Voice SEO Can your business be found with a voice search?
Voice SEO provides context.Voice search will not only replace the traditional way people use search engines, it bypasses search results altogether.
10% (50 billion monthly voice searches) from zero in 2015 with GoogleNow, Siri & Cortana
20% of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices are already voice searches (2016)
60% of voice search users began using virtual assistants in the past 12 months (2015 survey)
50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. ComScore
The evolution of SEO
The growing market for voice-driven search devices has unique implications for the way search results are obtained and delivered. Standard SEO practices must evolve to:
|Use long-tail keywords catered to semantic searches (improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms via schema mark-up and structured data)|
|Emphasise location (schema allows you to connect your business to your Apple Maps, Bing Places, Yelp & Google My Business accounts)|
|Optimise “read it back” interactions – conversational questions and answers|
|Prompt phone calls and other direct actions|
These changes can help businesses compete in an environment where vocal interactions are replacing screen time and search engine results page placement which may no longer be a top driver of leads.
Natural language Q&A
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:
Structured data pairs names with values to help search engines categorise and index your content
Microdata is one of the forms of structured data (also RDFa and JSON-LD)
Schema provides a set of agreed-upon definitions for microdata tags. (Schema is a collaborative effort between Google, Bing and others)
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.
Structured Data Examples
Local 'Near Me' 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'.
Typing is so yesterday. Why write it when you can say it?
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 won’t kill screens – just like mobile didn’t kill desktop, but Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 30 percent of web browsing will be without screens. Voice SEO is the next evolution of search engine optimisation.
Organic search, by nature, shifts significantly every few years. The dawn of voice search is simply the next wave in an ocean of change.
The impact voice search will have on brands
The voice assistants
- Apple’s Siri – the biggest – 1 billion mobile devices (the worst voice recognition)
- Amazon’s Alexa – leader in voice assistant devices – 3 years, millions sold
- Microsoft’s Cortana – installed as standard on all Windows 10 PCs
These 3 virtual assistants use Microsoft Bing for search results and Yelp for local business information and reviews.
- Google’s Assistant – the best voice recognition and search results