In the last 5 years, voice assistants has been become as ubiquitous as the internet, with Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant being integrated into everything from smartphones to refrigerators.
So, what does voice-based search mean for SEO? Current SEO best practices calls for the integration of relevant keyword phrases into Meta tags and page content, but now, those in the industry will need to be optimizing for voice search as well.
This is because voice typing is more personal than traditional typing. It allows for people to search for information in a more natural and conversational way, whereas traditional keyword phrases are typed in a more condensed and to the point format. For example, a traditional search for a local pizza parlor may look something like “pizza Los Angeles.”
For the most part, we tend to type the most direct keywords into a search engine rather than complete sentences. However, as soon as you pull out your mobile device and say “Okay Google” your search voice naturally becomes more conversational and may sound something like “What are the best pizza spots in LA?” Therefore, the result of voice search trends are question phrases with longer tails.
According to Moz, the majority of speech searches are longer through the tail whereas text searches are fall between 1-3 keywords. These long tail phrases tell us that natural language means more questions. Humans are curious creatures, so it makes sense that many voice searches end up being question queries.
This is extremely important to digital marketers because these long tail question phrases reveal intent. If you type “dog food” into a search engine, the search engine has to do its best to guess whether you want to buy, look at pictures, or seek information about dog food.
Now, with voice based search sounding something like “where can I buy dog food?” digital marketers can bid and optimize for question phrases with a higher likelihood of conversion, especially with local SEO.
According to Internet Trends 2016, it is estimated that local information accounts for 22% of voice searches. Since most voice searches contain question phrases with clear intent, this will trigger more direct and quick answers in the SERPs. This implies that less time is spent scrolling through the SERPs when voice searching is used.
The question is asked and the question is answered. That is the purpose of easy voice search in the first place. For local businesses, a simple yet important step for voice search optimization is to claim your Google My Business listing. This helps increase your chances of showing up at the top of the SERPs when a voice-based search is performed.
Voice search SEO is not 100% predicable. However, we do know that voice search technology is gaining a lot of traction and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It would be unwise to ignore its potential impact to SEO.