How Voice Search is An SEO Game Changer

— January 11, 2018

The New SEO – Voice Search Results

How Voice Search is An SEO Game Changer

If you’ve been using voice search technology from Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home more than you did in previous years then you’re a part of a large and growing trend that’s impacting the way we search for information and make purchases. In fact, Dominos knows this very well, and allows customers to order a pizza just by speaking into a smart device.

Back in 2013 the Hummingbird update changed the way Google delivers better search results through an improvement in semantic search by tracking conversational phrases. This led to the search engine understanding the intent and contextual meaning of terms used in a query.

Enter in the two-way conversation of speaking your search phrases — users no longer rely on links, but rather verbal responses. Users are in more direct control of what they are looking for, which is now enabling new technology to better track a user’s location, search preferences, and provides a more accurate result with auto correction on spelling and the meaning of their requests.

According to an article on Marketing Week, “Google claims 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are already done using voice.” As more users rely on voice technology over traditional text search businesses will need to optimize their websites and content in order to meet the growing demand.

Keywords are still important

Not everyone is on board yet with conducting search through speaking into a smart device — this means you should still engage in optimizing your content for the most current SEO standards. We still need thoughtfully written articles that have enough depth to include many variations of a concept, as well as optimizing your page for specific queries, which reinforce the topic(s) of the page.

In addition we should also be adding elements that recognize voice queries or questions. Instead of just including long-tail keywords we need to include entire sentences, such as: “How do I set up a WordPress website?” The best way to start is by creating an FAQ or resources page for your website after doing research on the types of questions your audience is asking.

PageRank is no longer the main focus

Google’s updated search engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the changing search demands of today. This means we should stop obsessing over keywords and start focusing on creating a great user experience.

PageRank is becoming replaced by ‘Semantics’ and mobile indexing. This means that longer paragraphs should be broken up into bite sized chunks while keeping in mind that nearly half of your audience isn’t even reading the content you are publishing. Because of this we need to present information that is clear, to the point, and immediately answers questions.

Video factors into voice search

Many times a reader will turn to a video explanation before they read an article. This affects voice search results as well as people ask about a particular product, how something works, user reviews, and more. Including explainer or how-to videos into your content marketing mix will show up directly in these types of queries online.

Know what types of questions are being asked

The commonly used words to start a voice search question are Who, What, How, Where, and When. The level of intent to make a purchase is based on the frequent use of these types of words, and should be included in your optimizing strategy for your content and advertising.

Update your website’s structured data markup

Google now presents search results by pulling snippets that best match queries. If your Sitelinks and search box are outdated your website’s content results could become overlooked. Your information needs to be fresh, authoritative, and clear to get noticed. The context of your pages matter more than ever and must be well optimized with the help of a website developer for the best results.

What does the future hold for marketers?

Businesses and marketers should always be producing a high-quality mix of content that truly engages users. Google will continue to further update its algorithm accordingly — deep, relevant, unique and engaging content matters the most. If your site’s content and structure has not been refreshed in more than 18 months, consider re-designing the site to take advantage of the latest innovation in content management system (CMS) technologies, as well as enhancing the quality and depth of the current website content to catch up with Google’s updates. This is one of the biggest changes to search as we have known it so far — it’s time to get your content and website up to speed to in order to be seen online.

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Author: Susan Gilbert

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