“Computer? … Hello computer!! “- you hear Montgomery Scott talking to the computer. We can’t stop laughing at this scene. Some of these futuristic ideas from science fiction adventures of bygone days have long since become reality – for example, also the idea of voice control or voice search!
20% of all smartphone users’ search requests are already made via voice search. What does that mean for our websites? How can you optimize your own website for voice search in the future?
In the online search, you had to use the right keywords, if we wanted to quickly find the right results. Today we can ask any smartphone by voice input to do that for us.
The interaction with voice input is still in its infancy and, due to an already increasing number of users, will greatly influence search engine optimization (SEO) in the future. In our article, we present three ways in which voice search can affect SEO and what methods there exist to customize your own website to these requirements.
How will Voice Search affect Search Engine Optimization in the future?
When we talk about voice search and voice interaction, in most cases we indirectly refer to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. While language-based searches are also available on desktops or laptops, technology is still developing, yet under-utilized.
How has user search behavior changed recently, how are they looking for content and how does it affect SEO?
1. Users ask different questions
What kind of search type are you or have you been? If we do a lot of daily searches on the computer to find what we’re looking for, we’ll just enter the keywords. As an example, to search for another similar article like this one we enter “voice input SEO” and it probably gives us quick results.
In comparison, language-based searches increasingly formulate complete different questions we are asking. To give an example:
1. Typed search: „Voice input SEO“
2. Voice-based search: „How does voice input affect search engine optimization?“
If you make use of this, the results will be very similar, though that may not always be the case.
It’s interesting to see why we ask differently when using Voice Search on a smartphone than when entering it directly. There are no studies yet, but it seems that we feel more comfortable talking in sentences with the “machine”.
Most devices can already understand semi-complex queries and get better and better! It is no longer necessary to adapt them to be understood by the algorithm.
Not with SEO! Here it will be necessary to focus on new keywords in the future. But what changes can we expect with speech interaction?
2. The Context will become more important
In most cases, the search results of your search are context-free. What does that mean? For example, at a base level, Google only considers the location of a search if it is also included in the search query.
This is no longer true for mobile devices. Most smartphones track their location through tracking, providing more useful information.
This information can have a positive effect on the search results in many cases, as they can provide a better context.
Imagine, we are just driving, our tank is empty and we are looking for a cheap gas station. Now there are two possibilities:
1. Search without location detection: „cheapest gas station in Graz“
2. Voice-based search on the smartphone: „cheap gas stations around me“
In both cases, we will get the best possible results, but you do not have to mention a location on your smartphone when searching for a voice.
For SEO, it makes sense to align your own website content for context-based searches and to use local keywords.
3. Google’s direct answers to voice search are becoming increasingly popular
Online searches have always worked the same way: You enter a request and the search engine returns a long list of links and websites that are rated according to a specific algorithm.
It works the same except with one difference: every now and then one receives a spoken, direct answer by means of voice input and assistance systems. Here is another example to try:
- Voice Search on the phone: „What is GPS?“
Here the search engine thinks that this is the best result and it answers directly. With the scroll down you still see the other results.
Google prioritizes the best results and tries to make the search itself smarter
This happens because, in most cases, users no longer want to leaf through long lists of results on mobile devices. Therefore, Google prioritizes the best results and shows them as a voice output.
In practice, this means that voice search makes it even more important to get to the top of the results pages with your own website.
How to optimize your own website for voice search?
We now know that voice search will have a great impact on SEO. Mobile searches are already more important and 20% of these already base on voice queries. We need to adjust the structures and content:
1. Use long-tail keywords
This is a short sentence that helps to optimize content for SEO. To complement our first example, this could be: “How does speech interaction affect SEO?”
While this may seem a bit impractical, users tend to structure spoken requests differently, so this is in preparation for increases in voice-based queries.
To find good long-tail keywords, we should follow these tips: Let’s start with just one or two keywords and try to wrap them in a phrase. This will then be reflected in the website again.
2. Optimize content for “instant answers” from search engines
There is still no optimal formula for how to implement this optimization in practice. However, here are some tips that will increase the chances to appear in the direct answers in the future as well:
- Make sure the title or headline (H1) is aimed directly at the query for which you want to receive a direct answer
- Paste the answer to this particular query directly into your content.
- Structure your content with subheadings (H2, H3, H4, etc.) to help the search engine analyze the content more easily.
- Make sure this content appears on the first page of search results.
Of course, we know that the last step is the hardest. In order to optimize a website and thus seize SEO, it requires a longer-term strategy in online marketing. We recommend our customers to use experts here so that optimal results can be achieved with the budget used for search engine optimization.
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