Who wants to keep typing anymore, when you can search just by your voice? Voice search started low and slow but with time it managed to sink its claws into our daily life. If someone told us that we can search for anything by just our voice, years ago it may sound like a work of fiction but it is a reality now. Speaking of fiction, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was released in 1987. Seeing people talking with computers and their watches, seemed like another worldly thing. 25 years later and that fiction turned out to be a reality. We really have come a long way.
Amit Singhal once said in an interview, “The destiny of Google’s search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building.” – Amit Singhal 2013.
In the recent past, Google has made several advancements to achieve this destiny. Among these steps, introducing voice search was a big leap.
To insist on the importance of the voice search, let us share some interesting facts.
● by 2022, voice search for shopping needs will have turned into a $40 billion industry.
● By 2023, 50% of all searches will be voice-activated.
● 72% of people who use voice search devices claim they have become part of their daily routines.
As you can see voice search is becoming a vital part of our daily life. And if you own a business and your business website is not optimized for voice search, you are missing so much. Before it’s too late, make your business easy and compatible with voice search.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is the use of voice to search on the internet. Most commonly when we talk about voice search it is intended as Google voice search. Google voice search can be used on any device like mobile & desktop. The process is quite simple. You can use voice search by just speaking with google. The results are almost the same as that of written searches. With mobile users growing every day. Voice search is more important than ever.
What is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice search optimization is the process of optimizing your web pages using different techniques to rank higher in voice search results. The major difference between optimization for written and voice search is quite basic. In voice search optimization you try to optimize your webpages on the basis of how someone will ask (Query) using their voice.
Why voice search optimization is important?
It is undoubtedly really important to optimize your website for contextual search. But it is also true that no one can deny today the importance of voice search optimization. After the Hummingbird update from Google, it changed almost everything. Since 2013, Hummingbird update changed the way people used to build and optimize their webpages. Humminbird relies on semantic or intent. The focus of Hummingbird was to improve search results by understanding the intent of users. It is easy for humans to differentiate between two pretty close concepts, but for even the most sophisticated computers it is not possible. Therefore with Hummingbird, Google tried to overcome this problem. This is where voice search optimization comes in. when we type for searching something, our intent may be clear in our head but not in our words. But when we speak, we speak with clarity and full details.
For example; when we want to search for some tourist destination for summers, we will type “Destination for Summers” but when we search by voice we will search like “what are the best tourist destinations for summers?” as you can see the intent for search is way more clear in the case of voice search. Therefore it is really important that your webpages are optimized, based on the intent of voice search.
Most Commonly used Voice Search Assistants
Voice search is not limited to Google. With the evolution of voice search, many companies have launched their voice assistants. The basic purpose of these assistants is to help you in doing your tasks. Some of the most common voice assistants are:
● Amazon Alexa -Virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon
● Google Now – Google app features for Search, Google Now branding is no longer used.
● Siri by Apple
● Cortana by Windows
● Google Assistant used in Google Home Devices
How to Optimize for Voice Search?
Now with the introductions aside, we can move onto the big “HOW”. So far we agree that it is vital for your business to optimize for voice search. The question is how? We will now discuss in detail some of the best ways to optimize your webpage for voice search.
1) Optimize with Conversational queries in mind (FAQs)
As you know by now that voice searches are rather different than standard search queries. So it is important that you optimize according to how people speak rather than write. With the involvement of voice assistants, people search like they are having real conversations. Therefore these queries are more elaborate and long. So when optimizing your webpage, consider what the users will search when speaking. This way you will not only optimize for search results, but also for the standard searches.
2) User Intent and Semantics
User intent or semantic can be defined as the purpose or objective of any search query. Every search query has different objectives. Search intent is divided into 4 basic types:
● Informational Intent: when someone is searching just for the purpose of the information on a specific topic.
● Transactional Intent: Search queries where the users want to buy something and looking for the best
● Navigational Intent: with these search queries people are looking for a specific website. For Example; when someone types “Twitter”. They are trying to visit Twitter.
● Commercial Investigation: Queries with the intention to buy in the near future are considered as commercial investigations.
Once you understand what type of intent users will have when searching for your product or services, you can easily optimize your website accordingly. Use the user intent to optimize your content and you will see visible results.
3) Make Page Mobile-Friendly
We are living in a world with mobile-first. With google preferring websites that are optimized for their mobile versions, it is important that you optimize to that. The biggest chunk of search queries is happening on mobile phones. You can optimize your website for mobiles by following simple steps like:
● Follow the Web Vitals Rules given by Google
● Check the mobile version of your website
● Make sure your website is responsive
● Decrease loading time as much as possible
● Set button and text size suitable for mobile sizes
● Don’t use flash.
With these steps, you can make your website mobile-friendly and that is the future of search queries. Optimizing for mobiles is a must not only for search queries but also for the standard search queries.
4) Use Long-tail Keywords and Phrases
We have said it before, but it is important to understand. When people use voice search they search like they are having a conversation. And when we speak with someone it is natural to use long phrases with questions. The benefit of using long-tail keywords is that they comprise the whole intent of users. They also make it easy to rank higher. As long-tail keywords are more detailed, concise, and contain all the essential keywords.
5) Use Schema Metadata and Structured Data
Optimize for Rich Answers like Knowledge Graph, Knowledge Panel, Knowledge Box, Featured Snippet.
Schema is a markup language that allows web developers to enable search engines to get additional information about information on their site. In simple words, it’s data about data. On the other hand, structured data is the code that is added to the HTML to make search engines understand your content better. With both of these methods, you can make it easy for search engines to crawl and index your data. It presents the data in a comprehensive form. Which makes it easy for search engines to understand. When all your data is well-structured and easy to find, the chances are much higher to rank for any specific keyword. When you see the query result in top of the google called Featured Snippet & Some of the result called rich snippet both are based on Schema markup data. You see benefits of Schema.
With every year passing by, the use of voice search is increasing continuously. With customer’s behavior and needs changing regularly, it is important to stay updated. Now you know how voice search affects your business and how you can optimize your business in accordance with it. If you have not yet optimized your website for search queries it is the best time to do it. Hope now you have enough information to start with.