Voice search, also called voice-enabled, allows the user to use a voice command to search the internet, or a portable device (Wikipedia.org).
You have possibly at some point dabbled with voice search yourself, “find opening times for XX supermarket” or “order sushi from XX”. These types of voice-enabled searches are only going to become more and more common, in-fact, it’s estimated that by 2020 over 50 percent of all searches performed on the web will be voice based (comScore).
So what is contributing to this transition from traditional search to voice search?
Here are two key factors:
1) The growing popularity and success of voice-first devices; like Google Home and Alexa are integrating well with other household appliances and clearly demonstrating search convenience to households around the globe and;
2) The progression and sophistication of voice-recognition systems; such as Microsoft Voice Recognition software, which now has an error rate of just 5.1 percent, leveling the stage with its human counterparts (BusinessInsider.com). Google’s speech recognition English word accuracy rate is now a staggering 95 percent, as of May 2017 (Searchenginejournal.com). Even in noisy environments, these accuracy rates are only going to get better.
So with voice search paving the way into the future, what are the impacts for your business, and how do you prepare your business for the voice search revolution?
As the world transitions to voice search, at a high-level, the key impact for your business will be the way in which your customers find you on the web, and the way in which you reach and engage with your target audience online.
To state the obvious, voice search relies on human speech. The underlying point here is that understanding human speech and conversation patterns become important when formulating your voice search strategy. This is because traditional single keywords and search terms, with voice search become long-tail keyword phrases, often posed as queries or commands, which follow a natural conversational flow.
Here are some examples:
As a business to continue to thrive in the digital world, understanding the change voice search will bring is critical. In doing so, you can get on the front-foot and begin evaluating your digital strategy, and reviewing your web presence, in preparation for the age of voice search.
To prepare your business for voice search, start by reviewing and optimising your website content, to make it easy for search engines to quickly find and respond to voice searches. Optimising your content for voice search will also improve your SEO.
Here are 7 techniques to optimise your content for voice search:
Re-defining search terms means moving from thinking about single keywords to instead considering natural language and conversation, to identify long-tail keywords, phrases, and queries, relevant to your business.
Consider voice commands like “find <> near me”, “show me opening times” and “show me the latest results for…” type searches. Understanding commands enables you to ensure you have included all relevant content to cover these commands on your website and the information is clearly labelled, categorised and classified.
Once you have re-defined your search terms, these new keywords, phrases and queries need to be weaved through your website content.
Content should be written using natural language. Avoid jargon and keep writing simple. Doing this supports search engines to use your content to respond to voice search.
Re-structure content to include question and response format, where questions are posed in heading text, and clear, concise answers are provided. This is important because it allows search engines to match questions in your content that a user has asked, and then respond using your content.
Ensure your website works well on mobile device, this means – test, test and test again… across a range of mobile devices, brands and models. Is your website perfectly accessible on these devices? Is it attractive, fast and easily readable? (Yoast.com)
This simple technique is often overlooked by SEO companies, but as we move towards voice search, it becomes more important. Using schema to mark up your content, gives search engines descriptive information on what your website is about. Put simply, if a search engine cannot access and understand your content, your chances of appearing in search results are slim (Medium.com)
A well developed, clear and organised XML sitemap allows both search engines and people to better navigate through your website. This creates an opportunity for search engines to quickly source the right information from your website to respond to a query.
As we move toward 2019 and beyond, it’s important you allocate priority to voice search, as part of your business digital strategy. This will not only benefit your SEO, but ensure your business stays relevant and accessible to it’s customers.
For more information on voice search, and how to optimise your website for voice search, contact the team @iNNsite.