We previously talked about the incoming of voice search but the question is, how do you prepare for voice search?
Just as there are variations between how people search on mobile in comparison to desktop, there are differences to how people use voice searches as opposed to written searches.
Progress in adapting for voice search has been relatively slow given the limited statistics on how many people are using search facilities and therefore it’s unknown how big the opportunity is for businesses to invest in voice search engine optimisation. However, with 33 million voice-first devices in circulation, it’s time to start thinking about your business being in the best position for appearing in search results.
An element of voice search that still requires some development, but that SEO could assist significantly with, is providing context for searches. Optimisation is possible without knowing exact searches, but we do suggest research and consideration for how people interact with voice, particularly in terms of to nuances. Voice searches are conversational and therefore search engines must appreciate the human nature of the interaction.
As opposed to opening hours, people may ask how late a venue is open; this gives context to the search and provides some insight into the person conducting the search. To succeed in voice search you should go further than assuming search terms, and actually, step into the shoes of your audience and find what they would search and why.
While this may be the most important note for best optimising your presence in search results, there are a number of other moves that are worth thinking about.
Google will only provide one result in response to a voice search. If there’s a featured snippet then it will be returned as the result. Featured snippets appear in search when it’s believed that the snippet description provided will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking. Therefore if you’re providing a clear, concise and easily digestible result for a user search then you’ll be top of the pile in results and search engines will favour you in responding to voice searches.
Another crucial action to be taken for SEO for voice searches is to claim your Google My Business listing. So far we have seen that 22% of voice searches are for local content, and if you have your Google My Business listing you will be seen as a more relevant result for searches, which Google will always favour.
Just like with normal search engines, voice search engines recognise the brands you find results from most frequently and will return these to you when possible. Therefore branding remains important and businesses should attempt to tailor themselves to ensure consumers have an affinity with them so they favour their results. This will lead to the business appearing much more highly in search results.
For the future of digital, voice is leading to increased consumer expectation for interaction and conversation. Consumers expect an experience that gives them the effect of talking with a real person. This is in addition to the continuing need for accurate and rapid responses to their questions. Voice looks set to meet this increased expectation as voice search engines are powered by artificial intelligence meaning that they become smarter with use. The search engines can then get to know the individual through this knowledge and better understand their searches and requirements to deliver more tailored results.
Furthermore, as people get more relevant and personalised results, brands will see the benefits of them taking the time to optimise for voice search. To be ahead of the game, start thinking about how you can optimise for voice search.