Up until recently, you would just type what you wanted to find out on the internet into a search engine’s bar and await the thousands of results that would follow. However, voice searches are growing rapidly, and more people are speaking rather than typing into their devices to find out the answers they are looking for. The voice search feature has become so popular due to its convenience and speed, and because it means you can find out the information you need while on the go.
Society is fast-paced nowadays, which means it is more important than ever before for us to be able to get access to the information we need as quickly as possible. Due to this dramatic change in how internet users search for the information they need, marketers are having to adapt their SEO strategies so that their content is just as visible to users.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to the process by which websites appear in a search engine’s results listings. It is predicted that by the year 2020, nearly half of all online searches will be performed through voice search features. Therefore, while SEO has been around for some time, it is important that digital marketers keep up to speed with technological advancements, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), that have led to an increase in voice recognition features on mainstream devices, so that they can adapt their methods of SEO.
Here are some of the ways in which voice search is changing how SEO works and the different ways that SEO will be transformed because of the developments in voice search features.
Natural Speech Patterns
Most of us don’t type things out as we would speak them, which means that how we phrase questions will depend on whether we are typing answers into search engines or using voice recognition. It is typical for us to speak in more detail than we would if we were typing something out, simply because speaking is faster than typing. Naturally, we can find ourselves speaking in shorthand when typing. For example, into Google you may type “weather (insert city)”, but if you were asking the question then you would instead say “What is the weather like in (insert city) today?”.
This may not seem like a massive difference, but it means that SEO techniques must take note of natural speech patterns of users. When voice recognition was first developed, there was a much higher error margin; from 2012 to today, the word error rate has dropped from over 20 percent to as little as 8 percent. This shows that voice recognition is getting much more refined and more used to voice search users and their speech patterns.
Therefore, content that is being developed with the process of SEO in mind should be considering the natural speech patterns that will occur in voice searches to make it more contextually suitable. Otherwise, if your content is based only on typed searches, then you could be missing out on a lot of additional traffic!
Nearly 60 percent of internet searches around the world now come from mobile devices, and most of the more popular smartphones now have voice recognition features already installed in the device. This means that as voice searches become more popular, mobile devices are likely to be used more and more for internet searches.
It is already a widespread and accepted fact that mobile functionality is more important than desktop access, but the increase in the use of voice searches will make it even more essential that your content is mobile-friendly.
In order to make your SEO content feature as high as possible in search engine result pages generated via voice searches, it is essential that your user experience is equal to, if not better than your experience offered via desktop. Additionally, it has become even more important to Google in recent years that websites are mobile accessible, and it even demotes their visibility in their listings if it doesn’t offer mobile friendly content.
Google’s mobile friendly test is a good way to find out if your web page will be ranked highly in Google’s result listings. You should also make sure that your images are accessible on mobile devices and avoid the use of Flash player as it isn’t supported by all mobile internet browsers.
One of the key aspects of the SEO process is the use of keywords to get the most out of your content. However, due to the increases in the use of voice searches, short tail keywords are becoming a lot less relevant than they once were. Short tail keywords were once used frequently in SEO keywords, but as searches change in content when delivered via voice searches because of the natural phrases that people use, long-tail and conversational keywords are more appropriate.
The phrases used in voice searches are often longer and more specific than typed searches, which is why long-tail keywords offer a better contribution to SEO strategies. You may consider using keywords that are descriptive of your products or services or involve full sentences and phrases as these are more likely to be picked up by voice searches.
Location, Location, Location
One of the major changes that the increased use of voice searches will make to SEO strategies is the use of locations. One in three searches that take place on a smartphone are related to location, which means that voices searches are as well. Voices searches often include the phrase ‘near me’, so someone may ask for “Italian Restaurants near me” which means that your location needs to be as discoverable as your content. Search terms can also now relate to the physical location of a business, so it should be considered as part of an SEO strategy.
The development of voice search is a relatively new and popular advancement that offers users an even faster way to find out the information they are looking for. However, it is likely to have a significant impact on SEO strategies for web pages.