Many digital marketers are promoting voice SEO as being the next big thing for search engine optimisation and there has been a rise in this in recent years – but, is it really worth investing in?
The statistics right now from some marketers suggest that by just next year, 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Not only that, voice searches on mobile are 3x more likely to be local-based than text. This would suggest that if you are not investing in voice SEO, you are most certainly going to be left behind, particularly if you have a business providing to customers locally. However, is this really the case? While some marketers are suggesting these statistics, we are on the fence as to whether its growth will be this drastic. We know it will play a role in future SEO tactics, but how big a role is still up for debate.
There has been a rise in mobile and voice-activated speakers such as the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and so the future of voice search looks promising. Let’s take a look at what voice search actually is, its rise in recent years and how you can optimise it in your SEO efforts to capitalise on this growing trend.
How Does Voice SEO Work?
To activate a voice search, all the user has to do is speak into the device they want to search on, rather than opening it up and typing in this search. If you already use this yourself, you will know the time that it saved from both typing in your query and having to scroll through the many results that you are given.
Speech recognition audio technology is used to understand what the user is saying and then the results are spoken back to them. This technology is utilised by all the major home assistants that we have seen come on to the market in recent years. What many have failed to realise is that while these technological devices are optimised for voice search, so too can your website. This is where you can really thwart your competition and stay ahead of the digital marketing game.
SEO Rankings And Voice Search
As you would expect with technological giants such as Google releasing voice assistants, they are placing more and more emphasis on this for SEO rankings. Google always wants to make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for, and voice search makes it quicker and easier than ever before.
The mistake that many are making is thinking that the standard website SEO practices are enough to cover voice search too. It is not! They are different and are affected by different factors.
There is no need to panic, however, as there are ways in which you can balance your website and voice SEO strategies.
Top Tips For Voice SEO
1. Site Speed Counts
As you may already know, one of the most important ranking factors for websites is site speed and the same applies to voice search SEO too. Google will always favour sites that load fast and so it is vital that your website not only loads fast but also works great across all devices. To do this makes sure that all images are optimised, files are compressed and website caching is utilised.
2. Writing For Voice Search
They say that content is king in SEO and this also applies to voice search but requires a different strategy. While you will tend to find that keywords for websites are short snippets and not a real sentence, the opposite is true for voice search and this has to be taken into account when writing website content.
For example, if you were looking to purchase a voice search assistant, you may type into Google “best voice search assistants.”
On the other hand, if you were carrying out this same search using voice search on your mobile, you may say “Which is the best voice search assistant to buy?”
Although these are just small changes, they really do make a big difference when it comes to your two SEO strategies. Short keywords are great for traditional website SEO, while long-tailed keywords really make an impact on voice search.
Lastly, make sure that you keep things as simple as possible. While your content may be quite complex, key phrases need to make it as easy as possible for people to find it in the first place. It is also recommended that you create long-form content, as this is favoured by Google when it comes to appearing in both types of searches.
3. Featured Snippets
The easiest way to get Google to notice your content in a voice search is to create a featured snippet. You will see these all the time when typing in searches on your mobile or desktop. These are the answer boxes that appear at the top of the results page, below the paid ads.
Above your content, place a summary line of under 29 words here and this will act as a featured snippet. You may also use headers, bullet points and lists to achieve this. Don’t forget to include your long tail keyword in the snippet!
4. Local Searches
As we previously mentioned, if you are a business providing services locally, voice search SEO is not something that you can skip. In fact, it is these types of businesses that need to be concentrating on voice searches. Phrases such as ‘near me’ are great to use in content designed for voice search.
There you have it! Follow these top tips and you should see a massive improvement in your website’s voice search SEO rankings.
But Will This Improve My Website Traffic?
A big concern for many is that while their site may be optimised for voice search, is this really going to drive traffic towards their website?
Well, the short answer is yes it will! Google will always credit your website when providing an answer and so you get to benefit from this brand awareness. You can also increase traffic as your site will be included as a written dictation within the search results.
Although there is no way to specifically analyse your voice search rankings, this is something that we can definitely look forward to in the future. Many agencies are already building this type of software and so before long, it will most likely be the standard along with traditional SEO analysis.
While only time will tell how big voice search becomes, it is easy to see that looking at current trends it is going to be very important. However, it is harder to see how it will manifest. For example, will it stay as simply being a one answer search platform, or will users eventually be able to get the top result of the search but have the option to hear more results? The latter could be the game changer that transforms voice search into the top online search tool.
As you have seen above, voice search is going to be a growing part of SEO strategies in the very near future, and so there is no better time to start investing in it than now. Revenue and brand awareness are both fantastic advantages to voice search and will keep you ahead of your competitors for the long term growth of your business.