The trend of searching for online information is changing. For a pretty long time by now, people have searched online information by typing relevant keywords or phrases based on the keywords on search engines. But with the sharp proliferation of mobile devices with internet connectivity and voice assistants, people prefer to search for information through the voice mode replacing the typing mode.
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Voice Search is a new technology, which enables people to perform an online search by verbally asking a question on a mobile device, equipped with a voice assistant. The popular voice assistants today are Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.
Mobile devices, equipped with voice assistants, are making lives easier by enabling a natural way to interact with machines. With the help of a digital voice assistant people can get answers to their questions simply by asking with a conversational voice.
According to research by HitWise, more than 60 percent of internet searches are now done through mobile devices. And the number is expected to increase significantly in the future. As it is much easy to search through voice rather than typing on mobile devices, mobile voice search is gaining popularity day by day.
It is now time for businesses to optimize their websites for voice search. And it is due to a simple reason—to maintain visibility in search engine rankings in the wake of the growing popularity of voice search.
Akin to the need for optimizing websites for the traditional search queries using specific keywords, the need for such optimization for voice search is becoming stronger and stronger with every passing day.
It is needless to say that the changing online searching trend has also sent a virtual message to the SEO professionals to re-orient their SEO tactics towards voice-based searches.
It is mainly due to the convenience of speaking with an assistant than typing the relevant keywords the popularity of voice search is increasing day by day. Things are changing gradually and voice search is slowly but steadily entering the mainstream with the traditional keyword-based search tending to lose appeal.
Already, 20 percent of Google searches on Android mobile devices are voice-based, and the number is expected to rise significantly in the future. In a survey by MindMeld, involving 1,800 adult smartphone users in the US, 60 percent of them said that they preferred doing voice searches. It was also found that the usage of voice assistants was steadily increasing.
But how will you optimize your website for mobile voice search? The following are effective ways:
Search engines, such as Google, favor websites that load quickly. It means that the websites that load fast are placed within the top rankings in search engine results. Therefore, you need to optimize your website to load fast as loading speed plays an important role in enabling websites to occupy higher ranks in search engine results.
In addition to the loading speed of websites, Google and other search engines favor secured and certified websites. You should secure your website with SSL Certificate so that search engines see it as a trusted website.
The SSL Certificate enables an encrypted connection with the secured website with which browsers come in contact. An SSL Certificate is a block of code written on a web server that provides security for online communications.
The HTTPS protocol on secured websites with SSL Certificate ensures both the visitor and Google’s bot that your website can be trusted and it complies with all the rules of good online practices.
A key feature of voice-optimized websites is their ability to respond to visitors’ queries, which normally revolve around your products and services. Your website needs to be able to answer some of the most common questions from visitors related to your products and services.
So, create an FAQ page on your website that contains the common answers related to your business offerings. Ensure that your FAQ pages contain long-tail as well as conversational keyword phrases.
Use natural-sounding keywords and phrases instead of traditional SEO-based keywords. You should use conversational keywords that imitate the ways people speak and ask questions.
Creating long content will help your website to rank higher in search engine results. Normally, it is seen that articles that are long and are within 2300-2450 words find a place among the first five results of a search query.
Voice search results not only depend upon the length of content but also the associated quality. Your website should host high-quality content which is valuable for the target audience.
The content should solve their queries and also appeal to them. Search engines rank websites with good quality content higher in the search results.
While long content plays a big role in ranking websites higher in voice search results, short content also is equally important.
Many people search for quick and short answers to their queries, and that is where the role of short content comes in. So, ensure that your website bears short content as well to respond to voice queries seeking short and precise answers.
Normally, people using voice search ask short questions with simple words in the belief that such questions will enable the search engine to understand better. Therefore, use short sentences and simple words in your website’s content.
Also, people prefer answers with simple words and short sentences. If they find a relevant answer in simple words they are likely to click on the link and visit the website.
For voice search optimization of your website, you should use structured data markup, which eases voice search devices in locating specific content on your website.
As such, you should use structured data markup from schema.org on your website to optimize it for voice search. Structured data enables search engines to understand your content as well as its context.
Posting social media content actively is a good way of optimizing your website for voice search. Nowadays, almost many people engage with companies on social media. They ask questions about the products and services of the companies, write reviews, share comments and read blogs.
Being active in social media helps search engines to rank your website higher in search engine results apart from helping in spreading the information about your products and services.
Listing your business in Google MyBusiness also helps in optimizing your website for voice searches. As many of the voice searches pertain to local businesses, having your business listed in Google MyBuisness will increase the chance of your website showing up when a voice search with respect to the local business is made. Research shows that 22% of voice search pertains to local content.
Optimizing your website for voice search is no longer a fashion but has become a necessity. If you are yet to implement voice search optimization for your website, do it immediately to prevent your business from trailing behind your competitors. Voice search is increasingly becoming popular among people, and the popularity is going to further increase in the future. Research shows that by the end of 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be voice-based.
It is now amply clear that the changing internet searching practice is driving the need for businesses to incorporate voice search strategy in their digital marketing plans. So, that their businesses stay visible to their target audience.
That is, however, the broad benefit. The specific benefits of implementing voice search in your digital marketing strategy are as follows:
Implementation of voice search in your digital marketing strategy goes beyond staying visible in search engine results. It also helps in improving customer experiences to foster strong relationships and build brand loyalty.
As voice assistants can differentiate among voices, they can provide valuable insights into user behavior. In this way, it can help businesses create more personalized messages and content to provide to users, who thus undergo a better customer experience.
At the same time, voice searches entail convenience for customers as those take lesser time than text-based searches.
With the growing prevalence of voice searches, SEO practices also have undergone changes. And that is also another reason why businesses today should include voice search in their digital marketing strategy.
The main reason for changing SEO practices is that people post queries differently during voice searches than text searches. For example, voice search queries tend to be somewhat longer than text search queries. Normally, voice searches are posted in the form of full questions rather than only keywords (such as “which is the best digital marketing company?” rather than just “digital marketing company”).
SEO professionals have responded to the changing searching practices by incorporating longer (around three to four words) keyword phrases and using relevant question keyword phrases.
One of the key differences between voice and text searches is that during a voice search, users do not get a full search engine result page but obtain the top answers or results. In this way, voice search provides the option for users to visit the website from which the result was fetched. That means, businesses with voice-optimized websites, have the privilege of getting a substantial increase in website traffic as your website appears at the top results against voice search queries.
Having a voice search strategy is not only important to make your website visible with the growing practice of people tending to post search queries through voice instead of text but also prevents consumers from finding your competitors.
Say, if your competitors have already adopted the voice search strategy and you do not, then consumers are likely to find them not you.
Again, the voice search technology is hitherto new. As such, not a very large number of businesses have joined the fray. So, you get the opportunity to stay ahead of your competitors by optimizing your website for voice search.
Understandably, the global digital voice assistant market is poised for a substantial boost, to be driven by the growing practice of voice search. According to research, the global voice assistant market is growing at a CAGR of 24.32 percent to reach around USD 7.3 billion by 2025 from USD 1.68 billion in 2018.