voice-search

Voice Search Trends and Effect on Local Businesses

See the Latest Trend for Businesses – Voice Search

“Restaurant near me, that’s open now.”

“Ok, here’s what I found.” Populating the screen with a list of local eateries, reviews, brief price estimates, name of the business, and a single image. All of which is connected to a navigation application that allows immediate directions to the selected restaurant.   

As opposed to a traditional text search; “Sherman Oaks restaurant open.” And a results page with a map based list of restaurants and refinement criteria. Below which sits relevant organic SERP listings. Text searches are slow and difficult to perform in all situations, leading users to rely on voice search, especially as vocal recognition software and voice command systems intelligence improves. Begging the question, how does my business stay current and respond to changing search trends?

Foundation first, how you write and organize your site content. Voice search is a dialogue system that analyzes language inputs and filters through keywords and semantic intent to fetch results. Similar to a traditional text query, voice search relies on keywords and phrases. What SEO managers need to be aware of is the inherent difference between spoken and written language. Verbal search is conversational while written search is often terse and regularly utilizes shorthand. Bringing us to the first key factor of voice search SEO.

google-voice-search

Long-tail keywords 

Specific phrases or sentences with precise interpretations for detailed results.

  • Keyword: Digital marketer
  • Long-tail keyword: Google AdWords marketing agency in Los Angeles 

Long-tail keywords generate smaller search volumes compared to regular keywords, but long-tail keywords present opportunities to reach end-of-the-pipeline customers. Online searchers often refine and supplement their online search queries multiple times before they find what they are looking for. The interesting reality presented by voice search is that voice searches almost by their very nature are long-tail keyword searches. 

Voice command is verbal and people speak conversationally. Voice searches are complete sentences because it feels natural, the average speaker can speak 120-200 words per minute [2], while the best typist can type around 75 words per minute. The relative ease of voice search compels people to use vocal recognition devices (mobile phones, computers, and home voice command systems). The language with which people interact with their vocal recognition device is long-tail keywords. 

Surrounding long-tail keywords is context, built by user experience, information flow, visual content, and in-depth writing.  

Content

The bulk of search engine optimization (SEO) is content. The same applies with voice search SEO, content is the backbone of outreach efforts. Featured snippets are the regularly served voice answers, and the only way to obtain featured snippet positions is to orient your site towards writing, images, and videos.

  • Write concise answers to specific questions. Do not worry about being overly niched, you may always write more content and answer multiple questions.
  • Bullet point lists and step by step guides (numbered lists), provide Google sensible answers to delivery to both traditional text searches and voice searches.
  • Long-tail keywords written as one would verbalize them are important to high ranking organic positions (voice and text search SEO). 
  • Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Ensure that the content is crawler readable and that you used a properly descending hierarchy of title and paragraph tags.
  • Always consider the; who, what, when, where, and why of the questions you want to answer.
  • An example image along with the written answer will increase the likelihood of snippet ranking (also, alt image tags should accurately describe the image).

41% of people say that voice-activated speakers feel as if they are talking to a friend 

[1]. First, answer the question directly (snippet answer) then follow up the succinct answer with conversational content. Don’t merely answer it and move on. Talk about it, spend a full webpage on it. Which compels me to write a section entirely about featured snippets.

Featured Snippets

The regular output delivered by voice search systems. Otherwise known as position zero SERP results. Featured snippets are usually concise answers to exact questions, lists, or steps of how to solve exact situations. What the voice devices fetch as results also depends on the format it will produce the results in. Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homepod, and other smart home devices deliver their results via voice, there are no screens involved with these devices. The communication medium of results derived from the device’s search engine of choice is verbal speech. Then, there are the phone and computer voice command systems, these voice-activated searches return results on a digital display (often verbally listing the results as well as loading them on your screen), this method is in line with Siri, Bixby, and Google Assistant. You must be aware of your target audience and predict to some degree which type of voice search system they will use. Entirely verbal systems (no screens) will thrive with concise yet well-written answers that sound nice when spoken (proper grammar). Voice search systems with screens will be able to provide more than one result and you may want to ensure that you answer the question in the fastest manner as to be first (it pays to be succinct). 

Structured Data

How does the crawler know what your webpage and ultimately your site is about? 

  • JSON-LD
  • Microdata
  • RDFa

Code that classifies page content and enables special search result elements. Standardized data vocabulary for this type of code is maintained on schema.org. Use structured data, build the tags into your regular web-page templates and fill in the properties with every new page. Also, if you have not already updated old web-pages with accurate data properties, do so now. 

Structured data will aid all SEO efforts, voice and text. Structured data tells the crawler and ultimately the search engine what the page is about. 

Voice Search

Changing search trends present opportunities. SEO gets deeply rooted and it requires new user habits to break old ways of doing things. In this change smaller websites and dedicated SEO managers can find ways to break through the competition and be the first to reach new searchers. Do not be afraid to stumble along the way. Everyone is learning this new technology along with you, even the people using the voice search systems are relatively new to the scene.