Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone, many of us have had Apple’s personal assistant Siri in our pockets for a good few years now, and as voice recognition is growing increasingly accurate sales of voice-powered apps and devices is rising exponentially. With around 420 million voice searches happening every day, this search method offers an alternative, hands-free option for the busy, on-the-go user.
Indeed, in 2016 Google reported that one in five (20%) of all searches through its platform were being implemented by voice, and this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2020.
Accordingly, the impact on traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) will be huge. Voice search devices are already incredibly popular, and are continuously adding new skills and ways of helping people in their everyday lives – which includes searches for events, exhibitions and trade shows like yours online.
What Is Voice Search And How Does It Work?
Voice search devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home work by a person requesting information or an action from the product using their voice in a natural conversational tone. The device then searches for the answer or reciprocating action before delivering the response audibly.
By using natural language processing, voice search devices are constantly being developed to understand further questions raised after the initial query. A clear example of this could be “Where is Olympia London?” followed by “How far is this from my house?”. The technology is also able to answer and take on actions, tasks and transactions, such as registering for tickets.
The artificial intelligence (AI) behind the voice search develops with each human interaction and over time will grow to be the preferred choice of search for the majority of users as its convenience, speed and intimacy improve.
How To Improve Your SEO For Voice Search
Up until now, we’ve learnt to keep our questions short and keywords rich for traditional keyboard-based searches. But we use our voices in a completely different way and this has huge ramifications both on how we search as people and what businesses must do to position themselves to meet this demand. For example, the average person types at a speed of about 40 words per minute but speaks at around 150 words per minute. When we speak we tend to ask questions in full form, as opposed to the reduced, shorter format we typically type into search engines. Furthermore, where you are when you are using your voice to search has an impact too. A private search alone in the car might use very different words than one made in the company of work colleagues.
Here are some tips on how to improve SEO for voice-based search.
1. Position Yourself For Longer Search Queries
Short tailed keywords (keywords around 1-3 words long) are still important to SEO. As you can see in the graphic above, text-based searches are on average around 1-3 words in length, but as more people adopt voice search, full-length questions are more likely to be asked. Therefore, it’s wise to include long tailed keywords (3-5 words long) in your onsite SEO, particularly in question format. For example, “How far away is Olympia London?” as opposed to “Olympia London distance”.
2. Create An FAQ Page On Your Site
Another way to boost your chances of being returned in a voice-generated search is by including a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your site. Collate information from your customers about what they want to know about your product or service, and answer them on a specific section of your website. Most importantly, answer in colloquial, conversational language. Don’t go heavy on terminology, or if you do, explain it clearly. Not only will this please the search engines and be more likely to trigger a match on conversational search, but the users themselves will find your information simple and clear to follow, and your company more approachable.
3. Make It Local
80% of searches are local queries and voice searches are particularly location-based. Make sure in your website’s copy that it details clearly where you are, ideally throughout the site (the footer is a good space). This will ensure that any page can pick up a match for a local search.
4. Use Schema Markup to Boost Content
Schema Markup is a piece of code you place in the HTML of your website around your content for search engines to understand the context behind it. It gives your copy meaning so that when a search is made, it understands the kind of content it is searching for when crawling your website. The code ensures that your website appears on the results page offering rich information, not just linking to the keywords in some vague relevancy.
Furthermore, the code also improves your content for the use of answering questions on Google. Even if you type in a question to Google, not only does it offer the options of different sites linking, but it directly answers it, using relevant, rich information. Schema Mark-up allows for your information to be recognised for this, meaning your information can rank right at the top for a relevant answer. As devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home answer with just one option, this is a fantastic tool for enabling your content to be used and not just an alternative result.
Voice search is no longer the future – it’s the new, and is already being used for billions of searches on millions of devices every single day. The time for events professionals to be adapting their SEO is now as the benefits are huge. As consumers start making the move over to speaking rather than typing, it’s essential that you ensure that your business is ready to answer their questions.
For more information on how to improve your online presence for voice search devices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org today.