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How Voice Search is going to impact your SEO
By Saheli Roy Chowdhuri
Gartner predicts that the average person will converse more with bots than with their spouse and that around 30% of website sessions will be conducted without a screen by 2020. If you've seen the movie "Her", you know what we're talking about. Furthermore, research by Comscore suggests that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice driven.
It goes without saying that the "Voice Search" technology is making its voice heard (pun intended) in the AI and SEO circles - quite literally. So, let's look at how voice search is reshaping the future of digital marketing and SEO-driven strategy simultaneously.
The first speech recognition system, IBM Shoebox, was introduced by IBM in 1961.
According to Buzzfeed, Google's AI went through 2,865 romance novels to enhance its conversational search abilities!
Top-4 Factors About How Voice Search Can Level up Your SEO Game
Make no mistake that voice search SEO requires lateral and strategic thinking in equal measure. Simply put, by understanding the intricacies of voice search optimization, you can address your target audience' concerns in a more intuitive manner.
How so? By enabling searchers to get exactly what they're looking for through conversational voice commands. Add to the mix, the use of SEO and voila - you've got yourself a winning combination. Let's explore this concept further and understand the top-4 benefits of voice search in the SEO big picture:
1. Improved User Experience
Voice search helps improve user experience as users can get answers quickly, accurately, and effortlessly. By extension, more and more people are beginning to warm up to the idea of using voice commands for a seamless search experience. This is compounded by the fact that 40% of adults are now using voice search at least once a day.
Key SEO-centric takeaway: If you wish to drive traffic to your website, integrate voice search across your branding platforms (mobile, website, etc.) for optimized results and greater footfalls.
2. Organic Climbing of Google Rankings
Over the years, Google has been placing greater emphasis on voice search optimization after witnessing its increased usage - one in six Americans are using a smart speaker to address their daily, localized needs.
Key SEO-centric takeaway: It only makes sense to optimize your brand's interface as per voice search requirements if you wish to stay on the "good side" of Google's web page (pun intended). Additionally, it is important to remember that customers go through the "first few" websites on a page expecting their queries to be addressed accurately and swiftly. So if you're not among the top-10, you might as well be the last one - it doesn't really matter.
3. Staying Ahead of the Competition
It's important to stay on top of the current and futuristic trends, as well as your competitors of course. With more than a billion voice searches taking place on Google every month (January 2018), you don't want to lag behind in the race.
Key SEO-centric takeaway: SEO strategies keep changing all the time, so it's important to integrate and balance the two technological strategies and get the most out of your buck.
4. Increased Footfall & Sales
In a study, Amazon recorded a month's sale for 2,000 products. The results were outstanding: Voice-powered commerce accounted for $1.8 billion in U.S. retail revenues in 2017 - a number expected to reach $40 billion by 2022. Clearly, using voice search can help boost sales.
Additionally, it is common knowledge that Google, and other voice assistants read results from voice search listings referencing other sites (your brand in this case) through simplistic phrases, such as “According to ___” or "As per ". As you may have guessed, this helps increase your brand's awareness.
Key SEO-centric takeaway: Naturally, both these factors - brand visibility and traffic, and sales - are integral components of standing out in the Google Analytic Report. So, integrate voice search to stand tall on your SEO claims!
Top Voice Search SEO Best Practices for Actionable Results
Here are some professional tips from research done by Backlinko to keep in mind if you're looking to implement voice-search SEO as an integral part of your marketing strategy:
Use long-tail keywords (phrases highly specific to your niche) to contextualize content.
Use "Question format" keywords which work best as most voice queries come in the form of questions.
Ensure great page speed and responsiveness. Research tells us that the average voice search result page loads 52 percent faster than the average page. Simply, focus on creating compressed files, optimized images, etc. for an agile platform.
Integrate short, conversational, and concise answers (not more than 29 words) to address voice search queries.
Infuse simple, easy-to-read content. Research shows that the average Google voice search result is written at the 9th grade level.
Avoid creating single pages dedicated to each voice query.
Use long-form content that focuses on local searches (22% of voice search queries focus on location-based content). Also, keep in mind that the word count of a voice search result page is typically 2,312 words.
Aim for creating content that ranks high in desktop search.
Strive to appear in a "Featured Snippet". Research suggests that 40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet.
Armed with all the relevant and proven facts and tips, we hope you can now use voice search to your advantage - SEO or otherwise. If you have more queries, reach us at <insert email ID> and we'll get in touch.
Saheli Roy Chowdhuri
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