According to the data published by Google in 2016, 20% of searches on mobile devices were done by voice and, according to Comscore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Google cemented this further by publishing its first ever voice search guidelines last year.
The number of users adopting voice search has been steadily growing in the past few years. The stats speak for themselves — voice is no longer a thing for the future, it’s happening now.
As the technology and devices for voice queries are advancing, it is key that you consider optimising for voice search as a part of your digital strategy and marketing mix.
But where do you start? What is there to optimise? And how does it impact upon your SEO? After all, if more people are using voice search, won’t fewer be searching via traditional key strokes?
What is voice search?
Voice search is a speech-activated technology that allows a user to carry out a search via a voice command instead of typing the query into a search box.
The interaction is enabled by digital assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Google Now, Alexa and Google Assistant.
These digital assistants, also referred to as eyes-free voice assistants, can understand voice queries from a user and return audio responses or perform actions on behalf of them.
The leading eyes-free devices currently in the market are Amazon Alexa and Google Home, with Apple recently entering the arena by introducing Homepod.
These devices let you interact eyes-free because they do not have a screen or a keyboard, but may be connected to other devices in your home.
Thus, the main method of interacting with the device is talk to it, and listen to audio responses.
What are the main features of voice search?
- Voice search queries are generally longer than 3 words. For example, “Hey Google, find a KFC near me”
- Question-based queries dominate voice search. For example, “Ok Google, who is Kendal Jenner?”
- Voice search is conversational, personal, descriptive and specific.
- There is traceable user intent. Instead of “holiday in France”, which might be typed into a search engine, the voice query might be “Where is a good place for a budget family holiday in the South of France?”
Why invest in voice search?
Voice search presents an exciting opportunity for businesses with physical or local presence — especially those who are first to market in their vertical. Our research indicates that most search results for voice queries are connected to featured snippets or the coveted position zero in organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
The imminent launch of Google’s mobile-first index also gives a strong indication that Google is shifting more towards its mobile-centric approach, which it has been hinting at for years after witnessing the growing mobile device trend over time.
There will be brand new algorithms built from scratch and it will be a game changer in how you need to optimise your website to be visible online and cater for cross-device experience.
With the prevalence of eyes-free devices growing day by day and their presence getting more common in households across both the UK and the world, not optimising the content of your website for voice search would be a missed opportunity.
While it’s safe to say that the traditional blue link in a search engine is still as valuable as ever, businesses that adopt voice search strategy now as part of their digital transformation will gain a commercial advantage.
Our Technical SEO Consultants can help you with organic voice search optimisation
Here at SALT.agency, as a bespoke technical consultancy, we are continuously researching and carrying out analyses to ensure that we advise our clients on how best to leverage the opportunity to connect with their customers and garner more exposure via voice search.
Voice Search Services
- Brand & non-brand voice query audit
- Voice-query content opportunities
- Featured snippets optimisation
- Structured data mark-up — technical SEO
- Actions on Google (development)
- Alexa Skills (development)
- Voice search dashboards for business intelligence
- Customer-centric organic search experience modelling
- Knowledge graph integrated voice search strategy