The Impact of Voice Search on SEO and Content
Just when we thought we were on top of our content marketing game, a new spanner – or should we say search? – has been thrown into the SEO works.
If Christmas 2017 didn’t bring with it the realisation of voice search’s increased popularity with Echo Dot proving Amazon’s best seller, then this article and the data it discusses surely will.
According to TheeDesign, almost one third of Google’s 3.5 billion searches every day are voice-activated. And to further these statistics, ComScore anticipates that by 2020, half of all search queries will be done by voice. Virtual assistants are changing the way consumers search for information. As content marketers, this means that it’s time to assess our strategies and determine what must be adapted, to ensure we are meeting the demands of this revolutionary trend.
What is voice search?
Voice search refers to the virtual assistant feature on your smartphone, desktop or home device that is voice-activated. Essentially, it allows users to verbally ask their device a question, rather than type it into a search bar. Currently, the most popular virtual assistants include Siri by Apple, Google Now by Google, Alexa by Amazon and Cortana by Microsoft.
How are people using it?
Generally, individuals use voice-activated technologies when their hands, vision or both are occupied. Given this information, it would be fair to assume that voice search would prove most popular when driving a car. However, statistics from Search Engine Land indicate that voice search is most popularly used within the home (43%), with usage in the car falling in second at 36%. While the use of voice searches currently remains utility-based – people use it when their hands and vision are otherwise busy – some anticipate that spoken searches will become the new norm as accuracy and efficiency continue to improve. According to Search Engine Land, voice search inquiries can generally be divided into four categories. These are represented below:
What are the differences between voice search and text search?
If we think about the way we speak and compare it with the way we write – in particular, the way we write keywords in a search engine – there are some obvious differences to note. When we speak naturally, we do not simply state a few focus words; instead, our sentences are quite nuanced and are made up of a variety of words. As a result, voice search queries are much more conversational than text searches.
According to Campaign, voice search queries are typically longer than text searches and are commonly phrased in question form. They are generally three to five keywords long and begin with who, what, when, where, why, or how. Google Data from May 2017 states that “almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, not the typical keywords people type in a web search.”
It is clear that voice searches will likely never mimic text searches. As more consumers embrace voice search and virtual assistants, it’s crucial that marketers determine the differences between the two search types, to enable optimised SEO through vocal queries.
How can you adapt your SEO strategy to remain relevant?
As voice search continues to transform the SEO universe, there are a few approaches marketers can implement to ensure businesses remain relevant. To not only stay up-to-date, but to get ahead of this trend, it’s crucial that marketers consider how consumers speak, versus how they type, and adjust their content accordingly.
DBS Interactive recommends incorporating natural language in your content. This means adding full sentences and specific questions to your list of keywords, reflecting the form that spoken-word question-based searches are phrased. Moreover, make it simple and clear for Google to understand the topic of your content and how to best present it to users.
Virtual assistants pull excerpts from pages to answer a user’s question, so make sure your content effectively responds to the questions your consumers are likely to ask. An extremely important consideration is to optimise your site for mobile. If your brand hasn’t done this already, then it’s time to get cracking – this is crucial in ensuring your site shows up in searches of both typed and spoken nature.