quality Backlinks:
- 3.8 8. Follow Google’s Blog and Other Platforms:
- 4 Voice Search and SEO Services- Need for Overhaul:
Natural Language Processing- The Next Stage of Voice Search Evolution
Technology does not evolve in isolation. In other words, if there are advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, then it gets applicable to nearly all industries.
Voice Search has benefitted immensely from Google’s Hummingbird Update. This update helped Google understand natural human intentions and process requests accordingly. This was a big step towards humanizing the search engine.
The searches based on intent helped Google search precision and evolve its behavioral algorithms. Words and Syntax- attributes of the human language could now be understood by technology.
The above development was the first of its kind in terms of voice search advancements. This was followed by understanding accents and local languages. Can you imagine Google understanding and carrying out a voice search command from an Indian accent and an Australian accent with the same precision?
Some years back, you could not. However, now you can. In recent months, Google is trying to learn local languages enabling voice search. This has also forced digital agencies to alter their SEO services by integrating the voice search component.
With cell phones becoming an extension of our lives, the growth of voice search is imminent. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, we are in the middle of the ‘Voice Search Revolution.’
Brands and Voice Search- Adapt or Perish
In the last few years, digital marketing has become increasingly democratized. You can also term it as the localization of the industry. With the advent of social media, you do not need to burn millions of dollars on ad spends.
Digital marketing companies that offer SEO services are also waking up to this fact. In 2019, most of the better SEO services agencies are offering full voice search SEO packages to clients. They realize the importance of voice search for a brand’s Local SEO.
The biggest beneficiaries of this have been smaller businesses. Small brands have taken to social media as a fish takes to water. For Google, this meant doing something different especially after the failure of Google Plus.
For Google, the need to create an ecosystem that is all pervasive in itself is a priority. This means that in order to bring back small businesses to its fold, it needs to be as efficient and as affordable as social media platforms.
I have already written about how Google My Business is Google’s attempt at the above. Voice search is also a similar step in that direction. Think about it, do any of the social media platforms offer voice search?
No, they do not! Plus 1 Google…
Data Marketing Firm, Statista carried out an extensive survey on Voice Search. Let us look at the results:
Almost all the answers point to the fact that voice search is much more natural to human beings than text search.
One important statistic points towards the increased use of voice search for teenagers in 2019. This should come as no surprise as ‘Generation Z’ is more likely to use voice search than millennials.
Source: Search Engine Land
Steps to make your Website Voice Search Friendly: The List
We have already discussed the nature and benefits of voice search for brands. In this section, I will discuss some of the top ways in which you should optimize your brand website.
1. Long Tail Keywords:
Nearly all experts agree on the fact that human beings speak and type quite differently. When we are speaking, we are more likely to use long phrases or even sentences. However, when we type, we tend to put in as little effort as possible typing.
By strategically integrating long tail keywords on the website, brands can increase their chances of voice search discoverability.
The top searches on voice search are people looking for direct information. In other words, there is a consensus that voice search is done with the intention of getting precise results. It is important for brands to understand long tail phrases and make them into keywords. This helps the voice search to pick it up more efficiently.
2. Local Listings and SEO Services:
Most people doing voice searches are looking for things that are close to themselves in terms of geography. In other words, the voice search is a critical component of local SEO. I have already mentioned how SEO services are very strongly looking after this fact in their packages.
This is where Google My Business makes a strong case for itself. Every brand in order to capitalize on voice search should have local listings. In addition to Google My Business, it is important for small brands to be registered on local directories like Yelp, Just Dial and others.
3. Mobile Optimization helps Voice Search:
If we are not making mobile-optimized websites, we are doing something elementarily stupid. In 2019, Google announced its Mobile First Indexing Plan. Meaning, it is your website’s mobile version that is indexed first by Google. This is followed by your desktop version, and not the other way around, as it was.
I have already stated how most voice searches are made on cell phones. This means that is your brand website is mobile optimized, it stands to do really well from a voice search point of view. This is where the evolution is heading to, and every small brand needs to be a part of this.
Source: Blue Corona
4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Section:
Most of the queries that people do on voice search are question-based. For example, according to Google, 85% of all queries on voice search begins with the following five words-
By using this statistic, small brands can immensely benefit. In my experience, I have seen many benefits that brands can have from maintaining a FAQs section on their website. If you are using the questions and integrating them with precise long tail keywords, you have hit the jackpot.
The best practice in this regard is to have an individual FAQ page for every service page. This helps to increase precision and search results.
5. Google GPS Location:
Every website should have a Google Maps Link API on the website. You should have this in addition to mentioning your complete address.
The Footer Area is where most brands mention these details. You can also use the details on the Contact Section of your website, along with mentioning it on the About Us Page.
Google uses this and helps relate it to the voice search queries that arise for local businesses.
This was the first result when I used the voice search to find plumbers in the Washington DC area. Google Maps are also an important Local SEO optimization strategy that most digital marketing companies ignore.
6. Page Load Speed:
I have already stated that most voice searches are done on cell phones. I have also stated how mobile optimization is critical in improving voice search discoverability. The next important thing when it comes to optimizing for voice search is page-loading speed.
Google puts a lot of emphasis on the speed of the website. More specifically, the individual page loading times. In order to draw the maximum potential from your website, it is essential that it exhibits lightning speeds.
No one likes to wait for a very long time to receive information. As compared to desktop searches, people expect faster results through voice search on cell phones. You need to ensure that your website is optimized and performs excellently well in terms of speed.
This is something that is not specific to voice search. It is something that is at the core of any good SEO Service. The more backlinks your service page has, the more link juice it will get. This means that Google will see the page as an authoritative voice in the industry.
If you are able to do quality internal linking on your inner pages, you will be able to rank quite high on the voice search parameters. Another related aspect is having a ‘Schema Mark-up’ on the website. This helps Google’s bots crawl your website effectively for content and information.
8. Follow Google’s Blog and Other Platforms:
I have had so many brand managers ask me about how I know about the latest news and they do not. I have a simple answer for that- I follow Google’s Blog. It is as simple as that.
Every major platform/tech giant brings out a detailed blog article explaining the latest developments. You do not need to read every article every day. All you need to do is look up the blog at least once a month.
Google themselves tell you about what works, what does not work. By the following information from the right places, you can always up to your best practices game.
Source: Google’s Blog- The Keyword
Voice Search and SEO Services- Need for Overhaul:
Optimizing your website’s performance for voice search is part of your SEO services. However, most digital marketing agencies still do not understand how to carry this out. This is a newer form of development. There is not a lot of data or case studies with regard to voice search and SEO services.
Most agencies fail to come up with a separate voice search based SEO strategy for brands. However, if you are planning to invest in such a strategy, now is definitely the right time.
With Generation Z entering the digital industry and increased cell phone usage. Voice search is already a big player in the digital industry. By optimizing SEO functions like page loading, long tail keywords, and good bounce rates, voice search excels.
For brands, it is essential that they adapt to the changes in technology and adapt their digital strategies to voice search. In terms of traffic or an increase in revenues, voice search is the perfect SEO strategy.
The Final Word:
When someone asked me what I thought about voice search and its evolution, I said that-
“Voice Search is the Psychological Evolution of Technology.”
As technology aided by AI and ML starts adapting more and more to human behavior, voice search is a natural progression towards the direction.
The world is becoming an increasingly alienated place. Even though humans crave companionships, they would not want it from another human. This is where voice assistants and their use for nearly everything in human life is going to the next level.
Pizza to Uber…Hair Dresser to Plumber…History to News
We are all asking voice search for something or the other.
Whom are we replacing?
If you would like to contribute to the article by adding value, please feel free to state the same in the comments section.
For any questions, issues or help on voice search or digital marketing, email me at- [email protected]