Revolution of Voice Search and Search Engine Optimization
Welcome to the voice search revolution! The rise of voice search is growing at an exponential pace. Voice recognition technology is making our lives easier while allowing us to search the internet and perform tasks by speaking into a device or a speaker.
Voice recognition is evolving into the new standard of online search, and experts predict the technology will be the new standard of how we perform some of life’s everyday tasks.
What about from an online marketing perspective? Because we’re able to search for things online by just talking into a device, this adds another channel of marketing. For online marketers and SEO agencies, it’s now about adapting marketing to compliment this technology.
Will organizations be ready for the rise of voice search and take advantage of the benefits? This article looks at the many factors related to voice search and applying it to an SEO strategy.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is speaking to a device equipped with voice recognition technology instead of typing on a keyboard to search for things on the internet. Built-in artificial intelligence allows technology to execute these commands with a high level of accuracy.
Voice recognition technology has been around for a while. Think back to earlier cell phones and the voice dialling feature. That was the very beginning of implementing voice recognition into mobile devices. However, the idea of having machines recognize voice dates back to the late 1800s as evidence suggests Thomas Edison was experimenting with similar ideas.
To add context to this article and shed light on the popularity of voice search, below are some current voice search stats:
By 2020, 50% of internet searches will be voice activated (comScore)
30% will be executed without a screen (Gartner)
The number of voice-activated in-home speakers is projected to hit 55% by 2022 (Technavio)
As of January 2018, it was estimated that one billion voice searches were performed a month
72% of in-home voice speaker users say it’s become a regular part of their life (Google)
20% of Google searches are voice related (iProspect)
Voice search SEO
The stats above paint a picture of where voice search is going. SEO agencies and marketers are starting to understand how this technology is influencing search engines, and how its implemented into marketing and SEO strategies.
A well-optimized website will ultimately allow you to take advantage of voice search. From our experience at AmberSky Studios, it comes down to having a solid SEO foundation first and foremost.
To better understand the importance of having a well-optimized website for voice search, let’s use the following example:
When you perform a traditional desktop search, the search engine presents you a list on your screen of the most relevant sites to your inquiry. With voice search and using a voice-enabled speaker with no screen, for example, the technology will only present you with one source of information based on your request. That limits the exposure a website has with voice search and makes it extremely competitive to standout.
As the search engines draw voice search information through traditional SEO methods, they place more weight on different ranking signals than a desktop search. This places importance on making sure those specific signals have more focus than before.
Like traditional search algorithms, no one is sure what exactly factors into voice search. It’s a matter of testing, analyzing, and experimenting to understand what may or may not be successful. The following list is factors to consider when optimizing for voice search.
Page speed and loading times
Because voice search is almost instantaneous, search engines will seek fast loading pages first. The average voice search result is .54 seconds compared to 2.5 seconds with desktop search. As page speed is a traditional SEO ranking signal, it doesn’t hurt to spend some time ensuring your website is optimized to load quickly.
As search engines are moving to ensure every website on the internet is encrypted, data suggest that having an HTTPS-enabled website will boost your voice search rankings.
Research shows that 74% of voice search results come back with HTTPS enabled sites compared to just 50% of desktop searches. Is your website utilizing SSL or TLS certificates?
Featured or Rich Snippets
Featured or rich snippets are clear and concise bits of information. Google, for example, will display this content at the top of a search to provide quick answers to search inquiries.
Because these pieces of information are short and to the point, it would appear voice search gravitates towards these for better user experience. In fact, BACKLINKO; an SEO authority, found 40.7% of all voice search results contained featured snippets.
Clear and Concise
According to Google’s Voice Search rater guidelines, voice search wants to delivery short and to-the-point content. The average voice search result is 29 words long.
If you’re looking to optimize your content for Google Home, or other voice recognition platforms, make an emphasis on clear and concise feature snippet content.
Voice search puts more weight on domain rank when retrieving information than page authority. This makes sense considering voice search showcases one result at a time. The algorithm needs to be very confident the search result is relevant to the inquiry, and pulling from a well established and trusted domain provides that.
Again, going back to the SEO authority BACKLINKO, they found the average domain rating of a voice search was 76.8%, while the average page authority rating was 21.1%.
From Google Home search findings, experts found that content with a high word count tends to attract more attention in voice search than shorter pieces of content. The average article length Google delivered through voice search was 2,312 words.
This may sound contradictory to what was mentioned earlier about the average voice search results being 29 words long. As no one knows for sure why this is, theories would suggest that the longer an article is, the more chances Google has to match relevant content.
High Search Rankings
The main goal for SEO to rank as high as possible for a specific keyword. If a page is ranked high in the search engines, this crosses over to voice as well. High ranked pages will get more attention and have a better chance of getting noticed through voice search.
To Sum it All Up
It’s interesting to see where the world of voice search takes us in the future. For now, understanding and figuring out how to utilize its usefulness will enhance online marketing efforts.
As like any technology, it will evolve, and having a solid foot to stand on as it evolves will set the foundation for long-term success.
Jeremy is the Co-founder of AmberSky Studios; a web design and development agency focused on exceptional customer service and exceeding expectations while implementing sound project management processes.