From Siri to Alexa, voice technology has been finding a way into our everyday life. In a pre-pandemic world, marketers expected half of all online searches to be voice-controlled by 2020.
- 30% of browsing sessions will occur without a screen by 2022
- 31% of smartphone users use voice technology at least once a week around the world
- 55% of households are likely to own smart speaker devices by 2022
The global pandemic is likely to have increased the phenomenon. The reliance on smart technology and smart functions are changing the SEO environment.
Searching with voice search
Voice search transforms the way users approach the search function. In a written format, the typical search focuses on short keyword phrases.
Voice search, on the other hand, has no qualm about using long-tail keywords, with an average of 29 words per query. Users tend to launch search in a conversational manner, stating the query in a natural language.
Here’s a brief example:
If you were to use keyboard search to enquire about the age of your favourite actor, you would type:
“George Clooney DOB”
The voice search functionality enables you to ask naturally:
“How old is George Clooney?” or “When was George Clooney born?”
Websites need to target long-tail keywords and a conversational language to remain relevant for voice search users.
Addressing voice searches queries
Voice searches frequently include question markers, as shown by the 25 keywords that trigger 20% of all voice searches. These include all the question words (How, What, Where, When, Why, Who) and auxiliary verbs (is, can, do, does).
These need to be added to existing SEO strategies to optimise your content accordingly.
How voice search appears in SERPs
Marketers focus on the intention behind the search to optimise their SEO for voice search. This will happen by gaining an in-depth understanding of the semantic search, including the search history and location of the user.
Additionally, the inclusion of question trigger words into the content encourages the distinction between simple queries and searches that require a more comprehensive answer.
In the example mentioned above, “How old is George Clooney?”, the query is driven by an informative intent. Simple queries can be addressed using the Rich Answer Boxes that appear on top of the result pages. Featured snippets are included in up to 30% of all Google queries.
SEO applications of voice search
A user launches voice search to reach content that will fulfil either of the following functions:
Here, we only focus on the SEO landscape for businesses, especially local brick-and-mortar businesses, services and consulting agencies, and e-commerce.
Driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations
Local businesses can use search voice SEO strategies to drive foot traffic to the store. They tackle navigational content as a priority on mobile devices.
Voice searches triggered by terms “when” or “where” and queries including location markers such as “near me” represent new opportunities for shops. Alongside with data on the user location, the SERPs can refer users to your Google My Business presence. Marketers can also use schema metadata to enhance responses to navigational queries within the web content too.
Answering service-based queries
Service-based businesses can find the source of traffic through question markers “what”, “how”, or “who” as well as auxiliary verbs.
For example, the following voice search “How can I fix a leak in my bathroom?”, could redirect the user to local plumbing businesses.
The SEO strategy will include Schema metadata, a local Google My Business page, and responsive mobile calls-to-action on the website. Local plumbers can promote their presence through a brief Rich Answer Box that tackles leak emergencies. The webpage acts as a lead generation tool to capture clients who need a rapid and effective service response.
Driving e-commerce conversions
Transaction intentions require a response that combines SEO with smooth user experience and transaction journey.
Typical transaction voice search queries contain question markers such as “what” or “when”. But they also contain long-tail keywords providing a detailed description of the desired item. For instance, the user could ask “Where can I find red leather shoes in size 10 with a medium heel and square toes?” Sometimes, the query is not set as a question but as a statement, starting with “I search” or similar, and followed by a list of desired features.
Ecommerce websites need to maximise schema metadata to highlight individual features of their item. Listings such as Google Merchant product listings can also provide relevant information by category. The addition of filter functionality on the website can also help narrow-down results accordingly.
Additionally, mobile responsiveness and a smooth transaction path will be crucial to the completion of the conversion.
In conclusion, if voice search isn’t part of your SEO strategy, it’s time to update your web presence. If you want to find out how we can help you address voice search queries more effectively, get in touch with our team of experts.