The era of Voice Search is here. It is revolutionizing the way searches are done on Internet. Now, people need not type on their device screen to search information on Internet. They can just use their voice command and their desired results will be before them.
Why would someone bother to type when one can just speak and find the required information?
Voice search is on the rise and will continue to rise in future too. For online marketers, it has become extremely important to optimize their webpages/websites in order to feature in voice search results. Also, voice search optimization is important from SEO point of view. It is the new SEO trend.
In order to do voice search optimization, it is important to understand what it is.
I. What is voice search?
It is a speech recognition technology which lets a user to use his/her voice command instead of typing to search the Internet, app, or website. Speech recognition technology turns speech into text.
The search can be done using a voice command on any device .
II. How it works?
When you use voice search method to search information on Internet, the following will happen:
a. The voice search assistant or software on a computer or mobile phone will process and convert your speech or voice command to text.
b. It will analyze the text in order to detect the questions or commands.
c. It will connect to search engines to find the relevant information.
d. After finding the relevant information, it will then translate the information into a format that fulfills your purpose.
This technology converts speech into text based on the following approaches:
a. The spoken word is matched with a similar sound stored in the memory of the computer.
b. A word is broken down into bits based on their features such as consonants, vowels, etc.
c. Grammar knowledge is used to improve the accuracy and speed of voice recognition.
d. Artificial neural networks are also used to recognize the patterns of sounds and words.
III. What can it be used for?
1. It can be used for searching something on the Internet.
2. It can be used to checking email.
3.An alarm can be set using it.
4. It can be used to make a phone call or send a message.
5. It can be used to search audio or video files.
6. It can be used to check weather report.
7. It can be used to schedule a reminder.
8. It can be used to check the sports score.
9. It can be used to launch/open an app or selecting options, etc.
IV. Voice search statistics in 2019
1. By 2020, 50% of all searches would be voice searches. (Source: comScore)
2. The voice recognition market will be $601M industry by 2029. (Source: Technavio)
3. There were estimated 1 billion voice searches per month as of January, 2018. (Source: Alpine.AI)
4. There will be an estimated 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020. (Source: Activate)
5. In America, 16% own a voice activated smart-speaker. (Source: Edison Research and NPR)
6. In USA, households owning a smart speaker would rise from 13% (as of 2017) to 55% by 2022. (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants)
7. Voice commerce sales are predicted to reach $40 billion by 2022. (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants)
8. About 1 in 5 adults use mobile voice search per month. (Source: Global Web Index)
9. 20%-25% of mobile searches are voice searches.
10. 22% of smart home speaker owners have made a purchase using their device. (Source: Edison Research)
11. 5% of consumers use voice shopping. It is predicted to reach 50% by 2022. (Source: MoffettNathanson)
12. Google Assistant is available on more than 400 million devices. (Source: Google)
13. It accounts for 25% of searches conducted on Windows 10 taskbar. (Source: Microsoft)
14. 2 in 5 adults use voice search once daily. (Source: Location World)
V. What is Voice Search or Voice Engine Optimization?
It means optimizing the website content, location, and brand information in order to become fit to appear in the voice search results. Voice search engine is very competitive as compared to SEO. Only the top 3 results on a search engine result page, appear in the 75% of voice search results.
VI. What Is Its Importance In Search Engine Optimization?
Using Voice search, the website owners can increase their site traffic by providing answers to the user’s question. As lot of website optimization is required for voice search therefore, it also helps in improving the website ranking on SERP. This technology is very fast (3.8 times faster than the average website) and it provides faster & relevant results to the users. Therefore, there is very less chance of high bounce rate. A low bounce rate improves the website’s ranking.
VII. How to do Voice Engine Optimization?
The voice engine optimization is extremely essential just as the search engine optimization. In order to show up in the voice search results, the website content should be properly optimized.
Some observations in voice search results are as follows:
1. The voice search queries are longer (more than 10 words).
2. Search queries have natural language and are conversational in nature. For e.g. instead of saying “chocolate cake”, people say “Hey Alexa! How to make a chocolate cake at home?”
3. The number of local voice searches have exponentially increased ( >150%). For e.g. people use voice searches for queries like “gym near me” or “hotels near me”, etc.
Following are the important steps for performing Voice Engine Optimization (VEO):
1. You should focus on using natural language keywords. For e.g. You should use “how to learn to play guitar?” instead of “guitar tutorial”.
2. You should use long-tail keywords in your content. Long-tail keywords are generally not preferred by content creators due to their low search volume but for voice search they are extremely important.
3. You should use questions in your content. The questions should be long-tail natural keywords. The questions used be marked in H2 tag.
4. You should provide answers to questions in your content. Include FAQs in your content to improve the readability. The answers to business related questions should be provided in Google My Business Question and Answer section.
5. You should also strive to improve the page load speed of your website. The mobile should be mobile-friendly and should load fast because maximum number of voice searches are done from mobile devices.
6. The voice search results are extracted from the websites which appear in the Featured Snippet. 40.7% of voice search answers come from the Featured Snippet. Therefore, you should aim to make your website appear in the featured snippet.
7. The content of the post should be easy to read and understand. It should be of 9th grade reading level or below it. Complex words and hard to understand technical terms should be avoided.
8. The content should be longer. The average length of a an article which shows up in the voice search results is 2300 words. A web page with more number of words is more likely to match a voice search query.
9. You should optimize your business listings. The data such as name, address, and phone (NAP) should be clean and consistent.
10. You should optimize for local search queries like “hotels near me”, “mobile repair shop near me”, etc. depending on your business niche.
11. You should also try to rank your videos in search results. The “Video Featured Snippet” feature of Google shows top YouTube videos on the result page. The videos generally show up for search queries which contain words like “How to…”, “Why…”, etc.
12. Your website should be HTTPS secured. According to a study, 70.4% of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.
13. Your content should be highly shareable because the average voice result page has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets.
14. Your website should have a high domain authority because the average Ahrefs Domain Rating of a voice search result is 76.8.
VIII. What are Voice Search Assistants or Devices?
These are software or devices which enable users to input a voice command in order to find their desired information.
The top devices are:
1. Google Assistant: It is Google developed Artificial Intelligence powered virtual (software) assistant. It is available on mobile phones and smart home devices. It can engage in a two-way conversation with the user.
2. Google Home: Google Home is a smart speakers brand developed by Google. Users can use their voice commands to interact with services through Google Assistant. Users can listen to music, control playback of videos or photos, or receive news updates entirely by voice. Google Home has integrated support for home automation, which enable users to control smart home appliances with their voice.
3. Amazon Echo/Alexa: Amazon Echo (also known as Alexa) is a smart speaker brand developed by Amazon. Echo is connected to Alexa (intelligent personal assistant service). It has voice search feature using which users can listen to music, make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audio-books, check weather, traffic, etc. It can also control several smart devices.
4.Siri (iPhone): Siri is a virtual assistant in Apple devices. It accepts voice commands/queries and uses a natural language user-interface to answer their questions.
5. Cortona: Cortona is a Microsoft developed virtual assistant. It is available in Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone 8.1, Invoke smart speaker, Microsoft Band, Surface Headphones, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Windows Mixed Reality, and Amazon Alexa.
Voice search has led to a major breakthrough in the way people surf the Internet. Online world is super dynamic and the competition is fierce. So keeping up with the competition becomes extremely important. By optimizing your website for the voice search, you will be far ahead than your competition.