Why Voice Search in 2019 is going to be a Major Force?
The ability to send commands by voice through our smartphones and voice search enabled devices has grown in popularity. By 2020, it’s been estimated as many as 50 percent of all searches will be by sent by voice. Voice search apps, software, and devices like Alexa, Google Home, Cortana, Siri, and Amazon Echo continue to sell in record numbers to people everywhere. In 2019, this is motivating some massive changes in search engine optimization (SEO) and how websites are optimized for voice-enabled interactions.
Increasing Use In Voice Searches
As voice search grows in popularity, it’s beginning to surpass the hype surrounding mobile responsiveness and the importance of mobile websites. For years, a lot of us in web design and digital marketing have continually pointed towards mobile usage and mobile website search surpassing desktops. It’s been a few years since that has happened and as many websites continue to adapt to a mobile smartphone-led web environment, voice search has quickly risen to supplant it as a guiding influence. How voice search came to become such a heavy factor so fast has everything to do with the proliferation of voice search devices, apps, and software. As a more convenient way to interact with technology, consumers have really taken to voice search and thereby, their behaviour has changed.
As marketers and designers, what we do always has to change with the times, change with the trends, and change with consumer behaviours. As voice search continues to take over how people use search engines like Google, the approach to website promotion and SEO remains similar however different. Strategies should now focus on mobile and voice-based devices, ensuring a website is responsive to these formats. Content should be optimized accordingly with available meta-descriptions filled and all SEO written with the knowledge that it could be read with voice. Another key difference between non-voice and voice-enabled SEO is in how voice search has impacted keyword search. Using voice search, a user is more likely to ask a question rather than to state a long-tail keyword. Therefore, when building content, using questions instead of traditional keywords is a strong approach.
This is how Voice Search is being used
According to Search Engine Land, here’s how people use voice search – for general information (30 percent), as a personal assistant (27 percent), for local information (22 percent), and for fun and entertainment (21 percent).
There are numerous voice search apps and services being developed out there, including Fandango where consumers can purchase movie tickets anywhere, any time. Expect to see more services like this develop and be widely used, as more people are expected to jump on board to voice search this year and beyond.
Google Snippets In Search Results (“Position 0”)
Analyzing current voice search data, more than 80 percent of all voice search is coming from snippets. If you’ve ever Googled anything on your desktop or smartphone, you may have noticed snippets without even knowing what they are. When you search for something, you receive a page with a short list of questions and short 2-3 sentence answers.
If a site is optimized to produce snippets for search engines, there’s a better chance someone will click on a snippet. Snippets continue to produce more clicks than regular results. This is another example of how we intend to optimize web design code and content in the year to come.
All in all, voice search is about a more convenient user experience. It’s the ‘user experience’ which is at the forefront of what drives SEO. Search engines like Google continue to put high emphasis on voice search optimization. There’s no question that as SEO algorithms continue to change, voice search optimization will become a stronger rank factor.
Every month, there are more than one billion voice searches performed and that number continues to climb with each month that passes. Whether they are looking to perform a local search, to purchase or play a song, to seek information on a subject, or to search out a product for purchase, voice search is being used widely.
Voice search will affect every website, repositioning what websites rank where and prioritizing certain sites over others. If you do not want to be lost in the mix, investing in voice search optimization today is a strong recommendation. And, that begins with simple steps such as ensuring your website is mobile responsive, optimizing images with descriptions, improving page speed, improving server response time, and including featured snippets.
How to adapt Your Website to Voice Search?
As impressive and as important as the graphic design is for a website, more and more website sessions are being conducted without a screen. That’s in thanks to voice search and websites need to be ready to adapt to this new playground.
The average voice search result is about 29 words long, something every website has to remember. Building out content intelligently in 2019 should have focus on being included in voice search results. Those who are able to adapt to voice search and prepare themselves for the oncoming increase in users will be the websites who succeed in 2019, into 2020, and beyond.
Local voice search In 2019
Local search – things like ‘cafes near me’, ‘pizza near me’, ‘restaurants near me’ – are already very popular. A lot of these searches are already being done in voice and that numbers only going to increase as more devices like Google Home are sold. If you are operating locally and are focused on building a local audience, voice search optimization is a strong strategy. Consider using the local environment around you and local keywords, like ‘Italian restaurant in downtown Toronto’, ‘cafes on Queen Street’, or ‘parking for Blue Jays game’. These are keywords using local information to connect your company to a location.
Using questions and conversational tone
As we mentioned earlier, people are more likely to voice search questions like who, what, when, why, and where. Also, because it’s not being typed, people are more likely to use a conversational, natural tone to look for an answer to their question. Keep this in mind when writing blogs, developing video content and planning your website.
Keywords in voice search
A ‘long-tail keyword’ is a keyword with more than one word and is generally more specific. For example, a regular keyword might be ‘radio station’ and a long-tail version could be ‘radio station in Toronto, Ontario’ or ‘hip-hop radio station in Toronto’. Using long-tail keywords of a few words in length, you’ll find they have less competition because of how much more specific they are. Location-based long-tail keywords will prove to be the most valuable keyword type in the years to come. Combine this with an intriguing, voice-friendly title and meta description, and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a voice search enabled device to browse your site.
Screen Size Responsiveness
A responsive website ensures your website’s design adapts and fits all screen sizes. If your site is not mobile responsive, you shouldn’t expect it to get anywhere close to being included in voice search results. Your website needs to load on mobile screens and fast! As of 2018, Google ranks the speed of the website based on its mobile version and not its desktop. Your website’s mobile version will also be where voice search gets its information from.
Using video content descriptions
Studies have shown video content will be a large factor in voice search. In the same way voice search is picking up on Google results, its integration into video platforms like YouTube signifies a need to optimize your video descriptions to be picked up on by voice search. Voice-based searches and video content are a strong combination. A user can also add subtitles for their video, which supports Google picking it up for search.
Schema markup for voice search
Schema markup are a description you put onto your website which a search engine like Google then uses as a snippet for when it returns your website as a search result. Schema markup snippets are increasingly valuable for voice search. These descriptions are all about relating the right information about your website to the search engine, letting it know what your site is about and how to classify it in search results. These descriptions should be written and used according to the category you hope to be included in. If you’re looking into how to optimize your website for voice search and SEO, Schema markup is recommended to increase the likelihood of discovery.
Adaptation in language
Voice-activated devices now have the capability to adapt to different languages. For example, Google Home is now available in Spanish. If a website offers its services in different languages, it’s important to adapt to the technologies people use. In the near future, technology will surely continue to expand to more languages and with that, language translation and/or adaptation will be even more important.
The future of voice search
Voice search continues to improve and get smarter. Current voice search tech is only the tip of the iceberg, as it relates to its long-term potential to change our lives and the way we do things on eCommerce, social media, and online. In time, voice search will continue to gain accuracy and develop new capabilities. As it does, there will likely be more use for it. The websites which engage with voice search optimization today will be on the cutting edge of these changes. They will be ready to adapt to what comes around the corner. The future of voice search is very promising, and as websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram embed this feature into different applications, there’s no telling precisely how much this will change consumer behaviour and help websites find the audience.
The days where a user can browse the Internet and obtain information about a website or business without ever having to look at a screen are here. Voice search optimization may be the key to your brand being successful in 2019. All The Way Up Media specializes in voice search. If you have any questions, please call us or fill out the form below.