Heads-up to all businesses: By 2020, 50% of internet searches will come from voice commands.
What does this imply?
As early as now, you should start learning about the voice search revolution just as you did years ago with text SEO. As more and more people are inclined to find what they’re looking for through voice searches, businesses should start to incorporate this fact into their search engine optimization efforts.
What is voice search?
A voice search combines Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) to recognize and process a user’s voice command. Once recognized and parsed, the voice command enters a huge database wherein the query meets the most relevant answer. Finally, the device converts the data back into voice and sends it to the user.
Voice search is not a new technology. We’ve seen it with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo, and Microsoft’s Cortana. It was way back in 2014 when Google introduced ‘voice search’ but it wasn’t until 2017 that 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker. This number, however, is expected to rise to 55% by 2022.
What makes voice search integral to SEO?
Many successful marketing trends start small and slowly. Remember how people talked about Facebook as a marketing platform? Many said it wouldn’t do much but now, FB has grown to be a leading marketing venue for many businesses, big or small.
Because of the upward trend in voice search, it is becoming an integral marketing tool these days. In fact, in 2017, 41% of adults used voice search and that number continues to rise.
It’s no surprise that voice search is going to be the next big thing. From a user’s perspective, it’s much easier than typing your search query. You can search online while driving, cooking, feeding your baby, or doing house chores. You can quickly ask a question or say a command, such as scheduling a meeting or noting down a task.
More advanced voice search technologies, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, have taken the spotlight,. Now, people no longer have to use their phones to do a search. They just call out a command and presto – they’ll get the answer within seconds.
The obvious ease-of-use voice search offers make this technology very popular, and it will become even more popular in the coming years.
Development of Voice Search
Voice search has gone a long way since it was first launched in 2002. Last year, 35.6 million Americans used voice search at least once a month, which accounts for a 128.9 percent usage increase. Moreover, 72% of consumers who own voice-activated speakers claim they use these devices as part of their daily routines. As the algorithms behind NLP get better, so do voice search capabilities.
In addition to identifying human speech patterns, NLPs are able to extract key phrases, places, brands, people, and events, and put them into contextual values in major search engines and applications. With contextual learning, you can also ask for additional information to expand upon your original question.
Voice search enables people to do things faster, makes their routines easier, and empowers them to quickly access information and answers to their questions. In fact, according to Google, 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say using a voice command feels like talking to a friend or another person.
Who uses voice search more? 35.8% of Millennials, who are no doubt gadget-savvy, make use of voice-enabled assistants at least once a month. The number is expected to increase to 39.3% in 2019.
Voice search is very accessible. People can make a query or say a command from their phone, computer,or other device. And, this is just the beginning. Now, even cars and home appliances are beginning to adopt built-in voice command features. And because of the rapidly growing number of voice search devices, it is important for businesses to understand how voice search is going to impact the search engine optimization industry.
How to Get Ready for the Voice Search Revolution
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to your marketing approach. But, with the growing shift from text to voice, you should equip yourself with the knowledge, expertise, and tools to optimize for this new search trend.
Optimizing for Voice Search
First of all, you should know that text search is different from voice search. With a text query, you type a short keyword or key phrases such as “hotels in NYC”. With voice search, you can say “what are the best hotels in NYC that are available for booking right now?”. Generally, voice searches are longer and conversational. They clearly ask a question consisting of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’, anticipating the the search engine will answer back.
It is important for local businesses to adapt to voice search optimization. Instead of focusing on keywords, you should focus on writing content that is conversational and natural. Add structured data markup in the backend of your website because this helps search engines understand your content better.
Secondly, make sure that your website is mobile-friendly since most voice searches happen on mobile phones. A FAQ page is even more important now. Always remember the basic concept of contextual learning. Combine similar questions that can answer similar queries into one. And try to come up with natural questions rather than keywords.
Finally, take a look at your analytics from the last year or so. By determining the key phrases that people used to search for your website, you can probably spot a few that were most likely the result of voice searches.
Voice search is the next big thing. It’s imperative that you start aligning your web content for voice searches in order to stay on top of search results.