“Ok Google, What is today’s headlines?”
“Alexa, play the best of Imagine Dragons!”
“Hey Siri, what is the best place to have pasta near me?”
A decade or so back, these questions would probably not give us the answers what we’d be looking for and as such would appear to be gibberish. Not anymore! Thanks to the phenomenal advances in technology, especially in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, today we’re in a position to be able to chat with our gadgets and devices as if they were human-beings and even have actual conversations with them to a large extent.
Voice technology is changing the way we browse the net, shop online and interact with our devices. The increasing popularity of voice assistant devices can be attributed to the fact that both their input and output is a voice. Using voice, we can already do a whole list of tasks including searching for coffee shops or order pizza using home automation devices. In the future, we’ll be able to talk to our smart TVs, refrigerators, fitness tracker bands and much more.
Today, the major players in voice assistant devices are Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple. Adoption of voice-powered smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home is really taking off. According to a report by Canalys, smart speakers are the fastest growing technology segment in the first quarter of 2018. A report by Juniper Research predicts that smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home will be installed in about 55% of U.S households. In new markets like India, Google is partnering with existing network carriers such as ACT Fibernet and Jio to get new customers and buyers.
However, notwithstanding the increasing adoption of smart speakers, a report from eMarketer states that a majority of voice assistant usage will occur on smartphones, with over 5 billion assistants predicted to be installed on smartphones worldwide by 2022. Owing to the considerable presence of smartphones amongst people, mobile assistants have a clear advantage. Also, it is obviously easier to ask questions to our phones than typing them out on their relatively smaller screens. What’s more, mobile voice assistants provide the convenience of allowing multitasking and searching on the go.
Artificial Intelligence is the technological pillar upon which mobile voice technology rests, as it is instrumental in offering a superior customer experience and developing more predictive search capabilities. AI helps deliver better and more accurate results by learning from the customer’s purchase and search history and other preferences. Mobile voice assistants aided by AI help provide a more personalized experience when customers are interacting with the brands.
The proliferation of smartphones has led to a rapid increase in the frequency of “near me” searches. According to Google, about 1.5 billion destinations visited by people every month are related to a search. People usually look for the price of an item at a nearby store, whether it is in stock, location of the closest store with the item in stock, contact details and addresses the most while performing searches related to stores and services near them.
Optimizing for voice search is very different from the traditional SEO techniques used for normal searches. It is imperative that businesses start preparing and optimizing for voice search at the earliest. It is estimated that by 2020, up to half of all the search activity will be conducted by voice. Here are some strategies that can get SEO optimized for voice as well:
Faster Loading Times:
When people resort to voice-based queries and searches, they’re looking for immediate information. Moreover, Google has rolled out its “speed update” for users worldwide which enables page speed in mobile search ranking.
Using Long-Tail Keywords:
Ranging between three to five words in length, long-tail keywords are more specific than the standard keywords and help smaller businesses to get a higher Google ranking in some searches. For example, a footwear store selling adventure and sports shoes may not rank well on searches for “shoes”. But, using more targeted long-tail keywords like “adventure sports shoes for mountain-trekking for men” can attract people searching for the specific type of footwear. The fact that people invariably tend to use long-tail keywords while talking to voice-recognition devices only strengthens this argument.
Focus on Questions and natural speech patterns:
We don’t simply use keywords while engaging with our smart speakers or voice assistant mobile apps; we ask questions. Focusing on conversational, long-tail keyword phrases in the content will help you answer natural language questions better.
Focus on Local Content:
The Internet Trends Report 2016 shows that while people are using voice search for a variety of reasons, about 22% of them use it to search for local content and information. According to Google, “near me” searches have grown more than 130% YoY. A smartphone can detect our location and give information on the local weather or the traffic, which help give better and more accurate search results. Local businesses must revamp their approach to local SEO to ensure they’re structuring their keywords around the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why).
Using Structured Data:
Search engines determine the page ranking based on a number of factors apart from content. One such factor is the Schema markup, a.k.a structured data. Basically, it is metadata, i.e. the data about the information on the site which goes into the site’s source code. While it doesn’t directly affect the rankings, it can help give your page an edge over your competitors.
Get Your Google My Business Listing:
Getting your business listed on Google is a great way for the search engine to get more information about your business and the essential details such as the address, contact information, working hours and more. When someone performs a voice search for businesses similar to yours, this listing can improve your chances of showing up in the search results.
Voice searches are here to stay, and will certainly constitute the bulwark of online searches that people make for many years to come. That means the strategies to ensure that voice searches work for you are constantly getting updated. Stay with us and follow our feeds for the latest tidbits on what you can do to stay on top of the digital marketing and SEO food chain.