How Voice Search is Preparing to Overtake SEO Strategies
Voice search, the ability to speak into your computer or mobile device to search for websites, is becoming more popular every day.
In 2014, the number of people surveyed who used voice search daily was 41%. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 50% and become even more popular as the years go by.
Google has recognised how voice search is changing the way people look up websites on their site and they are making changes to their rankings to reflect its importance. The more you can adapt your SEO strategies to account for voice search, the more ahead of the game you will be.
Differences in Talking versus Speaking
When you think about the difference between typing and speaking into a search engine, you can readily see how they are not alike. When you type, you tend to leave out certain words that are not necessary in providing basic information. However, when you speak, you will most likely talk the way you normally do to another person. This means that you include more words which makes the queries differ.
For example, if you are search for pizza restaurants in your community, you may type in something like “best pizza Reading”. Whereas, if you were speaking into a voice search, it would probably be something like, “Where are the best pizza restaurants in Reading?”
This is why Google in particular has been altering their programming to emphasise speech patterns as opposed to words that are typed into their search engines. This means that when you first use voice search with Google, you usually have to speak a little more slowly and clearly until the programming recognises your particular voice pattern.
Power of Long-Tail Keywords
To make the proper changes to your website, so that it is more likely to be found with a voice search, it is recommended that you use more long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword uses more words as you would when speaking and is more targeted to the products or services you offer. Since both typed and spoken searches can use long-tail keywords, you can improve the ranking of your site and content by including more of them.
This type of search means that your blog titles will include long-tail keywords which more resemble speaking that what a person would normally type. While it is not expected that voice search will completely replace typing for the foreseeable future, there is little doubt that it’s having a growing impact.
How Long-Tail Keywords are Shaped by Trigger Words
Beside the different mode of communication, another difference between voice and type is that those using voice searches are likely to be in a hurry, on the go, or simply less interested in getting everything right when they speak. This means that the most effective long-tail keywords have trigger words embedded for maximum results.
Trigger words can be used in the title, subheadings, meta descriptions, and URL. The most commonly used trigger words are also some of the most commonly used words in the English language, specifically “best”, “how”, and “what”. You can use Google tools, such as Suggest and Trends to find out more trigger words along with long-tail keywords that work best for your website.
This means when you create new content, you should start by answering the question posed at the top and then following it up with content that is properly researched, relevant to the question, and easy to read so you do not lose the visitor. The emphasis is on putting most of the information relevant to the query at the top, then following it up with interesting details that keeps them into the content itself.
How It Works
Currently, SEO that is based on typed queries into Google means that the first several results are displayed in order of what websites best fit the description given. A voice search means that those in SEO along with SEM marketing will direct their attention at getting the first result which is in the form of a snippet. Most snippets will also feature an image along with the answer to the question or query.
Incorporating a snippet starts with recognising your speech pattern, which is unique. However, it does still use basic SEO techniques familiar to typed queries, so that regardless of the search many of the same elements are still in play. So, the authority in your domain name, the amount of social media presence, and number of quality backlinks all play a vital role in getting search results.
Another important factor is the content of your website. Basically, the size of the font along with proper use of titles and subheaders. If relevant keywords are in the title, then that bolsters the ability of the site to be ranked highly.
How Properly Displaying Your Content Works
There is an inherent contradiction in terms of using voice search and proper SEO techniques that Google has not really resolved. In essence, the voice search results should be with content that is short, to the point, and easy to read. However, Google also prefers the content to be in long-form as well, often 1,000 words or more.
Basically, you can address this apparent contradiction by providing a simple, clear answer that is accurate and to the point. Then, follow up in the rest of the content with more detailed information that meets the requirement for long-form content to keep visitors in place. You may have to put in links for readers to click, so they are taken to where the detailed information exists, but you maintain the short answers in the lead.
In the end, SEO that is accessed by voice or type is still SEO. What is important is understand how Google uses their voice search to find the right content, so you can shape what you display to fit their parameters. With voice search becoming more prevalent, you can be in the best position to attract both using the right techniques.
Posted in the SEO Blog blog category on October 1, 2018.