By Victoria Page
Former Google Brain mastermind Andrew Ng predicted that “in five years time at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech”. This was in 2014, based on the progression rate at the time. We’re more than halfway there, but does that statistic ring true?
Whether it does or not, SEO strategies need to be prepared for the changes to come.
Voice search results are already different than typed query search results. Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are already household names, and Google Assistant is growing. Although they aren’t human, we ask them questions, and they give us answers.
Besides the most obvious occasions when using voice commands is a smart choice, like while driving a car, a growing number of people are using them simply because it’s faster:
Not all of these situations realistically apply to all businesses. However, using voice commands while driving is not limited to seeking directions. People often search for local businesses of various types while on the road.
Most of us know the importance of SEO by now. Last week, I examined the ins and outs of mobile app marketing for businesses, specifically on Facebook. But Google’s algorithm has already been adjusted to rank websites in a way that is optimized for mobile use, so what happens when voice search is thrown into the mix?
• 325 million people are searching through the internet using voice search
• 20% of Google searches are done through voice search with 95% accuracy of answers
To optimize voice search results, consider how you might talk to Alexa at home. Conversational, yet direct. To best stay ahead of the game, your business’s content has to match that tone. This might mean reevaluating the best keywords, and upping your content’s word count while remaining concise.
A conversational tone in the voice search world would likely incorporate the “5W’s and the H”: search queries beginning with who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Some doubts about the efficiency of voice search include the limited search results. People often use voice search to get directions, to look for restaurants nearby, or to ask a closed ended question. Therefore, if their results only require one answer, or a few answers, how will voice search play a role in exploring the web?
Will voice search be forever confined to single result search queries? Probably not:
Regardless of whether or not voice search will dominate as quickly as what was once predicted, designing your SEO strategy to accommodate mobile use as well as voice search will only keep your business ahead of the game. Voice searches are often done on mobile devices, so it’s important to combine SEO techniques suited to mobile searches as well as voice searches.