Imagine two companies competing for the same customers.
Let’s call them Store A and Store B.
They’re identical except for one thing: Store A has a location that is easily accessible to 7 out of 10 customers.
What company will do more business?
You don’t need an MBA to know this – Store A provides more convenience and thus will have a larger market share.
Now, consider one convenience you can add to your website that will have a similar effect: voice search.
According to StatistaThere will be 8 billion voice assistants in use worldwide by 2024.
That’s a lot of people talking into their smart phones or speakers.
And if you’re not optimizing your web content for it, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
Why do so many people use this function? Why is it important for search engine optimization? And most importantly, how do you claim your share?
Read on for answers to these questions and more.
How popular is voice search?
We’ve already established how many people prefer to use the voice search capabilities on their devices, but let’s take a look at some other related things. Statistics, Just for home exploration the importance of taking advantage of this trend:
- In 2022, 35% of Americans over 18 own a smart speaker (up from 32% in 2021).
- 62% of Americans over the age of 18 use voice assistants on their devices.
- One of the top three reasons why consumers want a smart speaker is to ask questions without having to type.
- 80% of smart speaker owners find it easy to use to discover new content and events.
- 57% of voice assistant users use it at least once a day.
As you can see, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants is getting more and more popular in the competition for search traffic, and it’s only expected to go up.
And there are two main things we haven’t mentioned yet – accessibility and UX (user experience).
Voice search improves accessibility
The US Department of Justice has been clear: Websites are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
And non-compliance can cost you more than potential traffic — you can be fined up to $75,000 for the first offense.
Voice search plays a huge role in ensuring that everyone can access your website.
This includes those with physical limitations that prevent them from using a keyboard and mouse, those with repetitive stress injuries who need to limit their time using keyboards and a mouse, and people with cognitive issues who prefer using voice search.
Much of this functionality relies on speech recognition technology, but you may not realize that the way your website is coded can also have a huge impact.
According to WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative), there are several best practices your site must adhere to to ensure accessibility, including reading order matching code order, using alt tags for images, and adding markup to convey meaning and context.
For a complete list of WAI’s recommendations and information on their implementation, see click here.
User experience results for voice search for users
The link between good user experience and optimized search engine results is well demonstrated. And the growth of voice search means that designing your user experience around voice interaction is becoming more important.
How your brand interacts with different devices that support voice search can largely determine whether your users have a positive or negative experience.
But before you tackle this, you need to understand how people use voice search.
One of its main uses for information.
Let’s say you’re soaking in pasta dough, making tortellini while red sauce simmers in a saucepan on the stove.
You can’t remember how long ketchup is supposed to keep, so without taking the time to wash and dry your hands, you yell at your smart speaker, “Hey Google, how long should you cook ketchup?”
Or you’re hanging out with some friends when one of your buddies refuses to believe Willie Mays ever played for the Mets.
A quick voice search can, once again, help you show off your superior baseball knowledge.
In addition to settling disputes, many people also use it to check the news and weather.
Another common use is for “near me” searches.
For example, you are on a road trip in a state you have never been to. Your car is running on fumes, and you must find a gas station as soon as possible.
Without taking your eyes off the road, voice search can direct you to the nearest place to fill your tank.
And of course, there’s voice shopping, which was touched upon briefly earlier.
From creating shopping lists to ordering pizza to buying products with just a voice, more and more people are initiating and completing purchases without ever looking at a screen.
The uses of voice search are increasing along with its popularity.
So, this raises the question: How do you get into it?
Prioritize your voice search efforts by channel and audience
When developing a Voice SEO strategy, you must understand the capabilities and limitations of the platform you are designing for. There are two ways here:
- first screen devices Such as smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
- Audio devices first Like smart speakers.
Each of these offers different strengths.
First screen devices (when using a screen) provide effective information output.
Visual scanning is faster than listening and can be used to convey more information in less time. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
On the other hand, first sound devices provide an effective input.
Users can give orders quickly and easily on their own terms.
Of course, this depends on the device understanding natural language, a technology that has improved greatly since voice commands were in their infancy.
Depending on the content of your website, user demographics, and a host of other factors, users may be more inclined to prefer one type of device over another.
You also need to understand at what stage voice search is used for the buyer journey.
More people are using voice assistants to research products rather than buy them 44.4% of US consumers use it to browse new products, but only 24.2% use it to complete a purchase.
Most of these purchases are small items that don’t require looking at them, like toilet paper or dog food.
Keep all of these factors in mind, then tailor your audio strategy with your specific audience and channel in mind.
Once that’s done, it’s time to get to the nuts and bolts of optimizing your content.
Optimize your content for voice search
If you don’t have much experience designing Voice User Experiences or VUI (Voice User Interfaces), don’t worry – this is whole new ground.
While these differ from GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces), UX/UI principles still apply, as does the impact of user experience on your search rankings.
Here are some important elements to consider when designing your own VUI or converting over existing content to optimize it for voice search:
Start with a plan
Instead of manipulating the VUI and/or segmentation of voice search optimization, you should spend some time developing a flowchart that explains how voice search users navigate through your site.
Doing some advance planning will save you a lot of headache, hassle and redundant work on the back side.
Make the interaction natural
Phonemic searchers use natural language to find things, often using more words.
Whereas a desktop researcher might write [Chinese delivery nearby]Someone using voice search is likely to say, “Where’s a good Chinese delivery near me?”
The same long-tail keywords used for regular SEO purposes will be triggered in voice search.
Try to use complete phrases and queries, which are better than long tail keywords. And make sure you always think about the user’s intent.
Design for flow
We mentioned earlier how HTML, CSS and other code should be structured the same way a person reading your site should tell the same story in voice search.
You also need to take this hierarchical approach to organizing your content.
Ensure that the content follows a logical cycle.
Create verbal tags that can be easily navigated by voice alone (eg, “Select option #2″).
Improve your domain authority
Here is where your regular SEO efforts can pay dividends for Voice SEO.
Voice search always selects the first search result to answer a query.
This makes it crucial that your site be fully optimized for normal search.
Check your backlinks, grow your keywords, boost your local search, do all the other tasks that come with SEO, and you’ll also reap rewards in voice search.
Extract featured snippets
Featured excerpts Not only great for mobile and desktop search – it’s also used to answer voice search results.
fact, 60% All voice search answers come from featured snippets.
So, if your content is claiming this valuable query real estate, you will get the lion’s share of your voice traffic.
Since many audio seekers are looking for local answers, your content needs to be optimized for it.
If you are not already listed in Google Local Rankings.
If you’re already there, work on improving your results.
The goal is to be the Answer when someone searches in Google to answer queries like, [Where can I get a dress altered near me?]
Voice search is only going to grow
Some technologies burn bright for a few years and then fade out completely – remember HD DVD?
It is unlikely that voice search will be one of them.
Instead, it finds new uses and a greater niche as technology becomes more advanced.
If anything, the keyboard and mouse model we know and love is likely to become obsolete, especially Elon Musk’s future Neuralink Catch.
The most important thing in the world of sci-fi turning into reality is the user experience.
It’s not farfetched to imagine AI-powered search learning our likes and dislikes and providing tailored answers according to our unique intent.
The best way to make sure you’re ready for this brave new world is to harness the latest in today’s technology to ensure you future-proof your site as well as possible.
This means taking advantage of the power of voice search.
It is the foundation on which much of the future of research will be built, making it so important to get on board.
Your goals speak. Make sure your website is listening.
- How to Optimize Voice Search: 6 SEO Strategies for Success
- Optimizing Voice Search at Scale: A Guide for Institutional Marketers
- How search engines work
Featured image: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock