Voice search is on the up. Chances are, in the last few months, you’ve seen adverts for or even interacted with a home-assistant such as Google Home or Amazon Echo.
The introduction of wearables such as the Apple Watch facilitated the development of voice search and combined with the prominence of Siri in Apple devices, voice search has been becoming a part of the search landscape over the last few years. In fact, in 2016 20% of Google searches were attributed to voice search.
The evolution of voice search from the bit on the side to the main event is pushing us to consider that it’ll soon become much more commonplace for the internet to be accessed via “standard” household appliances.
The more people use it the better voice search will get as the technology gains the ability to learn and evolve its answers and responses. As we’ve been seeing in terms of communication online, there is a growing popularity to the use of natural language; everything is moving towards becoming more ‘human’ and brands need to prepare for it.
In terms of SEO, the emphasis is still on the user and getting them the most relevant answers quickly and efficiently. Voice Search won’t change the end goal but it will change how users get there.
It’s time to think outside the ‘search box’ when it comes to content and think more about the customers’ needs and the importance of relevance.
“41 percent of all adults have used voice-activated search on their mobile devices at least once (most frequently, to get directions), and more than 55 percent of mobile phone users between the ages of 13 and 18 use voice-activated at least once per day (most frequently, to initiate a phone call).”
Piling in keywords won’t work. The focus of voice search results will be on delivering answers to questions. Question phrases will make up a bigger part of effective SEO as users become more familiar with voice search and the format of single-response answers.
To get back to being more ‘human’, think about incorporating more colloquial language, slang and leading questions; this is how people will be searching, it’s all about questions and answers.
The device used will need to be taken into account as it will hold data on the user which will affect that answers that the device gives e.g. Amazon Echo looks at the users personal shopping habits, whilst Google Home favours sourcing its responses from ‘Featured Snippets’.
Google’s use of the Featured Snippets shown at the top of SERPs gives scope for research around targeting. Are there particular questions you can target? Does the page have a high authority? These are all things to take into consideration when developing your voice search strategy.
As voice search embeds itself into people’s digital lives brands should begin to consider how their content can come into play and be discoverable through voice search devices. Technological developments based around the popularity of voice search are bound to change the landscape dramatically in the coming years, but for now, re-examining your keyword strategy is a great start to get ahead of the sound wave.
The next instalment on how you can adapt your strategy with Voice Search in mind: