In the movie “Her”, we see a lonely Joaquin Phoenix develop a complex relationship and eventually fall in love with his phone’s Siri-like digital assistant, a form of voice search. Although we cringed at the screen, the movie did end up predicting how much our technology-driven society would one day rely on voice search. Clearly, we aren’t on our way to dating our digital assistants, but we are moving from typing our questions to speaking them into our devices.
What is Voice Search?
To clarify, voice search is an up and coming technology that allows people to access internet search results using nothing more than their voice and a smart device. This includes Google Voice Search and digital assistants (also called voice assistants) like Cortana, Siri, Bixby, and Amazon Echo.
Voice search technologies, including digital assistants, are often interactive, involving several rounds of interaction that allow a system to ask for clarification. Essentially, voice search over time learns patterns unique to your way of speaking and your behaviors in order to learn preferences and find the best results for you specifically (not because it wants to date you).
Besides making search engine queries, voice search can be used for requesting specific information, such as weather updates and sports scores, launching programs and apps, searching for content in audio or video files, or voice dialing. Although, voice search is still in its beginning stages it has been growing at an increasing rate, and for good reason.
Voice Search is fast, personalized, convenient and allows you to search on the go. No wonder the presence of voice search is becoming ubiquitous and billions of devices presently come equipped with it. Already 20% of mobile searches on Google are made via voice search. Even more, there are over one billion voice searches made per month. And when it comes to digital assistants, 37% of people say they use them at least once a day.
Voice search reshapes how we search for things, SEO is bound to be affected. To keep your website optimized for search engines and ranking well on Google you must now add Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) to your SEO efforts.
4 Ways the Rise of Voice Search Will Reshape SEO
I know what you’re thinking… “I finally feel comfortable implementing SEO to my website and now I need to learn VEO?!” Don’t worry, it’s not more than you can handle and if it is Rainman Creative is here to help.
When people type into search engines they usually shorten what they want to ask, for example, if they are looking for the outcome of a basketball game they might enter, “Spurs Game Results.” When using voice search people use their natural speech pattern, so instead a search would sound more like, “What was the score of the Spurs game last night?”
Voice search is becoming much more conversational in its format because of this new way of searching. This technology relies on natural language processing, learning the speech patterns and preferences unique to the person who interacts with it. So, when voice search looks for results, it does so by using these learned speech patterns.
As you may have guessed, the approach to keyword research for voice search will be totally different. Voice search is more about long-tail conversational keywords and answering questions users are likely to ask. This makes it important for SEO/VEO strategies to focus on long-tail conversational keywords and phrases and Q&A formatting instead of keywords.
SEO can be optimized for natural speech patterns with voice query research tools, like Rank Tracker. This tool will help you turn keywords into better-developed language that reflects natural speech patterns. You should also consider your online content in the context of voice search. When creating content you must be creative and move past the short stilted structure that characterized searches in the past.
By incorporating natural speech into your content, you can help boost your pages search ranking. Using a more conversational tone is also more attractive to readers and will simultaneously help you optimize for everyday language and therefore everyday voice searches.
“Mexican Restaurant Near Me”
People using voice search are usually looking for a specific business or product near them. They may ask Google Voice Search something like, “Where is a good vegan restaurant near me?” If you are in the business of serving up mouth-watering Asian-style vegan foods, you will want to be one of the first results of this voice search.
The first step to accomplishing this is claiming your Google My Business page. Once you have done this you will want to make sure all information is correct on your listing including location, hours of business, business type and phone number. Since most voices searches are local in nature having an optimized Google My Business page will give you a better chance of ranking for your local business, location, and business type.
It is also important that you have good reviews on Google to make it to the top of the locals. If you find that a client is really pleased with your services or product, ask them to take the time to leave you a review of their experience on Google. Voice searches make optimizing for local SEO essential.
That Page Speed
Page loading speed is already a ranking factor in SEO. The faster your page is able to load, the better chance you have of someone staying and exploring it. This is even more important with voice search. When you use voice search you are usually looking for an immediate answer. Voice search is not going to mess with your page if it is prone to lagging and slow loading speeds.
The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, that’s 52% faster than the average web page! This makes page speed an especially important factor for higher ranking in voice search results. Imagine you are standing outside on the hot concrete looking for a bubble tea shop to help you cool down. If you ask Siri for help, you want the answer now. You aren’t going to stand around and wait for voice search to access a slow page, even if they have the best bubble tea in town. You must understand what a large role urgency plays in voice search; your site has to be there in the moment, your site has to be quick and efficient to make potential consumer yours.
If your website isn’t loading at an optimal speed, you may be jeopardizing your chance of being found using voice search or any search at all.
Make It Mobile
With 1 in 5 voice searches being initiated from a mobile device, the true potential of mobile SEO is further confirmed. And it isn’t just mobile voice searches that are growing, its mobile searches in general. Taking that into account, you can see why voice search is now experiencing such immense growth. 2018 proves to be the year to make it mobile or get left behind.
Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is the only way to keep it on the top of Google’s search results. A website that does not load, and quickly, on your smartphone will not rank well on Google. You can check if your website is up to par by taking the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
There is even more reason to have a mobile responsive website. With this rise in smartphone use, Google is beginning a transition to mobile-first indexing. The full switch to mobile-first indexing will most likely be complete by mid-2018. When the shift is done, mobile indexing will be coming before desktop. This means Google will give more attention to mobile websites when crawling for answers. Implementing mobile first SEO is essential in optimizing for voice search as phones have become such an integrated part of our lives.
It’s Time To Develop Your Voice Engine Optimization Strategy
The future of voice search is not predictable. However, we do know that it is gaining considerable traction and its growth is not slowing down anytime soon. Voice search is becoming the new way people search for things online and with that comes many changes for SEO and your website.
You need to make sure you incorporate an SEO strategy that takes voice search into account.
Researchers predict that between 30% and 50% of all searches will be done using voice search by 2020. This leaves you with only 2 years to get every aspect of your website optimized for voice search. Since VEO implementation will require a lot of trial and error, if you don’t start now you are bound to regret it later.
Siri, Call Rainman Creative in San Antonio
Preparing for this big change and correctly implementing everything voice engine optimization (VEO) entails may have you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Rainman Creative’s team of experienced professionals are constantly researching and perfecting the latest trends and best practices for web design and SEO, including voice search optimization. When you work with us you can rest assured your website will be prepared for the future. Let Rainman Creative curate your digital first impression, call us today at (210) 647-6333 or contact us online. Let’s brainstorm!