How many of you remember when Siri voice search was first introduced back in 2011? We all thought of her as a novelty. A cool tool to check out. Back then, very few people imagined that it would be the major digital tool that it is today.
Voice search technology and its capabilities have changed tremendously over the years. Over 500 million voice assistants have been sold. There is also a wider variety of voice-activated technologies, such as Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant.
The uses have also augmented. People are using voice technologies for more reasons than simple commands, such as call dad or play my music list. They are using them to find answers to pressing questions. They are also using them to find local businesses.
Essentially, voice search is a technology that permits you to state a voice command to access information on Google and other search engines. Ever since the Hummingbird update, Google has concentrated more on ranking relevant content to each search. What does this have to do with voice search? When your audience asks a question, the leading article most relevant to the question will appear. Other search engines (and even social media platforms) have followed suit.
In this blog post, our online digital marketing corporate training team has compiled a list of help tips that can help you optimize for voice search in 2020 and beyond.
Voice Search Optimization 2020 – What Google Looks For
Google’s Voice Search success criteria are very different from regular search. The search engine largely returns pages with a better reputation and with better security. It also mainly draws information– 80%, on average – from the top 3 results. Websites with keywords as anchors for backlinks and pages with more links are also most favored.
1. Page Speed
Page speed refers to the time it takes for a webpage to load. It is a high priority for Google when it comes to determining which pages will appear in voice search results. Websites that are well-optimized for user experience, which means that they also load faster, tend to rank highly. If there are two websites that are very similar, Google will select the one that is faster to appear on Google voice search results. The reason for this is that people who use voice search are usually on the go and in a hurry.
Websites that are secure and certified are also favored by Google. Over 70 per cent of Google voice search results are secured with HTTPS. The HTTPS protocol is used by Google to determine which websites are trusted and in compliance with white-hat online practices. The aim is to protect the user and the device they are using as they my not be able to recognize the information simply by looking at the brand and domain names.
3. Conversational Content
When doing a search via voice, users tend to say more conversational keywords. Simply put, we do not speak the same way as we communicate through writing. For instance, when we look for the “best digital marketing corporate training” in Toronto on a PC or laptop computer, we type just that. However, when using voice search, we tend to change our keywords to something conversational as “Where can I find the best digital marketing corporate training in Toronto?”
Most voice searches are long-tail keywords, and therefore contain more specifics to what people are searching. By creating conversational content targeting these keywords, you have a better chance of reaching targeted customers and generating the right traffic to your site.
Reputation is presumably a factor in the security aspect above, but it also helps make sure the content being returned is useful and relevant for the user. This is also likely part of the reason for the use of the first three results and the SERP features – though this also makes reading smoother
5. Responsive Websites
Having a responsive website is another important ranking factor in voice search. Let’s say a user is searching for a local business using a personal assistant on their phone. The virtual assistant will come up with a list of businesses right then and there. There is no option for them to receive the information on a device that is most convenient for the website. It therefore goes without saying that you cannot optimize your website for voice search unless your website is responsive.
6. Long-Tailed Keywords
As already mentioned, when focusing on voice search, long-tail keywords can help you gain a competitive advantage and show up in Google’s prime time spots. That’s because, long-tail keywords are less competitive and have lower search volume. They are also more distinct searches and have shown to be question-based queries, which is the sort of queries that are being made on voice search.
7. Websites Optimized for Local Search
Approximately 4 in 10 voice searches are aimed at finding search information that is local. This means that if you want to get found though voice search that you need to be optimized for local search. The first step to that is to claim your Google My Business account. Other strategies include using structured data to add detail and context to your webpages, creating FAQ pages and writing useful content.
Voice search is essential because as more voice technologies develop, consumers will use them more frequently. Without a doubt, Google will adjust its algorithms accordingly. First, we saw the switch to mobile-first indexing. Next, we will see this with voice-first indexing?
That being said, it is important to understand that there are certain types of queries that will never be spoken aloud (e.g., 5 tips for google voice search). So, it is important to compare voice search queries against text search queries, for the few topics where voice search queries are being used.
It is also important to remember that users are just getting started with voice search and are still adjusting to this new style of search. However, this will soon change. By 2021, it is expected that over half of online searches will be done via voice.
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