Are You Ready for the Voice Search SEO Tidal Wave? POV
Should you be developing an SEO strategy for voice search?
Voice Search SEO: How Will You Prepare?
Become a master in mobile voice search
Voice search is an audio computer and phone feature that allows people to directly ask questions to their devices and receive answers without having to type or physically search their machines. The use of voice search, as a vertical search, is growing as it's a convenient way for people to contact others, search the web, change music, and more while moving. Companies are leaning in the direction of optimizing for voice search because more and more people are vocalizing their queries, especially teens. More than half of teens in the US are using voice search.
The importance of pursuing a voice search strategy is clear. This point-of-view piece by BrightEdge details the data supporting this, and the "Position 0" future of SEO.
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Voice search is expected to reach 50% share of queries by 2020 according to Comscore, so it could be as large a growth factor in search as mobile was between 2012 and 2017. Voice is riding on the explosion of mobile, smartphones, digital assistants on devices and on PCs, and smartwatches. Juniper predicts combined digital assistant prevalence to grow 255% to 5.5 billion by 2021.
The reasons for using voice search are easy to enumerate: faster, more convenient, handsfree, and typing on mobile devices is unpleasant (Thrive Analytics/LSA survey). It also helps that voice recognition has reached 94% accuracy, which is at parity with humans (Purna Virji Microsoft). Progress above this normal human rate will attract many more users. Learn how to optimize for voice search.
Voice search has grown exponentially in the last 3 years. Google Trends reports an increase in “ok google” queries from a relative base of 4 in March 2014 to 68 in 2017. That is a 1600% increase. Voice queries spike in December and January to around 98 as people buy new hardware. Voice queries are about 20% of total queries and assessed as 30X more action-oriented than text according to Mariya Moeva of Google.
According to Jennifer Slegg of SEM Post: Over half of US teens and 41% of US adults use voice search on a daily basis. Voice queries are 10% more likely to have and use the rich snippet or quick answer than text queries. Average query length for voice is 4.2 and for text is 3.2. 10% of voice queries start with “Who,” “What,” “Where,” and “How” vs. 3.7% for text. “How” and “What” strings make up 7% of all voice queries. Traditional text queries are centered on keywords; questions are more focused on intent.
Voice results on a PC or mobile device are more likely to be visual because people use voice search when they are busy, so picture results are easier to consume. However, digital assistant devices are screenless and SERP-less, so that means brands must focus on text, words, and conversational meaning. It is early in voice search because it is all organic and there are no ad positions yet, but they will come. So how can you capitalize on the tidal wave of voice queries at the speed of search? Think about the longtail, questions, answers, more conversational language, and position one. It's your time to adapt and learn SEO voice search. Here are some recommendations to succeed at voice search:
1. Analyze your search reporting for question queries and long queries
2. Find the 100 most popular questions in your industry, site, CS, or, help section
3. Ask the question in the title, answer the question in the body
4. Focus on answers and getting position 1 and Quick Answers or “position 0”
5. Check for popular answers in Yahoo Answers and Quora
6. Enhance use of structured micro-data and schema
7. Enable voice-to-text to search your site to match context query was made in
8. Use conversational language on pages to map to queries coming from digital assistants