It is increasingly common to do a voice search on search engines, which are adapting to this new reality and even changing rankings based on those searches. Understand more about it here!
Did you know that you can do a Google search without entering your search terms?
With the Google Chrome browser (both desktop and mobile), we can select the microphone next to the search field and do a voice search.
We may also use personal assistants such as:
- Siri, for anyone using the iOS operating system;
- Google Now, for Android OS users;
- Cortana, for those who use Windows;
- Google Assistant (a kind of evolution from Google Now), which is also available for platforms other than Android;
- Bixby, for some Samsung brand phone models.
They understand voice commands and can help us do web searches.
There are even newer options, made up of voice assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home , devices whose main user interface is speech.
Interestingly, in the case of Google Home, when you ask a question for the device, it can respond according to a web page, making it clear the source from which you extracted this information and even sending the link to Google Home app.
Given all of these alternatives, we will see in this post how voice search factor can be important to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your website or blog.
We’ll see how Google handles this type of query, why the number of voice searches is increasing, and what optimizations you can make to your web pages to improve your placement for speech searches.
How does voice search work?
Google constantly makes improvements to its ranking algorithm to provide the most relevant results for user searches.
One of these updates, which went live in 2013 and was nicknamed Hummingbird, was critical to the satisfactory performance of voice search.
The main advantage of this update was that Google came to better understand user queries.
Instead of considering only the meaning of the keywords and listing the relevant results accordingly, the searcher began to interpret what is the intention and context behind the search.
That is, Google has placed more value on the semantics of content and how relevant it is to the user, given what they are looking for and why.
If the algorithm thinks certain pages are more interesting to the user, it will list them 1st in the results, regardless of whether they have keywords matching the search or not.
In addition to providing better results according to what the user is looking for, this has enabled voice searches to work more efficiently.
Google had been working with natural language processing before, but combining it with the Hummingbird update improvements, the results were far more satisfactory.
It is noteworthy that in general, speech searches have some different characteristics than written searches.
In a written search, we often use “robotic” terms (which we wouldn’t use in a conversation), such as “digital marketing strategies”.
In a voice search, we are more likely to use more complete questions, such as “What are the best digital marketing strategies today?”
Note some aspects of speaking consultations:
In addition to sounding much more natural, they are more likely to have more terms than textual searches.
Still, these voice searches are not the majority. However, they tend to increase exponentially!
And let’s understand the reason why…
Why is the number of voice searches increasing?
To understand why voice search is on the rise, we need to look at the growing use of mobile devices and conversation interface development.
Increased access via mobile devices
We are already used to searching the internet using the keyboard, but it is important to note the increased number of accesses via mobile devices.
According to the company StatCounter , in 2016, the number of mobile devices outnumbered desktop devices in terms of internet usage, considering the world over.
In Brazil, research has been confirming each year that the smartphone is consolidating itself as the main means of internet access .
In addition, we should consider that searching using speech tends to be much easier than typing terms on the small screen of the smartphone.
This, of course, depending on where and when you are.
Voice search makes more sense at home, in the car, on the street, etc., but may not work very well in a queue, on public transportation, or in the workplace.
Another curiosity is that voice search is quite common for local searches .
This means that the location the user is in is of great importance for the search query, such as “which restaurants are near me?”.
Advance of voice assistant technology and conversation interfaces
We also have to remember the voice assist devices we mentioned at the beginning of the post.
Although we only have 2 more active players (Amazon and Google), we can expect new competitors in this market for years to come.
We can even rely on the predictions of consulting firm Gartner, which publishes a list of emerging technologies each year .
In July 2017, she released a chart in which conversational user interfaces are one of the trends that should become popular within 5 to 10 years.
Therefore, voice search is expected to become increasingly widespread, which will surely require us to use new SEO techniques and strategies to keep our sites well positioned.
Let’s see, then, how to think of this optimization taking into account conversational searches.
How to optimize your site or blog for voice search?
Now that we understand the context in which voice searches take place and why they will become increasingly important, we can think of good SEO practices for optimizing your web pages.
Let’s look at some of them!
Sign up for Google My Business
Google My Business is a feature where you offer Google data about your business, such as address, phone, images, and opening hours.
If you have a store or physical establishment or are active in a specific region, your organization is likely to appear when users search locally for your business category or topics related to your business.
Since voice search is of great importance in the context of localization – as we have seen before – keeping an up-to-date Google My Business listing can be very interesting in favoring your brand positioning in search results.
Develop pages or posts with answers to frequently asked questions
Do you know what consumer questions are about your business?
Discovering them can be a great opportunity to create pages with answers to these questions and thus attract searchers with terms with a more conversational bias.
To find out what these frequently asked questions are, some of the best practices are:
- ask your sales representatives or customer service representatives to document questions they receive over the phone, social networks, email etc .;
- check in Google Search Console which are the question-based keywords that bring the most traffic to your site;
- use the site AnswerThePublic.com to find out what are the most searched Google questions about your area of expertise.
Optimize your site to appear in featured snippets
The featured snippets are concise answer cards that appear at the very top of the results page and are therefore also referred to as the “0 position on Google”.
If we search for “what is the length of the movie Matrix ”, for example, we will see as a first result a box with the information “2h16min”, the image referring to the film and other related links.
The same is true when we ask about weather forecasting, foreign currency quotes and more.
When looking for “content marketing”, you will probably see a featured snippet of this blog.
This was only possible due to the consistent work of the Rock Content team and the freelancers who help produce relevant content on marketingdeconteudo.com.
But what does this have to do with voice search?
It’s simple: Some voice assistants and other solutions just read the featured snippet or show this content on screen when the user asks a particular question.
Therefore, it is worth investing in the production of complete and informative materials about your business, your area of activity and other related subjects.
Although the search for typing lasts for a long time, it is undeniable that the search for voice only tends to grow in the coming years.
This will require decision makers who understand the importance of website optimization for search engines to come up with new strategies to stay relevant and well positioned in the results.
In this scenario, organizations that are most concerned with reaching customers and potential customers will thrive according to geolocation criteria, and especially those dedicated to helping their audience find exactly what they are looking for.
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