The days of typing in a query, pressing search and reviewing the first page of results to find what you’re looking for are quickly coming to an end – VERY QUICKLY!
Voice search will not only replace the traditional way people use search engines, it will bypass search results altogether.
A single voice command can initiate a purchase and automatically arrange payment from an e-wallet. Consumers effectively jump straight from awareness to point of purchase, skipping the traditional research phase.
The voiding of this phase in the purchasing process means that it’s more important than ever for companies to be front of mind.
Voice assistants will understand what you wish to accomplish. Instead of clicking between 3 airline websites to compare prices and specials you will simply ask Siri, Alexa or Google Home to book what you’re looking for from the one that has the best deal.
Google Voice Search can be used on both desktop and mobile. Not tried it? Go to Google.com.au and click the microphone.
Queries may no longer be “search-oriented” in the way we define it today. It’s far more likely that we will bypass search and go straight into a request for action.
Instead of searching for “electricians near me”, you may ask for an appointment with the highest-rated local electrician (start asking for those 5 star reviews!!!) who is available between noon and 2:00 pm tomorrow.
Instead of searching for “pizza restaurants near me”, you can now ask Amazon’s Alexa (Echo) to order you a Large Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza with mushrooms and extra sauce and have it delivered to your house via the Domino’s Pizza skill.
Both of these scenarios bypass traditional search and the opportunity for competitors to try and attract your attention through paid search ads, high ranking organic listings, or even adjacent listings in general browsing activity.
The biggest beneficiary of the boom in voice-controlled personal assistants and search is Amazon. Whether it was planned or happened by pure luck, Amazon seems to have timed the release of Amazon Echo perfectly. (Amazon Echo uses Yelp’s database for local service providers, retail and restaurants, as well as reviews in ranking and formulating its responses).
The attraction of voice search is undeniable — it’s faster, hands-free, lets you multi-task, and (especially among millennials) it’s considered cool.
Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu, stated that there is still significant improvement to make — that 99-percent accuracy is a game-changer. He believes 99 percent will make the difference between people barely using it and people using it all the time.
Voice Search optimisation is the future of SEO.
Changes that can help make you more successful in the voice search world:
Optimising for voice search can be as simple as asking a lot of the most common questions, and proceeding to answer them within your content. Typically, it will be:
A well thought out FAQ page or an FAQ section on relevant pages of your site is also beneficial.
Schema markup makes it much easier for Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engine to understand the exact content of your site, giving them a better opportunity to serve your content to the right users. Schema may also generate rich snippets which can lead to a much greater engagement.
The three key components of Schema Markup:
These elements can be used to markup pricing, availability, videos, company details, business hours etc. The more accurately a business is marked up, the more relevant it will be to specific queries made through voice search.
Voice search is three times more likely to be ‘local’ than text search, because the majority of voice searches are conducted on mobile devices. This also holds true for ‘near me’ searches which doubled in 2015 as users turned to their phones to find local businesses.
When you use the phrase “near me” in a voice search, results are returned based on where you are in relation to the businesses.
This highlights the importance of claiming and optimising your Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Apple Maps & Yelp accounts. Whilst the ranking value of business directories is diminishing, it’s still beneficial to ensure the top citations have the correct business category, business name, address and phone number.
If your online listings have different business name variations, multiple addresses and phone numbers, how does a search engine know which result to return if someone searches for you?
Ask your happy customers for (5 star) reviews! The importance of reviews for local businesses can’t be stressed enough. This will be even more important when people use voice search and ask to find the best rated real estate agent, day spa or dog grooming salon ‘near me’.