Voice Search Optimization in 2018 – SEO Way to Google`s Heart

Natasha Kapetan 27 March, 2018

Understanding voice search SEO and voice search optimization in order to rank well on Google voice search is strategic and much-needed for any content marketer. Luckily, there are a few tips to help marketers optimize their content for voice search as well as to help consumers find exactly what they are looking for when using voice commands.

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Traditional search engine optimization (SEO) has been used by many search marketers and content producers in order to increase traffic to their websites as well as to reach a larger targeted audience. While content marketers have explored traditional usages of SEO through search engines such as Yahoo, Google and more – many have yet to explore the potentials and capabilities of voice search optimization.

Amongst the trends unfolding in 2018, the use of voice search optimization will continue to rise as more and more users prefer to use digital assistants and voice command apps to handle their search queries. In addition, applications such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa make it much easier for users to use voice command and interact with their mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

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By understanding voice search optimization, marketers can help searchers find exactly what they are looking for through voice commands. The potential in this technology is not new; however, with further improvements, users can feel more comfortable that they will get the results they want through voice search commands.

What is Voice Search Optimization and How Does it Work?

Voice search optimization (VSO) is a method in which the intent is focused on maximizing the number of visitors to a website or app by improving the visibility and suggestion rate in voice search results. Voice search can be used applied to Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Windows Cortana and other similar interactive applications.

Voice search has been implemented before – in fact, as early as 1952 in Bell Laboratories that designed the “Audrey” and when IBM showcased the “Shoebox” at the World’s Fair in 1962. While the technology has been continuously improving over the past half of a century, only recently has voice search taken off at such as large-scale and available for public consumption. As a marketer, it is now more important than ever before to understand how to optimize for voice search the methods used by Google voice search, particularly because Google is one of the biggest search engines out there. You can DIY or use services of search engine optimization agencies, but first, let`s dig in the process.

Who Uses Voice Search Commands?

The Internet Trends Report found that in 2016, 22 percent of people use voice searches for finding local information; however, this number has significantly increased as people have more access to mobile devices and because they feel more comfortable using applications such as Siri and Google voice search.

According to a recent survey by Stone Temple Consulting, which surveyed 1000 individuals on their use of voice commands, the results show that people are more comfortable using voice search in public – especially those ages 25 to 34. In addition, people between ages 35 to 44 utilize voice search the most. The largest group of users of voice search also have an income above $50,000 per year, meaning those using voice searches are likely to complete e-commerce purchases as well.

The graph below, from Stone Temple, compares results from 2017 with 2018 results for the question, “Where do people use voice search?”. While voice search has decreased from 2017 to 2018 for the category “at home alone,” the use of it has increased in all other categories. This change suggests that people are more comfortable and less self-conscious about using voice search commands and speaking into their phones in public places or in front of others.

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People often prefer to use voice search in place of traditional search functions because it is fast, accurate, involves no typing and they can receive the results orally through their virtual assistants. All these reasons make voice search more user-friendly than traditional search functions and the technology will only continue to pick up.

The graph below shows that 44 percent of users prefer to use a mobile browser as their first choice of performing searches and 16 percent prefer to use voice search. Since mobile browser has always been the traditional method of performing searches, by understanding the difference between voice search and mobile browser search, marketers can take advantage of using voice search SEO. Namely, there is an increase in demand for voice commands as people become more comfortable with performing voice search queries in public.

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With more technology such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home competing for users’ attention, the smart speakers market would eventually have better pricing for everyone. As a result, Gartner predicts that 75% of US households will have smart speaker by 2020 making voice search SEO more important for marketers than ever before.

Key Factors That Will Improve Your Voice Search SEO Ranking

A recent research study on 10,000 Google Home results by Backlinko show some interesting insights on how to rank well for voice search optimization on Google.

  • Page speed is a significant factor as voice search results come from faster loading pages. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds which is 52 percent faster than the average page.
  • Most importantly, websites with HTTPS is must in order to rank well with voice search. 4 percent of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.
  • Pages with FAQs perform well on google voice search.
  • Long-form content that is well written with an average word count of 2,312 words performs well through search queries as Google tends to source voice search answers from long-form content.
  • Voice search results are short and precise generally at 29 words; therefore, it is important to optimize for voice search.
  • The language and the way the content is written is also important since the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade level. This means that shallow content filled with word-stuffing is not the way to go — instead, high-value content will make its way to the top of the search query.
  • Good content with high levels of social engagement performs better in voice search. The average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets. 
  • Content that ranks well on the desktop tends to rank well in voice search. Approximately 75 percent of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.
  • 7 percent of google voice search results came from Featured Snippets.
  • Google relies heavily on authoritative and reliable domains for results but not so many individual pages. The mean Ahrefs Domain Rating of a Google Home result is 76.8.

While Schema markups might be important for traditional SEO, it seems to not have a noticeable factor for Google voice search as only 36.4 percent of voice search results came from pages using Schema. Over 63 percent don’t use Schema at all; therefore, Schema might not play a key role in improving your voice search SEO.

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Modifying Existing Website Designs to Optimize for Voice Search

These takeaways imply that while traditional SEO methods might not work well for voice search optimization, there are still some important voice user interface design elements for consideration that could improve your chances for voice search optimization.

For example, having a faster loading page with good content with a featured snippet and high level of social engagement are all key factors that can help you to perform well for Google voice search. In addition, the best website designs with content that is well written, clear, precise and aesthetically pleasing (and perform well in a traditional desktop search) can be optimized for voice search.

It is important to keep mentioned tips in mind when creating content and optimizing it for Google voice search. With further advancement in technology and more access to mobile devices, right now is the perfect time for content marketers modify their voice search SEO strategy and to optimize their website designs for Google voice search.

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Tags: search engine marketing SEO seo guide UI ui design user interface
Author: Natasha Kapetan
Natasha is a web designer, knight of a pen, paper and keyboard and one hell of a tech geek. While she is working for Designrush , Natasha is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT and latest technology trends via creating high-quality content.