Voice Search Optimization: How & Why To Optimize Websites with Voice Technology
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vijay.mandeep
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Voice Search Optimization: How & Why To Optimize Websites with Voice Technology

Published : June 4, 2019 | Updated : December 22, 2023

Ok Google, “Say Hi to Alexa”!

Apple and Google have started voice search using Siri and Google Assistant, but Amazon’s Alexa really got the ball rolling. Initially, Alexa was seen as a fun voice recognition gimmick that everyone would want for a few months.

But it turned out to gain incredible user adoption. In December 2016, Echo was Amazon’s most popular product during the holiday period.

And, of course, there were iPhone’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. However, we are yet to see Apple and Microsoft launch the smart speakers.

The functionality of voice search assistants is evolving at an unprecedented scale. Whether it’s smartphones, tablets, stand-alone smart speakers – these personal voice-based AI assistants are leaving no stone unturned to help you.

From giving weekly weather forecasts to turning on the lights in your home, the applications of voice search are endless.

What is Voice Search Optimization?

Voice search optimization is a strategic approach to enhance online content for compatibility with voice-activated devices and virtual assistants.

Voice search optimization involves tailoring content to align with conversational language patterns and long-tail keywords, as users tend to pose queries in a more natural, spoken form.

Marketers embracing voice search optimization ensure that their content is easily understandable by virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, aiming to secure a prominent position in voice search results.

By optimizing for this, marketers can stay ahead and cater to the changing search behaviors of their audience.

An average person can type between 38-40 words per minute. But the same person can speak between 110-115 words per minute. According to Statista, the number of smart speakers in the US alone is expected to exceed 200 million by 2023.

Here’s how voice search is different from textual search:

  1. Involves longer queries: Voice search usually includes long-tail keywords or phrases with 7+ words, unlike an average text search, which is somewhere between 2-4 words.
  2. Incorporates natural language: By using natural language, voice technology understands a user’s query more accurately. Since the user asks the queries using his/her voice the results are returned in a more human way.
  3. More focused on local results: Voice searches are 3 times more local-based, as some of the biggest voice search use cases involve queries about the local weather, calling someone, finding restaurants, and asking for directions.

Reasons Why Voice Search Growing So Fast

You might think that the use of voice search would mostly be restricted to the younger generations, but according to Thrive Analytics, people of all age groups use mobile personal assistants.

Google realized that voice search has potential. However, how it would grow was decided by voice technology that forayed into handheld devices and the users who quickly adapted to these devices.

There are 3 reasons why voice search is growing so fast:

  • Speaking is easier and more convenient – Indeed! Asking a question to Google is far easier and more convenient than actually typing the entire question. In fact, in a survey by Stone Temple stated that more than half of the respondents use voice search so that they don’t have to type.
  • Voice search continues to get better through NLP – Voice search is eating into keyboard-based searches. It’s no surprise that more users are beginning to prefer voice over keyboard for their queries since it is better and more convenient. Voice today is perfect for smartphones and smart speakers since they are pre-equipped with voice technology. Nearly 60% of mobile searchers use voice search at least once.
  • Voice search is faster than typing – Yes, voice is faster than typing. According to Bing, it is 3.7 times faster than typing. Users always want answers to their queries in a split second. So, faster the search, faster the responses to the search queries.

According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be via voice, while Gartner predicts that 30% of searches will take place without a screen.

When users perform a voice search, they are expecting to complete an action – such as playing a song or purchasing a product – or a piece of information on a particular subject.

But despite different intentions, Google uses the same algorithm to rank the websites.

1. Ensure your websites load fast

Use Page Speed Insights to analyze the current speed of your website. This tool will reveal your site’s current load time and provide suggestions on how to make it faster if your load time is high.

You also need to understand that mobile speed is more important than desktop for voice search optimization. This rule is the same for overall web design as well. So, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly since a majority of voice searches are through mobile phones.

2. Improve your local SEO

According to BrightLocal, 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses, restaurants, and routes. This doesn’t come as a surprise since most people use voice search when they’re planning to drive somewhere or search for a restaurant.

Most importantly, users using voice search for local listings are likely to include “Near Me” in their query. Update and claim your Google Listing.

Also, develop your “Google My Business.” Make sure you’ve added all the necessary information about your business, such as brand name, address, opening hours, website, contact details, etc. Also, be hyper-local with your content titles and meta description. Local Voice Search

If you’re familiar with some of the deeper concepts of SEO, then you must be familiar with “Featured Snippets,” also known as Google Quick Answers. But, if you’re not, then you’ll certainly recognize what they look like.

Featured snippets appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). When a user types in a specific keyword or phrase in Google, it pulls the most relevant content and places them on top of the results in a box like this:Voice Search Snippets

In order to rank high in voice search results, you should focus on writing quality content keeping in mind in order to:

  • Answer specific and common user questions
  • Answer questions concisely, mostly in the form of lists
  • Write content that is engaging and is meta-description-optimised

4. Think and write like a user

Ensure all the content you write is optimized for voice search.

Include long-tail keywords that sound more natural and the way users speak as opposed to shorter, usual keywords that perform exceptionally well in desktop SEO.

Don’t forget to keep the search phrases short and simple. Voice search results must be typically written at a reading level of 9th-grade. So, even if your content is of a high-level, try and break it down in a way that is easy for the users to comprehend.

Also, aim for web page content that lands anywhere between 1850 and 2500 words for better voice search results. Voice Search Tips

Voice search is on the rise and here to stay. As the functionality of voice search increases, and consumers become more acquainted with everything it can do, we expect its popularity to grow. Already, the majority of mobile phone owners have begun to incorporate voice search into their everyday lives.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed in 2018 use voice search at least once per month, and nearly half use it weekly or daily.

While voice assistants are changing the way we watch videos, play music, or set alarms, they’re also changing the way we search for localized requests, like products, services, businesses, and restaurants.

Millennials are more likely to use voice assistants to help them interact with the outside world by looking up movie times, making online purchases, booking local services, or gaining traffic updates.

The future is bright. The future is voice search. Is your business ready to take the leap?

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