How Voice Search will affect SEO

SEO / 07 Mar 2018

Voice Assistants are quickly becoming the most efficient and effective way to get answers. Whether it be Siri, Google Home or Amazon Alexa - within a few seconds, you can have your question answered. Because of its convenience, more and more people are turning to their Voice Assistants for answers. In fact, Google found that of all mobile queries, 20% are now voice searches.

Voice search is now more accurate than ever, sitting at about 92 percent accuracy. In 2013, Google’s word recognition was below 80 percent, showing this technology is quickly improving and will only continue up from here.

Why is Voice Search more efficient?

We know already that Google has been delivering - where it can - rich snippets that give us one answer to general questions. After this rich snippet, however, is millions of other search results. 

When you say ‘Ok Google’ and ask a question using voice, Google will use this rich snippet to provide you with one answer, saving you time scrolling through search results. 

This works particularly well with location based search. Let’s say you’re in a new city and looking to grab some food on your drive home from work. You’d simply ask your phone - ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Hey Siri’ - ‘Take me to the closest mexican restaurant’ and you’ll be given directions to get there.

Maybe you wake up the next morning and want to find a good cup of coffee. You might ask, ‘Where is the best coffee in town?’ and based off Google reviews and check in’s (among other things), you’ll be given a list of the best places to grab a coffee near you. 

On top of this, speech is 3 times faster than typing and has 20% fewer errors.

How will Voice Search affect SEO?

At last weeks Networx event on voice assistants, Clarissa Keil, CEO & Founder of Two Griffins, said that voice technology is more than just speaking to something. 

“It’s about understanding the natural language of the user to process and respond to queries efficiently.”

The key takeaway is that people talk and type very differently. The way someone asks a question through voice is probably not going to be the same way they type it. For example, if you were going to cook spaghetti bolognese for dinner, you might type into google ‘spaghetti bolognese recipe’ or ‘spaghetti bolognese.’

If you’re using voice, your search is going to be more conversational. Something like ‘what ingredients do I need for spaghetti bolognese or ‘give me the best recipe for spaghetti bolognese.’

Altering SEO strategies to suit Voice Search

Ultimately, your content needs to be even more optimised for the customer. Your content should have a conversational tone and written in a way that your customer would communicate. Look at how your customers talk on social media, on your reviews, to customer service - and take note of it. Notice trends through the language they are using and replicate this through your content. 

Research long tail keywords that are relevant to your brand. Because people talk in a way that is conversational, long-tail and question based keywords are going to be more relevant than anything else. Look at how your website can be optimised for these types of keywords. Keyword stuffing, if it weren’t already, will be completely obsolete. 

Mention your location where appropriate. People using voice search are often looking for things that are near them - think movies, restaurants, stores, services. Use terms on your site that identify your suburb and where you are located. 

Prepare for a shift in site traffic. Voice search will not directly convert into a tangible website session. With general search, users are most likely going to click through to your website. However, particularly with query based searches that have an answer provided within a rich snippet, the user may not click through to website. When Google reads out a rich snippet, they will say where the content has come from by beginning the answer with, ‘According to YourBrandName’. So you will still be getting credit for the content, it just may not convert to site traffic straight up.

In a nutshell

Think about what the customer wants and create an enjoyable customer experience. Write content that is easy to read, answers questions and isn’t filled with industry-based jargon that customers won’t understand or ever use in conversation.  

The most important point - get started now! This is a trend that is undeniably going to change the way we do things and is something you don’t want to get left behind on. From what we’ve seen in the UK & US, most businesses are already falling behind with how consumers are using voice so be prepared for change!

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