Author: Prema Chandrasekaran
Why is voice search the next big thing in Digital Marketing?
It is no news that things are always evolving in the field of digital marketing. New things come, few things are thrown out of the window while few things stay and keep growing along with the technology.
So what is the next big revolution in Digital Marketing?
Every one of us must probably be using it either on mobile, or on PC, or in our house, or maybe in every device. If you haven’t guessed yet, let me just come out and say it already, I am talking about Voice Search.
Voice Search is a facility that makes people search the web by using their voice to find results rather than typing. It might not make sense when I say that voice search is going to be the next big thing in digital marketing and that it is going to change the way we optimize our website.
But, voice search is becoming a part of our everyday life without we even realising it. Wherever we go, we come across virtual assistants like Cortana in Windows, Okay Google in Android, Siri in Apple and there are home speakers like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa which can be accessed at any point of time.
Let’s just take a moment and think about how everyone is searching the web these days. Majority of the people starting from a teenager who just started using a mobile, to adults who is above 40-50 years old are found using voice search.
Why are people using voice search?
Voice search saves so much of time. There’s no much typing needed, all you have to do is talk and you will get the results you want.
The results are much accurate when you search using a voice. When you’re searching for a local business like “Restaurants near you” or “Salon near you”, it gives you better results than what you get in keyboard search.
If we want to get some information using the web, we usually type using the keypad and it will show results on our screen. But if you’re using Siri or Cortana and say for example you want to know the weather in Bangalore, you’ll ask “What’s the weather like in Bangalore?” and you’ll listen to a voice telling you what the weather is and that feels more human than keyboard search. This way people can have a two-way conversation when they use voice search.
And simply because it is fun to use voice search. You can talk or ask them anything and they will respond to you.
How does it make a difference in SEO?
Voice search is obviously different from the traditional keyboard search. So the results the users get should be different as well. As SEO analysts, it is our job to optimize for voice search too.
Marketers have all been doing keyword stuffing and including phrases related to their business to optimize and bring their website to the front. But they have been doing it for the traditional keyboard search and not for voice search.
How to optimize for Voice Search?
Make use of micro-moments
Voice search will most likely be used by people when they are in a hurry and they want to know something pretty quickly. That means the users are actively searching for something online during such moments. These moments can be focused by including the right keywords on your website.
There are tools like Keyword Planner, Wordstream’s keyword tool which can be used to research on which keywords are used by the users. You can type in the interested keyword and find out what the users are searching related to that keyword.
This will help you in both voice and text search, by letting you know what exactly the people are searching.
The topmost Google search engine result of the searched query is shown briefly in a box above the search results. That is called featured snippets. While doing a voice search, the voice assistant is most likely to read out the answer in the featured snippet box.
In that case, our focus should be on scoring a text featured snippet which will be read out by the voice assistant, if a related query is asked. It is not easy to achieve a featured snippet. A research should be conducted on what type of queries are asked related to our business and how the search engines choose to read out an answer in voice result to have an understanding. After this, the content should be created by answering the queries with the right format and it should be precise.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a website by Google in which you can list the details of your business. The name of the company, description, address, price, phone number, business hours should be included. This helps in optimizing your website locally. When people search for “Places near me”, or “Shops near me”, Google recognizes the “near me” and gives them results of the places near them and if you’re in that location and have listed in Google, your website will be shown in the results as well.
Add a lot of question phrases
It is obvious that a lot of questions will be asked when a voice search is used. For instance, if we wanted to know the owner of Android, we would type “Android Owner” but if we’re using voice search, we would ask “Who owns Android?”.
And that is why when we are optimizing for voice search, a lot of question phrases to be added. Marketers should do a lot of research on what people are searching related to their industry and add questions like What, Where, When, Who, Why, How to the keywords relevant to their business.
Context before content
The content we provide should be in such a way that it answers questions relevant to the business. The challenge is to give the right answers at the right time. It is important to know in what context will users ask questions relating to our business and then provide answers through our content. Content is still an important factor but putting the content in the right context is equally important.
When we are optimizing for keyboard search, we normally use short-tail keywords because people tend to type less and look for results. But while using voice search, they don’t mind asking the whole thing of what they really want. So long phrases and questions should be used to optimize our site for voice search.
Google finds it easy to identify data if it is separated by different tags. The content should be divided into different sections with Title tags, heading tags and paragraph tags. The more structured the content is on a page, the easier it is to identify the important elements. Tags to be added appropriately for information given in the content.
Becoming Mobile-friendly is a must
Gone are the days, when having the website mobile-friendly was an option. It is not a choice anymore but a must. Even though there are devices like Alexa, Google Home which are home speakers and voice search is available on PC, people are mostly going to be using voice search in mobile. It is said that 20 percent of queries made in mobile are voice search, says Google.
It is necessary to make sure that our site is optimized for mobile ranking as well. With the help of Google Search Console, a tool by Google, we can check how optimized our websites are and it will also show you where to work on the website to make it mobile-friendly.
When voice search was at its beginning stage, it didn’t perform as it was expected to be. But now it has become an important part of our life. It has become so huge that the marketers are afraid it might replace the traditional keyboard search.
Although keyboard search is not going to end anytime soon, everyone will gradually start using voice search and the usage of keyboard search will reduce. The marketers, if haven’t already, should start optimizing for voice search to keep up with the change if they want to stay ahead in the business.
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