Voice search may seem like it’s not much of “a thing” yet but is fast becoming one of the more talked about topics when it comes to Search.

The idea of voice search started with smartphones and then very quickly escalated to smart speakers such as Google Home Assistants and other voice assistants on the market.

Now, we are in a voice search revolution with virtually every generation getting amongst voice search in their everyday lives.

Currently, worldwide there are 3.25 billion voice assistants in use and that’s predicted to more than double by 2023 with 8 billion voice assistants in use around the world (Statista).

With this significant rise in voice search forecasted, it’s essential that we produce content that’s optimized for it because if we don’t, businesses and organisations will struggle to get any traction organically in the search results. Taking into consideration all the competition gunning for top search engine rankings, its definitely going to become a tougher road in the months and years to come.

Why is voice search growing so much?

Imagine you’re preparing a dinner that you made recently after a long day at work, you are up to your armpits in the ingredients and you can’t seem to remember the recipe, you don’t really want to wrap your sticky hands around your smartphone so what do you do…? You can use your voice search assistant to repeat the recipe instructions to you and you can proceed on without a hitch!

It’s so much faster and easier!

  • It’s quicker and easier than going to a website or app
  • You can use it while driving or when your hands are full
  • It can be a more accurate way of searching
  • Saves you typing away on a mobile phone

A faster search leads to answers being delivered faster.

And it’s so Convenient!

Who actually has time to type up a search query anymore!? Especially when the answer is simply a voice response away, more and more people are taking the easy route.

In my household, we have a Google Home Mini assistant and “she” is pretty good at answering whatever gets thrown at her. Most mornings Little Miss 6 year old takes great delight in checking in on the weather e.g “Hey Google, is it going to be sunny in Havelock North today?” to more random 6 year old questions like “Hey Google, how do you spell Weetbix?” and personally for me, I use voice search regularly at home but constantly in the car so I can get from A to B and know how long it takes or because I need some dinner inspo and want Google to suggest me a recipe. The chances of me pulling over and typing in my search just ain’t going to happen… Why would I waste time doing that when I can just talk to my device via BlueTooth!?

Voice Search: Google Home Mini device

Google Home Mini

Voice Search and Mobile – The perfect match

It’s fair to say that the biggest reason voice search is gaining so much popularity is because of ever increasing mobile usage.

Mobile is vital to the search industry, with the majority of overall searches coming from mobile. According to a 2018 study by BrightLocal, just under 60% of all voice searches are on a smartphone.

Voice Search vs Traditional Search – What is the difference?

Asking any kind of device to fetch results for your query is different from typing up a question on a desktop. Searching with our voice is just different.

Here’s how:

Voice search is more conversational and tends to be longer

When we talk to a smart device and ask questions, we have a tendency to ask the full question as if we were asking a person rather than using a simplified version in a few keywords. E.G. When typing our query, we would be more likely to type “make chocolate mousse or “chocolate mousse instructions.”

When we use voice, we might say, “Hey Google/Alexa, how can I make the best chocolate mousse at home?”

You may have noticed the length of the keywords in the traditional “typed up” searches above are quite different with our voice search being longer and more conversational.

Voice Search should be a priority for Local Listings Search

There is a large volume of voice search that consists of “near me” questions.

  1. People use voice search to seek out places to go to, accommodation to stay at, restaurants to dine in E.G. “Thai restaurants near me”, “Hotels with a spa bath near me” etc.
  2. In addition to places to visit, people also want to know the travel time and opening hours as well

Voice Search Results are to the point

Users searching for information need fast and immediate results, and Google understands the importance of this.

The results we get from our voice searches are snippets that we also get from traditional search but we don’t have to look through the search results for the best answer – Google will read back a direct response from the most relevant or featured snippet it can find.

So, how do we do keyword research for Voice Search?

Points to consider when researching keywords for voice search

  • Make sure your question keywords are more targeted because voice search queries contain many question words such as; What, when, where, why and how.
  • Long-tail keywords and filler words – E.G. “accommodation Auckland” could be better described as “Where is the best hotel accommodation with unlimited wifi in the Auckland CBD?”

Long-tail makes the search query more descriptive to give you more specific results and filler words make the search query more conversational and human.

Where to start when optimising content for Voice Search

As the use of voice search continues to grow it would be wise to make a habit of optimizing content for voice search. This will in-turn assist in improving organic reach.

1. Optimize for Rich Featured Answers (Snippets)

A study by SEMRush found that “70% of all answers returned from voice searches occupied a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) feature with 60% returning a featured result”.

Example of Normal Snippet vs Rich Snippet as seen in traditional search for “how to make a berry cheesecake”. A rich snippet is more likely to be returned to a voice search as it has more specific information E.G. It’s got positive reviews.

 Normal Snippet:

Rich Snippet:

2. Rework your current Content

Given that voice search is more conversational than the traditional way of searching, a good start is to check over your content and its current structure. The aim here is to include more succinct questions and answers.

Google prefers short, to the point answers to voice search queries as a typical voice search result is only twenty nine words long. The SEMrush Google Assistant study found that text length of the answers was averaging around forty one words.

FAQs on product and services pages, and blogs are great because they often include question keywords as well as tending to be short and to the point.

3. Improve your website load time

A website that takes longer to load will be abandoned very quickly compared to a site with a quick load time. This will directly impact your bounce rate so it’s key that this is addressed if it is currently a problem. Looking at the likes of compressed images and video, reducing redirects and plugins, are just a couple of ways website load time can be improved.

If you aren’t sure about your website loading speeds then a useful tool to check this is Pingdom. (If the results aren’t as you’d hopedGet in touch!)

4. Leverage Google My Business listings

I talked earlier about the use of “near me” searches and one of the key factors in whether your site will rank for these kinds of searches is your Google My Business listing.

A Google My Business listing is the best way to tell Google where you are physically located. If someone is searching for businesses like yours within your area then it’s likely that you will rank.

Ensure you have the basics such as name, address, and phone number included in your listing. You should also make sure you are sitting in the right business categories.

You can now also include news posts, deals, images to keep the content fresh and to differentiate you from your competitors.

If there is only one thing you can remember from reading this article today, let it be about Google My Business listings.

If yours is not up to date and making the most of the free features available then you are missing out on some quick wins with voice search.

If you would like to find out more about how you can be better optimised for voice search then get in touch with us today.