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Voice Search: Is it the Future of SEO?
With Search Engine Optimisation strategies constantly evolving, it’s crucial to stay informed about current trends in the world of digital marketing. Keeping up to date helps you to optimise your content approach and stay ahead of the curve.
One of the biggest recent developments in the tech world has been the rise of voice searching as an alternative to traditional search engines.
Each year, more consumers opt to go hands-free when engaging with their devices, instead using built-in assistant apps to handle their daily search queries.
But what is voice search, and, more importantly, how does it relate to Search Engine Optimisation?
In this blog post, we’ll answer both of these questions and detail how this new trend may significantly impact your SEO strategy in the near future.
- Voice search is a function that lets users search through speech.
- The number of users preferring to search by voice is growing at a substantial rate. Company owners and SEO professionals cannot ignore this changing trend.
- Users tend to speak in longer conversational sentences when using voice search. This means that keyword density is becoming less important. Instead, longer question keywords are becoming increasingly popular.
- To improve website rankings, business owners should focus on creating high-calibre content that answers user questions.
- Google now rewards businesses that provide insightful, well-researched content. To maximise online visibility, this is a trend that business owners should acknowledge.
What is voice search?
Simply put, voice search is a function that enables users to search the web by speaking into their devices.
Unlike a traditional search bar, which relies on physical input from the consumer, voice search uses an automatic speech recognition system (ASR), which translates voice signals to text.
Once the device recognises and translates the speech, the text is treated as a query, and search results are displayed as usual.
Today, voice search is integrated into millions of devices. Many mobile phones, televisions, cars, watches and modern household appliances come with the function built-in.
Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant lead the market, each acting as a virtual assistant that can answer queries, make calls, display media, play youtube videos and provide directions following a simple voice command.
There has also been considerable growth in the smart speaker market. These devices act as virtual assistants, offering hands-free activation while boasting similar functions to traditional search engines.
Users can control smart speakers exclusively through speech. Many of the speakers can understand up to eight different languages.
Amazon’s range of ‘Echo’ smart speakers are the market leaders, but Google has closed the gap considerably in recent years with their line of ‘Nest’ products.
Why is it important?
To understand why businesses are adapting their SEO strategies to account for voice search, it’s necessary to look at some statistics that business owners should pay attention to.
- 27% of Google users regularly use Google voice search on their mobile phones.
- 20% of searches in the Google App are now completed with voice searches instead of traditional search engines.
- In 2022, the global market of smart speakers reached $6.5 Billion. This figure is forecasted to rise to $27.5 Billion by 2028.
- Google has now integrated their assistant into more than 1 billion devices.
- Searching by voice is up to 3.7x faster than using traditional search engines.
- 71% of consumers today favour voice search over traditional typing.
- 42% of those who own a smart speaker claim that their devices are an essential part of their lives.
- 26% of smart speaker owners have used their voice-operated device to complete a purchase.
Voice searching is becoming increasingly popular. Every year, more people purchase devices exclusively based on voice-activation technology.
The demand for convenience is at an all-time high. People want their devices to be interconnected. They appreciate the ability to carry out other tasks while they surf the web.
With the number of consumers using voice search growing each year, it’s vital to consider the impact this may have on the SEO strategy for your company.
How might this impact my Search Engine Optimisation Strategy?
Before detailing the impact the voice search trend could have on your business SEO strategy, it’s necessary to understand how speech changes the way a user searches.
When typing a query into Google, it’s common to use specific keywords to get the tailored search results you want. For example, you may search for ‘bars near me’ to find a nearby bar to visit.
In contrast, a user typically speaks in a conversational tone when searching by voice. For example, to find a nearby bar, you may say: ‘what are some of the best bars in my local area?’. It’s common to speak in this style when talking to a device because it feels more natural.
Searches conducted through speech are considerably longer on average than similar queries posed through a browser search engine. Users will also likely frame voice searches as questions instead of brief, keyword-oriented statements.
This has a considerable impact on the way SEO works. Users are no longer choosing to search keywords to find their information.
Longer queries mean that keywords are less important than they once were. Therefore, keyword density is no longer the primary concern when designing a website.
Instead, focus on including common questions and quality answers in your content. Highly specific questions make it more likely that you will reach your target audience and more directly satisfy a user’s intent.
Try to optimise your articles to provide concise, valuable information to consumers.
Focusing on high-calibre content also places your business on the right side of Google’s legislation. The tech giant is now working to crack down on Black Hat tactics in order to improve their SEO quality.
As such, it’s now much harder to use dishonest techniques to reach the first page of Google.
This is good news for ethical businesses and SEO professionals, as quality, specialised content is rewarded with a higher position in the search algorithm.
While keyword research and implementation aren’t yet obsolete, businesses designing new digital marketing strategies to increase their website’s rankings should focus on producing high-quality, valuable content to maximise online visibility.
How might voice searches develop in the future?
The biggest hurdle that voice search technology must overcome is its struggle to translate certain regional accents.
Devices are constantly improving in their ability to understand unique dialects. This is primarily due to machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that allows a device to learn and develop from past experiences.
Over the next decade, machine learning will continue to improve the capabilities of built-in voice search functions.
As the technology adapts to a broader range of dialects, it is expected that the market for voice searching will continue to expand. As this happens, keyword research will become less relevant as new search algorithms take precedence.
With continued and sustained growth in this sector, the future of SEO may arrive sooner than we think.
How do I optimise my SEO strategy for voice search?
Overall, the balance of SEO is shifting to become more fair and balanced for all businesses.
A business that focuses on creating top-class content has a much higher chance of reaching a favourable position in the Google rankings than it may have a decade ago.
That said, there are still many ethical ways for you to generate additional traffic to your website. Here are five ways to optimise your SEO strategy to align with voice search trends.
1. Use question keywords
As mentioned previously, users typically frame their voice searches as questions. To have your website appear more frequently in voice search results, try to include question keywords in the body of your content.
Question keywords are usually over three words in length. They often generate more niche traffic because they are usually highly tailored to the user’s enquiry.
For example, users may ask where they can find the best bread in London. In this case, they are likelier to click on a website that answers their query directly than a website that simply advertises ‘bakeries in London’.
To find question keywords for your website, create interesting ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ questions to answer typical user queries related to your topic.
3. Create an FAQ
One of the easiest ways to incorporate question keywords into your content is to include an extensive FAQ section.
Be sure to tackle any recurring questions you believe the consumer may have. Try to add value to your answers that other websites may lack.
The more queries you can provide quality answers to, the more likely consumers with highly-specific questions will visit your website.
Be warned that answering an extensive range of common questions should never come at the cost of the quality of your article. Stick to relevant questions and ones that you can provide valuable information on.
Be sure to update your site with new FAQs whenever possible. The more helpful FAQs you answer, the better your chance of generating high-intent traffic to your website.
3. Be mobile-friendly
With many users choosing to search by voice on their phones, it’s more important now than ever to ensure your business page is optimised for mobile.
As search trends move away from traditional search engines, users increasingly expect all websites to be functional and easily navigable through their phones.
Many users that can’t easily read a site with their mobile phone would simply choose an alternative website, rather than using a computer search engine to read the page more comfortably.
Businesses creating a digital marketing strategy should account for the necessary time and cost required to make their content mobile friendly.
4. Focus on effective structuring of landing pages
A considerable challenge for virtual assistants is to sort through billions of pages in a short space of time.
Using the Schema.org standard to structure the data on your landing page helps voice search engines quickly understand your website’s contents.
Well-structured, navigable code makes it more likely that voice search engines will recommend your page.
5. Focus on quality
As previously stated, businesses that want to appear more prominently in search results should focus on creating high-quality, helpful content.
With Google now rewarding businesses that provide value to customers, the future of SEO is changing from unethical Black Hat tactics to a focus on high-class content.
Users are less likely to rely on search history to find previously visited websites, so providing memorable content is essential to ensure repeat traffic.
Above all else, those businesses that create valuable content should be rewarded for their efforts under Google’s new algorithm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will SEO become obsolete?
It’s highly unlikely that SEO will become irrelevant in the near future. While it’s impossible to accurately forecast long-term, SEO is rapidly evolving, and it’s just as important today as it was a decade ago. All the signs tell us that SEO will be around for a long while.
What negatively affects my SEO?
There are several things to avoid if you want your Search Engine Optimisation strategy to be effective. Broken links and a poorly structured website can make even the most high-calibre content seem amateur.
Not being diligent about your SEO practices is an easy way for your business to fall short. Make sure that your business isn’t practising lazy SEO techniques.
What kind of SEO trends should I look for in 2023?
Expect 2023 to be another significant year for the development of SEO. It’s likely that Artificial Intelligence will play an increasingly important role in digital marketing strategies.
Many websites will transition to long-form content featuring infographics, data-driven studies, and videos in order to maximise link-building potential.