We have seen trends in SEO changing from time to time. How we used to optimize our website say 5 years back is different than how we do it now. For a year we have been observing a new trend that is catching up the speed. It is Voice Search.
Voice search is the new thing now. Gradually it is replacing the way searches happen over the internet. One of the main reasons for this emerging trend is the behavior of the users as we need everything so quickly.
Approximately 50% of the searches over the internet will be voice-based by 2020 as per the statistics. Even the accuracy of the search engines to detect the voice has increased tremendously.
This has become an integrated feature that comes with all the smartphones now. This article is about what voice search is, How it works, and How can we do voice search optimization for our website in order to make sure we are future-ready.
What is Voice Search
Instead of typing the keywords into the search bar of a browser, Users use the voice search feature mostly using smartphones to ask the queries they have to the search engines and search engines revert back with an answer if available.
So the user asks his query in a way a person can ask another person. The queries asked often are in the form of questions.
All the major search engines are having the feature of voice search. Most of the leading smartphones in the market come with their inbuilt voice search assistants.
This feature was first introduced by Apple in 2011 in their smartphone iPhone 4s
Mobile phones running on Android platforms use the Google voice search feature. Apple devices have Siri as the voice search assistant. Microsoft devices have Cortana. Similarly, Amazon has come up with Alexa.
Android smartphones are mostly used followed by Apple. Hence, it means that in terms of usage, Google voice search is the most widely used platform.
How Does Voice Search Work
Since Google is at the top of the lost, Lets talk about how it works.
So the basics are clear that a person uses the voice search feature and asks a question to the search engine to which the search engine reverts back with an answer.
What are the factors which determine the results produced? Google voice search works on many factors. Some of them are here:
- Search History: Google has a track of what you have searched for previously. The main focus of the search engines is to deliver the most relevant search results. Based on the previous searches, the results appear. Click on the link given if you want to know how to delete the history of the voice searches (Source: Phonearena)
- Location: Apart from having the history of our search queries, Google keeps a track of our location. since most of the times, we search from our phones when it comes to voice search. Results appear as per the geographical aspect. The results shown are the ones optimized locally.
- Choice of Words: So the words we use to form a sentencing sequence matter. A slight change in the choice of words used can provide us with different results altogether. You can try this one out yourself. Similarly, you may try to ask the same question to the search engine using different words. There will be a change in the results.
- Relevancy: The search engines break the question asked into smaller parts. Each part has a specific sound. Search engines process those sounds to form words. They use those words to frame sentences. The sentences act as an actual query to the search engine. The results shown are as per that query and the voice search assistant reads out loud the most relevant result.
Voice Search Optimization
So now we know on what basis does the search engines provide the results.
We need to understand now how do we optimize our website so that the chances of appearance into search results after a voice search increase. How exactly do we do that?
There are some points we need to consider to rank higher for search queries. Following are some of the factors:
- Website speed: The speed of the website matters. The faster your site is the sooner, the search engines can crawl through. It will help search engines to deliver the results faster. Therefore a faster website has better chances to rank compared to a website that is slow. I highly recommended the Usage of AMP for voice search optimization as most of the searches come from mobile phones.
- Long-tail Keywords: Generally these are the keywords that are easy to rank for. The searches performed are mostly in the form of questions. A major portion of voice searches start with 5 W’s + 1 H ( Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How). Search results answer the questions asked by the user. Try writing the content starting with a question followed by an answer.
- Local Search: Optimizing a website for local search results is good. So if it is a business site that you are having, Setup Google My Business as well as Bing listing. You should consider NAP(Name, Address and Phone Number) which should be a verified address for your business constant for all the pages on your website. This will be an important factor in terms of voice search optimization.
- Schema: Usage of this feature helps a search engine understand and relate the content better. It brings out the featured snippet which appears in the search engine results. It sort of acts as a map for search engines to come up with the exact piece of information into the search engine results as per the query.
- Domain Authority & Trust: A domain with higher authority and trust score is always preferred over the one with lesser ratings. These factors show the authenticity of the website. The search engines have to maintain their standards and can not provide the user with any random piece of information available for their search queries.
- Readability: The quality of the content should be great. Using great quality content improves the readability score. Try to avoid any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in your content. Search engines don’t appreciate content with bad quality score.
- FAQ section: Having a section or a page for frequently asked is advised if you are mainly focusing on the search queries coming from voice searches. This will help in voice search optimization.
- HTTPS: Search engines are more likely to show the results from the websites have a secure connection. You should have an SSL certificate for your website. So if you doing pretty good, you can go for the paid ones otherwise there are some available for free as well.
Finally, I hope this article helped in understanding what is Voice Search, How Voice Search works and How can do voice search optimization for our websites.
You may also check out our blog post about some of the best On-Page SEO techniques