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The Impact of Voice Search on SEO Services

by Charlee

SEO strategies, best practices and methodologies keep on changing from time to time and it can differ for different types of websites. The new voice search era has created opportunity for SEO companies, a need to understand client requirements, creating brand new innovative ideas and less step testing for more advanced features. This is obviously a challenging task as SEO professionals should be the voice for their clients in the online internet world and which reflect today’s society.

With SEO being a key method of attempting to reach a mass online audience, voice search presents new and uncertain challenges. Given the changes going on in our daily lives, today people are relying more on new technologies for voice search than the past searches by internet and that is why their SEO is becoming important for all voice search users.

Voice search in itself is just like a web search, as is the ability to find information, websites etc. by speaking to an AI which acts as a personal assistant. The only difference is being able to do this searching using a mobile or landline phone. These searches can be up to 3.7 times more likely to be locally based than a text search, therefore for businesses which serve a local clientele it is important that information is presented in an appealing and informative manner.

There is no denying that technology has made many advancements over the years. The 21st century has seen the re-birth of a trend that looks long term. This trend is known as voice search, which has also become a topic of interest for organisations seeking SEO services. Many professionals in the IT sector are asking how they can harness this new search era to improve SEO services and benefit their clients. This is the topic our research aims to address.

Definition of Voice Search

The given section explains the definition of voice search and how it differs from traditional text-based search. It explains how voice search uses speech recognition technology to allow users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search query. When the user speaks a voice search, it’s not just the words that matter; it’s the intent. When people type, they form a search query that might be structured in a useful way for the search engine, but when they speak a search aloud, they ask a simple question. This has implications on keyword usage patterns for voice search, as will be outlined in a later section of this document. The section also explains how voice search is now built into various devices and how this has increased its usage over the years. Most notably, phones and home assistant devices (Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc.) feature voice search functionality.

Importance of SEO Services

As mentioned before, if a person is looking for a product, then all they have to do is search for it. There is no need to go around looking at magazines and newspapers these days. This is also extremely crucial in earning new clients in areas such as San Diego. SEO allows businesses to target specific locations in which their product or service may be more in demand.

Any businesses that are related to the auto industry should take note of this and realize that if their site does not rank well for terms relating to their business, then they are missing out on a lot of potential clients. This is why Sotavento Medios invests a large amount of manpower into their SEO department. Sotavento already has a very large customer base from Carlsbad to San Diego, but they are always looking for new clients and there is no better way to reach a client than to appear at the top of his search engine.

SEO or search engine optimization is a set of rules that are implemented into a website so that it ranks higher in search engines. In today’s day and age, SEO is widely recognized as a crucial part of a business. This is because of the increasing number of people that use search engines as a shopping tool. According to Search Engine Land, 93% of people use search to make a purchasing decision. This could be anything from buying a new car to looking for a cheap place to eat. In the case of the car buyer, the user might simply search for the “best cars of 2013” and see which models appear at the top. In one simple search, the user is likely to have made a decision on what car he wants, which is based purely on the results of the search engine.

Overview of Sotavento Medios

Sotavento Medios began with a strong interest in digital marketing and a goal to assist businesses in achieving success online. As the field of SEO and digital marketing progressed, we made a conscious effort to stay up-to-date and offer top-notch services to our clients. Through our unwavering dedication and focus on delivering high-quality work, we have become a prominent digital marketing agency in Singapore. Our team of professionals is knowledgeable in the latest SEO and marketing techniques and is committed to producing outstanding outcomes for our clients. The history of Sotavento Medios is characterized by enthusiasm, diligence, and a dedication to aiding businesses in prospering online.

How Voice Search is Changing SEO

Answer engine results simply jeopardize the need for the user to visit your site, however it’s still huge for branding. Using that result to generate a positive message about your brand is helpful, and it makes sense as consumers will still ask a digital assistant questions about the credibility of a brand. Being the source of information to which the digital assistant references is key for this type of search. This is going to be the new version of winning click rate with rank position in normal search.

The number one rule in any marketing campaign is to know your audience. Google has told us that 41% of adults and 55% of teenagers use voice search daily. This means that the way people are searching for information is changing. If you’re in the SEO game, it’s time to be aware of how this affects the way people are looking for information. With voice search, programming your content to match the user’s conversational searches will become imperative. This means using natural language and more long-tail keyword phrases. These keywords are usually easier to work into your ranking as it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to change the overall theme of your current SEO strategy. Long-tail keywords generally have much higher conversion rates too, so that should be a nice added bonus. Finally, optimizing for answering engine results is important. These are attempts to answer the user’s question immediately within the search result without having to click on a link. This is also exhibited in the rise of digital assistants but this is more complex.

Rise in Voice Search Adoption

According to a study by Northstar Research, voice search is expected to grow 55 percent by 2020. As sales of voice-activated smart speakers surge – 24 percent of US households have a smart speaker, and 40 percent of adults use voice search once a day – the SEO landscape is evolving to match the new trend. The driving force behind this is the vastly improved accuracy of voice recognition technology. In the past, mobile users needed to speak slowly and deliberately to be understood. Now, the error rate of voice recognition is only 8 percent, and the success rate of understanding is 95 percent. These significant improvements have increased the popularity of voice search – in fact, nearly a quarter of 16-24 year olds now use voice search on mobile. Finally, the improved understanding of context and the ability to recognize different accents are opening up the potential of voice recognition as a universal technology. These advancements are teaching consumers to engage with voice search, and setting up companies to target voice technology as a viable channel.

Changes in Keyword Strategy

An estimated 75% of voice search results will be different from what is shown on a screen for the same search. A recent study demonstrated that less than 1 in 10 banner ads bring about a click-through opportunity. As a result chances to be the ‘featured’ decision are incredibly slim. These days it is all about being the ‘one’ decision. This can be anything from the single result to an outcome that comes after others have been rejected. This is significant to understand for all organizations as voice search, on a very basic level, is a challenge to win the position of featured snippet. This is known as position zero in search engine results pages. Featured snippets extract data from a page and show it as a piece at the highest point of the page. Getting a paragraph, list or table to appear as a featured snippet is prime screen-land. This is the place the key traffic will be when voice search turns into the primary route in which clients recover online data.

A major way in which voice search is shaking up search engine results pages is with regards to key phrases. Voice inquiry will in general be longer than composed, particularly when it is done to search for something online. The factual average for the length of a voice search question is around 7 words. This is a major difference from the 1-3 word searches usually done via typing. In result, there will be less competitiveness between longer key phrases and better opportunity for smaller organizations marketing localized content. In-profundity content that addresses likely inquiries is bound to show up in voice search results. This data is vastly different from the exhortation given to repeat a short phrase time and again on a website to rank higher on a search engine which once was a successful SEO tactic.

Importance of Featured Snippets

Featured snippets have been growing in importance over the years, but with the rise of voice search, they’re about to reach a whole new level of usefulness. Featured snippets give a direct answer to a user’s query and are pulled from the result that the search engine deems the most authoritative. When it comes to voice search, people are looking for quick answers now more than ever. In fact, a Backlinko study showed that the average voice search result is only 29 words in length. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that 40.7% of voice search answers come from a featured snippet. In other words, if you don’t have a featured snippet, you miss out on the majority of voice search results. The importance of featured snippets is especially significant in terms of Google Assistant and Google Home. When you ask for information from Google Assistant, it will summarize the answer in a few sentences. If the information you ask for is general knowledge, Google Home will provide a featured snippet and cite the website. From there, Google Home will send more information to your smartphone, but will only send the URL of the website if it has a featured snippet. If your site does not have a featured snippet, you risk missing out on traffic from voice search users who are accessing information from Google Home.

Optimizing SEO Services for Voice Search

In 2020, search engine marketing relies on voice to fetch the data from various search engines. Today, the scenario is changing. People are getting busier day by day and they have found the ease to find vent relief from voice. Lots of thanks to Google Home, mobile voice, Amazon Echo, and Alexa devices. Here is the large impact on SEO and SEO services. Also, the increase in various mobile devices has increased the possibility of voice searches as Siri and Google Assistant is available across all the devices. With increasing mobile users with voice search capabilities could lead to minimizing the searches by typing since it is easy to make a voice search rather than typing long queries. As we know that mobile search is more than desktop, then this also affects the searches made on search engines. Consequently, increase in voice searches has forced SEOs and marketers to adopt their strategies in order to keep in touch with the increasing mobile users around the world. With voice search gaining more popularity, it is important for SEO and marketing professionals to optimize their content in ways that would better capture this new growing audience.

Creating Conversational Content

Voice search queries are more conversational and action-oriented than text-based. For instance, someone using a text-based search to find a Thai restaurant might type “best Thai restaurant NYC.” But this application may be much more verbose as the user wants to find out opening times, location, etc. A more likely voice search query is “what is the best Thai restaurant near me?” Therefore, it’s important your website content actually answers the questions your searchers are asking. Step into the shoes of your consumer and try to visualize the questions they are asking. FAQ pages can be good for this, and using structured data to wrap the answers in a way that search engines can easily understand is becoming more and more important. It is good to expand your keyword list and perhaps target long-tail keywords, which are another upshot of voice search queries. Google’s Keyword Planner may not always have data specifically for voice search, so think about logical conversational topics and questions. You could even integrate some local content if your business is location-specific because “near me” mobile searches are rapidly increasing in correlation with the rise in use of digital assistants and voice search. An easy win for local SEO is ensuring your Google My Business page is complete and up to date.

Improving Page Load Speed

Google’s emphasis on improving page load times to under half a second is in direct correlation to the increase in voice searches, as it has stated that the average voice search on a smartphone is about 3.7 seconds compared to the average 8-12 seconds for a typed search. This largely has to do with the fact that a voice search is essentially a search query in its simplest form with the absence of a keyboard. Voice search queries are also more localized and question-based, and page load speed directly affects a website’s rank in a voice search query because it is a significant factor in Google’s mobile-first index. Voice search queries are up to 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches, and for brands, this means that having a featured snippet will be more important when trying to drive traffic via voice search. High-quality snippet content that is both favorable and shareable will have a significant impact on driving traffic to your site. High-quality content that is shareable gives Google a better chance to understand the context and content of your page, giving it more visibility in the SERP when voice queries are initiated.

3.3. Enhancing Mobile User Experience

This is due to Google’s Hummingbird update and the rollout of Google Now. It was in 2013 when Google advised they had started to include spoken, natural language into search, and it has now grown in 2016 with Google announcing that their Google Home device will accept a conversational, voice-based interaction. It’s highly likely that devices delivering the spoken, natural interaction will be the primary sources for which voice search is actioned. Who’s going to use voice search on a mobile phone to seek spoken results before stopping and typing a query into Google?

If a consumer is seeking to answer a question, being directed to a webpage with a load time of over 15 seconds, they are highly likely to bounce back to the search results and seek an alternative webpage. If the user has used voice search and has been delivered to content that only provides them with textual content, what would it mean to your bounce rate for the page? What if the user is seeking spoken answers but the content only has written content? Optimizing for spoken word search is going to be imperative, and this leads to the requirement for enhancing mobile user experience.

Due to the highly linked personal dynamic to mobile voice search, especially while on the go, mobile user experience is going to play an increasingly important role when taking into consideration the impact of voice search on SEO service. It’s already mentioned that page load speeds are a ranking factor for mobile and desktop searches. This is particularly important for mobile voice search, and improving site load time will help enhance the mobile user experience.

Implementing Structured Data Markup

The way content is affected will be largely dependent on purpose. Content designed to aid brand visibility or build connections with an audience is unlikely to notice much change in traffic levels. Content that serves to provide an answer or information on a specified topic is likely to experience the most radical visibility change.

However, some of the most voice search friendly content is localized. A query with local intent or a conversational phrase is more likely to yield a vocal result, suggesting that businesses whose schema markup labels them “the best dry cleaner in town” or similar, should not despair. This change is only visible in data that can be pulled to answer a question or to provide a direct piece of information. Generally speaking, the more specific the content, the more it will be affected.

Marketers whose content relies on schema to appear in visual search results should expect some stagnation or retrogression of content visibility, as schema-marked-up content is behind the current shift to voice and will not be chosen for a result that is served by voice search. Schema is not evolving with voice search and the higher the schema, the lower the voice result.

Voice search results are only as good as the data that search engines use to answer questions or provide information. This is in part in response to the query similar to “create content specifically for this section.”

Future Trends and Considerations

Voice search queries are done when the users’ hands and/or vision are occupied, i.e. when cooking, driving. This also includes when people are getting dressed in the morning to go to work. This will have an effect on mobile device keyword targeting and user intent. Keyword targeting will trend towards the use of natural language, as is used to ask a question. This means that SEOs will need to research common spoken questions relevant to their website content and answer them in the content using the same language. This is an extension of the current trend away from targeting short, simple keywords and optimizing for long-tail keyword phrases. User interest will lean more towards content that has a conversational tone and is easy to listen to or mentally visualize while multitasking.

According to Google data, many consumer goods are being researched via voice. It is commonly found that once a user feels comfortable using a voice service for a certain task, it starts to replace other methods of conducting that task, i.e. voice assistance in cars. As the findings of this research are greatly determined by Google data itself, there are no specific details on how voice search for consumer goods will impact SEO in the future. We can assume that there will be a more in-depth focus on optimizing for Google Shopping and SEO specialists driven towards how to get product information into rich results.

When people conduct voice searches for local businesses, many of them use the phrase “near me”. According to Chat Meter, one-third of voice searches are done to ask for directions. Therefore, because of how easy it is to use a voice search to find local information about a business, voice searches using the phrase “near me” are quickly becoming the modern equivalent of the traditional “bricks-and-mortar” call to action. This is being seen in the language used by customers in reviews. Brafton.com found that mobile voice searches are three times more likely to use structured language. This information is often derived from a business’s Google My Business Page and incorporated into Google Search results. An example of a local structured language voice search would be, “Hey Siri, what restaurants serve seafood in Manhattan”. This will require local businesses to ensure that their Google and Yelp listings are up to date.

Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text. Currently, 22% of people are using voice search for finding location-based information. This includes using voice search to find out local business information. This makes sense from the consumer standpoint as using voice search to look up local information on a mobile device is significantly easier than typing. The stats confirm that the majority of people who use voice search are using it to find details about local businesses.

Voice Search and Local SEO

When trying to understand and dissect a topic, it’s always important to understand the root of where this topic is coming from. In the case of voice search, it only makes sense that people would utilize voice search features to quickly find information about local places and businesses. This could be anything from finding the nearest store that sells a specific product to looking for a nice place to eat. According to research, 22% of voice searches are for this purpose. This has large implications for local search engine optimization. Users doing voice search for local businesses are likely to be looking for something specific and it is crucial for businesses to have their information easily accessible. This includes things like hours of operation, address, and contact information. Creating content to answer common questions about the business is a great strategy for this. FAQ pages can be particularly useful for this because Google Assistant often pulls answers directly from FAQ pages to answer questions. It is also beneficial to markup content with schema to make it easier for search engines to understand and display the information. This can help businesses to stand out in search results and increase the chances of being chosen from a list of search results. An example is providing markup to enable a rich card in search results showing an overview of the business and quick links to different areas of the website. This will increase the likelihood that the user will be led to the business’ website over others.

Voice Search and E-commerce

Two thirds of smartphone users who spoke to their devices did so because they “felt more comfortable talking than typing,” and 55 percent of teens utilize voice search more than once a day. This shows the change in behavior which voice search is causing and that it is only going to heighten the usage of it. This will have a knock-on effect on e-commerce websites and businesses. At this moment in time, the majority of voice searches are made on mobile devices. This is due to keen interest in voice search from younger generations, as well as the convenience that it provides. The time might come when an increase in interest in voice search sees it become a staple feature for desktop computing. But given that consumers are increasingly shifting towards mobile, it’s mobile commerce sites and apps that will stand to benefit the most from voice search. Voice search could cause antique keywords to become redundant and new longer-tailed conversational style queries to make an impact. In turn, content would have to be adapted to suit these queries and users will have to decide new methods for doing keyword research. This creates a change in the hearing and voice search and with it being used in a variety of electronic devices in the future, SEO will have to be tailored around voice search rather than making it an add-on to usual search. An infrastructure would have to be created to support the new methods of app retrieval via voice search and quality apps would be rewarded much alike how quality websites are via standard search methods today.

Voice Search and Voice Assistants

Voice searching is already changing the nature of SEO. At one time, businesses could thrive simply by repeating a few keywords throughout their web content. This would greatly increase their chances of appearing on the first page of search results. But voice searching aims to make this strategy obsolete. When a user conducts a voice search, they are more likely to ask a question rather than repeat a keyword. For example, a typed search may be “clothing store north Sydney”, but a voice search would be more like “where can I find a nice clothing store around here?” The subtleties are key here. The first query is basic and straight to the point; the user is looking for a store name. This would bring limited results, particularly when considering that users will often omit the “north” and simply search “clothing store Sydney”. Meanwhile, the second question is more specific and opens the door to varied results. The store may not have the most optimized website and miss out on the first search, but there is a much higher chance of it being found by local residents who are looking for exactly what that store sells. This is why local SEO is still important for businesses. However, the fact remains that the original search query is far likelier to yield better results. This is because while the second question is more human-like, search engines are still better equipped to respond to the first question as things stand. This must change if SEO is to keep up with voice searching.

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